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Sky View Center talent contest draws singers and martial artists

About 65 acts starred artists aged 5 to 40 who sang, danced and performed martial arts at Sky View Center in Flushing Saturday for the first round of auditions in NYTV8’s New York Talent Contest. Aimed at encouraging performers of all ethnicities, the contest drew participants from the city and beyond.

“It’s been a great experience for me,” said Long Islander Allison Lambert, 24. She sung a Japanese pop song for her act and was able to move on to the next round. “It’s definitely given me more confidence to perform.”

This is the third year NYTV8, a Chinese-language, Web-based television channel, has held this talent contest. The competition is held in venues across the city, but the center, at 40-24 College Point Blvd., kicked off the contest.

City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) and state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) have supported the contest in the past, and previous participants have earned music contracts or been invited to perform on NYTV8. While the contest is open to everyone so long as the act is not violent or obscene, many participants in the contest were of Pacific Asian descent and sang in multiple languages.

“It’s very successful,” said Kit Lee, spokeswoman for NYTV8. “A great, successful community event.”

After an act performed, a five-panel group of judges decided whether the contestant would be allowed to proceed to the next round. Lee said hosts spoke in both Chinese and English to open the event up to multiple cultures.

“My voice is not in the best performance,” said 24-year-old Yao Chen, who traveled early Saturday morning from Philadelphia to participate. “But I got ‘passed.’ Can’t complain.”

The acts were hardly limited to singing, however. Some contestants did martial arts. One woman, Hui Qing Sun, 41, demonstrated tai chi with a fan. Others performed dance routines ranging from tango to break dancing.

Selena Chen, 20, who performed with Wei Wang, 19, and Lauren Chu, 18, said that before they went in front of the judges, the three of them had been dancing together about 10 times a year for the last three years, and thus they were not nervous.

“We’ve been on stage before many times,” Selena Chen said.

On the other hand, Lambert said she was nervous about her first time performing and being able to go on to the next round. She said she chose to sing a Japanese pop song because she has been studying the language since she was in middle school.

“I’ve just been interested in Japanese culture practically my whole life,” Lambert said.

The semi-finals of the competition, which will take place July 30, will also be at the Sky View Center.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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