Vanderbilt Melodores win second place in UpStagedAID, largest virtual college a cappella championship in history

The Melodores earned $3500 for the Tennessee Education Association with their Ariana Grande mashup

The+Vanderbilt+Melodores+went+head+to+head+with+the+Harvard+Opportunes+for+NCPA%27s+UpStagedAID+%28Upstaged+Holdings%29

The Vanderbilt Melodores went head to head with the Harvard Opportunes for NCPA’s UpStagedAID (Upstaged Holdings)

Caroline Lingle, Staff Writer

Vanderbilt’s very own acclaimed a capella group, the Melodores, recently competed in National Collegiate Performing Arts (NCPA)’s UpStagedAID: One World, Every Student Voice competition. The group won second place and earned $3500 Jan. 18 for the nonprofit of their choice: the Tennessee Education Association

Per its website, the competition was the biggest virtual college a cappella championship in history. Over 5,000 college a cappella groups from around the globe applied to the competition for a chance to win from a pool of $10,000 on Jan. 18 for both their teams and a social justice charity of choice. 

The competition was formatted in a March Madness-type structure, starting with a round of 64 and narrowing until the final. Online voters determined which teams would advance through to the next bracket match-up until the final two rounds which were left to a panel of industry-expert judges. 

For their video entry into the contest, the group selected some current pop favorites—mashing up Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” and “no tears left to cry.” 

“We had a time limit on how long the video could be, and so that was one of our pieces that we thought was really energetic,” junior Melodore Danny Williamson said. 

With their Ariana Grande rendition, the Melodores finished in second place out of those 64 teams that started in the competition. 

“In retrospect, I think if we could have chosen a different song, we would have chosen our recent Justin Timberlake medley. And honestly, I think we would have won,” Williamson said. “But we were just working with what we had, and that was one of our favorites from the past couple of years.”

Other popular performances of the Melodores include their soulful adaptation of Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather” and an electrifying Justin Timberlake melody. Coming into the competition as the number one seed, Williamson noted the pressure their group felt to uphold their reputation.

“I definitely feel like we were sort of protecting our honor,” Williamson said. “At one point, we were matched up against Belmont, and so we had to show them who’s boss. There definitely was a little bit of a competitive edge, trying to make a name for Vanderbilt and define ourselves as a top acapella group in the nation.”

With 100,000 listeners on Spotify and a massive national following, the future for the Melodores as a top a capella group looks promising. With an album to come out around summer time and a hopefully COVID-free season ahead, the musical ensemble is sure to whip out some new covers in no time. Fans can keep track of their activity via their Instagram.