By: Adiya Perkinson, Contributing Writer
Pride and sense of community were at an all-time high at the Housing and Residence Life (HRL) talent show held in the West Village Commons ballroom this past Thursday.
The annual event, which is in its eighth year, showcases the talents of individuals from 10 resident halls as well as one commuter student.
The winner of the show, sophomore Robert Rhoads, won for his vocal performance of a mash-up of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking of you” and “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.
For the last four years, HRL has used Facebook as the tool to determine which acts will take the stage. Those interested in participating were required to upload a clip of themselves and their talent to the HRL page.
According to HRL Assistant Director Jayson Schablik, submissions began early February and closed just before spring break. Those who’s video accumulated the most likes within that time frame were given the opportunity to display their skills in front of an audience of about 200.
Participant and comedian Tim Kinsella said that he asked his friends to like the video and the word spread from there.
“It just meant a lot to see all the votes,” he said.
Freshman Amanda Athey and junior Matthew Santos, who performed a duet together at the show, actually met on the Paca House Facebook page. The two had high opinions of both HRL and the show.
“It’s definitely a great way for students who have talents that other students may not know about to express themselves here,” Santos said. “This is a way to showcase it and another way to network.”
Hosts Lisa Parladé, the Residence Life (RL) Coordinator for Tower A, and Assistant Coordinator, for Tower B Kyle De’Jan kicked things off by taking a selfie with the audience.
Before the show began, a short video compilation provided the audience with background information about the performers. The acts featured solo vocalists, duets, comedians, rappers, musicians and covers ranging from Rihanna to Ed Sheeran, as well as original material.
Despite the variety of performances, senior Staci Kohen said that she would like to see even more in the future.
“When somebody says ‘talent show’ there’s always singing and stuff. But if we could see more dancing or artistic ability, stuff like that, that would be pretty cool,” Kohen said.
The judge’s panel was comprised of RL Director Ronald Butler, University Residence Government (URG) President Alex Crenshaw and University Store Marketing and Sales Supervisor Katie Simmons-Barth.
However, the first, second, and third place winners were not based solely on their own personal preference. A point system was used that took overall performance, stage appearance, personality, originality and audience response into consideration.
After all eleven acts had finished, a blooper reel from the opening video invoked laughter amongst the audience as the judges calculated the scores. The winners were then announced, and first place took home a five-foot tall crimson and gold trophy.
Later this semester in May, HRL will be putting on the annual Glenn Carnival, West Fest and Towsontown Summer Days.
“It’s just an opportunity to kind of have inflatables, food, fun, [and] blow off steam before finals,” Schablik said.