Saturday night puts SU students in the spotlight

Review: R&B singer Teyana Taylor tops a bill of dance, music and comedy at 'SNL: the Showcase'

Although Saturday night was filled with a variety of different entertainers, the spotlight was on R&B singer Teyana Taylor. Known best for her appearance on MTV's "My Super Sweet 16", Taylor took the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions from the minute she stepped onto the stage until the very last note she sang.

The Theta Xi chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. held its “Saturday Night Live” themed showcase in Syracuse University's Goldstein Auditorium on Saturday evening, featuring the main aspects of the traditional SNL experience.

SU students and even fraternity brothers from nearby chapters were treated to performances from two-time Emmy award-winning violinist Damien Escobar, Quest Crew, comedian Lavell Crawford, the No Mercy Step Team, and headliner Teyana Taylor.

Quest Crew, a hip-hop dance crew from Los Angeles and winners of the third season of MTV's America’s Best Dance Crew, got the show started with a high-energy performance that combined classic hip-hop dance moves with impressive acrobatics.

Most memorable moment: Each member of the dance crew performed his own original dance move as a way of introducing himself to the crowd. 

After Quest Crew warmed up the audience, it was time for the No Mercy Step Team, a national Phi Beta Sigma Inc. professional step and performance company. The debonair gentleman wore matching gray vests and electric blue ties that only accentuated every step. The step team treated the crowd to its smooth moves to the beats of popular songs and even added a bit of comedy to its routine when discussing how every woman must be treated like a lady. The members blew the crowd away by balancing Pepsi cans on their hands while they stepped in perfect synchronization.

Most memorable moment: To everyone’s delight, they ended their performance by jumping into the audience and continuing to perform as they strolled out. 

If audience members weren’t already impressed by the previous acts, Damien Escobar provided a completely different musical experience. A hush fell over the crowd as the act began mysteriously with back up violinists, Josh and Sean, immediately captivating the audience. Escobar then joined them on the stage and began playing his rendition of Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake's "Holy Grail".

Despite a few technical difficulties, Escobar gave a spell-binding performance as his bow glided across the strings of his violin faster than the audience could comprehend. He kicked it old school with his rendition of Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" and got the audience to sing along with his rendition of Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T" and Aaliyah's "Rock the Boat".

The crowd then challenged Escobar to freestyle to any beat the disc jockey played and was soon blown away by Escobar’s musical abilities.

Most memorable moment: He closed his set with his original song titled “Freedom", which he debuted on Katie Couric's talk show. He explained to the audience how he wrote the song to inspire people to free themselves from their personal bondage. 

After jamming with Escobar, the audience was ready to laugh with comedian Lavell Crawford. The St. Louis, Missouri native came out dancing and talked about what was on his mind, which happened to be food and women, in that order. Although he tested the limits of what the audience was expecting, he kept it appropriate and entertaining for a college-aged audience.

Most memorable moment:  Lavell explained the difference between celebrating Halloween when he was a kid and celebrating Halloween with his 4-year old son.

Although the crowd enjoyed all of the other performance, everyone went crazy for R&B singer Taylor. The Harlem native took the stage in a red and black ensemble that showed off her impeccably toned abs. Aside from some minor wardrobe malfunctions, the singer delivered a very sensual performance. If anyone in the audience had doubts about Taylor’s singing abilities, those doubts were erased after her performance of her hits such as “Dreams," “Broken Hearted Girl," “Maybe” and “Do Not Disturb." Her set was unapologetically sexy and the audience vibed along with her as her vocals filled the auditorium.

Most memorable moment: Taylor invited three lucky guys and one lucky girl from the audience on stage for a steamy personal performance. They were seated on stage as Taylor and her dancers sensuously rocked their bodies to “Do Not Disturb."

Although Taylor, a familiar face in the industry, seemed to rock the house, the crowd had was pleasantly surprised with the not-so- familiar names and faces.

“My favorite part was Damien Escobar,” SU senior Chantal Felice said. “I had never heard of him and I got to experience a new talent tonight.”

“Lavell’s part was my favorite,” SU junior Jabari Butler said. “He’s one of my favorite comedians in general, so it was nice to see him live.”

The Sigmas are known for delivering impressive concerts and the showcase helped to solidify that even more by providing entertainment with memorable moments for everyone.


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