The Carolina Coliseum was filled Tuesday with the sound of cheers, music and noisemakers as students cheered on contestants in the Homecoming Showcase competition, hoping their favorites would be crowned homecoming king or queen.
Students voted by text message to name Timothy Olson, a fourth-year public relations student, as homecoming king and JennaMarie Hill, a fourth-year sports and entertainment management student, as queen. Fourth-year political science student Thomas Landzert was named prince and third-year English student Catherine Davenport princess.
Showcase finalists first showed off their talents, which included a piano performance, an excerpt of the Dance Marathon line dance and even a classical rendition of Miley Cyrus’s song “Wrecking Ball.”
The competition also included a question-and-answer session, in which contestants donned formal wear to answer randomly drawn questions. They were asked about major influences in their life, their plans for the future and changes in their lives since enrolling at USC.
Other acts of note included a Twitter Q-and-A session with Chase Mizzell, student body president and last year’s homecoming king, and a performance by USC’s all-female a capella group, The Cocktails.
Olson’s spoken word recitation, drew a large round of applause from the crowd during the talent portion of the night.
“That’s really the only talent I have for stage,” Olson said. “I wanted to inspire people and not just show off.”
Olson also credited his fraternity, Kappa Upsilon Chi, for making a strong showing at the event and providing him with the motivation to participate.
“I’m really proud of my fraternity brothers,” he said. “Though we were one of the smallest groups, we were one of the loudest voices.”
Hill’s motivation for participating, on the other hand, came primarily from her experience with the showcase when she was a freshman.
“I saw the women onstage, and they just looked so inspirational,” Hill said. “They were role models to me, and I wanted to be a role model to others.”
She also noted that her brother, currently stationed in the Mediterranean Sea with the Navy, was a major source of inspiration and support for her, sparking the theme of her performance: GI JennaMarie.
Hill also admitted that her idea for the talent portion, an onstage “synchronized swimming” performance, came from a simple Internet search.
“I Googled talentless talents, and this came up,” Hill said. “I wanted to do something fun and make everyone laugh, so I picked it.”
Davenport, the homecoming princess, talked about her father, a lifelong Gamecock fan and USC alumnus, as a major influence both in her participation in the showcase and her talent performance.
Davenport’s performance, her own rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” which was presented as a tribute to her father, who died last year after a battle with cancer.
“‘Over the Rainbow’ was the song my dad sang to me when I was little,” Davenport said. “It was also the song I sang in the last play he saw me perform in.”