Students braved freezing weather up to an hour before Ultra Violet Live began for tickets in a line that stretched down LaGuardia Place. “This is nothing,” Tisch first-year Nora Lullo told WSN, brushing off the frigid air to support dancing duo Beatrice Mai and Katherine Shyr from Rubin Hall. By the end of the night, the crowd roared as sophomore Lorenzo Brondi claimed his $1,000 prize for winning UVL.
A culmination of 14 winners from preliminary shows held throughout the fall semester showcased their talents to a lively crowd and a panel of celebrity guest judges at the 17th Annual Ultra Violet Live hosted by NYU’s Inter-Residence Hall Council at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Trinity the Tuck hosted the almost three-hour event with judges including actor Alex Moffat of “Saturday Night Live,” comedian Marina Franklin of “Single Black Female” and actor Ryan Jamaal Swain of “Pose.” Together, they provided live commentary to each performer and the occasional standing ovation.
Moffat told WSN that he was “floored by the level of talent” that UVL showcased. Performances ranged from Jamaican street style dance to heartfelt piano ballads to earworm pop music. Chandra Xu, a pianist representing Carlyle Court, called UVL a “celebration of talent.”
“Pose” actor Ryan Jamaal Swain told WSN that UVL was both “a moment of rest” and “a moment of inspiration” during his busy life, having just flown in from Los Angeles for an upcoming project’s press release. The performers themselves have full schedules, like band performer Alex Gomez, representing Gramercy Green, who flew to London the next morning for a concert.
The act that took home the $1,000 Thomas Ellett UVL Grand Prize was returning contestant Lorenzo Brondi, who performed an original song with a team of four musicians who amplified his sound and electrified the audience. Last year, Brondi performed an original song solo, with only his acoustic guitar to accompany him. This time around, Gallatin sophomore Brondi represented Seventh Avenue and closed the long show with an ode to classic rock that ensured the crowd left just as energized as they were when they arrived. Brondi sang a completely new song with an electric guitar in hand and supporting instruments that included drums, a piano, a saxophone and a bass guitar, all played by NYU students.
Ryan Jamaal Swain commended the “genuine respect between each and every one” of the musicians involved, highlighting the “kick-ss saxophone solo” that made the crowd erupt in applause. Brondi told WSN that working with a band made his music feel “more alive.”
Lorenzo Brondi will continue to perform as a live musician and is planning to release his first record this summer.
UVL honored four additional contestants for specialty awards of $500 each, listed below:
Best Solo Act: Rachel Johnson – Vocalist representing 2nd Street
Audience’s Choice: Andrew Sun-Yan – Diabolo performer representing University Hall
Best Dance/Movement Act: Madison Couch – Dancer representing Goddard
Best Group Act: Alex Gomez – Band representing Gramercy Green
Email Emily Nicole Glass at [email protected]