By Kat Riddler
**Image by Eric Wynen/The Current
Ever felt the urge to rock out like Katy Perry, but don’t have her voice? Or find yourself belting out all the songs on the radio in your car with choreographed head bobs and finger movements, but had nowhere to showcase your skills? The Homecoming committee gave students and members of the Homecoming Court the opportunity to overcome stage fright and entertain the University of Missouri—St. Louis community at the Homecoming Lip Sync Competition. The competition was mandatory for the Homecoming King and Queen candidates as part of a new selection process, but was also open to student organizations.
The teams were comprised of up to ten people who choreographed a dance and skit performance lasting up to eight minutes. Some participants performed solo acts, while others had up to nine people dancing on the stage. No big acrobatic moves like basket tosses were permitted, but some incorporated smaller acrobatics with spotters for safety. Safety was a big concern this year.Performers could not participate if they were in socks. Only tennis shoes, dance shoes, or bare feet were allowed on the stage. All the performers were able to practice at the mandatory rehearsal on February 10 to get affiliated with performing on the stage and to practice spreading out in the space provided. Their hard work was appreciated by the energetic audience that cheered, clapped, snapped, and encouraged all the performers.
“We wanted to bring it [lip sync] to UMSL because it is a great experience for both the dancers and the audience. Hopefully each year it can get bigger and better,” Colleen Pace, coordinator of the Office of Student Life, said.
Student Government President Cameron Roark, junior, criminology and criminal justice, and SGA Vice President Deja Patrick, senior, political science, were the master of ceremonies for the Tuesday night event and read creative scripts introducing each of the eight performances, two videos, and choral showcase performance during judges’ deliberation. The most memorable interlude had Roark coming onto the stage with a bandana on. He explained it was a Yowie, but that answered little questions. A film on the Yowie was shown explaining that it was a spirit item with a vast array of versatile uses that would be given away at Pack the Stands on Thursday. The film had several students wearing the Yowie in different fashions from the arm band to the balaclava. The Yowie is a diverse way to show UMSL spirit for Homecoming Week in each Triton’s unique preference.
The judges were Curt Coonrod, vice provost of student affairs; Yvette Kell, director of the health and wellness center; Ashlee Roberts, student services coordinator of Office of Student Life; and Jim Henry, music department chair. The criteria for this lip sync version of American Idol were execution, choreography, originality, and overall appeal. Whether the students committed fully to lip syncing to the music was a personal preference for judges; however, some groups excelled in lip syncing the whole time while executing great choreography.
One of those who excelled with both was first place winner, Kelsi Schlundt, junior, nursing, who was sponsored by Delta Zeta and The Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association (PHLCSA). Schlundt chose to mix several songs in her eight minute allotted time. Some of those were “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift, “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, “Lips Are Movin” by Meghan Trainor, and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson. She incorporated some acrobatic moves by flipping over the arms of two other backup dancers.
Another entertaining performance, which won second place, was by Sigma Pi King candidate Michael Weaver, senior, biology, who decided to go back to the nineties with his performance of N’Sync. Weaver wore an open red button down shirt, black t-shirt, and jeans to stand out from his backup dancers wearing open white button down shirts, black t-shirts, and jeans. The group wore headsets to mimic the boy band while performing songs like “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and the iconic “Bye, Bye, Bye.” The group was well choreographed and had their timing down pat as they literally moved in sync.
While the judges were deliberating, an UMSL men’s quartet called Tailor Made performed three songs. The group kept to the lip sync feeling of the night and started to mouth their lips with no music. The audience laughed at the humor of the performance. The group then performed three wonderful pieces including “Mary Lou” in the barber shop quartet style.
Based on the attendance that the performances drew to the J.C. Penny Auditorium, this addition to the Homecoming festivities and Homecoming King and Queen selection may become a new UMSL tradition.
(c) The Current 2015