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Staff Picks: Who’s The First In-Person, Post-Pandemic Guest SPA Should Host?

It’s been a year since Penn State’s Student Programming Association (SPA)  hosted an in-person event.

It seems like just yesterday students were sleeping in the HUB to secure their free David Dobrik ticket. Then, the pandemic hit and the in-person Q&A event was forced online.

Let’s face it. Virtual concerts and lectures are a decent alternative, but there’s something special about seeing your favorite, oddly specific performers face-to-face in Alumni Hall. While there’s no indication that an in-person SPA event will occur anytime soon, it doesn’t hurt to dream!

Our staffers compiled a list of musicians and celebrities they hope SPA will host for the first in-person event when the pandemic is over.

Larkin Richards: Tori Kelly

Penn State has been spoiled with online SPA events lately. From David Dobrik to Cody Ko, we’ve had endless opportunities to watch our favorites. Attending remotely is easy. But don’t you miss the rush of standing in line for tickets or attending a HUB Lawn concert?

That said, I am highly anticipating in-person SPA concerts. I would 100% love the main SPA event to be Tori Kelly. I am so down to stand in a four to five-hour line weaved throughout the HUB for Tori Kelly. Her setlist for this hypothetical SPA concert would refill the missing serotonin in my life. Even if you aren’t a big fan like I am, it would be an all-around fun event to just enjoy a nice evening of live music that we’re all deprived of. Seriously though, Penn State hosting Tori Kelly would be a top highlight of my college experience.

Aubrey Miller: Pete Davidson

Pete Davidson, aka the King of Staten Island and of my heart, should be the first post-coronavirus SPA guest. We’ve seen him on SNL, we’ve seen him on TikTok, and now it’s time to see him at Penn State and in-person.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say the crowd will be blown away by his live performance of “yeet.” Sure, a couple of obscene jokes may slip here and there, but he wouldn’t be Pete Davidson without them. The SNL live set has nothing on Penn State. I can’t guarantee that I won’t fall in love with him, but I can guarantee that he’ll make us laugh.

Colleen Nersten: Miley Cyrus

I know it’s a long shot. But, it’s important to note that SPA hosted Miley’s father Billy Ray Cyrus and sister Noah Cyrus for virtual concerts just last semester. It sounds to me like the Cyruses are a secret Penn State family.

Miley Cyrus is most definitely itching to perform her quarantine hits like “Plastic Hearts” and “Prisoner,” and I’m confident that Penn State students will provide the enthusiasm that she deserves. The thought of a Penn State mosh pit singing “Party In The USA” after the year that we’ve gone through is making me tear up just a little <3.

Ava Brendgord: Jake Johnson

SPA should host Jake Johnson for the first in-person event. After binge-watching “New Girl” over quarantine, I would absolutely love to see Johnson in real life. My friend who attends Washington State University recently bragged to me that Johnson was holding a live Q&A at her school, answering questions about being on “New Girl,” what it’s like to be a professional actor, and his upcoming movies. All in all, I would totally fangirl if SPA hosted Jake Johnson.

Matt Rudisill: Florida Georgia Line

If SPA could pull this off, kudos to them. Bringing in arguably the biggest country act around these days would be the perfect way to re-introduce live shows to Penn State. With songs like “Anything Goes” and “This Is How We Roll,” these guys sure know how to have a good time — and that’s exactly what all of Penn State will be looking for.

Although having a good time might be the main goal of the first post-pandemic show, I think a touching moment would be neat too, and Florida Georgia Line has a great tune for that as well. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but seeing Tyler and BK walk out on stage to play “Music is Healing” for the Penn State student body would be the absolute best way to bring back live events after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grace Cunningham: John Mulaney

Once the vaccines roll out, herd immunity is achieved, and life returns to normal (whatever that means), we’re going to need someone pretty special to celebrate with. In my expert opinion, I think John Mulaney should pop into Happy Valley. Heck, why not film a Netflix comedy special while he’s at it?

John Mulaney is the perfect person to bring some laughs to some seriously stressed-out students. Although he is currently in rehab (thoughts and prayers), I think that by the time he’s out of there and COVID-19 is nothing but a distant memory, a John Mulaney comedy show would be highly beneficial for Penn State students and Mulaney himself.

Rory Pelella: Olivia Rodrigo

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had Olivia Rodrigo’s hit song “driver’s license” on repeat the past few weeks. I mean, what better way to bond with your friends than screaming these lyrics at the top of your lungs and getting all in your feels? I know the Disney Star doesn’t have too many hit songs to date, but by the time we can attend the next in-person SPA concert, she’ll probably have a few more on the charts. Regardless, imagine screaming “Red Lights, Stop Signs” alongside a couple of hundred other Penn Staters? Sounds like a good time to me. Plus, I’ll drive through the suburbs any day.

Ríco Gore: Chris Tomlin

I want Chris Tomlin to make a special appearance from NewsBoys. If that isn’t the first in-person SPA event, count me out.

Ryan Parsons: Nathan Fielder

The plan? End the pandemic so Nathan Fielder can come to Penn State.

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