By Heidi Speck–Staff Reporter
With stage set, a red curtain hung across the Royal Brougham stage and a spotlight aching to be claimed, an eager audience filled with a variety of SPU students — residents from Ashton, Moyer, Emerson and Arnett halls — awaits the start of the annual Arnett Lip Sync Battle.
Just like the audience itself, the participants of the lip sync battle are not limited to residents of Arnett Hall. Students from Moyer and Emerson joined alongside them as they made their way center stage to show the judges as well as their enthusiastic audience what they got.
Arnett’s Lip Sync Battle demonstrates how residence halls can come together in an effort to strengthen community among each other as well as with whole communities of people together across campus. Through preparation, competition and participation, this year’s battle created lasting ties for those involved.
“I really appreciate how Arnett Lip Sync Battle encourages floormates to bond with one another,” said first-year Dania Holmeburge, an audience member from Ashton hall.
She continued, “Especially this year, it was great to see that multiple halls were able to participate as well. It really promoted a sense of camaraderie throughout campus.”
Arnett Lip Sync Battle is a competition in which the floors of Arnett Hall challenge floors from across campus to outperform the chosen team. Each floor creates a skit, with a soundtrack and visual aids, which they perform in front of a panel of judges.
This year’s judges came from across campus, including a coordinator from the Outdoor Recreation Program, a beloved employee of Gwinn Commons, a RLC from Hill Hall and member of SPU administration: Yikhwan Dillard, Jennie Brott, Kevin Deschler and Jeff Jordan
In between each act, the emcees kept the night moving with games and questions for judges. The judges provided feedback and positive words for what was done well. This gave upcoming performers a chance to arrange last-minute details before hitting the floor.
Six floors from around campus took the stage this year.
First up was Fifth Arnett, who did “The Voice” as a redemption story. To open up their performance, they played a song describing four of the judges. Throughout the rest of the performance, the floor acted out different songs as though they were auditioning for The Voice.
It started with a screeching rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and was followed by “Push It” by Salt-n-Pepa. They then performed a medley of Britney Spears songs, “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, and even featured a dancing avocado, all of which did not make the cut.
Next to perform was Second Emerson, whose skit pulled from the TV show “Spongebob.” Each of the main characters, such as Patrick, Squidward, Plankton, Gary, Mr. Krabs and of course Spongebob himself, were part of this skit.
The ladies of Second Emerson demonstrated parts of the show in their skit and were creative with their use of song choice, drawing laughter from their audience.
Fourth Arnett did “Growing Up,” a coming of age story following the life of one student through childhood, middle school, teen heartbreak, high school, graduation and finally reaching the welcoming halls of Fourth Arnett in college.
Jennie Brott, one of the esteemed judges, said their performance was “Very entertaining, very romantic.”
Following, Third Arnett did an original skit titled “The Princess?” It included a sweeping Romeo and Juliet style romance, featuring songs from the “Greatest Showman” and Disney’s “Frozen.”
Along with the romance was action between two duelling kingdoms, which ended in the tragic death of the prince. After seeing the harm that each kingdom had put the other through, the princess encouraged the two kingdoms to unite, with Third Arnett closing their performance on an uplifting note.
First Moyer shared of the battle between friendship and community where one student must choose to decide between his bro-tank wearing friends and the flanel wearing residents of Moyer.
Through a fierce battle for the competition over their friend, the student unites the two groups.
Last but certainly not least, Second Arnett told the story of a high school boy who tears apart a group of female friends. As each girl dukes it out for the boy toy, they come to realize that he is a player and not worth their time, closing the night on an empowering note.
There were five awards for the night. The first award is for Best Stage Appearance, which is given to the team with the best costumes, props and set design. Best Soundtrack is awarded to the floor that had the best music, fitting with their skit.
Best Choreography awards the floor with the most synchronized and creative dance moves and, of course, Best Overall is the ultimate prize.
The People’s Choice Award gave the audience power to cheer the loudest for whoever they wanted.
Second Emerson won Best Stage Appearance Award for their amazing use of costume and Spongebob characters, and for an incredibly accurate rendition of Spongebob’s pineapple house.
Second Arnett was awarded Best Soundtrack, with a combination of nostalgic songs like Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You” and “Getcha Head In The Game” from High School Musical, to pop favorites such as “Womanizer” by Britney Spears and “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift.
Best Choreography went to First Moyer for their willingness to literally throw themselves into the groove.
Best Overall, for the fourth year in a row, went to the men of Third Arnett. Third Arnett’s performance had very creative sets as well as some incredible costumes. They also shared heartwarming music and great dance moves. Despite all that, it was undoubtedly Third Arnett’s passion for their dramatic love story that won them the grand prize.
“Arnett Lip Sync was an incredible experience. It brought me closer to my floor, my school, and my friends,” said first-year Tris Risse who performed with First Moyer.
“Hearing the screaming crowd made me feel like the product of my hard work was all so worth it.”