UT Duo Takes National Stage On ‘America’s Got Talent’ [Update]

 

Can’t watch the video? Click here.

Last night two of UT’s own went head-to-head with hundreds of acts all vying for the same prize: a million dollars.

Musical duo Olivia Applegate and Eric Nikolaides, both UT seniors, are competing on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, which features talented amateurs and performers who compete for the nation’s votes, a chunk of cash, and a chance to headline the Las Vegas Strip.

During the show’s auditions in Austin, the pair’s acoustic performance of Maroon 5′s “Moves Like Jagger” earned them a spot in the next round in Vegas. Olivia’s vocals and Eric’s guitar skills easily won over judges Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern with their bluesy sound, but Howie Mandel wasn’t so sure.

It’s clear the talent is bigger in Texas! Last night, the duo charmed the judges again with their rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.” Their smooth, clean vocals, and guitar accompaniment dazzled Howard Stern, who thought they could be a headline act, and sent them on to NYC for the live shows.

Originally from Cincinnati, Nikolaides came to UT last year to pursue a degree in Spanish. Shortly after meeting Applegate, a native Texan and theatre arts major, they decided to team up and formed Eric & Olivia.

“They have a nice chemistry, and that’s important,” says Lucien Douglas, senior associate chair in the Department of Theatre and Dance and one of Applegate’s former teachers. “It makes what they do a little bit more special.”

Douglas, who has known Applegate since teaching her at Kingwood High School, had no advance knowledge of their America’s Got Talent audition, but says he isn’t surprised by her success at all.

“I never knew she was a singer and never heard her sing until I saw her on the show,” Douglas says, “and there she was doing what she does as a musician on national TV. She’s extremely talented and was born with wonderful performer instincts.”

In spring of 2011, Eric & Olivia scored $1,500 for winning best overall performance in a University-wide talent show put on by the Texas Revue Committee called Longhorns Got Talent. There, Applegate‘s soulful vocals shined.

“Her singing is very unique, and she is bringing her own sense of style and personality to the work,” Douglas says. “She’s got that something special that says, ‘Hey, you know, this is someone who can seriously compete, and with a little bit of luck, have a terrific career.’”

Part 3 of America’s Got Talent Las Vegas airs tonight at 8 p.m. CST on NBC. Live shows begin July 1.

Video courtesy America’s Got Talent.

Can’t watch the video? Click here.

 

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