After a two week nationwide search (which we alerted you about on this blog in early June), and submissions from actors across the USA, Samuel Adegoke has been named the 2015 winner of the ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition, it was announced today by Keli Lee, Executive Vice President Casting and Talent, ABC Entertainment.
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.
"We are excited to announce that Samuel Adegoke is the winner of the ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition. 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 Keli Lee Executive Vice President Casting and Talent, ABC Entertainment.
"I’m feeling such an overwhelming sense of abundance and gratitude right now," said Adegoke. "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."
Adegoke beat out other finalists including: Roland Buck III (Dallas), Sandra Hinojosa (Detroit), Lana McKissack (Los Angeles), Brandon Hawk Modelo (Antioch, Calif.), Benita Krista Nall (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Omari Wallace (East Point, Ga.).
To enter, actors were asked to film and upload a video of themselves performing a scene provided by the ABC initiative (at ABCDiscovers.com). All the entries were judged on "quality of performance, technical skill set and potential star power."
ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition is now in its third year. Last year’s winners were Khalilah Joi Dubose (Hampton, Virginia) and Cornelius Smith Jr. (Detroit, Michigan). After winning, Smith Jr. went on to land a guest-starring role on the ABC hit drama "Scandal" as neighborhood activist Marcus Walker (although he was recently promoted to series regular for next season).
Previous ABC Discovers: Talent Showcase standouts include names you’d recognize, like Lupita Nyong’o, Gina Rodriguez, Chadwick Boseman, Jesse Williams, and others. The Showcase is a rigorous audition and rehearsal process in which ABC Casting executives work with the actors to put on a one night live performance, industry only event, where more than 400 producers, agents, casting directors and entertainment executives attend. Following the Showcase, ABC Casting continues to champion and work with the actors throughout the next year by providing mentorship and acting opportunities on television. To date, 34 talent showcases in LA and New York have been produced, and ABC Casting has mentored nearly 500 actors.
Watch Adegoke’s reaction to the news below, and then underneath it, watch footage of this year’s 7 finalists: