Danielle Ward collects $2,000 prize in Norfolk Has Talent contest
Danielle Ward, 18, of Delhi, took top prize Monday night in the annual Norfolk Has Talent competition. The three-judge panel loved Ward’s “mature and seasoned” rendition of Adele’s When We Were Young. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Danielle Ward of Delhi cried and cried after her performance this week at the annual Norfolk Has Talent event in Simcoe.
Ward, 18, had just belted out Adele’s When We Were Young before a crowd of 300 at the Norfolk County Fair.
She swung for the fence and could tell from the standing ovation that she had just hit a home run.
The three-judge panel thought so too. At the end of the night, they declared Ward the winner and the recipient of the $2,000 top prize. Needless to say, that prompted more tears.
“I’m a big girl with a big heart and I really appreciate this,” Ward said. “I know one thing – I will never stop. Any chance I get to go on stage I’m going to take it.”
Ward’s talent emerged as a child when she surprised her family with a stellar karaoke version of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.
She went on to sing in the annual Langton Show Time event and has been honing her craft in recent years in partnership with Alison and Darren Schott (“The Schotts”).
“I can’t stop crying,” said Ward. “I’m so excited.”
Ward is the daughter of Dave and Helen Ward of Delhi. Her parents are thrilled with the outcome.
“It was right on,” Dave Ward said afterward. “I’m very proud of her.”
Norfolk Has Talent was held at the Taste of Norfolk venue on the final night of the Norfolk County Fair Monday. Fourteen contestants had advanced to the final following several auditions.
The three judges included actor and dancer Jay Davis, musician and multi-instrumentalist Kyra Krilly, and actor and dancer Miles Faber.
The judges provided immediate feedback to the contestants during the three-hour event. Their response to Ward’s performance was uniformly positive.
“I can’t even talk,” Krilly said. “That performance was incredible. You are amazing.”
Faber seconded the motion.
“Danielle – you belong on stage,” he said. “That was so mature and seasoned. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you.”
The Norfolk Has Talent committee originally committed $500 to the second-place performance.
However, the fair executive was so impressed with the turnout and the quality of the performances that this was bumped to $1,000 before the final judging.
That second-place prize went to the hip-hop dance troupe from the Lisa Naves Dance Company of Simcoe. Davis said the spectacle was so dynamic that he had to sit back in his chair to take it all in. Faber also liked what he saw.
“Powerful, powerful routine,” he said. “You smashed it.”
Third place and $500 went to Walsh teen Liam McFadden. Accompanying himself on ukulele, McFadden performed a flawless rendition of Riptide by Van Joy. The judges liked McFadden’s teen idol appeal.
“I was thinking three things while he was singing that,” host Theo Tams said. “Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Liam McFadden.”
Faber complimented McFadden on his ability to quiet a room and command its attention.
“You either have that or you don’t,” Faber said. “And you have it.”
A “People’s Choice” award and $250 went to dancer Lauren Dockx.
Other finalists include singer Olivia Spoelder, singers Lauren Driedger and Jessica Doerksen, singer Maddie Ball, singer Jaiden Herkimer, singer Victoria Rockefeller, singer Isla Jane Kelly, singer Lauren Fulton, native hoop dancer Nicki Shawana, singer Hannah Dolson, and singers Angie and Melody Weaver.