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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Idolizing notes

Fourteen contestants battled it out for a cash prize and the title of UB's favorite singer in the third annual UB Idol competition Wednesday night.
As the line of fans circled throughout the Student Union, many wondered if they would find a place in the crowded theater.
Unfortunately, the Student Association staff had to turn some students away, which left many of them clamoring for a new location for next year.
'I think the event was successful, but we're at a point now where UB Idol is a more popular event,' said Di'Monique George, SA entertainment director. 'But next year, we'll look for a bigger space.'
With three judges and a decibel meter measuring the audience's response, contestants were judged on their vocal performance and crowd reaction. Those with the six highest scores moved on to the second round, and the final three with the best scores fought for the first-place prize of $500.
'We have both judge and audience participation [to determine their scores],' said Lauren Skompinski, SA entertainment public relations manager. 'It's good for the audience to participate and support [the contestants], and we have the judges for people who don't have a lot of support in the crowd.'
As the lights dimmed in the theater and fans held up neon-colored signs cheering on their friends, many contestants struggled to fight off their nerves and find the necessary confidence to command the stage.
While the first three contestants weren't able to find support from the audience, Josh Tobias, a sophomore psychology major, took to the stage with his guitar and sang 'I Don't Need No Doctor' by Ray Charles, to the applause of many.
Tobias was the night's first glimpse of talent and left the audience wanting more as he walked off the stage.
Katie Bryant, a freshman vocal performance major, was another great talent of the competition. She sang the popular song 'Vegas' by Sarah Bareilles, bringing to the stage her keyboard and unique voice.
Passing through the second round flawlessly with an R&B-themed performance of 'American Boy' by Estelle, Bryant made her way to the finals and took home third place and a cash prize of $100.
Although she didn't win, the young performer had a number of fans in the audience who expressed the hope that she'll return for next year's competition.
Last year's third place winner, Daniel Shaw, a sophomore psychology major, proved to be a crowd favorite after a few less-than-stellar performances by other contestants.
Shaw was confident, soulful and appeared to be having a great time performing for the audience as he sang 'Come Together' by the Beatles.
With the support of friends and family, the contestant had the audience on its feet and quickly progressed to the second and third rounds.
'I thought everybody in the second round was really good,' said Mike Huffman, a sophomore business major. 'I liked Dan Shaw and the version of the song was good. He's a great singer.'
Shaw sang 'Ordinary People' by John Legend and 'Hallelujah' by Jeff Buckley to guitar accompaniment in the final round.
Although a popular choice, Shaw simply wasn't able to do the song justice and took second place for $250.
Avian Haviv, a senior communication major, followed Shaw's performance in the first round and demonstrated her range and talent with 'Superwoman' by Alicia Keys, making it to both the second and third rounds with overwhelming support from her fans.
With a soulful performance of 'Don't Let Go' by En Vogue and a high-energy solo of 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' by Whitney Houston, Haviv deservedly took first place and the title of UB Idol.
'I'm extremely happy [with the event]. I didn't think we'd get a good turnout because we usually have it in March … but the entertainment staff did a good job of pulling it together,' Skompinski said.
After three long hours of supporting the contestants, the audience dispersed. Many were pleased with the event and the talent that was showcased in the intimate setting of the theatre.
'There were a few people that I [didn't think were good] … but the final six were great,' said Jillian Dobson, a freshman pre-pharmacy major. 'I'm glad I came and I'll be back next year.'

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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