Story by Liz Ptaszynski, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of John Sainz
Warm up your singing voices and break out your best Ryan Seacrest impression, because AQ Idol has come around once again.
For ten years, talented students have ventured on stage to sing their hearts out to their favorite songs in front of their peers. This year was no different. With a turnout of sixteen contestants, round one was set in Wege Ballroom, with refreshments for all who attended. Though so many people auditioned, only six that moved on to round two.
“It was hard to watch some people get voted out, especially when everyone did so great,” said sophomore Dominique Tomlin. “But I’m really proud of everyone who took a chance, it makes me proud to be a student here and call these people my friends.”
And proud doesn’t even begin to explain how we should feel for all the contestants. During round two, the remaining contestants brought their A game. The night began with a sassy performance by first-year Alexa Rumohr to the top hit “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King. The crowd bobbed their heads as she hit every note without hesitation. The judges were pleased by the time the song ended and described her performance as “fun” and “entertaining.”
Though her act was sure tough to follow, America DeGraw, a first-year, took the stage by storm as she belted out the lyrics to Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” Her stage presence had a way of taking command of the entire room, and people could not help but sing along.
Next up was crowd pleaser Luke Strobel, a fifth-year. With a passionate voice, he took every member of the audience down memory lane as he serenaded us with “I Want it That Way by Backstreet Boys.” The crowd went crazy and found themselves clapping along (admittedly, we were a little offbeat). By the time he was finished he left the judges in awe as they praised him for such wonderful connection and stage presence.
Bhavya Thamman, a junior, was next as she sang along to a new rendition of the old song “Believe” by Cher. After such upbeat and fast songs, it was nice to hear a ballad. She allowed herself to be carried away by the song and it was amazing to see how connected she was to it. The audience couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her sweet and velvet voice.
The fifth performer was junior Conrad Schaak as he soulfully sang to J. Rowdy and the Business’ “Don’t Break the Needle.” At some points it was almost impossible to hear him as the crowd screamed words of encouragement.
“It was a really new thing for me, to play without an instrument,” Schaak said after the performance, “but I was really glad I took on the challenge. It’s definitely one of my best memories here at AQ.”
The judges, pleased that he sang something more bluesy (after they had mentioned it during the first round), seemed to really enjoy his performance.
Finally came first-year Andrea Hennes, as she sang to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” Though there was a small mishap during her performance when she forgot the words she was easily one of the crowd’s favorite of the night. The crowd clapped and sang along as she took control of the stage with her delicate yet powerful voice.
Though each performer did an amazing job, the night sadly had to come to an end, which meant the elimination of three contestants. With a burst of excitement (and some sadness), America, Bhavya, and Luke, were announced as the three to move on to the third and final round.
If you missed any of AQ Idol be sure to check out the third round, this Friday at the Wege Ballroom during the infamous Refresh Yourself. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the event will have free food and entertainment for students to beat the winter blues.