Amateur Night 2018


Emily Dodaro

On Wednesday, November 7, P.A.C.E. Board, the University’s programming and campus entertainment board, hosted its annual “Amateur Night” on campus. Many students came out to support their friends and fellow classmates, with a line forming around the block outside of the Schimmel Center. University freshman, Trent Castillo, is a member of P.A.C.E. Board and volunteered Wednesday evening. “It was exciting to be a part of something that so many people could enjoy,” said Castillo. “The E-Board organized everything very well, and made it simple for all of the volunteers. The experience gave me an inside look as to how the University plans and runs such impressive events.”

The event was hosted by DJ SPYNFO, who never failed to keep the crowd pumped up and entertained before, and during the night. Amateur Night featured three guest judges, including Mike Adam, host of the afternoon drive show on NEW 102.7, Robert Taylor Jr., an entertainer most recently seen in the cast of Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical on Broadway, and University President, Marvin Krislov. The night was kicked off by an exciting performance from “Frequency,” the University’s premiere A Cappella group, which featured over 20 students of different musical skill. Aaron Burt, University sophomore and beat boxer in the group said, “Performing at Amateur Night was probably one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had,” said Burt. “It was honestly the best feeling to perform in front of not only my friends but with my friends. I really felt a connection with the group that I’ve never felt before.” The acts following were a range of many talents; from singing original songs to belting out Whitney Houston tunes, the amount of talent shown on stage was highly regarded.

Before the results were announced, special guest Zhavia Ward, a 17-year-old singer and songwriter, straight from  Fox’s new singing competition show, “The Four,” took the stage and performed a selection of songs. Accompanied by her DJ and two back-up dancers, Ward never failed to keep the crowd moving and entertained during her set. During her performance, two University students were invited up onto the stage to engage in a dance battle, which definitely sent a surge of energy into the crowd of students. The set included songs from her new EP set to be released sometime in January 2019, as well as other well-known songs, such as her covers of “Killing Me Softly,” and “Location.”

As the event came to a close, the moment had arrived for DJ SPYNFO to announce the winners of Amateur Night 2018. Throughout the night, audience members were asked to vote for their favorite act to receive the “Fan Favorite” award by using the hashtag that corresponded with each act. The award this year went to University sophomore singer/songwriter Christina Lorenzo, who performed an original song, “Don’t Come to Me.” “I was surprised that I was voted fan favorite at first,” said Lorenzo. “Honestly, I wouldn’t have gotten the vote if it wasn’t for all of the support that I had in the audience, so I want to shout out all of my friends who came!” Commenting on her choice of song, Lorenzo explained that she knew she wanted to perform an original song, but also wanted it to feel relatable in order to connect with audience members. “[Don’t Come to Me] is about recognizing your worth and knowing to what extent you should please people, especially if they bring negativity to your life, which I think a lot of young adults can relate to.”

University senior Rachel Cregier won the $250 third place prize for her sensational rendition of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston; University senior Sean De Los Santos won the $500 second place prize for his impressive yo-yo skills; and University junior Jada Carrington won the grand prize of $1,000 for her performance of “You’re Gonna Love Me” by Whitney Houston, which blew audience members away.

Other performers included singers Lauren Cotner, Valeria Perez, Eimizah, Chris Erdman, Rachel Chiara, Skylar Fischer, and Quira Crosby.