Students show pride at Lip-Sync Battle

The annual lip-sync competition celebrated Hamline pride in more than one way.


Lucas Englin

The crowd anxiously awaits the start of the Lip Sync Competition

Nicole Ronchetti, Reporter

The audience gave a standing ovation at this year’s Lip-Sync Battle, after a performance by senior Aaron Buergi which closed with a powerful message of pride.

Buergi, who performs under the drag persona Erin Bougie and won last year’s competition, took out a rainbow flag at the end of their performance. The gesture moved members of the audience.

“I was about to cry,” said audience member and junior Dani Gulden.

An annual event of Homecoming Week, the Lip-Sync Battle drew an impressive audience that filled the forum of Anderson.

The competition featured a broad variety of musical styles and talents, with songs ranging from Beyoncé’s “Formation” to a song from the soundtrack of “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Judged by a panel that included President Fayneese Miller, the competition began at 8 p.m. and featured nine acts. The top three performances placed and received prizes.

First place went to Aaron Buergi, who was performing for the last time as a competitor. In an act that included cartwheels and splits, Buergi’s performance made a statement of pride in honor of National Coming Out Day, which coincided with the date of the Lip-Sync Battle.

“I am a part of myself on that stage,” Buergi said, adding that “drag is political” by its very nature.

After Buergi, the second-place winners were The Fresh Duo. First-years Miracle Etuakwu and Tyler Pham made their lip-sync debut to the song “I Need a Hero,” winning over the audience.

In third place was senior Tavia Tran, who was also taking the stage for the first time after being inspired by her friend Buergi.

“It was a really humbling experience,” Tran said of the event.

The competition was also rewarding for those who did not place. Despite not making the top three, first-year Bennet Kasten achieved a different sort of goal.

“All I could think was: ‘Oh my god, I did that’,” Kasten said. “This was the most fun I’ve had in years.”

Kasten’s performance on Friday marked the first time they’ve performed drag in front of a live audience, something they’ve been working towards for three years.

Kasten is already looking forward to performing in next year’s competition.

Along with the lip-sync performances, the audience was treated to interludes featuring Cultural Studies instructor Gaith Hijazin and Dean of Students Patti Klein, who were the MCs for the event, as well as a special appearance by Student Affairs, who performed to the Spice Girls.

The Homecoming Court was announced while the results of the lip-sync battle were being tallied. This year’s homecoming royalty are first-year Miracle Etuakwu, junior Carmen Danz, and Amanda Danielson, Teddy Keller and Oubeida Ouro-Akondo, all seniors.