“Best in Show” set the academic year off on a high note with the culmination of the creative and technical performance skills of almost every dance and singing group on campus Sept. 1 in the Glenn Auditorium. Although in previous years “Best in Show” was held on McDonough Field, where students could lay out blankets under the stars, the show was held indoors this year due to concerns about rain.
Almost every performance in the show surprised the audience with its contemporary edge, defying audience expectations. Each time traditional dance groups like Zuri, Karma Bhangra and Vibez, switched out their traditional, cultural music for modern hits like Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall’s “Juju On That Beat,” the audience erupted in cheers. However, some singing groups stuck to their go-to songs, which were probably only new to freshmen.
Emory’s co-ed a cappella group Dooley Noted stood center stage as they performed a beautiful rendition of “Hollow” by Tori Kelly. It was a unique and unexpected choice for Dooley Noted, which normally seems to stick to either classics or current hits. “Hollow” was released in 2015 and rose to #68 on the Billboard charts in early 2016. The group started slowly, as their harmony gradually grew louder before the lead vocalist, Sylvia Ware (20C), began. She stunned the audience with her broad range, as she smoothly shifted from deep alto to a high soprano.
Emory’s bollywood a cappella group Suri also gave a surprising performance as they sang Alesso’s “Heroes (We Could Be).” The group matched the tempo of the song as they progressively reached higher and higher notes. The most extraordinary aspect of their performance, however, was when the group transitioned from singing the song in English to performing in Hindi, a great homage to Suri’s origins as a bollywood a capella group. The group gained an air of confidence when singing in Hindi; they were able to sing even more harmoniously and smoothly.
The Zuri African Dance team arrived on the stage clad in matching orange, printed skirts and black tops. Like many of the other dance groups, Zuri incorporated current music in their performance. Although the songs they chose were very much today’s cut of electronic and popular rap music, Zuri managed to integrate a distinct African, rhythmically complex sound, merging modern American and African culture.
Emory’s female a cappella group The Gathering closed the show with their classic rendition of Britney Spear’s “Toxic,” showing off their vocal range by singing what they sing best. Each time they perform the song, the lead singer amazes the crowd by hitting a high, airy pitch near the end of the song. The Gathering concluded “Best in Show” with a bang, leaving the audience in awe of the immense and diverse talent of the Emory community.
Overall, “Best in Show” this year was a success: Glenn Memorial was packed with enthusiastic students, and dance and a capella groups alike gave great performances. Once again, “Best in Show” surprised the audience with its unpredictability and the extensive performance capabilities of Emory students.