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Pianist and singer Roman Tenuta claims Racine's Got Talent title
Racine’s Got Talent

Pianist and singer Roman Tenuta claims Racine's Got Talent title

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RACINE — Some performers at the annual Racine’s Got Talent show had music prepared, rehearsed and ready to be plugged into the speakers.

Roman Tenuta, 16, of Mount Pleasant, was not one of those performers — yet still shocked an audience of some 100 people with a rendition of “Jealous,” the song made famous by Labrinth, to take first place in the show on Saturday afternoon.

Singing and accompanying himself on the piano, Tenuta claimed top honors in the annual Racine’s Got Talent competition at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center, 601 21st. St. The event was presented by the Bryant Center in collaboration with Rapcine.

Little did the audience know that Tenuta had not decided between three potential songs up until 5 minutes before he was set to take the stage.

Racine's Got Talent

Roman Tenuta plays piano and sings during the Racine’s Got Talent showcase on Saturday at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center, 601 21st St. Presented by the Bryant Center in collaboration with Rapcine, the competition marked its fifth year.

“Something’s telling me I’ve got to do this song,” Tenuta said. “I just kind of winged it.”

Tenuta is going into his junior year at Bradford High School in Kenosha. He’s involved with choir and theater. Tenuta was in the school’s production of “Freaky Friday” as the Wedding Chef, also playing in “Matilda” as the Matilda’s older brother Michael.

“When I was in fifth grade, my brother wanted to learn how to play guitar, so we went to his guitar lessons,” Tenuta said. “I tried, but I couldn’t really play guitar, so I was like ‘let me try piano.’ ”

“In sixth grade, I stopped with the lessons because I had already learned all the chords, and I just kind of took it into my own hands and learned how to play in my style.”

Tenuta returned to the competition, after taking third place in 2017.

“It feels kind of like a break,” Tenuta said. “You try, and try, and try, and then when you try, and you actually succeed, it’s just the best feeling in the world.”

Other contestants who competed on Saturday were Kalieana Arcuri, who performed “NHA: Never Hurt Again;” Gionna Breckenridge, who performed “TMS Bros” with Isaiah and Silas Gonzales; Estrellita Valencia; Lul Icey; Kamya Lashay; Leila Gage; Sarena Vazquez; and Tashera Montgomery.

Racine's Got Talent

Roman Tenuta accepts the first-place trophy alongside runner-up Serena Vazquez, center, and honorable mention Lul Icey, far left, during the Racine’s Got Talent showcase on Saturday at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center, 601 21st St.

Vazquez took runner-up honors with a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” the song featured in the movie “The Bodyguard,” in which Houston also starred. Lul Icey received honorable mention with an original performance.

Jesse Booker, the event’s emcee, said this year’s show was “phenomenal” compared to years past, and was one of its best yet.

“It touched my heart,” said Booker, who runs Rapcine. “I cried multiple times and got emotional — It gave me goosebumps.”

“It touched my heart. I cried multiple times and got emotional — It gave me goosebumps.” Jesse Booker, emcee of Saturday’s Racine’s Got Talent contest

"It touched my heart. I cried multiple times and got emotional — It gave me goosebumps."

Jesse Booker, emcee of Saturday's Racine's Got Talent contest

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