More than 20 student performers auditioned in front of four judges and 150 of their peers in the Yvonne Theater in The R Factor, during Winter Weekend 2012.
Meaghan Haugh

One Competition. One Journey. One Winner. Who will have The R Factor?

That’s the question that the Office of Campus Life is posing to aspiring stars during its debut of the The R Factor, a takeoff of the FOX television show, The X Factor, featuring often blunt talent judge Simon Cowell. The competition, which began with auditions on Saturday, January 28, during Winter Weekend 2012, is designed to find the best vocal performers at Rider and is open to both solo and group acts.

“As a music follower, I have always been into The X Factor,” explained Nick Barbati, coordinator of Campus Life, about The R Factor’s origins. “It is not just strictly a talent show. Instead, we thought it would engage more members of the community, and that Winter Weekend would be a good time to unveil the competition.”

Fourteen acts, totaling 21 student performers, took the stage in Yvonne Theater to showcase their talents in front of four judges: Barbati, Dave Keenan, director of Campus Life; Karson Langenfelder, director of Study Tours and Conference Services, and Karin Torchia, associate director of Athletics for External Operations. More than 150 audience members watched as the judges provided the performers with feedback and voted on the acts that would advance to the Judge’s Decision Round.

Performances ranged from a capella and rap groups to guitar and piano players. Some students belted out renditions of Christina Aguilera songs. Others sang original compositions.

In the Judge’s Decision Round, the performers who advanced from the opening round were assigned to one of the four judges, who are currently working with them to hone their acts. The teams who are advancing to the finals on Wednesday, February 22, include:

Team Dave Keenan

Rory Connolly ’15, a Music Theater major

Jimmy Magrann ’13, a Communication major

Angelina Valente ’15, a Music Theater major

Team Karson Langenfelder

Whitney Wilson ’12, a Music major

Team Karin Torchia

Megan Scheels ’15, a Communication major

Serena Venditto ’13, a Theater major

Team Nick Barbati

Marrissa Joy “M.J” Chatman ’15, a Radio Television major

Erik Krieg ’14, a Finance major

During the finals on Wednesday, February 22 at 8 p.m. in the BLC Theater, each performer will sing once.  The audience will vote via text message to determine the top three. Those individuals will perform a second song and after that a second text-vote will be conducted. The person with the most votes will be announced the winner. The winning contestant will perform at Relay for Life on March 24, and at University Day on April 12.

Barbati, the recent recipient of Power Performers, Inc.’s Campus Event Planner of the Year Award, said organizers hope that The R Factor becomes a new weekend program for the Lawrenceville campus.

“We found that there is definitely an audience for this program. We don’t have to bring in big acts to campus to perform,” he said. “What we are finding is the real entertainment is in our classrooms and residence halls.”