Given a campus teeming with musical talent and impromptu bands, it’s no surprise that SVU Idol has become a Southern Virginia tradition.
About 20 students auditioned, 10 of whom competed at Friday night’s event. Each was introduced to the packed audience by a short video clip, hyping the audience with a few bars of their audition piece, superimposed over what motivated their audition (“My mom thinks I’m talented”), and whether they think they’ll win. For some, it was their debut performance. Patrick Hutchinson’s voice and blond ‘do made the crowd feel as if Justin Bieber himself had graced us with both his presence and his vocal chords, while Alexandra Watson’s petite frame had the audience totally unprepared for the deep, resonating notes of Etta James’ “At Last.” Alyssa Isom challenged The Jackson 5 and inspired audience participation with her own rendition of the classic “Want You Back,” and Sarah Boyer transfixed us with smooth crooning of Leon Bridge’s “The River.”
Our judges, Professor Rachel Wilcox, Student Life Coordinator and Spirit Squad Head Coach April Harris, and Executive Director of Campus Operations Art Furler, had only good things to say about each contestant.
A student band, Intimate Ricochet, entertained students with a combination of original and popular songs while the judges deliberated. Popular demand brought Joel Bergman to the stage, who gave an impromptu performance that added a good measure of otherwise absent country twang to the evening (and to think we, situated in the Southern states, almost went without!).
Patrick Hutchinson, Alexandra Watson, Wyatt Karnes, Taegan Hutchinson, and Julia Jones advanced to the next round on Saturday night, where Watson, Hutchinson and Jones then made it through the next round of eliminations.
Last year’s idols, the “Sparkly Girls” (alias Clairanne Moncur and Abby Akins) took the stage to perform while students sent in their votes. Taegan Hutchinson was announced the 2016 SVU Idol, with Alexandra Watson as runner-up.
“Never in a million years did I ever expect [this],” Taegan said. “I exceeded my own expectations. … There is serious talent and amazing voices at this school. … More than winning, it was nice because I’d done something very uncomfortable for me — and I succeeded.”
Performing at SVU Idol was only Taegan’s second public solo, the first occurring on her LDS mission, when her duet partner and mission companion moved to another city only days before their planned musical number. The students in attendance were definitely grateful that Taegan was willing to step out of her comfort zone. After all, the results were music to our ears!
(Post by Lauren Hafen ’16. Photos by Sarah Bench ’17 and Sarah Foster ’19.)