With a touch of blue and purple stage lighting, Seattle Pacific University students morph Cinderella-style into professional performers. Faculty and staff transform into celebrity judges, and Royal Brougham Pavilion sheds its sporty skin to become a glamorous concert venue.
Commonly known as the event of the school year, SPU’s annual Talent Show is a glitzed-out, drum-rolling fairy tale. This year’s nine acts rolled up to the stage as everything from crooners to comedians to players in a Clue board game, just to name a few.
It’s not that SPU students are sweeping cinders before their rise to stardom, but it’s safe to say the Talent Show is often where previously hidden talent comes to light.
“It’s really cool to see a huge number of talented people just come out of the cracks,” sophomore Lennox Bishop says.
Often that talent teams up with unlikely partners on a dark and treacherous quest through auditions, practices, and the pinnacle: a vocal performance, drum solo, or stand-up routine — in front of peers and professors.
The judges are rarely as scary or spiteful as the fairy tale's stepsisters, but they are in charge of awarding first, second, and third place to contestants. And it’s not just their opinion that matters. Audience members also crown a People’s Choice winner by voting for their favorite acts via text throughout the night.
This year, the magic belonged to Either/Or (pictured above), who charmed with jazzy renditions of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” John Mayer’s “Gravity,” and a funky finale — Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The all-first-year student band — who formed just a day before auditions — snagged not only a standing ovation but also the judge’s first place and the People’s Choice awards.
The caliber of performances and production wowed sophomore Chad Brown, who says he was blown away by the professional panache of the event.
“I came in expecting something like a high school talent show, but I was super impressed by the
emcees, the judges, and the performers,” he says.
The fairy godmother behind the scenes? SPU’s Student Union Board, STUB, who puts in countless hours sprinkling a little sparkle here, a few posters and T-shirts there, and then surreptitiously disappears so student talent can shine.
Before the clock strikes midnight, prizes are awarded, voices are hoarse, and hopes for next year’s Talent Show are already in place. But these performers don’t turn into pumpkins. You’ll see them around — jamming in dorm rooms, spilling laughter at open mic nights, and making it big in their own happily ever after.