Lip sync battle leaves cherubs speechless

Cherub Andrew Golden sings, "Girl on Fire," by Alicia Keys in lip sync finals.

Andrew Golden sings “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys in lip sync finals. Photo by Marc Chappelle.

All my parents’ money had been given for this: A five-week program at Northwestern University to become the best high school lip syncer in the nation.

It all started in the 1835 Hinman dining hall when Conor Gaffney came up to me and uttered three words that would change my experiences at Medill: “Lip Sync Battle?”

This was the moment I had been preparing for my whole life. All my years of education had led up to this. But first I had to choose the song. Should I go for a classic like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” or should I go for a current song by Taylor Swift or Rihanna? And then it hit me. There was one song that I knew I could pull off. A current, but classic lip sync song, “Love on Top” by Beyoncé. After class on the night of the battle, my headphones were in, I was locked into my zone, and no one was stopping me from getting to the next round of the bracket.

Aidan Berg and Ethan Fore both blew me away with the performances right before mine. I didn’t know if I could keep up. The moment had come for me to perform my song and I had butterflies, but one thought went through my head — Beyoncé would be relaxed and I should be, too. My heart was racing. I moved throughout the room and got the crowd involved. Everyone was clapping, laughing and having fun.

Right before the performance, I changed my song from “Respect” by Aretha Franklin to “Beat it” by Michael Jackson. Gaffney, who devised the battle, once again, outdid everyone, and I didn’t know how my performance stacked up.

Then moment of truth was here. “And the winner is … Andrew Golden,” Marc Chapelle said.

The lip sync battle on the boys’ floor had brought us closer — until we found out about our second-round matchup.

The girls’ floors had heard about our idea and it became a cherub-wide event. The rules were that the top three lip syncers from each floor would square off in the finals. I had to represent my floor in the finals. I couldn’t let my parents’ money go to waste.

I had the opportunity to represent the third floor one last time with a chance to win the lip sync battle finals, but I had some tough competition. The first floor had three girls who were a force to be reckoned with. The second floor had two more talented girls, Samantha Meade and Danika Lyle.

But I couldn’t dismiss my own floor. Gaffney’s passionate ballads could make the hardest man tear up and Brian Meller could melt hearts. To win, I would have to give my all. The best song for that was “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

Lia Baldori’s dancing and singing kicked off the show. Meade followed with “Uptown Funk,” boasting the upbeat energy that got her to the finals. Then Gaffney took over with his passion, putting on a show, throwing ripped-up tissue throughout the East Fairchild main lounge as he sang “Behind These Hazel Eyes.”

Then the game changed. Before her performance, Lyle did not know what song she was doing. But when she started singing “Stronger” by Kanye West, the crowd went wild. I had to follow her, and my song title was an accurate representation of Lyle. That girl was really on fire. However, I forgot about all of my distractions and poured my heart out. I ran around the room, high-fiving people, standing on a bannister, even hitting my head on the ceiling. When all the acts were finished, the community associates voted and the results were in.

“In third place…Andrew.” Everyone cheered and the guys’ floor huddled into a big group hug. Lyle and Gaffney came in first and second, respectively. The lip sync battle was one the most fun experiences I had at cherubs. It allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and brought the cherubs closer together.