UPDATES with video: And the winner is… After a two-week nationwide search that garnered more than 7,000 submissions, Sam Adegoke was named the winner of the third annual ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition. Adegoke, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and now lives in Los Angeles, will receive a one-year, $25,000 talent deal with ABC and a spot in the 2015 New York or Los Angeles ABC Discovers: Talent Showcase. (You can watch Adegoke’s audition and his reaction upon learning he won below).
“We are excited to announce that Samuel Adegoke is the winner of the ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition” said Keli Lee, EVP Casting and Talent at ABC Entertainment. “Amongst the more than 7,000 submissions, Samuel’s performance and potential stood out. We look forward to working with him during the Talent Showcase and finding opportunities for him on ABC.”
Said Adegoke: “I’m feeling such an overwhelming sense of abundance and gratitude right now. So many actors work so hard and have to take such a leap of faith to pursue this dream. To be chosen is amazing. I’m so grateful for the whole experience.”
To enter, actors were asked to create a video performing one of the comedy or drama scenes posted on the website and were judged on quality of performance, technical skill set and potential star power. The other finalists were Roland Buck III (Dallas), Sandra Hinojosa (Detroit), Lana McKissack (Los Angeles), Brandon Hawk Modelo (Antioch, CA), Benita Krista Nall (Palo Alto, CA) and Omari Wallace (East Point, GA).
Last year’s winners were Khalilah Joi Dubose (Hampton, VA) and Cornelius Smith Jr. (Detroit). The win has led to opportunities at ABC for Smith, who went on to land a series regular role on the ABC hit drama Scandal as neighborhood activist Marcus Walker.
ABC’s talent competition (fka ABC Make Me A Star) has long traditions in breaking new talent from diverse backgrounds. Now in its 14th year, ABC’s Talent Showcase in Los Angeles and New York — an industry-only event attended by more than 400 producers. agents, casting directors and entertainment executives each year — has featured such then-up-and-comers as Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin), Chadwick Boseman (42), Randall Park (Fresh Off The Boat), Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) and Carrie Ann Inaba (Dancing With The Stars).