UC Irvine’s first ever talent competition, Soulstice, showcased the skills of several up-and-coming artists during the Friday, Feb. 10 performance in Crawford Hall. The sold-out show featured 13 different talent acts containing nearly 100 performers under the categories of solo/duets, a capella, band and dance, as well as comedic relief from members of “The Soulstice League.”
Aside from promoting newly-discovered talent at UCI, Soulstice, also donated 20 percent of every ticket purchase to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the UCI Medical Center in order to support the nurses and doctors who help save the lives of babies in crisis.
“It makes people feel less guilty for going out to some big fun show because you get to give a little back and you can say that you helped people by having fun and supporting your friends,” said Jun Wang, Student Services Vice President and fourth-year international studies major.
Wang was inspired to create Soulstice by UCLA’s talent competition, Spring Sing. At the end of Soulstice, first-place awards were presented to winners in each of the four categories mentioned above. Awards were also given for “People’s Choice” and “Best Soulstice League Performance.”
“Soulstice is [a] showcasing opportunity for people who want to share their talent or their gift with other people and maybe even make a career out of it, and I think it’s really great in that sense,” said Kenny Azama, Soulstice Marketing Director and fourth-year social ecology major.
“It’s really just great for the campus too. The other main part of Soulstice is to simply boost student moral. It gets the students stoked knowing that these 13 acts of over 50-100 student performers is representing their campus and I think a lot of people take pride in that.”
Branden Hawara, fourth-year biological sciences major and Executive Director of Soulstice admits that along with other organizing members, he was most nervous about the response from the audience since it was the first event of its kind at UCI.. Although initially hesitant about the number of people that would attend the show, the Soulstice committee rejoiced after learning that the event was sold out, filling up Crawford Hall to capacity at nearly 1,200 people.
The judging panel comprised of UCI’s 2011-2012 Homecoming King and Queen, Julian Walker and Charlene Poderoso, and celebrity guest members KC Monnie, Tayz Phillipz, Keiko Agena, JC Gutierrez, Arthur Lien, Stan Chervin and Kenton Chen..
As the show ended, third-year public health policy major and Soulstice Talent Director Mai-
Thi Pham announced Elevator Music as the first-place winners under the band category. Band members Jon Bae, Alex Han and Andrew Esposo performed the song “I’ve Been Thinking About How to Love You, Valerie.”
UCI’s co-ed a cappella group, Vermillion Vocalists, placed first under the a capella category with their performance of the Coldplay single, “Paradise.”. Third-year studio art major David Lee put together a group of dancers for The David Lee Project, which received the first-place award under the dance category.
UCI freshman Jazzmine Farol earned the “People’s Choice” award with her original song, “I am the Reject.
George Nasr and Bushra Abdelmalak, both third-year biological sciences majors, received the award for “Best Soulstice League Performance.” They created a parody music video of the song “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” calling it “I’m Smarty and I Know It.”
Christine Tran, third-year international studies major and executive producer of Soulstice, announced Timothy Ketenjian, or TimTim, as the overall winner of Soulstice.
Timothy captured the audience with his original song, “Bringing Back the Soul” and was also awarded $450 in cash.
KC Monnie, a warbler from the television show “Glee” and an actor, singer and dancer, shared his views on the arts, emphasizing that it is “important to keep that in the education process.”
“I really loved TimTim and I think he had some unique quality to him …TimTim stole the show from me with his beautiful voice!” Monnie said.
“What I really hoped to convey through my song about the concept of soul was that to me, soul represents the utter core of each of us,” said Ketenjian when reflecting on his performance.
“When you’re baring your soul to someone late at night, you’re sharing a very vulnerable, real part of yourself. Sometimes we lose that in our everyday lives and go along with the pressures the world puts on us; we forget to truly be ourselves ’cause we’re too busy trying to impress everyone. So for me, “got soul” means, are you willing to just be you, no matter what the circumstance … bring back the soul, friends!”