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Photo Story: Best of the Best Showcase


Molly Grace belts out during her set, Lizzie Chladek

Belmont Showcases’ top-nine performers rocked the stage in a two-hour spotlight of musical talent Saturday evening. 

 

The show, performed on the largest and most complex stage of the year, and featured the winners of the five showcases as well as four featured songwriters from writers' rounds. 

 

Following one final introduction from emcee Daniel Mazzerina, the Curb Event Center rumbled to life as country showcase winner Benjamin Joseph kicked off the show in his typical raucous manner. 


Joseph dances across the Showcase stage, Joanna Walden

Unable to stay still, Joseph jumped and danced across the stage as he strummed his guitar with his twangy tunes. 


Joseph centerstage with his bandmate, Braden Simmons

Contrasting this on a lighter note, songwriter Kennadi came on stage with a guitarist as she played a more subtle melody contrasting to Joseph’s rocking performance. 


Kennadi singing under the lights of the Curb, Braden Simmons

As she left, bluesy piano chords could be heard cutting through the silence and darkness that ultimately led to the eventual spotlight of R&B and Hip-Hop winner Bekah Jayne. 


Jayne performing under the blue lights of the stage, Braden Simmons

Jayne descended from behind the piano to a pastel pink dress as she glided across the stage performing her song “Keep you a Secret.”  

 

She then would transform the Curb Event Center into a bluesy jazz club as from behind the haze of the artificial smoke, she performed the rest of her set showcasing her powerful vocals in tandem with the music. 

 

The second songwriter of the night, Laken Campo, would come on stage with just her guitar but would grab the entire arena's attention in no time. 


Campo performing as the crowd flashes their lights back to her, Braden Simmons

Performing a song dedicated to the confusion and worry that can come with graduation, Campo would eventually have the entire crowd pull out their phone flashlights to wave as they listened on before ultimately screaming at the finale. 

 

The screaming would continue as a familiar sight from August would occur as chants of “KBJ” could be heard through the crowd. 


Kevin Bull Jr. and his band rock the Curb, Braden Simmons

Bass chords began to bellow through the ground and the entire curb as Kevin Bull Jr. came out front and center and rocked the Curb with some of his signature bass riffs. 

 

Hair whirled about, and guitars were shredded as KBJ and his band rocked through their set. 


The electric guitarist for the band jams out as the spotlights begin to fade out, Joanna Walden

 The third songwriter of the night, Sierra Carson, was unable to attend but prepared a video performance that brought the crowd to a reverent silence. 

 

Which would seem a fitting tee up, seeing as the winner of Christian showcase, Amanda Aponte, would follow suit with her gallery of strings and brass, bringing the feeling of church choir. 


Aponte performs her first song under the spotlight, Braden Simmons

The stage came to life, contrasting the darker backgrounds from earlier in the show with bright blue and purple lights following the much peppier and joyful nature of the song. 

 

At one point, the band cut out, and she had the whole crowd clapping before bringing the band back in along with some riffs. 


Aponte and her band showcased under the purple and blue lights of the stage, Joanna Walden

The fourth and final songwriter of the night, Emmy Moyen, came out in fringe and bell bottom jeans and boots, carrying her dark wooden guitar, bringing a very southern atmosphere to the stage.  


Moyen showcases her songwriting talents, Lizzie Chladek

She would sing her song “Prayer Requests” about how news and gossip spreads and gets around in a small town.  

 

And near the end, she cut the chords and had the crowd clapping along as a chorus of “Amens” bellowed back, giving the curb the feeling of a church service once again. 


Mazzerina shaking the hand of Guse Showcase's emcee for next year, Lizzie Chladek

Mazzerina would then come back out and introduce the next host of Showcase, freshman Carter Guse. 

 

The crowd then began to erupt as the final act of the night was Molly Grace, the winner of the Pop showcase.  


Grace striking a pose for the audience, Joanna Walden

Three vocalists began to do an introduction that felt reminiscent of an old sitcom - referencing the primary act – as Grace hit the stage. 

 

Hearts fell in the background as Grace brought a very airy and pop feeling to the stage as she sang her first song. 


Grace with her background vocalists under the red lights of the stage, Joanna Walden

The crowd moved forward until they were hanging over the photography pit barriers, to sing along with Grace. 

 

She then performed her second song and revealed her pink sequin outfit that contrasted the black sequin of her background vocalists. 


Grace begins to stroll down the stage during her performance, Joanna Walden

Performing a strut across the stage with her background vocalists, Grace once again brought the crowd into a frenzy. 

 

Reminiscent of a ballerina mixed with a game show host. Grace possessed both the poise and charisma to back it up. 


Grace dances across the stage, Lizzie Chladek

As she finished her set, roses pelted the stage as she concluded with one final belt before leaving. 

 

The funky tunes played out the Curb as Grace does her final strut backstage with the other vocalists. 

 

Grace will be gracing the stage again this June at Bonnaroo where she will perform her set at the event that will feature the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone and Renee Rapp.


Showcase will return to the Curb next fall with a new slate of performances and showcases to find the next great Belmont talent. 


This article was written by Braden Simmons with contributory photography from Joanna Walden and Lizzie Chladek

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Patrisia Tendi
Patrisia Tendi
Apr 16

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