Dancers performing traditional Japanese routines, rappers and a ukulele-electric guitar duo will come together tonight to compete at the 2011 Hispanic Heritage Month Talent Show.
The event will be held in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
The talent show is one of the biggest events of the month, said Nicole La Hoz, one of the show's three assistant directors. She hopes to surpass last year's attendance of 350 people.
Thirteen acts will perform for a maximum of eight minutes each. They will compete in one of three categories: freestyle, vocal or dance performance.
The competitors had to audition and are from a variety of organizations, not only those that are Hispanic.
"It's for everybody," La Hoz said. "It's a part of heritage month, so we definitely want to show off the talented Hispanics that we have, but it's moreso just a showcase for all Gators."
This year's talent show will feature a new fan favorite award. The show's production team will be tabling on Turlington Plaza today with jars for each act, according to La Hoz. Students can come to the table to vote by donating money into their favorite performer's jar.
All proceeds will go to Padres Contra El Cancer, a Latino organization that promotes understanding of childhood cancer, other blood disorders and the effective methods for their treatment.
"This year, the heritage month team really wanted to focus on incorporating philanthropy into every event," La Hoz said.
Fans can also donate money to performers' jars during the show. The donations will be totaled and announced at the end of the last act.
Last year's vocal division winner, criminology and psychology junior Janioris Diaz Rodriguez, 20, thinks the new fan favorite concept is interesting. She is even more excited for people to listen to what she has to say via song.
"I always get a little nervous right before I go on, but it's that ‘good nervous' that lets you know you're alive and love what you do," she said.
The talent show will have a winner in each category. One of the three winning groups will be featured at the heritage month's closing ceremonies Oct. 14.
Physics freshman Connor Reever and industrial engineering freshman Rory Michelen, both 18, will perform as U-Krew, the "soon-to-be bar-hopping" ukulele and guitar band. If they don't win due to sheer handsomeness, they hope their two cover songs will secure the fan favorite award, Reever said.
"Win or lose, the show will be a great experience," Reever said. "Hopefully the audience walks home serenaded and with an earworm of our jams."