By Ruhi Gandhi
The Music Industry Club held its third annual “Phenomenon” singing competition on Friday, Oct. 7, in the Hillwood Cinema.
The student judges included Salvatore Ciulla, the president and founder of the club, who recently finished an internship at Sony Music’s subsidiary “The Orchard,” a platform to sell music through a distribution network; Savanah Cummings, last year’s winner who is a senior nursing major; and Alex Martinez, a senior music major and theatre minor who toured with the Jazz Department to Montreux, Switzerland, to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival last July.
The contestants comprised of music majors, members of the club, and passionate singers in unrelated majors, making the competition fairly diverse. “They all had much to offer irrespective of where they came from,” Cuilla said. “I really enjoyed planning and judging this event. The panel was really knowledgeable about their music and overall the show ran smoothly.” Ciulla said. He cheered for the audience turn-out of around 50 who came out to support the contestants.
There were nine contestants, each performed a song in the first round. Only five of these nine made it to round two. Three of these five were selected by the highest votes, and two were selected by the judges.
Round two consisted of another performance by each of the contestants. The remaining two advanced to the finale, once again by earning the audience’s and judges’ votes.
The finalists were Sam Pollet, a sophomore biology major and Eric Carter, a freshman music major. “They both performed really well and were really engaged with the audience,” Ciulla said. The winner was then determined by the highest number of votes that were texted in from the audience; Eric Carter claimed the victory.
The top three contestants were awarded a spot to perform in the club’s annual music festival (MIC Fest), which will be held during the spring semester. The second place winner, Pollet, received $50. Carter earned the grand prize of $100, a spot to perform at Runway’s annual fashion show, apart from performing at the MIC Fest.
“I was stoked! Phenomenon is typically held in the fall, but we had a lot of people ask if we can do another one next semester,” Ciulla said. “Our big event next semester will be our annual music festival we do in the spring called MIC Fest. As for now, we do not plan on having another Phenomenon show until next year.”