By Rachel Chen
On Sept. 30, over Parent Weekend here at Furman University, the 30th Annual Student Talent Showcase began at precisely 8 p.m. The auditorium was filled with dozens of students, faculty and parents alike, awaiting to watch the performances of their friends, children or students. The emcee of the night was Dr. Mark Britt, in which he gave a warm welcome to the audience and introduced the acts of the evening.
Dr. Britt also announced that the contest would be judged based on execution, originality, crowd response and the over-all joy and pride of the contestant. Prepared with knee-slapping jokes and charming comments, Dr. Britt received applause and cheers from the crowd. The judges for the talent show were all Furman faculty and included Dr. Aaron Simmons, Dr. Jeanine Stratton, Dr. Scott Henderson, and President Rod Smolla.
The first act was one of the most original of the night, in which Clay White gave his own rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” His rendition of the song featured a song saw. Next up was a performance given by the Merry-Men Group, which featured a lead vocalist, piano and guitar. The Merry-Men Group covered a song originally performed by Needtobreathe, a rock band from South Carolina, whose band members attended Furman University prior to their success. They gave a solid performance that went quite smoothly up until one of the parts of the stage lights came loose and fell on the floor, interrupting their song. The band members, however, did not seem fazed by this incident and finished their performance calmly.
The act that followed Merry-Men Group was a one-man act given by Robert Fuson. His solo humor skit about Brussels sprouts was by Andy Griffith. It featured a family at a dinner table. Fuson was able to perform the lines of every single one of the members of the family, and laughter could be heard from the audience as he threw his hands up, proclaiming “Brussels!”
After Fuson finished his skit, Suzanne Alexander gave a heartbreaking vocal performance of “Arms” by Christina Perri. The song is a sad love story about a girl who is in love with her best friend. The conflict comes from her fear of telling him, she’s afraid it will jeopardize their friendship. Dr. Britt commented that it was a rather relatable story. During the performance, the audience seemed to agree with the comment, as they were very silent, perhaps remembering similar situations.
Alexander was followed by a piano and vocalist duo. Holt McCarley played the piano and Jen Wiggins sang. The song the duo chose was “Ave Maria” by Beyonce, which the two performed in harmony. The crowd once again clapped and shouted their approvals throughout the performance, especially when Jen hit a big note in the song. Student Jenny Warken choreographed her very own Irish dancing. Matthew Morris, who sported a red bow tie, gave a slower, acoustic rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s song, “Crazy”.
Other spectacular performances were given by contestants Corrie Miller, also a member of the Furman football team. His song was “Until the End of Time” originally sung by Justin Timberlake. Finally, Eli Lambrie performed two songs, one was an original song titled “Chevy Cavalier” and the other one “Take Me to the Pilot” by Elton John.
Dr. Britt then concluded the night with a few more jokes before the winners were revealed. Joey Iannetta, the director of the show, announced the winners. Warken finished in third place, McCarley and Wiggins in second place, and first place went to Eli Lambrie.