• Lillie Burke

Best of the Best pulls out all the stops to close series


The Best of the Best Showcase ended the 2014-2015 season with a bang Saturday night, with previous showcase winners Staying for the Weekend, Taylor Agan, Baylor Wilson and CVM bringing the audience to their feet alongside four Belmont ASCAP writer’s night winners.

Rock Showcase winner Staying for the Weekend opened the show with a high energy beat with their cover of The Whigs’ “Right Hand on My Heart.”

Lead singer Mitch Davis picked up the pace and the audience’s approval with his all-over-the-stage chemistry and smooth vocals, especially as they moved into the slower, more percussion-heavy original “Southern Comfort,” bathed in ever-changing colored lights.

Christian Showcase winner Taylor Agan was the next big act to take the stage with “Start a Fire,” trading physical energy and movement to the stage but invoking a pensive spirituality, especially as he transitioned into the almost hymn-like original “Speak Away,” raising his hands as he called out to the crowd about speaking out and feeling personal value.

As the show approached the halfway mark, former CEO of Sony Nashville and member of the Curb College Business Advisory board Gary Overton was honored with the Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence, an annual award granted by the Curb College every year.

The honor was accompanied by a guest performance of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” by Tom Douglas, one of the co-writers of the song, following up with a song written with some of his students.

Baylor Wilson took the stage next and brought back a favorite from the Country Showcase with her powerful rock twist on Sam Hunt’s “Speakers.” Wilson presented a fierce and exciting stage as she danced and reached out to a group of fans who had gathered at the stage before her.

Going into the second half of her performance, Wilson brought up fellow musician Devin Dawson to help get the crowd’s energy pumping as the duo sang “Good Love,” written by Wilson, Dawson and Urban Pop Showcase winner CVM.

After a brief video message of support from Best of the Best Showcase alum and current American Idol contestant Rayvon Owens, Cam Beddell and David DeVaul performed Owens’ new song “Sweatshirt” before the final performance of the night, getting the crowd in gear for what was to come.

The night ended on a high note as CVM proved the crowd favorite, drawing a swirling crowd of dozens of students to the edge of the stage before he even began to sing.

With a stage full of performers– singers, choir and a horn section– he started off with his song “Mary Kate & Ashley,” rousing the audience to get out of their chairs and move. By the end of his second song, “Could’ve Been Me,” the gathering at the stage was impenetrable, with the audience on their feet and Best of the Best performers dancing on-stage as the show closed out.

ASCAP writer’s night winners Andrew Tullos, Nate Evans, Brad Blackburn and Katie Pruitt all took the sidestage between the night’s big acts, bringing a lighter, more acoustic vibe to the otherwise tech-heavy show.

The artists and their bands put on their best as they showed off their lyrical and acoustic talent with “Born a Rolling Stone,” “Know a Thing,” “Love Ain’t Coming Back” and “Ordinary,” respectively.

The Best of the Best Showcase closed out the CEMB showcase season.

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