On Friday, A Network of Our Own hosted Blowin’ Up in Perry Paige Auditorium. This all-singing talent show marked the organization’s first attempt to showcase the musical talents of students at Florida A&M University.
Members of the organization said a lot of preparation was put into the show because it was the first major event that ANOO has sponsored on campus.
“It took months to plan this event because ANOO wanted to make sure we had fresh, innovative talent and we wanted to put on a good show,” said ANOO member Ronald Tucker, 22, a senior computer information systems student from Los Angeles.
Of the 25 students who auditioned, five contestants were selected to compete for a prize package, which included free studio time, a track on a Benny Boom mixtape and the opportunity to have his or her track played on WANM 90.5.Tauheedah Shukriyyah Asad and Benjamin “Trey” Petrose were the hosts of Friday’s show.
At the beginning of the program, the hosts explained that the competition would be divided into three segments. In the first round, the participants performed an upbeat selection, and in the second round, the five participants performed a ballad. After the second round, two participants were eliminated and the three remaining contestants moved on to the final round where they sang an original piece.
Judging the competition were DJ Classic of Ghost Entertainment, Greg “Da Intern” from 90.5 and 96.1 and Dee Jones, a graphic design student from Atlanta.
Each of the contestants was judged on originality and creativity, vocal ability and their overall performance. After each round, the contestants were given a face-to-face critique from each of the three judges.
The audience was also given an opportunity by the hosts to give an overall oral rating of each singer. Audience participation was important in the Showtime at the Apollo-style showcase were the audience was free to boo, cheer or sing along with the singer at will.
Blowin’ Up featured a variety of old school and modern performances including, “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight, “Save Room” by John Legend and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston.
Ghost Entertainment provided music and entertained the audience during one of the two intermissions with “Walk It Out” and “Chicken Noodle Soup” contests.
During the second intermission, Sean-D, who serves as the president of ANOO, announced the winners of the Best Buy raffle, and the gospel group Young and Anointed performed for the audience.
At the end of the show, the judges announced Lorraine Gray as the winner. Although Gray was obviously the crowd favorite, she said she felt like she could have done better.
“I didn’t do my full potential, but to God be the glory,” Gray said after the contestants were brought on stage for a final analysis from the judges.
ANOO Members say hosting events such as Blowin’ Up are important for the organization because its purpose is to serve as a creative outlet and a means for students interested in pursuing careers in the music and entertainment industry the opportunity to network with others who share their passion. Members of the organization said they were pleased with the show and would like to see the organization evolve so they can host similar events in the future.
“We had a great turn out, and hopefully next year will be better,” Sean-D said.