Girls, glitter and glory.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, over 600 girls representing each sorority's pledge class took the Alumni Memorial Building by storm in an epic competition of dancing in an effort to earn the title of 2013 Panhellenic Lip Sync champion.
Representing billboard hits from 2003, Delta Zeta secured the title of champion, with runner-up Delta Gamma and Kappa Delta captuing third place.
Freshman Ellie Sieverman, a member of the Delta Zeta pledge class majoring in advertising, said the key to the group's win derived from her pledge class' enjoyment during the performance.
"I think we won because we just got up there and had a blast," Sieverman said. "Sitting in the audience during judging, I wasn't expecting to win, so the shock just made it that much more exciting."
Through ticket and T-shirt sales, this philanthropy event raised money for the Junior Panhellenic's charity, Habitat for Humanity. The competition requires each pledge class to choreograph a five-minute long dance and lip sync routine to a mash-up of songs relating to an overall theme.
The competition was held on two nights, Oct. 23 and 24, with the final judging and winners announced on the second night. A panel made up of four faculty members and students judged the competition, with a special guest judge appearance by UT football player Michael Palardy.
The winner was selected based upon several criteria, including creativity of the dance, facial expressions, overall energy, costumes and crowd excitement.
Director of Junior Panhellenic Christin Maxwell spearheaded the event.
Her extensive planning included securing a location, designing the T-shirts and selecting the theme, which was Top 100 Billboard Hits, as each sorority was assigned a specific year from which to select the songs for their routines.
Maxwell said that the idea for the theme struck her out of the blue.
"Honestly, I'm obsessed with music," Maxwell said. "About a year ago, I thought that it would be cool to have a playlist on my computer of the top songs from each year and then I could go back and listen to all of them and it would kind of be like a little time machine. I was listening to that playlist one day and it just hit me that it would be a great theme for lip sync."
Freshman Jace McBride, a finance major, said he enjoyed Maxwell's musical time machine.
"The music was really creative in its mixing and editing, and it was really nostalgic listening to the music that was big when I was a kid," said McBride. "By the end of the night I felt like an old dude."
Chi Omega's fundraising efforts earned the sorority this year's new Philanthropic Award, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity. The sorority raised $1,356 for the charity through the sale of tickets and T-shirts.
By nomination, Delta Delta Delta took the award for best costumes, stealing the show with their black tank tops and leggings, teased hair, and silver glitter eye makeup.
Taylor Bergstrom, a member of this year's Alpha Chi Omega pledge class and a middle school education major, said a great deal of time and energy was invested in rehearsing for the competition.
"We rehearsed for about a month and a half, four or five times a week, for two to three hours each rehearsal," Bergstrom said. "We had to know every single word to the songs, and also go over the top with it. You have to shake your head and move your face around. It's basically whoever gets the most into it.
"It's very entertaining to watch everyone go crazy."
Erin Lewis, a freshman majoring in kinesiology and a member of the Delta Delta Delta pledge class, said that although the rehearsals were intensive, her experience was gratifying.
"We practiced for over a month, probably eight to 10 hours each week," Lewis said. "My pledge class had a very positive experience throughout the entire lip sync process. We loved our coaches, we loved our costumes and our music, and we just had fun spending time together and getting to know each other over the past few months that we've been practicing."
Maxwell said the event attendance was at an all-time high, with both nights completely selling out.
"Tickets went for $8 each, and we sold out all 977 tickets both nights," Maxwell said. "That may be the first time that we've ever done that. We had over $15,000 in ticket sales alone."
With such high attendance, McBride said he wished the event venue were large enough to accommodate the overwhelming support.
"A lot of my pledge brothers that wanted to go weren't able to because of how quickly both nights sold out," McBride said. "I don't know if it's possible, but a bigger venue and more performance nights would be good."
Reviving Lip Sync's original purpose, Maxwell restored the event's philanthropy component. Maxwell noted that, in past years, charity faded from the Lip Sync agenda.
"The main purpose of the event is to raise as much money as possible for our philanthropy, which is Habitat for Humanity," Maxwell said. "That money isn't just written and sent off in a check, it actually goes toward funding our annual All-Greek Build during Greek Week in the spring.
"... One of the biggest reasons why I wanted this position was because I felt like lip sync had taken such a turn, and in the past few years, there's been a lot of people who didn't even know it was a philanthropy event. I love philanthropy, so that's something that kind of broke my heart a little bit."
If the constant buzz of excitement in the crowd was not enough of an indicator, the $16,873 raised for Habitat for Humanity proved Maxwell's vision was realized.
Isaac Wyatt, a freshman majoring in supply chain management, said he observed a few different aspects contributing to the event's success."This year's lip sync proved to be an interesting mix of sex appeal and charitable work," Wyatt said. "While each dance has its own individual style and vibe, each sorority was able to work together to raise a generous amount of money for a respectable organization. I'm already anticipating what next year's lip sync has in store."
Maxwell said she was proud of how much effort and dedication this fall's pledge classes contributed.
"In the past, it's really gotten really catty, and obviously it's a competition, but sometimes it got way too competitive and just hurtful," Maxwell said. "I think that reminding people that Habitat for Humanity is why we're really here just had such a positive effect on the event."
From start to finish, I felt a much higher morale and such a great attitude from all the new members and I am so proud of them for that."The Junior Panhellenic has set a goal to raise $29,000 by the end of the year for Habitat for Humanity.
Lip Sync 2013 Comfort Colors shirts are still available for sale, and a portion of each shirt sold goes directly toward this goal. T-shirts are available for $14.50 while tank tops are $13.50.