Fifteen-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident Riley Kocsis has got talent.
She proved that last Sunday when she was named one of three winners of AZ's Got Talent at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Show in Scottsdale.
"I was shocked," Riley said. "They called my name and the guy asked me to say some words. I had no idea what to say, I was completely in shock. I was so excited and so happy, I was completely overwhelmed."
Riley auditioned for the show very last minute the weekend before. She was told she had made it to the finals and she would be one of 20 performers competing to be the opening act for the Celebrity Karaoke Challenge Benefitting Childhelp. It was her first competition and her mother, Suzanne Kocsis, says they had no idea what to expect.
"We walked in and had no idea what kind of talent was going to be there, or anything," Suzanne said. "We walked in and there was a lot of people."
Riley was on stage for about three minutes singing "I Who Have Nothing." She told judges she chose the song because she felt it had a story behind it.
"She's never done anything like this before and all the talent was so good," Suzanne said. "That first girl came out and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the real deal.' When Riley came out she looked beautiful, she did really good, and she was really poised. They asked her why she chose that song and she answered well. When she sang I don't think I took a breathe for three minutes. It was kind of one of those moments where as a mom you always think your child is good and she's had a little success here and there but it was probably the first time when I just went, ‘Wow, she really could do this for a living.' It was kind of a cool moment for me."
Riley says for her the competition was a great opportunity to do something she loves.
"Performing is definitely what I enjoy doing and it's why I enjoy what I do," she said. "It's a different feeling when you're out there with the audience right in front of you. It's a whole different ball game."
There was a three-way tie for the win. All three acts will now be opening for the Celebrity Karaoke event at Barrett-Jackson this Sunday, Jan. 22. The event will benefit Childhelp. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.barrett-jackson.com/events/scottsdale/lifestyle-pavilion.
"I think the whole thing was an incredible experience," Riley said. "I just want people to know no matter what the odds are you might as well give it a shot. You can't win the game unless you play the game."
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