Last Coug standing

The Compton Union Building (CUB) Lair will transform into a platform for students and locals to compete with their personal talents in Coug Spotlight.

Coug Spotlight is an open mic competition sponsored by the Student Entertainment Board, with three rounds each semester. The first and second rounds gather two finalists apiece, and those final four compete in the third.

The winner/winners will receive a cash prize and a time slot on the Springfest stage. Last semester’s winner, Andrew Turner, is scheduled to perform alongside the winner of today’s final Spotlight.

“The whole point is to showcase talent,” said Spotlight Programmer Liz Lin. “(Winners) were selected as the top performances through live votes.”

According to Lin, many of the acts are musical, but sometimes students will come up with other acts like poetry reading and comedy skits. Bands generally perform song covers, but originals occasionally slide into the mix.

The Olson Bros Band, finalists for the third round, play both covers and originals, mostly in the classic country and country rock genres. Isaac Olson, a senior civil engineering major and guitarist, said they favor the covers because people generally like to listen to songs they know.

Junior Shane Lange is a communication major and the drummer for The Names and Faces. He described Coug Spotlight as an opportunity that allows students to gain exposure or just perform for their peers.

“We really wanted the opportunity to get exposure on campus. We have a diverse range of genres that we bring to the table,” said Lange.

Everyone is welcome to come and participate. Voting is done through a live texting poll right there at the performance.

“There’s a decent size crowd,” Isaac Olson said. “Half are people that already happened to be in the CUB.”

 “It’s fun for us to play to all our fellow classmates and peers. It’s a good opportunity to share our music with others,” said junior Luke Olson of The Olson Bros Band.

Isaac Olson said this is their first time performing for Coug Spotlight. He described it as a good way to spend a Wednesday night.

“The more people that see you play, the more people know more about you and ask to play other shows,” he said.

Flyers for the event go out at the beginning of the semester, with a contact for those wanting to perform. From there, they communicate with Lin for any equipment requirements such as amps or microphones.

Lange said his favorite part is being able to perform in front of people. The concept of having Springfest as part of the prize gives the band something to strive for during the contest, he said, adding that it’s a significant opportunity.

“It gives you a bit of a perspective at the diverse personality types and backgrounds on campus,” he said.

February’s winners include Simone Williams and The Olson Bros Band. Duo Taylor and Amanda and The Names and Faces are March’s winners.

This afternoon, the final round will be held at 3:30 p.m., featuring the finalists of the past two rounds. Due to a recent drop out, the finalists performing today will be Simone Williams, The Olson Bros Band and The Names and Faces.