By J’na Jefferson
The R Factor, Rider University’s version of The X Factor, has crowned its first- ever champion after weeks of auditions, cuts and constructive criticism from the judges.
On Wednesday, sophomore Eric Krieg wowed judges and audience members alike and won the chance to perform his very own concert on both University Day and at the upcoming Relay For Life. Krieg said that he was ecstatic over his win and disclosed what fans can look forward to at his concerts.
“I’ll be performing a lot of the same genre that I did tonight, a lot of acoustic sets,” he said.
The competition’s runner-ups were talented singer/songwriter freshman Marrissa Joy “MJ” Chatman and the vocally-versatile freshman Megan Scheels.
Seats in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater were packed, which stands as a testament to the popularity of the competition. Nick Barbati, coordinator of Campus Life at Rider, had a feeling that his idea for The R Factor would be a success.
“This idea was on the backburner for about two years,” Barbati said. “I was told to come up with something innovative and interactive, something that no other school had done before.”
Something he was surprised about, however, was how rapidly the news about the competition spread to all parts of not only the Lawrenceville campus, but to Westminster as well.
“It seems like everybody knows about it,” he said.
Barbati was also a mentor to some of the contestants, including the winner of the competition, Eric Krieg. The other judges were Karin Torchia, associate director of Athletics for External Operations, Karson Langenfelder, director of Campus Tours and Conference Services, and Dave Keenan, the director of Campus Life. Their job as mentors was to help their contestants pick songs suited for their voices.
“[Contestants] aren’t going to be the ones to decide the songs that are on their albums,” Barbati said. “Record executives will tell them, ‘This is the song I want you to sing.’ So the judges are helping them make the best decisions to make them sound great. We are helping them early on to choose songs best suited for their voices.”
The judges’ choices for songs hit every genre, from Broadway-inspired songs for finalists junior Serena Venditto and freshman Rory Connolly to soulful hits for finalist Whitney Wilson.
Barbati also released news that the next R Factor will hopefully be held during next year’s Winter Weekend.
“We are hoping to make it a Winter Weekend tradition,” he said. “This is going to be the new thing at Rider. We were also talking about switching it up and maybe doing The Voice of Rider.”
This idea would mimic NBC’s popular singing competition, The Voice, based off of the Dutch show, The Voice of Holland.
No matter what singing competition Rider students compete in, however, two things are necessary in Barbati’s eyes – there must be positive energy and a lot of fun.
“We want the students to be appreciated for their voices and their talent,” he said.
Visit our Twitter page at @theridernews for live tweets about the competition as well as links to video footage from the performances.