There’s nothing fake about the laughs at Lip Sync
Story by Jeannette Cruz
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
No one likes a long line, but Grand Canyon University’s annual Lip Sync talent show proved worth the wait again Wednesday night.
Hundreds of students waited to get into the Arena hours before the show at GCU Arena, where they would watch nine teams lip sync their favorite songs, celebrities and movie clips. The contestants were Toolbox, ID’s Please, Harambaes, Dream Team, D.R.E.A.M. Club, Terrible Stuntmen, Lope Rangers, Teardrops on Your Guitar and KidzBop Reloaded.
Senior Kia Baikie sat cross-legged next to a group of students eating their dinners in line.
“This is my third year here, and I am here to cheer on my peers,” she said. “GCU is huge on campus life and built around events like this — perfect to take a break from midterms, get crazy and have good fun with friends.”
Senior Darby Day said it’s one of the best events of the year. She and her 15 friends were lined up to hoping to get seats within reach of the stage.
“We love how fun it is,” Day said. “Everyone who is up on the stage gives it their all, and they don’t care what they look like. They’re having fun and that makes it fun for us.”
The line was a clear indicator of what would come that night. The doors opened and the momentum continued with flashing lights, a packed arena and a DJ. Finally, the lights dimmed, the crowd stopped and a countdown began … five … four … three … two … one. Showtime.
Toolbox, last year’s Lip Sync champion, was back for its third year and opened the evening with a quote from the movie “Zoolander” before showing off their electric dance moves. The all-boys team showcased their very own T-shirts, matching flannel shirts, jean shorts and backward hats. And, of course, they made sure they ignited the crowd, especially when they performed to “No Scrubs” by TLC.
Joshua Gallegos, a new member to the team, said the best parts about the experience were the late night practices and a chance to get out of his comfort zone: “We worked so many hours to get to this point, and it took a lot of self-confidence. At the end of the day, we can really say that we’ve created a brotherhood. We trust each other.”
ID’s Please performed a hilarious fitness skit with mats, foam rollers, exercise weights and bands as props.
Harambae dedicated the stage to the 17-year-old male Western Lowland Gorilla (Harambe), who was shot and killed at a Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year. The 10-member crew, sporting all-black suits and sneakers, brought out a piano performance to Adele’s “Someone Like You,” and a Tarzan costume. But it was Harambe’s portrait and graveyard prop that immediately became the talk of the show. They brought the audience to their feet when they held Harambe’s portrait in the air and “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston came on.
Keeping the show going was host and student leader Johnny Van Ommering, who had plenty of fun outfit changes, including a cheer uniform and a mermaid onesie.
D.R.E.A.M. Club, a dance and sorority majorette, came together for the second year to create a strong influence of diversity and female power through performance and dance.
After their performance, Courtney Clarke, founder of the team, emphasized just how hard the team practiced.
“Day and night,” she said to Van Ommering. “I mean, day and night.”
Teardrops on Your Guitar, a Taylor Swift impersonation, was playful and exciting. Lauren Iuliano, a member of the GCU dance team, played a desperate-for-love Swift with a backup dance crew. The performers made the audience scream when a student’s head was used as a podium prop as Iuliano mocked Swift’s Grammy speech, which shed light on her feud with Kanye West.
There was much laughter, dancing and definite talent. Then the teams were narrowed to the top three leaving Dream Team, Harambaes and Toolbox. In the end the Harambaes won the hearts of the crowd. The team was rewarded with the title of “Lip Syncing Champion” and a trophy.
Minutes after their on-stage celebration, Marko Susnjara said he was still in awe.
“This all started as a joke, and our whole goal was to get into the competition. Now we’re just blown away,” he said. “The whole team has been saying we don’t know what we’re going to do with our nights now because we’ve been practicing for the past two months. We’re just ecstatic and give our glory to God. We’ll be back in some shape or form.”
The thing about this event is that it engages community and encourages peer support, said Julia Bates, student activities coordinator.
“It’s easy to see why there’s so much hype around it,” she said. “Students love being a part of it.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.