I was extremely impressed and blown away when I attended my first Kollaboration Los Angeles event last year, and this year did not disappoint either. The show, which is held in 10 cities across the nation with the goal of empowering Asian Americans through entertainment, filled the Shrine Auditorium with 5,000+ guests despite the rain this past Saturday. The three-hour extravaganza showcased the varied skills of 10 incredibly talented competitors, interwoven with electrifying guest performances from an array of Asian dance crews, singers and comedians.
In addition, Kollaboration had an incredibly star-studded judges lineup consisting of some of the most recognizable faces in Asian America. They included music-video guru Joseph Kahn, YouTube phenomena Kevin Wu (aka KevJumba) make-up artist Michelle Phan, actor Rex Lee from “Entourage, journalist Lisa Ling, marketing professional Nita Song, and LA business and community leader Patricia Yoon.

Coming in first place was the beautiful and talented Clara Chung, a UC Irvine student who performed an original song she had written. Her voice was incredibly pure and clear, and she incorporated an interesting medley of instruments into her performance such as an acoustic guitar and a kazoo-like flute. In second place was Bhangra Empire, a co-ed Punjabi music and dance team, whose incredible choreography set to an Indian-meets-hip-hop dance track garnered probably the loudest applause of the night. Lastly, winning the audience Verizon text-in award was electric violinist and USC student Jason Yang, who happens to be a friend of mine and a classmate in my Chinese class last semester. It was amazing to get to see him perform on stage.

Remarkable performances, mind-blowing dance routines, and terrific singing aside, what is so great about this event is that it’s truly the only large entertainment venue that promotes talent exclusively among Asian Pacific Islanders. As a supporter of Kollaboration NY, we at Mochi truly believe in their mission. So if Kollaboration is going to your city, be sure to buy a ticket, scream your heart out, and enjoy the amazing talent that only Asian Americans can offer.

Photos: stage shot by Jasmine Ako; Bhangra Empire courtesy of their website; Clary Chung courtesy of her Facebook page; Jason Yang courtesy of Zack Dezon

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