Permian Basin residents showcased their talent and skills in front of a pleased audience at this year’s inaugural Odessa’s Got Talent fundraiser Friday night at First Baptist Church.

A total of 16 contestants performed, most of them music numbers, in the inaugural fundraiser that was put on by the Permian Basin Mission Center.

“We’re so excited,” fundraising chair and board member at the Permian Basin Mission Center Cristy Batte said. “We had a great turnout and the talent was phenomenal. We’re really excited to get to put this on.”

The contest was split up into a youth division and an adult division.

Arianna Franco performs at the Odessa’s Got Talent show Friday at First Baptist Church. (Michael Bauer|Odessa American)

There were seven contestants in the youth division and nine in the adult division.

A couple of the performers were music groups while others were soloists.

“Wow, Odessa really has talent,” Batte said. “We had everything from bands to soloists to hula hoop artists. It’s fantastic.”

The Mission Center accepted virtual auditions up until May 21.

Soon after, the finalists were announced and performed Friday night.

The Mission Center is a local resource center for those in need.

It was the first fundraiser this year for the Mission Center after not being able to have one last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We didn’t have a fundraiser last year because of everything that was going on with COVID but the Mission Center never closed its doors,” Mission Center executive director Hector Aguilar said. “That was a challenging time. But we got through and we were able to help our community through the COVID times.”

Like Batte, Aguilar was thankful that the Mission Center was able to have this fundraiser.

Alan Castillejos performs at the Odessa’s Got Talent show Friday at First Baptist Church. (Michael Bauer|Odessa American)

“This is our first time putting on this event and we’re really excited,” Aguilar said. “We have a lot of positive responses from our community and our local talent and we’re super excited about it. We’re happy that the community has gotten behind it and the proceeds go to the mission center which helps the community and make a better Odessa.”

The contestants in the youth division included: Youngbloods, Janelle Troutman, Mason Simmons, Arianna Franco, Sohila Abdellatif, Katherine Ortega and Chanel Zubiate.

The contestants in the adult division were: Los Crazy Guys, Alan Castillejos, Mia Lissette, Kimberlie Redmon, Raeslyn Miller, Sydney Lyle, Ashley Simpson, Lauren Barker and the Atmosphere Worship Band.

Prizes were given to the top three in each category that was decided by a panel of three judges.

There was also a separate award called the People’s Choice Award that was decided by an online vote.

The third place finishers received $500, second place was $1,000 and first was $2,000. The People’s Choice award winner took $1,000.

The Atmosphere Worship Band took home the People’s Choice Award.

Zubiate was third in the youth division while Franco was second and the Young Bloods band took first.

Leon Carrasco, member of the band the Young Bloods, performs at the Odessa’s Got Talent show Friday at First Baptist Church. (Michael Bauer|Odessa American)

In the adult division, Miller was third while Barker took second and the Los Crazy Guys band ended up taking first.

“We had quality judges but let me tell you, they had a hard job tonight,” Batte said.

One of the judges was a special guest, Peter Furler who is a Grammy-nominated Christian artist from Australia and former lead singer of the band The News Boys and has 27 No. 1 hit singles and over seven million records sold.

“It’s exciting,” Furler said about being in Odessa Friday night. “Just by watching one of the bands warm up, it’s great. As a kid you start jamming in your parents’ garage and then seeing 13, 15 year olds on stage jamming out, it’s inspiring. It’s good to see and I’m excited to see all the artists.”

With putting on a show for the first time, there were some tricky aspects to get through, Batte said, but she was thankful to work with everyone.

“One of the challenges was that we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” Batte said. “We had some learning curves but it all turned out to be fantastic and everyone was great to work with. We were impressed with the talent that came and worked with us.”

Already, Batte said they are looking forward to doing a show next year.

“We think we can build on this for next year and make this a great annual event,” Batte said.