Michael Simeon takes first place at 2016 Rebels Got Talent

Posted on Sep 29 2016 - 8:23am by Samantha Whittle

Wednesday night, the Grove was filled with ambient lighting, artistic voices and an excited crowd. Rebels Got Talent, sponsored by the Student Activities Association, allowed Ole Miss students to participate in a talent competition for a $250 prize.

There were many contestants who played the guitar while singing during the event. Michael Simeon, who sang a mash-up of four songs while also engaging the audience in his performance, was the first place winner of the competition and received the cash prize.

“I really thought there were some people who very easily could have won so I am stoked and it feels awesome,” Simeon said.

Many of the songs the contestants sang were pop or the ‘hits of this century.’ Some sang other genres and ages of music though, like Aaron Golden who sang “A House is Not a Home” by Luther Vandross. Although Golden did not place, he thought it was interesting to perform.

“I was very nervous because this is my first time doing something like this and it’s my senior year,” Golden said. “It was fun though.”

Second place was taken by Kolbe Alsobrooks with his rendition of “Volcano” by Damien Rice. Alsobrooks sang and played the electric guitar as his talent.

Lauren Cherep won third place for her performance of “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from “The Phantom of the Opera.”

The audience continuously burst into applause during the performances. Freshman biology major Bianca Martinez spent much of her time rocking and dancing to the music.

“I really enjoyed watching the people perform and express their talents,” Martinez said. “I think it is a good thing for them to do and for us to watch. [The event] was great and everyone did a good job.”

Some members of the audience caught on to some technical difficulties that were involved with setting up in between performances and the volume of the contestants, but still enjoyed the event.

“I thought that they were all good, but sometimes the guitars were too loud over the voices,” Maggie Cates, junior elementary education major, said. “I went [to Rebels Got Talent] because it is the first time I have been to something in the Grove like that and thought it would be fun.”

Many of the audience knew people who were performing, but liked other contestants too. Will Randolph, a freshman who is undeclared, knew Alsobrooks but thought of Wilson Moyer as his favorite since Moyer performed an original song. Randolph also enjoyed how the event was organized.

“It was put together pretty well, and I liked the structure in between songs,” Randolph said. “They promoted the SAA and introduced everyone well. They had good energy.”

SAA have spent much time planning events for the students to enjoy, especially during homecoming week. Jarrius Adams, Co-director of Entertainment, said that all of the performers did an amazing job and no matter what the results were, he thinks they were all winners.

“[Rebels Got Talent] was absolutely wonderful and the turnout was a little more than we expected,” Adams said. “This makes me very excited about the future events we do.”

To find more events by the SAA, students can look at the organization’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. Some students, like freshman international studies majors Jenna White and Ragan Ketrow, found out through Instagram and others found out through word of mouth advertising.