Pitt student runner-up in Campus Superstar

Tegan Hanlon | April 3, 2011    

Dashanna Terry slowly walked on stage — her burnt-gold dress swaying at her ankles — and… Dashanna Terry slowly walked on stage — her burnt-gold dress swaying at her ankles — and firmly planted a mic stand in the center of the stage.

Then, with more than 300 pairs of eyes on her, Terry began to sing.

The Pitt senior belted Etta James’ “At Last,” her hands remaining clutched around the stand.

“Flawless,” said Eric Gold, talent manager of celebrities such as Jim Carrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

“You’re ready to go,” he said.

Gold was one of four people to judge the fifth annual Campus Superstar event hosted by Hillel Jewish University Center Sunday night, from which Terry walked away with a second-place title and $1,000.

Two students from Pitt, five from Carnegie Mellon and three from Point Park comprised the group of students competing for the title of Campus Superstar.

Four judges provided feedback for the singers during the American Idol-like competition, but the real decision lay in the hands of the audience, whose members voted using colored slips of paper.

The title eventually went to Carnegie Mellon junior Gillian Hassert, who won $5,000 for her rendition of “Down With Love” from the musical “Hooray for What!”

The other Pitt student who made it to the final round was sophomore Brendan Schatzki. He performed “This is the Moment” by Donny Osmond.

Schatzki, who said he didn’t get nervous until he stepped on the stage, is currently a member of Pitt’s C Flat Run a cappella group. Schatzki did not place in the top three, the only spots that were announced.

More than 300 collegestudents in the Pittsburgh area initially auditioned for the singing competition, but two qualifying rounds whittled down that number to 10.

Pitt sophomore Sarah Said attended the semi-final round at the William Pitt Union in late February.

“It was a great show,” she said. “That’s why I came tonight.”

The show did more than just provide entertainment. All proceeds — generated from $1 student admission fees, or tickets up to $250 for non-students — went to UPMC’s Children’s Hospital.

Pitt senior Grace Duffy, a Hillel intern, said this was by far Hillel’s most successful year selling tickets and advertising, although she didn’t know how much the event raised prior to the event and could not be reached for comment afterward.

Duffy described the competition as a fun event for students to attend, and students certainly made their presence known even from the third floor of Carnegie Music Hall — chanting, clapping and stomping their feet after their favorite contestant performed.

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