Masked Mavericks take the stage

In 2019, another American reality singing competition series, “The Masked Singer,” was released to the public, only the competitors were famous people disguised in outlandish costumes. 

The FOX series quickly became a popular sight in the world of media. The Mankato state student events team took their own spin on the hit show by putting together the Masked Maverick event Tuesday at 7-9 p.m. in the Ostrander Auditorium.  

Student events team member, Maggie Driemeyer, conducted the event, intending for it to be more unique than any other singing competition. 

“I wanted to do a talent show, but something a little more elaborate than that.” Driemeyer said.

Of the students who auditioned to be a part of this experience, six were selected to perform in disguise. These included a Venetian mask, a jester, a duck, a leopard, a marshmallow, and a purge mask. The masked-up Mavericks were evaluated by three judges, professors at MSU Elisabeth Cherland, Thad Shunkwiler, and Douglas Snapp. The audience voted on which mask belonged to which performer by referencing a list of names with faces and music style descriptions on screen. 

The first to perform was the marshmallow, worn by MSU student Halley Weinberger. Weinberger sang a country tune by Carly Pearce titled, “I hope you’re happy now.” The audience roared with excitement and the judges claimed they were, “feeling squishy inside.” 

“It was such a cool experience,” Weinberger said. “The student events team was a blast to work with and they made sure we were supported and ready to perform.”

Following this, the man behind the purge mask sang “All of me” by John Legend. “I love a good tenor voice, and there certainly was one up there,” Cherland said. 

Right behind him waddled in the duck, who quacked to Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” while flaunting her vocal riffs. 

Next up to the stage was the leopard, who performed the song, “Put your head on my shoulder,” by Paul Anka. “I don’t know how dangerous Leopards are, but I would put my head on your shoulder,” Shunkwiler said. 

The last two to perform were the Jester, with the Olivia Rodrigo classic, “All I want,” and the Venetian mask, who stole the stage with her version of “Scared to be lonely,” by Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa. 

While the judges discussed the winning titles, MSU alumnus, Daniel Leon-Kit, presented an R&B solo that blew the audience away. 

Of the three winners, the leopard took third place, the jester took second, and the Venetian mask won first place.

Although the masks were in the singers’ way of fully projecting to the room, their vocals were authentically theirs. “I’m really impressed with the singers because on the Masked Singer everything is pre-recorded and they’re just lip-synching,” Driemeyer said. 

Between the interactions from the students and the masked singers, the event brought out a lively audience, and sparked motivation to continue this event in future years.

“It truly was a blast to get to be a part of the experience,” Weinberger said. “I was in my sweet spot getting to encourage other people and cheer them on as they sang. It was such a great night.” 

Future events such as a conversation with Josh Peck, AMC movie night, the spring concert featuring Iyaz and Nur-D, and second chance prom will occur throughout the remainder of the semester. Students can visit the student events team portion of the campus website for more information. 

Header Photo: Halley Weinberger (right) was the voice behind the Marshmallow in the Masked Maverick event. She was the first to perform. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

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