By Richard Pryor III
There were many outstanding acts at Sewanee Idol 2018, with the Theta Pi sorority winning their fifth Sewanee Idol competition, one year after Chi Psi ended their four year streak of wins.
In a packed Cravens Hall, multiple groups sang, rapped, and/or danced their hearts out to earn the coveted position of first place in the Sewanee Idol competition, regarded as the unofficial start of the spring season in Sewanee. The event raised around $2,200, doubling the proceeds collected in 2017. The money collected went to Spring Break outreach trips run by the Office of Civic Engagement, where students will travel to locales both near (Grundy County) and far (Costa Rica) to perform acts of service.
Katie Sutton (C’18), Kai Koopman of Civic Engagement, Joey Adams (C’18), and Myranda Gonzalez (C’18) served as the judges for the evening, while Mary Allison “MAP” Pritchard (C’18) and Gigi Ruppell (C’18) hosted amid a sea of bad microphones.
The night’s winners, Theta Pi, danced in a similar style to their performance last year, at times in a large group consisting of all the pledges and sometimes in smaller groups. Some felt that the transition to the smaller groups was disjointed, but many focused on their usage of Fergie’s questionable rendition of the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game, to which MaryGrace Bouldin (C’21) led her pledge class. Pritchard remarked that their usage was a “great redemption” for Fergie.
The Ques of Omega Psi Phi, Brandon Iracks-Edelin (C’18) and David “Chief” Johnson (C’19), did their usual routine of step dancing and chanting, which led them to winning the third place title. They convinced their fellow Que, Assistant Director of Admission, Curtis Johnson (C’14) to join them in their routine, which he did to much applause from a enthusiastic student body. Judge Koopman remarked that the routine was “wholesome,” and Pritchard cheered, in reference to Iracks-Edelin’s position on campus, “That’s my SGA [Student Government Association] President!”
The first non-organizational group marked the halfway point, as freshmen Máté Szurop, Dan Munoz, and Shomari Todd (all C’21) performed as “The Three Musketeers.” As Todd sang into his lightsaber microphone, Szurop and Munoz brought two people from the audience up to the stage for a free striptease. Koopman referred to the performance as “perplexing,” while Adams deemed Munoz and Suzrop’s work as Magic Mike-worthy.
In one of the most beloved performances of the night, members of Sigma Nu (SNu) performed selections from the musical The Nightman Cometh from the hit television show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. A highlight for many was Webster Austin’s (C’21) solo on “Marry Me,” originally sung by Charlie Day, which he finished by proposing to Annie Corley (C’20). Adams told all of the other competitors to “take note” of SNu’s work.
In their first Sewanee Idol appearance in recent memory, the ladies of Alpha Delta Theta (ADT) danced to a medley of songs from the famed Swedish band ABBA. One pledge stood out in the performance, Caroline Graham (C’21) for dancing with crutches, earning plaudits from many of the judges. A highlight of the dance for all was the recruitment of Lay Chaplain Kayla Deep (C’15), an ADT alumnus, to serve as the night’s “Dancing Queen,” who is “young and sweet, only 17.”
The reigning champions of Sewanee Idol, Chi Psi, were the next group up. Although they had only learned their dance two days before, they pleased the crowd with their work on “Soul Man,” featuring Cullen Gazzola (C’20) and Emerson Cobbs (C’21) singing the lead. All the performers had great chemistry and teamwork, with Adams naming Chi Psi her favorite fraternity for their performance.
The only solo performer of the night, LaToya McIntyre (C’20) sang an a capella rendition of Adele’s “One and Only” that had the audience spellbound. Matching up with Adele’s power and musicality, McIntyre had perfect pitch the entire way through, with Sutton saying that she believed that McIntyre’s rendition was “better than the original.”
The final group of the night, and the night’s runners-up, were the pledges of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), joined by their pledge trainer John Gaither (C’19), dancing in a medley that spanned genres from James Bond to Magic Mike.
Cole Williams’s (C’21) Michael Jackson tribute was greatly rewarded by the crowd, as was the performers holding Parker Johnson (C’21) in the Swan Lake hold, which Adams regarded as “the way to end a show.”
The announcement of Theta Pi’s fifth victory was met with surprise from some members of the audience.
Hunter Keele (C’21), a member of DKE, informed The Purple that DKE deserved to win, while Laurel Card (C’18), a PKE, belived that PKE should have won. Taylor Childress (C’18), a member of PKE, thought that the competition was rigged, believing that Alpha Delta Theta should have won with their routine set to a medley of songs from ABBA. Gonzalez told The Purple that the judges each ranked their top three choices, and both Theta Pi and DKE were in each judge’s top three.
Sydney Masterson (C’20), a member of Theta Pi, was elated with their victory and said that “Quinn Needham and Natalie Paige Griffin (both C’20) worked incredibly hard and the pledges practiced every day. [Needham and Griffin] redeemed our pledge class. It’s a good thing for something positive to happen for us to be proud about together.”