Freshman’s original music shines at showcase

By Megan Lupo

The performace of the Meghan Trainor and John Legend duet “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” sung by up-and-coming singer Daya, and R Factor season six winner Jo Panuccio was a captivating highlight of the R Factor Winner’s Showcase on Jan. 30.

When the doors opened, the Bart Luedeke Center Theater filled up for a jam-packed night of music.

A projector lit up with Panuccio’s music video for his original song “Follow Me” where he effortlessly belted out what promises to be a future R&B hit. It stayed true to what Panuccio’s all about — the music, as it was filmed in the woods with no over-the-top production.

The event moved from one excitement to another, as the man of honor came onstage as soon as the screen rose into the stage rafters to sing one of his many original songs.

Purple and green lights illuminated the crowd, creating a pop concert atmosphere.

Panuccio, freshman business administration and sports management major, wore all black with red sneakers, and stayed true to his R&B and pop sound. He pumped up the crowd with his energetic stage presence.

Although this was Panuccio’s first headlining concert, he moved around the stage with ease.

After he expressed his appreciation of the crowd’s support, two dancers came out wearing “Mind Over Matter” on their white tank tops. The vibrancy of having the dancers onstage added unexpected flavor to the show.

During the performance, Panuccio and the dancers beckoned the crowd to clap their hands, and the crowd responded enthusiastically.

Proving that he has a range of vocal talent, he slowed the tempo down, as he stood at the mic stand. Afterwards, he displayed his skill on the piano for his next ballad.

To great applause, he continued to express his gratitude by talking about what it was like meeting Big Sean and how he felt performing onstage during the fall concert.

“It was the scariest moment of my entire life,” he proclaimed.

In this moment, the audience did not only see Panuccio the performer, but Panuccio the young person, living his dream onstage.

To thunderous applause, Panuccio introduced Daya, who came out with such confidence that it was hard to believe she is only 17.

She launched into her girl-power anthem, “Sit Still, Look Pretty.” The crowd’s favorite moment, though, was when she sang her popular “Hide Away.”

After an acoustic performance of his song “Lay Next to Me,” Panuccio ended the night with the number that started the night off, “Follow Me.”

Blue lights shone onto the crowd, as they watched Panuccio sing his heart out for the last time. He received an immediate standing ovation when the song was over.

Daya came out to take a bow, as Panuccio thanked the audience one more time.

The crowd stayed on its feet until Daya and Panuccio exited the stage together.

“It was just a really good time, and I love doing college shows because I feel that people can really relate to my songs,” Daya remarked afterwards.

Whether it was the power ballads on the piano or an upbeat pop number, Panuccio and Daya brought the house down with their powerful songs.

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