Coda Conduct Takes All The Glory At Homecoming Talent Show
Homecoming put on its annual For The Glory Talent Show Tuesday night, showcasing the best that Penn State has to offer. The judges for this year’s competition were Marissa Works from the Penn State Performing Arts Council, Paul Clifford from the Alumni Association, Shayna Farmelant from Penn State Thespians, and THON 2019 Director Kelly McCready. Ahead of them was the tough task of crowning this year’s For The Glory champion.
For the opening ceremonies, the gender-neutral 2018 Homecoming Court performed a dance to a mix that flowed seamlessly from “I Like It Like That” to “Hips Don’t Lie” to “Single Ladies.” The crowd gave a roar of approval every time the court broke it down. As far as I could tell, it’s neck and neck for the two Guide State Forward Awards. Nevertheless, the court warmed the crowd up for the night ahead.
Hip-hop troupe PSU Outcast threw down to their own six-song mix as the first official act of the night. Unfortunately, none of the songs were actually by OutKast. Regardless, they started off with an impressive rendition of the Lionnettes’ signature dance to the “Lion King Trap Remix” — probably copyright infringement, but I’ll allow it. They kept the energy through the roof while showcasing all that hip-hop dance has to offer.
After Outcast, the Pennharmonics took the stage to the sound of many of their friends shouting their names. As always, the Penns flexed their ever-impressive a cappella talents. They started slowly before kicking it up with some scat and bounce. Their beat-boxing sounded like something straight out of Metro Boomin’s studio, so it was certainly an on-brand night for the Penns.
Penn State Lyrical Line and Sigma Tau Gamma took the Homecoming theme to heart, throwing it all the way back to the 1950s with a dance to “We Go Together” from Greece. The girls clearly pulled most of the weight during the performance, as the boys really dragged their feet — especially during the kick-line. To make up for it, though, one of the boy ended things with the show-stopper of the century: the floss.
PSUkulele took over afterward, determined to outperform the floss move that the last group pulled out of their sleeves. Seven ukulele-wielding musicians stole the crowd’s hearts with a tiny guitar composition of “Classic” by MKTO. Rumor has it that the ukulele performance and the crowd’s reaction may even have convinced the Pennharmonics to ditch their background vocals for the small acoustic instrument.
In the troupe’s third year in a row in the For The Glory Talent Show, Reve Dance Company did not disappoint. They killed the show with an empowering, modern dance interpretation of Annie, in which Annie and her friends at the orphanage danced around to songs including “It’s Raining Men,” “I feel like a woman,” and a “Hard Knock Life” trap remix (not to be confused with the Jay-Z version) — all while ignoring the commands of the orphanage director: “Girls! This isn’t High School Musical.” In my opinion, it was the most interesting dance number of the night, and the music choice fit the storyline perfectly.
Not to be out done in the a cappella category, Shades of Blue broke it down with their own rendition of Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey’s “The Middle.” Surprisingly, the star of the act was not the lead singer. Rather, it was one of the guys in the second row who did not have to go that hard background dancing, but did anyway for our entertainment.
The K-Pop Music and Dance company decided to quit playing games and blow the literal roof off of the Schwab Auditorium. The troupe turned the whole auditorium into K-Pop fans after they hit the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. They were easily a crowd-favorite as soon as the bass dropped. Three words, say it with me: K-POP IS LIT.
With a tough act to follow, the trio of Orchesis, Club Gymnastics, and Theta Chi combined theatrics and dance in a Game of Thrones-themed dance number. Their mix included a club remix of the HBO cult-classic’s theme song and way too many spoilers. To be fair, I was probably one of the few people in the crowd who have yet to see Game of Thrones, but still.
After all of the important deaths from the HBO Series, the Lion Ambassadors stepped up to the mic to tell the comedic story of a lifelong Penn Stater. The tale followed the Penn Stater from birth, through his first college tour and confusing the old Old Main with the new Old Main, to indulging in too many West cookies, and having a kid who wants to go to Pitt, Michigan, or Ohio State. The Lion Ambassadors guided the Penn Stater from childhood’s gate to alumnus before finishing with a spirited rendition of “Hail to the Lion.” The unique skit got the crowd laughing for the first time of the night, and it honestly has a place in a Penn State-themed SNL show.
Atlas, the special-interest THON organization, took the talent show stage to Greece for an express dance run-through of “Mamma Mia!” From the titular song to “Dancing Queen,” ATLAS rocked the stage, and won over the crowd full of (suspected) Atlas members.
Two members of Phi Sigma Sigma slowed things down a bit with an acoustic duet, singing their hearts out to “Georgia” by Vance Joy. While, one strummed a ukulele, the other gently plucked the acoustic guitar, but both plucked at the audience’s heart strings with the beautiful song.
Penn State Dance Alliance brought their best to an upbeat dance. Their number concluded with a textbook kick-line (take notes, Sigma Tau Gamma boys). Unfortunately, the crowd may have seen one dance company too many at this point, as they all started to blend together.
The Coda Contact’s signature pink and black wardrobe was especially fitting for a Homecoming show, and they definitely came for the glory. The group did an outstanding job of showcasing all of their talented voices, rather than relying on one lead to carry the number. Their dominant stage presence also blew the other groups out of the water, as they choreographed a lot of moving parts to accompany their terrific vocals.
As the judges deliberated, Whiplash, the winner from the Allen Street Jam Dance Competition, took the stage for one final bonus performance, and the other competitors should be glad that it didn’t count.
Whiplash reached into its bag and pulled out a dance mix that performed the rare task of getting the entire audience ready to run through a brick wall. Their hard-hitting mix included a pump-up speech, a bass-boosted version of “Seven Nation Army,” “Here Comes The Boom,” a sample of Saquon Barkley’s draft announcement, and “X Gon’ Give It To Ya.” It was heavy-hitting to say the least, and should probably be performed at every Penn State home game.
At last, there could only be one winner. Following the judges’ deliberation, they announced the top six performances:
4. Lion Ambassadors
2. K-Pop Music and Dance
1. The Coda Conduct
Places four, five, and six earned the right to march in the Homecoming Parade on Friday, while the top three will go on to perform at THON.
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Penn State ranked just outside the top 100 in this year’s Forbes’ list of the top colleges in the United States.
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