“MOVE! Get out the way, get out the way, get out the way,” is what contestants at Apollo Night do not want to hear coming from the DJ’s booth. Once they hear that song, their time is up.
Though this Apollo Night is a spinoff of the original Amateur Night at the Apollo that debuted in 1934, it harnesses the spirit of the Harlem-based show.
Apollo Night is no ordinary talent show. The audience decides how long a contestant will be allowed to continue performing and if the audience is pleased, the contestant can finish their act. If the audience is not pleased,
the audience will “boo” until the contestant is removed from the stage.
More than 200 patrons participated in the judging of their peers during the event at Armstrong’s Club on Vogelweh July 23.
“I take my hat off to all those who came forward and performed,” said Tech. Sgt. Jaison Fletcher, 86th Communications Squadron base records adviser and audience member. “It takes a lot of nerve to get up in front of such a large group of your peers and display your talent.”
This year, Apollo Night consisted of 12 contestants with talents ranging from spoken word poetry to singing to rapping. Some of the contestants
performed original material while others belted out their rendition of songs previously written by recording artists.
One of the contestants used Apollo Night as an opportunity to expose her talent to more people.
“Apollo Night is not about winning,” said Ella “Scorpion Queen” Jones, an Apollo Night contestant. “I have a story to tell and a message to give. The more I get out and promote myself, the more lives I can touch.”
But contestants aren’t the only entertainment of the night. The emcee, Shanda “Dizzy” Allmond-Misse has been in the business of entertaining for 16 years and has been the host of Apollo Night since it started seven years ago. She is also in charge of recruiting.
“People with talent are attracted to me,” Allmond-Misse said. “Talent comes from everywhere, and most times talent approaches me after every show.”
Allmond-Misse said Apollo Night sells itself to aspiring artists and she doesn’t have to actively search for contestants.
“Surprisingly enough, the thought of performing in front of a crowd that could potentially boo them doesn’t discourage them from wanting to participate,” she said.
Allmond-Misse said this show’s audience wasn’t as unforgiving as some she has seen in the past.
The show is in such demand, that two years ago it went from once to twice a year with the next show scheduled for early 2012.
“I really enjoyed the festivities, the emcee was superb and everyone was dressed to impress,” Fletcher said. “All in all, I really enjoyed the night.”