The EMU American Idol event sponsored by CAC had a surprisingly good turnout Friday night. The Mainstage Theatre was close to full. Not many people had been expected to show up as either audience members or participants. However, as the beginning of the competition drew closer, it became clear that the lack of interest was false – it was just a rumor.
The crowd that showed up was clearly interested in the competition, talking about the contestants and guessing who would be the winner. Many different conversations were going on all across the room, creating an air of excitement for the night.
Along with those who came to support their choice for winner came the judges, who provided their thoughts and feedback on the contestants’ performances (often to the amusement of the audience), and master of ceremonies, First-Year Josh Lomas, who introduced the acts.
The three judges played the parts of the original American Idol judges, imitating Simon Cowell (Doran Stucky, Senior), Paula Abdul (Bonnie Fisher, Sophmore), and Randy Jackson (Cody Walker, Junior) in their own style. Both the audience and the contestants liked the judges witty criticism throughout the show.
Then there were the contestants themselves. Each of them came prepared in a different way. The performances included solos and group acts. Some contestants even incorporated audience participation.
The songs were all very unique, ranging from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song to country songs and movie soundtracks. Each one was presented differently as well, including choreography, recorded background music, live music, and a capella.
All of the acts were good, but a few were especially memorable including the performance by NRJ (Sophmore Nicole Groff, and First-Years Randi Hagi and Joo-ah Lee), with their rendition of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme complete with props and dance moves, and Tulia MacDicken’s Spanish Opera. MacDicken entertained the audience with her singing as well as her charm, speaking in Spanish and strongly accented English.
After the first round of songs, the audience voted for their favorite performance by placing the contestant’s number on a slip of paper that were then collected and counted. This method was a little chaotic, but ultimately served its purpose. After the votes were counted, the top three contestants moved on to the second round, where they performed a second piece.
These three contestants were Jon Nyce, featuring alternative acoustic guitar music (including an original song) and strong vocals; Alyssa Cable, who performed songs by Sugartown and Kelly Clarkson; and Coryn Laveist, featuring original hip hop songs. After a second performance, the judges decided on first, second and third place.
The way the order of the top three were announced was disappointing, for the audience never found out who was in second or third place.
Nyce was awarded first place. He deserved the award for his musical talent and strong vocal performance. However, students who prefer more mainstream musical styles may have enjoyed the performances of the other finalists more.
It really was an interesting event. It was student run and had all student participants. Each of these participants brought a different talent to the stage and displayed how diverse this campus is, not only in ethnicities of students but also in the talents that these students bring with them.
The EMU American Idol provided a welcome relief from the stress of schoolwork. It was an excellent event and will be a welcomed if it is continued in the coming years.