Imagine friends, classmates and complete strangers spontaneously bursting into song and instrumental medleys while trying to find a quiet place to study.
That’s what audience members witnessed in the Compton Union Building between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Singers, dancers and poets filled the CUB Lair for an equal opportunity to perform in the first Coug Spotlight of the semester.
For the showcase, currently enrolled students performed in an open mic competition. Audience members sent their votes via text message to the Student Entertainment Board after all eligible members had performed on stage.
Through the poll, all but two artists were eliminated and given the opportunity to advance to the final show in November. A second round in October will determine their competitors.
“The two winners are given the chance to win a $100 cash prize in November,” SEB Spotlight Director Liz Lin said. “The cash prize winner can then compete to be featured in Springfest through the final Coug Spotlight of the year.”
Andrew Turner, sophomore music education major, came in first by singing a medley of Justin Timberlake songs accompanied by piano. He received 45 percent of the votes.
“I was so nervous,” he said. “It was so hard to maintain focus.”
Coug Spotlight wasn’t Turner’s first time performing in front of a large crowd.
“When I perform, it’s more of a passion than wanting attention,” he said. “Being able to sing in a new place for new people in a new environment was extremely important for me.”
Turner’s runner up, sophomore civil engineer major Justin Caubat, wasn’t even signed up for the show when he arrived to perform keyboard.
“I heard music and wanted to know what was going on,” he said. “I had some friends watching who wanted me to do it, so I figured ‘Why not?’”
Caubat spun together a spontaneous medley of eight popular songs he knew from memory and sang sparingly, warning the audience beforehand that he was only an instrumentalist.
“I sang a few words and encouraged everybody to sing to the songs they knew,” he said.
Lin said both artists will return in November to battle each other for a position against next semester’s four contenders. The winner of that show will be featured during Springfest.
Registration and questions for the second round occurring October 9 can be answered via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.