Rezvany reviews Dartmouth Idol semi-final performances

by Rebecca Rezvany | 2/7/16 6:00pm

Friends, family and intrigued Dartmouth students filled Spaulding Auditorium last Friday to watch what promised to be an entertaining Dartmouth Idol Semi-final.

As we entered the hall we were given a ballot. The evening started with ten singers kicking off the first half and, after a brief intermission, ten other singers closed the show. Then the audience would vote for their top five contestants.

The six finalists that will go on to the final round of the competition are Stephanie Everett ’19, Grace Carney ’17, Sean Haughey ’17, Nikhil Arora ’16, Chelsea Lim ’16 and Jimmy Ragan ’16.

A brave Doug Phipps ’17 opened the show with Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.” Though out of tune, you had to give credit to his enthusiastic performance, met with woops and claps from the encouraging audience. Comments from the judges were stale and unhelpful, dodging comments about Phipp’s actual singing, with Nathaniel Graves ’13, a previous winner of the competition, saying, “You were really good at taking my advice about using the stage and performing.” We weren’t going to find any Simon Cowells on the judges’ panel, only Paulas here.

“Y’all ready for a tractor ride?” Joshua Clark ’16 said, goading the audience. “Where my boys at?”

The football team cheered accordingly. This was just one of the instances in which a contestant appealed to their affiliated group — women’s rugby players cheered for Ashley Zepeda ’18 and several audience members wore SAE sweatshirts. Clark’s “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean was a refreshing addition to the mix, with Clark not taking himself too seriously. While singing the lyrics “climb up in my lap and drive if you want to,” he patted his lap and grabbed an imaginary steering wheel, painting a vivid picture for the audience.

After the performance, judge Jake Gaba ’16 commented, “That’s an incredible hat.” This was the start of Gaba’s interesting, off-topic comments. In the second half, Gaba was reduced to clicking and pointing to congratulate Ragan’s performance of “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel.

Tyne Freeman ’17’s rendition of “Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees was just in time to assure the audience that this indeed was a singing competition. Riffs and runs were cast so frequently and with such ease that even Graves pleaded “Give me your runs!” during the comments.

“There was some strumming going on in my chest,” host Aaron Cheese ’18 said.

Music’s ability to transform an individual was present in Torrance Johnson ’19’s rendition of “Jealous” by Nick Jonas. Johnson didn’t say a word as the hosts introduced him, but as soon as the backing track went on he sang with all guns ablaze. Johnson was on his knees at one point, and singing falsetto at other times. This energetic performance was a great end to the first half.

The second half easily trumped the first half, with most of the talent to be found during this portion of the show.

Grace Carney ’17’s version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by Amy Winehouse changed the tone of the evening, lulling the audience into a dreamy stupor.

Chelsea Lim ’16 upped the ante, with “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys. Lim had just the right amount of sass and had taken the time to perfect the big runs.

“What a huge voice for such a tiny person,” Gaba said.

Edom Wessenyeleh ’17 gave a stunning performance of “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” by Ella Eyre, the softness of her voice reminiscent of Birdy.

If I were to bet my money on any person to win the competition it would definitely be Nikhil Arora ’16. Arora had the looks of a Jonas brother, equipped with a beanie and side fringe, and the voice of an angel. Even with his eyes closed during most of the performance, he was wooing audience members with the lyrics from “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Tank.

“I appreciated the Nick Jonas look-a-like,” audience member Madeleine Kelly ’17 said after the competition.

The show ended with powerhouse Virginia Ogden ’18 who managed to pull off the technically challenging “When Loves Takes Over” by David Guetta with vocals by Kelly Rowland.

The Dartmouth Idol finals are on March 4, with only six performers returning to battle it out for the title of Dartmouth Idol. I’ll be there, (for Gaba’s comments if nothing else), will you?