12 Strange, Unforgettable Moments From Show Choir Competitions

12 Strange, Unforgettable Moments From Show Choir Competitions
Photo: Glenn Korff School of Music
By Damon Brown

From dramatic fainting spells at Disney World to singers sliding right off the stage and into the audience during a solo on "Trickle, Trickle," the show choir world never seems to stop surprising us. It'd take far too long to list all the crazy moments competitions we've seen throughout the years, so we listed just a few of our favorites below!

1. Beach Ball Bonanza 

A giant beach ball-hitting contest invaded the Genesee Theater in Waukegan, Illinois, last year at a FAME event. About 15 massive balls were unleashed, and for the next 10 minutes, ear-splitting dance music pierced the rafters, as nearly 1,500 people batted the balls from the balcony to front row and back again.

2. Dad Fight!

Many years ago at a competition in Iowa, two dads from competing groups got into an argument that became a fight. While this isn't THAT crazy, they began using props from one group's show as weaponry!

3. 'Now Watch Me Whip...'

At Daniel Hand High School's first competition in Connecticut last year, the audience was treated to the entire judging panel doing the "Whip Nae Nae" dance (and not all of them were dancers), while over 1,000 students went nuts.

4. 'Left Shark' Steals The Show... Again

Kent State professor of dance Tara Tober was caught off-guard last season when the dancing "Left Shark" from the Super Bowl made its show choir debut. "It was totally outrageous!" she said.

5. Strip Stage

Geavonna Starr, a student from Appling County High School in Georgia, remembers a competition in which a performer tore off their rip-away pants during an onstage costume change only to discover they forgot to put on what was underneath.

6. Lay An Egg

In the early 90s, a prep show choir performed the song "Concerto For Chickens," which culminated with every girl actually laying an egg on the stage, as the audience watched... speechless.

7. 'No one is scoring your show'

Jonathon Dryland, the director at Marion High School in Iowa, remembers his first competition. As his nervous group was introduced and started performing its first number, "I saw our host approaching me from the corner of my eye. He walked up to me and whispered, 'Uh, none of the judges are here, so nobody's scoring your show.'  He stopped the music, and tearful young ladies looked at him, thinking they'd done something wrong. After assuring them it was not their fault, we had a good laugh and reset to start the show again. It was an incredible warm-up!"

8. The Group-hopper

Daniel and Terry Lapwing, former boosters from Burbank, California, remember a day when "We saw a girl perform in four different groups! She had unmistakable red hair and was a great performer. She sang solos in most every performance. We were jokingly waiting on her to come out in disguise and perform with the men's group!"

9. Too Hot To Handle

One year at Disney Showstoppers, the heat was grueling and reached nearly 90 degrees. During an afternoon performance, it proved too much for one brave young man. He sang and danced his heart out until halfway through the show, when he began staggering offstage and collapsed. As he fell, he unfortunately brought down a series of Greek columns that were the backdrop to his group's set (don't worry--he was fine!).

10. Steak Sandwich Start-up

The smell of great cooking was in the air at Iowa's Benton Invitational in the mid-1990s. The scent of… steak? Since the competition wasn't selling steak of any kind, the investigatory sleuth-work began. Before long, two "entrepreneurs" were discovered selling steak sandwiches out of their homeroom, courtesy of an overworked George Foreman Grill.

11. Stupid Human Tricks

The "Mo'Show" by Cedar Rapids' Washington High School became famous in the 90s for doing a take on David Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks" at its annual competition. Entries treated the audience over the years to acrobatics, comedy routines, celebrity impersonations, animal noises, beatboxing, funny faces, and other acts that actually defy description.

12. 'I ain't afraid of no tornado'

Kathy Silber of Herbert Hoover High School in West Virginia recalls one of her favorite stories from her early days of teaching: "Our first song was the theme from 'Ghostbusters.' Parents thought it was great that I'd added sirens and special effects, but I hadn't! Next thing I know, my drummer is screaming to tell me someone is running down the aisle waving his arms and yelling for us to stop!" 

In fact, two tornadoes had just touched down half a mile from the school, and Silber's group had to seek shelter during a 45-minute tornado warning. After retaking the stage, Silber recalls "We changed the words from 'I ain't afraid of no ghost' to 'I ain't afraid of no tornado.' A few hours later, we walked home as grand champions!"
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