TAMPA — Jemima Germain walked into the room, threw her hands in the air and lamented being a teenager.
The Tampa 13-year-old bemoaned beauty routines and the dos and don'ts of eating chocolate. Exasperated and confused, she paced back and forth.
When she finished ranting, Jemima looked up expectantly and beamed when the adults in front of her said, "Wow!"
Her monologue made an impression on the judges for Patel Conservatory's third annual Tampa's Got Talent competition. More than 100 performers from the bay area auditioned Sunday to win one of four scholarships for the conservatory.
Top prizes will be announced in two weeks. The scholarships cover the cost of a vocal, instrumental, dance or theater class, which range from $200 to more than $3,000 per year.
Similar to the reality TV show America's Got Talent, participants at Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts stood in front of several judges and a videocamera. They performed their pieces, answered questions about their training and heard critiques.
Judges looked for confidence, expression and raw talent.
"When you're an artist, you have a story to tell," said theater teacher Ami Sallee. "Take me on that story, the whole way through."
One by one, the hopefuls filed through the room. Mary Beth Ritter, 16, of Lakeland let loose a song from a musical. Jake Biller, 14, of Carrollwood Village strummed an Ozzy Osbourne tune on his guitar. Denisha Kirnes, 16, of New Tampa prompted a laugh from judges by acting out a joke.
They gave their last flourishes and left the room, while the judges conferred in low voices about dynamics and poise.
"That's the kind of student we want to give a scholarship to," they said to each other.
And outside, oblivious to the deliberations, each artist wondered: Are they saying that about me?
Stephanie Wang can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2443.