Lip Sync flies at high speed to delight crowd

Mach 10 reacts after winning the Lip Sync Battle at GCU Arena.

Photos by Zachary BonDurant / Slideshow

Isabelle Aff is a former dancer.

“This is my dance team now,” she said backstage, two hours before Tuesday night’s Lip Sync Battle 2022 at Grand Canyon University.

Behind her were 22 young men, bouncing around in flight suits like hyper recruits.

The choreographer and coach of Mach 10 lauded their commitment and williness to try new things during two months of practice; they just needed to go out and entertain, bring their humor and, yes, dance their flight suits off.

Nearly four hours later on the GCU Arena stage, her team won the annual student talent show for its flipping and flying routine that told the story of two pilots trying to be Maverick’s wingmen, in homage to “Top Gun: Maverick,” the summer’s blockbuster film.

Mach 10 was flying high with its theme off the film "Maverick: Top Gun."

They credited Aff.

“Our coach has been part of the last three winning Lip Sync teams,” said Broder Magnuson, one of the team’s captains. “She’s just an amazing presence.

“She really pushed us hard the last two months, two hours of practice, four to six nights a week.”

Brennan Young was part of last year’s winning team that she also coached, 6 Beats Apart. “I’m just blessed to be part of both teams,” Young said.

Mach 10 constructed pyramids, thrust team members into flight in front of a big screen of blue sky and danced with precision to everything from rap to old-school “Great Balls of Fire” and Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone.”

Students in the front row cheer had to wait in line for hours for great seats but show it's worth it.

The night was a rousing display of the Canyon Activities Board’s biggest event of the year with seven teams vying for the title using video, dance, storytelling and lip sync, to a theme that Alli Davis thought up during the summer while sitting in her childhood bedroom.

She thought of her love of early-2000s Disney shows, and the CAB director of special events immediately texted her team. Months later, she could sit in the back of GCU Arena by the sound board and smile as a nearly full Arena of students sang along to the tunes of Miley Cyrus of Disney’s Hannah Montana fame and cheering the videos of Lizzy McGuire.

“A lot of it is childhood memories, which was the goal,” she said. “They are really excited about it.”

Davis said Lip Sync is so popular because GCU students have a strong sense of community. “They are here to support their friends,” she said.

Students were so excited that the first people to form a line outside the Arena arrived more than 14 hours before the show, and the line snaked from the Arena on the south end of campus all the way to the north end near the running track.

In the back of that line two hours before the show were Haidyn Breshears, Synovia Wold and her service dog, Nola, all sitting on the sidewalk near the track. They said classes kept them from the line earlier, but because everyone had been talking about it all week they had to get a spot, even if the first-come, first-served seats wouldn’t be that good.

“I like how the participants put in a lot of effort for this performance for this one night,” Breshears said.

The line was part of the show, hosted by Matthew Johnson and James Lee, who played the blond twins of Disney’s “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody.”

The Line Dancers team on stage got laughs for their rendition of waiting in line for Lip Sync.

The 40 members of Line Dancers weren’t performing country shuffles like you’d think. It was a masterful merging of video and stage that told the story of standing in line for hours to get into Lip Sync, producing the night’s biggest laughs. Sad songs and Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill” showed the fight over boredom, while moments of line euphoria were set to Pit Bull.

The International Party team earned a big ovation for the red shorts-clad international students who relied less on video and more on a stage presentation while dancing energetic salsa and hip hop.

The Game of Fame team showed its skill in crowd interaction, urging students to wave arms and stomp feet to introduce celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus and Drake.

Each team was offered a chance for a short on-stage interview afterwards, and this team said they wanted to make the crowd “all feel a part of it.”

The crowd was involved in the voting, inputting selections via cellphones, but not before teams finished with more Disney and more Taylor Swift.

49 Jump Street team bounces into GCU Arena during introductions.

The team of 49 Jump Street mastered variety, from Justin Bieber to a costume switch that led them to sweeping arms in dresses on the hills of “Sound of Music.”

 Not to mention, they did a lot of flips.

“I got on the team because I could flip,” said Drew Keiser, whose teammate Jackson Ippolito reminded him that he did learn how to dance.

The crowd flipped out with Feelin’ 22, a team dedicating its set to Taylor Swift, the pop singer who had many waiting in virtual line on their mobiles all day when the sale opened for tickets to Swift’s Glendale shows.

They sang loudly to all her hits, being the princess, riding shotgun or having bad blood before almost yelling about shaking it all off. The team did impressive aerial flying up into the glow of the video screen as a shark broke the surface on the screen.

Those performances couldn’t overcome the popularity of Mach 10, whose members jumped around on the stage after the win like they were on pogo sticks, while the volume of the crowd’s ovation left quite an impression.

“It’s the greatest high of your life,” Magnuson said.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.


Related content:

GCU News: Dancing students pack GCU Arena for Lip Sync

GCU News: Joyous: What makes GCU's campus so happy?


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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when He appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel — I will celebrate before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:21)

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