Hip-hop, movie themes highlight Air Jam contest

Lip-sync competition has its highest turnout in 10 years.

Afro wigs, tutu-clad fraternity men and cheerleader impersonators graced the stage Tuesday evening at a nearly packed Emens Auditorium.

After a delayed start and a opening act that performed twice because of technical difficulties, competitive acts began.

Greek, residence hall and independent organizations participated in the lip-sync competition. Homecoming publicity chairman Nick Zuniga said 17 organizations participated in the event.

"Air Jam is usually one of our highest student-attended events," Zuniga said.

The event consisted of 17 music and dance acts. Judges included faculty members and alumni. Faculty and staff judges consisted of professor Mark Popovich, associate dean of students David Fried and university college coordinator Jackie Robertson. Russ Lawrence, a 1994 graduate and Betty Mathew, a long-time Air Jam judge, completed the panel.

Before the competition, the opening exhibition act was performed by Ball State theater and dance students.

Music centered around hip-hop and movie themes. Multiple acts repeated the same themes including music from the Austin Powers trilogy, the cheerleading movie "Bring it On" and the pop group N*Sync.

One act played off the latest Austin Powers movie "Goldmember" and featured sorority women adorned in gold and a man dressed up like the movie's villains Dr. Evil and Mini-Me.

Cheerleading acts danced to 1980s pop music "Hey Mickey" and Blondie's "One Way or Another."

One independent group performing N*Sync's "It's Gonna Be Me" received a standing ovation from the audience.

Participants showed off their dancing, acting, and costume talents.

With flips, kicks and a roller blading man in a gold outfit, Air Jam entertained the nearly packed audience, which Zuniga said was most likely the largest turnout for Air Jam in 10 years.

"We had 2,512 people in attendance," Zuniga said.

The audience filled the first floor of Emens and at least half of the second floor. Students said they came to support organizations and friends, or simply for entertainment.

"I heard it was funny and that's why I came," sophomore Sarah Moran said.

Others, like freshman Jacob Jennings, attended for one act.

"I came to see the Ball State theater and dance exhibition," Jennings said. "I have no idea why so many people came to see this."

Junior Matt Heger came to support a friend.

"I came to see my girlfriend dance," Heger said. "I came to see a lot of good dancing and good competition."

Heger said he hopes all the participants' involvement paid off.

"I know these people put a lot of work into this," Heger said.

Winners were divided in three categories - greek, residence hall and independent.

Alpha Phi achieved victory in the greek category with their act "Swingin' Sisters." Shales Hall took the residence hall award with "Ball State's Finest."

For the second year in a row, an independent group with an N*Sync act won both the independent organization overall Air Jam title.


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