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THON’s Anything But ‘Sad Tonight’ Thanks To Chelsea Cutler’s Surprise Performance

Singer-songwriter Chelsea Cutler was THON 2022’s surprise performer Friday night, and she sure got the crowd rockin’.

Originally hailing from Connecticut, Cutler is just 25 years old and already racking up nearly 12 million monthly listeners. Three weeks ago, Cutler released “the lifeboat’s empty!,” a single that is anticipated to be a career-defining song.

Cutler took the stage with a performance of “Sad Tonight,” a song about going out as a distraction to her sadness. The surprisingly upbeat “anti-pop” song is undeniably catchy, and Cutler’s drummer popped off.

“THON how are you guys doing?” Cutler asked. “I’m tired, so I can’t imagine how these dancers are feeling?”

Someone get this woman to a DRCM! You can’t say that!

“This is really really so cool and admirable,” Cutler said of THON. “Let’s keep it rockin’.”

Cutler performed the much anticipated “How To Be Human,” the namesake track off of her 2021 album. “How To Be Human” is an album about the ups and downs of relationships that occurred as she gained popularity as an artist. Cutler allowed herself to get vulnerable at the Bryce Jordan Center.

“We’re going to use this time to decompress,” Cutler said.

The next song of the evening was “Crazier Things,” another song off of the How To Be Human album. Cutler strapped on her guitar and got emotional with the crowd. Somber vibes, man.

Cutler then introduced last year’s virtual THON performer and best friend, Quinn XCII, for the next song of the set.

Cutler played “Strangers Again,” a song she doesn’t normally play live.

“This is so cool. I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life,” Cutler said.

She then complimented Penn State on the signs from various frats, sororities, and THON organizations.

Cutler spoke about her brent album with singer Jeremy Zucker…one of her favorite projects.

She showed off her soft vocals with “this is how you fall in love.” Cutler followed with brent’s leading single, “you were good to me.” Cutler told Penn State that this is one of her favorite songs ever. Her raspy voice was very apparent in this performance.

Cutler toured with Quinn this past fall and told the crowd it was an experience she’ll never take for granted. However, she had never played “Stay Next To Me” during her own set…until tonight, of course.

The crowd took out their phone flashlights, and Cutler insisted on getting the crowd pumped up again.

“Is it cool if we get the energy back up?” Cutler asked the crowd. She followed up with a much anticipated “We Are!” chant.

Cutler was absolutely electric on stage with a performance of “Not Okay,” a collaboration she has with Norwegian DJ Kygo. The song is about a breakup, though the crowd was certainly hype.

Continuing the upbeat trend, Cutler played “You Can Have It” off of her 2021 album, “When I Close My Eyes.” For the…Ladies!

The lights went off, and the glowing signs were movin’ to the beat.

Cutler played a song from her collab with Alexander 23, “Lucky.” The song was sweet, lighthearted, and positive. It certainly resonated with the crowd, as we’re all lucky to be here celebrating how precious life really is. Cutler went off on some sort of electronic machine.

Cutler’s drummer, Gavin Chops, was rockin’ during “The Reason.” The lights were wildin’ to one of her OG songs.

“What you guys are doing is so cool. It is very unconventional what you guys are doing here in the most special beautiful way,” Cutler said in a heartfelt speech. “You might feel like this is normal. But from an outside perspective, I’ve never seen anything like this. I hope you guys are so proud. This is really, really special. I hope you know that for real.”

The crowd cheered after her wholesome words.

In typical Cutler fashion, she played “Mr. Brightside,” — arguably one of the greatest songs of all time. The crowd was jumping up and down and belting their hearts out.

Cutler then hopped on top of Chops’ drum and jammed out on her guitar. She’s really damn talented, by the way.

“I’m overwhelmed by how cool this is,” Cutler said. “To see this outpouring of love is so special.”

To close out the night, Cutler performed “Your Shirt,” the first single off of her fully written and self-produced album, “Snow In October.”

To end the night, Chops threw his drumsticks into the crowd.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a junior biology major from York, Pa and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected] For the hijinks, always.

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