Mock Rock 2012: Lip-syncing tradition takes audience on space odyssey

Eight fearless acts will don their costumes, put on their game faces and take the stage for the largest lip-syncing tradition John Brown University has to offer on Saturday.

Junior emcees Allie Miller and Morgan Morris will be leading the audience through an outer space adventure for a Mock Rock contest that will be “out of this world.”

Austin Harms, director of Vibe, is in charge of putting on the contest. He said the audience could expect everything from musical soundtracks to mash-ups that cross decades, from today’s biggest hits to one-man shows.

He added that though the amount of preparation has greatly varied in the past, a lot of groups this year had done their homework before coming to auditions.

“This year we have a lot of people that are very intense,” he said. “They have everything choreographed and are just really on top of it. We have a lot of acts that look good already.”

Senior Amelia Klemm is leading one such group. Klemm said she knew by the end of August that she wanted to perform in Mock Rock.

“My sister introduced me to a certain song, and I listened to it and loved it,” she said. “I thought it would make a great Mock Rock dance and decided let’s do it.”

Klemm’s group of 15 has been practicing every week since the beginning of September, including twice a week practices in October. Based around a certain song, the dance includes a combination of moves from the music video, the artist’s concert performances and the choreography of junior Chase Sloan.

Klemm described the performance as “something that probably everyone knows and it has a lot of energy.”

“I want to soak up as much of the JBU culture as I can before I graduate, and Mock Rock is such an essential part of the JBU culture,” she added. “It’s a huge thing in the fall, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

On the other side of the spectrum, junior Adam Hodge is putting together his act last minute. Though auditions were on Oct. 30, Hodge did not hold his first group meeting until Nov. 3. Nine days before dress rehearsal, Hodge said his planning had consisted of an hour of emailing. But he is not worried at all.

“We have a practice tonight and then one tomorrow, and then one on Saturday maybe,” he said. “It’s going to be weird anyways, so if we don’t really have it all together then it’s just going to look sort of normal.”

His group of 13—or possibly more—will be performing an act Hodge described as “a petting zoo for preteens.”

Hodge said surprise and confusion make for the best acts.

“At the end you are still trying to figure out exactly what just happened, and you’re a little surprised by it all, too,” he said.

Somewhere in the middle of the preparation continuum lands junior Zach Linder’s group of 16. Though he has known since last year’s Mock Rock he wanted to compete again, Linder said he realized that the top-finishing groups performed recent, chart-topping songs.

“I decided that I needed to wait until around the time of Mock Rock or the end of summer to see what’s a good song that everyone will know and like and that I can put a twist on,” he said.

Linder’s group started practicing in the middle of October but made sure they were prepared for auditions.

“We took it really seriously just because we wanted to have an idea of stage setup,” he said. “[Auditions] and dress rehearsal are the only times you get to do it up on that stage, so for certain groups you really need to know what space you have and what space you don’t have.”

All Linder would say about the act is “you are not going to be able to handle it.”

Harms said there was no formula for a winning Mock Rock act. Sometimes the biggest groups win. Sometimes the most popular songs take the top spot. And sometimes the goofiest acts come out of nowhere and steal the show.

“During our auditions we make our own little mental lists of who is going to win, but we’re never right,” he said.

Harms advised everyone to show up early Saturday because the lines will be long and the show always sells out. Tickets will only be sold at the door for $1. The show begins at 8 p.m.

Hodge’s Tips for Creating a Mock Rock Act:
1) Don’t settle for your first idea.
2) Get a lot of people involved.
3) The worst that could happen is just to be humiliated for a night.
4) Choose music that everybody should get.
5) Run everything through with Danielle Keller, coordinator of student activities, before you go to auditions, or she might not let you do an act you really want to do such as dress like Destiny’s Child and sing “Jumpin’ Jumpin.’”
6) Have fun with it.
7) Do something crazy.
8) Push boundaries.
9) Make people question you.