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Dancing Queen: SHU Sophomore A Contender On Italian TV Talent Show

SHU sophomore Lauren Celentano is competing in "Amici," Italy's answer to "America's Got Talent."
SHU sophomore Lauren Celentano is competing in "Amici," Italy's answer to "America's Got Talent." Photo Credit: Sal Pavia

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — It’s safe to say Lauren Celentano has got talent and she thinks she can dance.

That’s why the Sacred Heart University sophomore has spent the last several weeks competing as the first American on “Amici,” Italy’s answer to “American Idol.”

In fact, the Cheshire resident, a member of SHU’s Dance Company, is currently #1 in the voter popularity in the dance category and #4 overall with a real chance of winning when she returns to the competition in January.

“I feel so very proud to have had the opportunity to help Lauren achieve her professional dreams and at the same time, bring SHU dance programs to a place of international recognition,” said Kari Williams, SHU Dance Program director.

“Amici,” Italian for “friends,” began in 2001. Judges critique all the performance, but public voters decide who stays and who goes each week.

Celentano's opportunity to compete came about in July when 12 SHU dancers traveled to World Dance Movement, an international workshop and competition in Bari, Italy. Casting directors from “Amici” were there scouting for talent and Williams was able to recommend Celentano.

“They loved her the moment they saw her dance,” Williams said.

The choice to compete was a complicated one: Participating would mean a seven-month commitment and the 19-year-old could be eliminated at any time.

“There would be training and classes… She was in total shock,” Williams said. “I told her ‘if you don’t say yes, this opportunity goes away.’ I knew that it was something major and that it could launch her professional career but also that it was solely her decision to make.”

Soon after, Celentano started to learn Italian.

Life has been a bit of a whirl since then: Fans have started Facebook and Instagram pages for Celentano.

“Lauren is quickly becoming a household name in Italy,” Williams said.

View Celentano’s “Amici” profile page and performance videos here .

You can vote for her up to 50 times a day when the prompt “VOTA IL TUO PREFERITO” is visible here .

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