Approximately 300 students joined the ladies of Phi Sigma Sigma for “Monmouth Idol” in Pollak Theatre and raised over $2,000 for the sorority’s philanthropy: school and college readiness. The event showcased the talents of nine student acts, which focused primarily on singing.
Raymond Bogan, senior communication major, was voted winner of this year’s “Monmouth Idol.” Bogan showcased his talents by singing his cover of “This is What it Feels Like” by Armin Van Burren, while playing his guitar.
Bogan said, “It was a good feeling to win first place, I really put a good effort into it.” He played at “Monmouth Idol” last year and asked if he could participate again in this year’s event to try and win.
The student acts were judged by four student judges from 10:30 pm until midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in Pollak Theatre. P.J. Antonucci, judge at the event, said the judging panel was looking for creativity, originality, song selection, crowd reaction and the voice of the singer during performances and used that criteria in deciding a winner.
The crowd played a major role during some of the performances, simply through their participation. There were times throughout the performances where the crowd was singing along with the performer, clapping to the beat, and even laughing. This audience participation seemed to boost the confidence of the performer, allowing them to overcome nerves.
Courtney Carr, junior communication major, experienced a bit of audience participation during her performance of Busta Rhyme’s verse from “Look at Me Now.” As soon as the crowd heard the beat, the audience reaction was tremendous. Carr said she was fueled off of the audience’s reaction. Carr also felt her crowd reaction was the best out of the other performers, which is why she placed second overall, after Bogan.
Kendal Adams, sophomore communication major, has been performing since she was six years old, and although she has been preforming for a substantial amount of time, she still experiences nerves. “When the audience participates, it helps me get into a zone,” Adams said.
Taylor Bernstein, who performed a cover of “Get Low,” by Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, was the most controversial performance of the night, based on the reaction of the audience members.
“I didn’t think my performance would cause that much of an uproar, but I was expecting something,” said Bernstein. “During rehearsal when I practiced in front of my friends everyone was laughing, but it was great that the crowd enjoyed it.”
The hosts of the event were Renee Oleniacz, Phi Sigma Sigma President, and Travis Whitney of Sigma Pi fraternity. The two judges kept the night interesting by introducing each act, as well as providing an interesting “fun facts” about performers, which let the audience get to know the performer before they took the stage.
“Renee [Oleniacz] asked me to host, and it was always something I wanted to do,” said Whitney. Throughout Whitney’s four years here, he always wanted to host one big event. “I’m never really nervous about anything I do, so it’s easy for me to get up there and be myself,” he said.
Antonucci said, “I had a lot of fun. It was my first time judging something and it went really well. I also really appreciate the Phi Sigma girls because they did a great job.”
Jon Buchalski, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Fraternity and Sorority Life said, “I like this event because it actually showcases a lot of great talent that we have at the University that we might not know about.” Buchalski said this is the first major fraternity and sorority event done by one of the organizations, so he assumed there would be a good turnout.
To advertise the event, Phi Sigma Sigma published advertisements in The Outlook, distributed posters throughout campus and also promoted the event through Greek Senate. Scalas, Juniors, Hollywood Tans and Bagel Guys also helped sponsor the event.
Oleniacz said, “I was extremely fascinated with all the individuals who performed. It was one of the better groups of performances I had seen during my time in Phi Sigma Sigma. It was tough to choose the top finishers, but they were well deserved.”
Oleniacz was beyond pleased with the turnout of the event and the money raised for the philanthropy. “We appreciate the amount of support shown from other Greek organizations and the rest of the campus community, and in the future I would love to see more involvement of individuals from other sports teams and clubs,” she added.