‘American Idol’ winner to headline Eaglepalooza
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 15:02
After months of anticipation and speculation, Southern Miss students learned Thursday that an American Idol winner and an R&B artist will be the two acts headlining Eaglepalooza 2013.
Elle Varner, who has been nominated for a 2013 Grammy, will perform before the most recent American Idol winner, Phillip Phillips, takes the stage.
“After everyone gave their input, we all agreed that whoever we chose needed to reflect the student body,” one of the Eaglepalooza directors, senior business management major Christian Myrick, said. “We felt that these two artists would accomplish that goal.”
Eaglepalooza, which is set for April 5 in downtown Hattiesburg, was moved to the spring semester this year in an effort to receive more sponsorship money.
Tim Wells, Student Government Association Director of Event Programming, said moving the event a few months back “most definitely” helped with finding more money to put on the show.
The budget for the annual SGA event is $81,500 this year, a big increase from the $65,000 budget from the fall 2011 show.
Wynde Fitts, Assistant Dean of Students, said last year’s event drew a crowd of about 5,000.
“I’m very proud of the work our team of Eaglepalooza directors has put into the event,” Fitts added about the seven-member team of directors charged with organizing Eaglepalooza.
Myrick said he’s hoping for a crowd larger than that this year.
“We want to be practical, but we are expecting a larger crowd this year based on the feedback thus far and these artists’ popularity,” Myrick said.
He added that SGA saw an outpouring of positive reactions when the headliners were announced Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve been fortunate to have received much positive feedback. While we have received some negative feedback, we are continuing to do our best to make this year’s show the best it can be for the student body,” Myrick said.
“I’m happy that a new and upcoming artist is coming to Hattiesburg,” said Robby Smith, a junior from Mobile, Ala. and fan of Phillip Phillips. “I know with such a popular name, we will bring people that normally wouldn’t come for the event.”
Phillips won the 11th season of American Idol last year, later debuting his freshman album “The World from the Side of the Moon.” It debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 169,000 copies, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Phillips describes his music as a jazz, rock alternative sound.
Elle Varner got her big music break after graduating from NYU’s renowned Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music in 2008, followed by a signing deal with MBK/J-RCA Records and Sony Music in 2009. Varner’s debut album “Perfectly Imperfect” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, selling 33,000 copies in the first week alone. Varner has been nominated for the Grammy’s “Best R&B Song” in 2012.
“I’m thankful to be a part of an incredible team to help make this event successful,” Myrick said. “It’s going to be a great time, and anyone who doesn’t attend will miss out on a very fun, memorable night.”