By Taylor Griffin
As a newbie to the tradition hype that is All-University Sing, it certainly has been interesting to observe the Baylor culture in this way: guys in eyeliner studying in the library, girls complaining about late nights and the overarching sense of competition in the fresh February air.
After research into past years and hearsay from peers, I have envisioned the elements of a perfect Sing act: a mix of current and old school music that is creatively chosen and has purpose; inflated energy throughout; a motivated plot that is driven without force, costumes and props that intensify; and a compelling, innovative theme.
KAPPA KAPPA GAMMA
Kappa began the night in the heart of the African savannah, and in their attempt at paying homage to the artistic Broadway version of “The Lion King,” one thing is for certain: Kappa is not the most vocally talented.
Besides the tribal, militaristic choreography that suited the theme, I didn’t see that incredible energy until the end. On top of which, the music didn’t flow as well together as Kappa’s competitors.
The act had a host of vibrant props and a gorgeous backdrop, but the bobbing giraffes in the back resembled the likes of two Burger King chicken fries.
I applaud them for taking a risk with the elaborate key change in a mash-up version of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” but using the top 40 current hit, “Pompeii,” was a mistake. Did they listen to the lyrics? Nothing about it screams “Hakuna Matata.”
PI BETA PHI & PHI KAPPA CHI
“Romeo and Juliet”
I think the Bard of Avon would approve of this retelling.
It was certainly a bold move for “Pi Phi Chi” to take on such an intricate production, but they delivered. The partner work was the best of the evening, and acting montages truly forwarded the storyline.
However, those boys need to cool it with the facials. And if you’re going to take on a lead singing role, the least you could do is enunciate your lyrics.
The group executed transitions well with minimal bumping, but the general choreography lost a bit of momentum throughout.
My biggest annoyance was the interesting choice to use silk blue and burnt orange, and from the audience, it took away more than it gave to the performance.
ZETA TAU ALPHA
If there’s one thing Zetas know how to do, it’s how to entertain a crowd.
From the mom jeans to the human hamster wheel, there was never a dull moment in their pet shop routine. A round of applause is in order for the creative music selection and choice of mixing at the end.
The cutesy pet shop theme, though different, wasn’t the most inventive of the night and took away from the group’s superb showmanship prowess. Plus, the singing was a bit shaky opening night.
Zetas are fearless on stage and know how to put on a good show. With a better theme, they would no doubt have stolen Sing.
“How We Roll”
Is it possible for a Sing performance to be both gritty and dapper? Apparently, this group can make it happen.
I was wondering how long it would take for a Gatsby reference to show up in one of the acts. Thank you to Kappa Sig for giving it justice.
Whether they were attempting a hat tip at the Prohibition Era or just an old-timey gambler scene, these guys were on fire from the start — don’t worry, I saw those day-old copies of the Lariat in hand. While props were in shorter supply than others, these guys committed to every single movement of the routine. I absolutely couldn’t keep my eyes off the stage long enough to put my pen to the paper.
KAPPA CHI ALPHA
Girls running around the stage screaming? No, thanks. Aside from that, it was the choice of music that really threw me off, and they lost me with the Willy Wonka/Peter Pan mash-up opener. Of course, it was only a matter of time before a group pulled out the first One Direction tune.
The choreography ventured outside of the typical box steps and jazz hands. However, sometimes it’s better to stick to the simple choreography than to dive head first into pirouette turns that only half the group can land.
The performance itself made for great storytelling elements that were executed clearly. I could have done without the incessant squealing though.
It really was cute, but the other elements within the routine just didn’t equal to success.
PI KAPPA PHI
“Nightmare on Fifth Street”
Despite working with a backdrop that reeked of Color by Numbers, this performance had lots of potential to be more ghostly with maybe a little more practice — and latex prosthetics.
Excellent and eclectic choice of songs made for a more intriguing story. Bonus point for the Fall Out Boy addition; it added range and grunge to the mix.
But they sold me on with the blacklit, Morphsuited skeletons. I’m a sucker for a good pop-and-lock section only if done expertly, which trust me, they don’t disappoint.
The rest was lackluster, but darn it if they charmed me.
ALPHA DELTA PI & BETA UPSILON CHI
“Time for Us to Fly”
This act had great potential to be incredibly adorable, but I was a tad disappointed with the misuse of material. The concept lends itself to a heck of a lot of clever songs, but the ones chosen didn’t heighten the act to its competitors.
The beginning made me only slightly uncomfortable with the unintentional alluding to sexual harassment in the workplace, but I can brush it off as character acting.
It just looked like too many folks on stage that weren’t put to good use, but those side floor lights were a nice touch though. The lead singing, too, was correctly casted.
Overall, the performance just never took off from the ground. In a word, it was underwhelming. In a phrase, if you can’t A Capella, don’t.
“Mom’s Gone, Party’s On”
OK, so while Chi-O knows how to perform, there’s one big thing that stops me from giving a higher rating.
I would venture to guess that when Chi-O met to choose the theme, they had to vote on either ‘90s throwback, house party and “Home Alone.” Then one girl raised her hand and had the genius idea of combining all three.
Bad move, Chi-O. Bad indeed.
This scatterbrained, caffeinated cluster on stage had me confused from the start. The dancing and props were sharp and well done for sure, but sometime during the countless hours of practice, they lost the element of plot. In short, it was a tornado of 20-too-many hair scrunchies and lack of organization.
Chi-O, congrats on your “originality.” Next, please.
DELTA TAU DELTA
“The Delta Boys”
What happens when you throw together a Sing routine but somehow manage to all get the same color windbreaker? The Delts, and it was fantastic.
The backdrop was a little confusing, and at times, the performance was so awkward it hurt. However, they did answer the age-old question: How does one solve the battle between N’SYNC and Backstreet Boys? Singing a Hanson song of reconciliation.
But this performance had its high points. Yes, the boy band image was thrown around a lot, but did no one see the actual breakdancing battle in the back? It was nuts.
Despite the lemonade stand in the back, they rocked their floody-water purple drawers.
DELTA DELTA DELTA
“Take Me to the Pyramids”
Let me just say, TriDelts went to work on that stage, on so many levels.
These girls ooze theater, exactly the makeup of a perfect Sing act. The chill bumps hurt my arms as they strutted. They utilized the dancers in their group and nailed it severely. While black bobs may not be for everyone, TriDelt knew exactly where to fill in the gaps. Just when I thought the Steve Martin “King Tut” reference topped it off, Cleopatra is brought out on a throne and leads the ensemble in a uproar of Beyonce girl power.
They brought the whole act home by using a Tina Turner classic to mention the Nile River, which was incredibly creative.
Brava, TriDelt. You had my attention even from the camel at the beginning.
KAPPA OMEGA TAU
“The Battle Within”
Exactly where do we begin with KOT? That’s a loaded question, but it’s one that always comes in full circle: these guys know what works.
With the most compelling concept of the night, they are the epitome of effective storytelling and precisely why people keep coming back to Sing year after year.
In particular, the mirror work with the Jekylls and Hydes proved for a chilling addition to this already frightfully exceptional act. This group hustles around the stage like it’s their job. They not only interest the audience; they grab them in a chokehold of curiosity and leave them absolutely awestruck.
You want a performance, Baylor? You got one.
BETA THETA PI
“Crazy in Love”
You were right, Beta. It was crazy for trying, but boy, did you show us.
I’m still not convinced this was their debut Sing performance since 1973. They not only did well; they completely gave a new definition of a comeback. Quite impressive, I might say. Beta clearly has a lot of hidden talent that’s finally ready to be aired out on the stage. The front man absolutely stole the show. They did tell the sweetest (or looniest?) story of the night, but I’m positive Sing enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to in the coming years with Beta. They showed up to win and did it in a big way.
“Summer Fun Has Just Begun”
Call it a little corny, maybe even campy, but Sing Alliance has the right stuff.
The minute the music drops, their energy levels are through the roof. Props to this group for accurately describing the counselors at my old summer camp: sugary-sweet yet ever so slightly obnoxious. Some of the members seem to enjoy Sing a little too much, but is that such a bad thing? The lead singers were some of the best of the night. Every one of those performers were exactly where they wanted to be, and they should be applauded for their kooky, caffeine-induced hard work.
ALPHA TAU OMEGA
“Scotland the Brave”
This was the one group that I can attest to that fully got into their choreography. I’ve never seen such high knees-to-chest jogging in my life.
While the front row maybe saw a little too much under-kilt, these guys obviously had a blast yawping around the stage ripping off the “Braveheart” motif.
Those guys gave every ounce of oomph they brought up there. It wasn’t the strongest ending, and the performance faded out at the end; perhaps waving a white flag in surrender?
ALPHA CHI OMEGA
“O, Sister Where Art Thou”
Honestly, I really wanted to like Alpha Chi’s ode to the jail cell. They had the set up, crazy bluegrass chops and “Chicago”-esque props to boot, but there was hardly any variety or change from the sharp choreography.
They really used their dancers in the group in the right places, so for the performance to just be “meh” was a letdown. And the PowerPoint mug shots? Overkill, and it took away from the spectacle on stage. The songs had absolutely no attaching qualities with each other except that it sounded like the top five country songs in someone’s iPod.
SIGMA ALPHA EPSILON
Will the Real Slim Sharky please stand up? Sorry, I’m allowed only one bad pun.
They employ the art of carelessness, and they ooze arrogance. Somehow, it’s much more honest than the other acts.
Their traditional ploys (i.e. the serenading recorder ensemble) are far more endearing than other groups’ squealing with each formation change. I lost it when the human shark graced us with a melodic “Ave Maria.” And did anyone else catch the horse mask on the lifeguard stand?
Their debauchery makes me smile.
KAPPA ALPHA THETA
“Happily Never After”
If you’re going to go full-fledged theater, don’t cut corners. Take a note or two from Theta in that area.
Theta’s first minute or so sets up the intensity of the act. Their fairytale could have taken a turn for the tacky. I’m still trying to figure out what purpose the white circles under the eyes served.
The excellent music choices definitely added to the punk chic motif.
Seriously though, the opening was delightfully creepy and certainly had more production value than most of the acts I saw.
While their performance may have come off as more sugar than their intended spice at times, the group pulled it together seamlessly.