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REVIEW: 2016 Christian Showcase saw greatest crowd engagement with winner Alyssa Newton

Christian Showcase 2016

It is Facebook official. The Belmont Showcase Series facebook page announced Alyssa Newton as the winner of “The Road To Where” Christian Showcase Saturday night.

Her set list was comprised of three songs: “Multiplied/Ever Be,” which was a mashup between a song by needtobreathe and another by Bethel Music, “Surely Goodness” and “Show Your Glory,” both originals. Each song was well-performed and -received by the audience.

She was the best of the show in stage presence and popularity. Her performance marked the peak of the crowd’s engagement.

It seemed like that was the ultimate goal – get the crowd, and judges, to like you and carry the most authority. She used many great tools such as praying and teaching the audience the lyrics to one of her songs to get the crowd comfortable and in a mood of praise.

She also got the audience to clap along during her second song. They were clapping on the upbeat, thank God.

During the set change before her show, a group of students migrated to the front of the arena.

Newton also seemed the safest to like, which isn’t a bad thing–just predictable only in that respect. Her sorority-sized entourage added a spark in the crowd’s reception.

In comparison, the crowd was rather robotic throughout the show, clapping when it sensed silence and wooing in the quieter parts of songs. Even when Newton taught them the words to her songs, most people just murmured along, probably unsure of what the words really were due to the fog of echoes in the arena. Though the crowd was rather bland, the music was sobering and encouraged a prayerful atmosphere.

Each artist and band played very well despite the acoustics and generally inactive crowd.

Erin Jamieson started the show off with a dynamic set of songs: “First Love” and “Who Would I Be” which are originals, and “Pieces” by Amanda Cook. Each song was charming and heartfelt, matching her stage presence. Although she was slightly awkward at the mic while performing for a fresh audience that needed some warming up, she sang and played piano beautifully. Her band was lively and sounded great.

Adelphos was entertaining in a unique way as their playful awkwardness and fun, folky feel lightened up the room. Their set consisted of originals, “Called” and “Peaceful,” and “King of My Heart” by Sara and John Mark McMillan. With a surprising range of dynamics in “King of My Heart,” the song started with a very soft, lullaby-like first verse that built up into a fast rock groove.

Emma Taylor was a vocal powerhouse, belting out choruses and harmonizing with fun and inviting Ben Hopper who strummed merrily on his acoustic guitar. They were full of smiles and a whimsical attitude that set their music alight.

Taylor Zebracki ended the show with a lively performance of upbeat, poppy music. By then, Alyssa Newton’s entourage returned to its seats, deadening the crowd to it’s previous state. She and her band persevered, however, through smiles and crisp playing. The songs she played were originals, “Save Our Souls” and “Turn Around,” and “We March On” by Hillary Scott. She had a powerful voice that carried each song with soul.

Zebracki was a ball of energy, jumping and twisting on the stage while interacting with her band members. She was so vibrant on stage, it seemed like she was trying to warm up her band as well as the crowd. She was triumphant during “We March On,” as she got the crowd voluntarily clapping along multiple times.

The Christian Showcase was full of great talent. Every artist and band was unique and a true contribution to the show. And ironically, even in the Christian Showcase there needs to be a winner, there needs to be some sort of rank. That’s just how the system works though.

Newton was the obvious winner because she was the most confident and popular and naturally fit our description of what the winner should be, which is a fine standard to go by and was well-earned. Congratulations to all the musicians.

This article was written by Max Mason. Photos by Hunter Morgan, Cooper Smith and Jordan Haglin.

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