THON 2023 Day One Recap

THON is back and better than ever, and with Day One now in the books, it’s only right that we recap all of its festivities before we fully turn the page to Day Two.

Here’s a recap of all that transpired at the Bryce Jordan Center on Day One of THON 2023.

THONward State Makes Its Return To The BJC

We were there early, front row, setting the standard, getting ready for the dancers to stand and officially kick off THON 2023.

As THON continues into Day Two, you can follow along with Onward State’s coverage of THON 2023 by checking out our live blog, as well as following Onward State and THONward State on Twitter. You can also find updates on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Dancer Relations Captains To The Stage!

It only took 11 minutes for dancer relations captains to hit the stage, marking the first line dance of THON 2023. The lyrics are full of both Penn State and pop culture references to commemorate all that has happened in the world since the conclusion of THON 2022.

“The Academic Weapon” And Neeli Bendapudi Make An Appearance

Penn State student and famous TikTok’er Brad Kraut captivated Penn Staters with his unique style of TikToks in 2022. The self-proclaimed “Academic Weapon” took the THON stage at the two-hour mark to get the dancers and those in attendance hyped for the next 44 hours of THON.

University President Neeli Bendapudi was also in attendance early on to show her support for those dancing in THON 2023.

Natasha Bedingfield Electrifies The Bryce Jordan Center

The first big-time performer at THON was none other than British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield. Bedingfield lit up the BJC with a stellar performance of her 2008 hit “Pocketful of Sunshine”. Her renditions of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and The Weeknd’s “Blinded by the Lights” surprised the crowd and kicked off what should be a long line of surprise performers at THON 2023.

Battle Of The Bands

The midnight hour of THON kicked off with the annual Battle of the Bands.

Moonroof, hailing from the great city of Philadelphia, kicked off the show with an original performance before electrifying the crowd with its performance of Harry Styles’ “As It Was.”

Walk On Mars took the stage next with a chance to wow the audience and capture the Battle of the Bands title. They started off on a heater with its performance of “Mr. Brightside” followed up with “That’s What You Get” and “LaLa Land.”

The two bands then went back and forth for a few more rounds and while both bands were more than deserving, Walk On Mars was declared the winner following a quick text-in vote.


Forty-six hours is a long time, and while live performance and line dances are as entertaining as it gets, there were a number of little things on Day One that you may have overlooked.

The “Car Race has very quietly become a THON staple in recent years, and it didn’t disappoint this year. The Bryce Jordan Center needed a hero during the graveyard shift on the first overnight of THON, and it found it in the blue car. Shoutout to the red car for getting off to a hot start, but the blue car absolutely dominated the red car down the stretch to finish on top.

A game of “Jeopardy!” and an a capella performance kept the dancers moving during the graveyard hours.

Our managing editor, Gabe Angieri, is also attempting to do 46 pushups for every hour he’s at THON (Editor’s Note: My triceps are on fire).

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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