AUSTIN, Texas -- Last week, thousands of people descended on Austin's Frank Erwin Center seeking fame and fortune with the hopes of landing an audition for the hit TV show "American Idol". Pity the AI producers and camera operators who did not stick around the "Live Music Capitol of the World" long enough to catch an exciting night of singing and dancing - AKA "Texas Women's Athletics Team Talent Night" - which took place Monday night on the final night of student-athlete Orientation activities.
Surely, some of the UT women athletes might have been whisked off to the lights of Los Angeles to show their stuff to judges Randy, Paula and Simon for "Season Five" of American Idol. Then again, maybe not.
The 2005 version of the "Texas Talent Night" was one of the final events of the five-day fall Orientation period for the UT women's student-athletes. Monday night, all nine women's teams and coaching staffs (basketball, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field/cross country, and volleyball) gathered together to perform team skits.
The audience consisted of all the student-athletes, their coaches and staff members, who held up signs which were numbered "0 through 10" as a rating system for the acts.
Opening the night's festivities was "MC Mike", better known as Mike Sanders, Athletics Academic Counselor and Director of Career Development. As emcee, Mike warmed up the crowd with a series of (Aggi) jokes, which drew groans and a reaction of people waving signs with "1's" or "2's" on them. Not a perfect start!
Surely after Sanders' open, the night could only go onwards and upwards, and it did.
The skits were either musical skits with team themes, or parodies of a "day in the life of a UT female student-athlete". Creativity and musical talent ebbed and flowed as each team took to the stage, but the constant all evening was lots of laughter and the great spirit of fun, posturing and competition.
Two teams were singled out with awards at the end of the evening. The soccer team made a huge rebound from a year ago and claimed their first-ever Talent Night title, claiming the prize for "Best Overall Performance". The only team to officially start its season so far, the Longhorns soccer squad is rolling with momentum. The team won its first two games this weekend, with home victories over SMU and Auburn, and then took that momentum into Monday night's talent show!
The team, dressed alike, stood on the stage and sang a very clever soccer parody of "12 Days of Christmas", calling it the "12 Days of Preseason". Going through the trials and tribulations of the first 12 days of preseason, practice and travel, the soccer squad had the audience rolling with every new day of activities, trauma and drama that the team has undergone to date.
The soccer team upended the defending Talent Night champion rowing squad, which had won "Best Overall" last August.
Earning Monday's award for "Most Creative" was the Longhorns swimming and diving team. The team did a spoof on the comedy film and old Saturday Night skit "Wayne's World", which was about two slacker buddies and their local-access cable TV show. Monday night, the local-access TV show featured visits to the "set" by all the Longhorn women's athletic teams - with the swimmers and divers dressed up like UT athletes from the other sports. They "performed" and imitated the other sports in highly-exaggerated - and hilarious - fashion. Time and time again, the swimmers brought down the house with their antics.
In addition to dominating Big 12 swimming and earning Top 10 national finishes, there seems to be an abundance of musical and acting talent on the swimming and diving squad as well. They held up their image on Talent Night, as they were last year's winners of the "Best Choreography and Best Costumes" when they did their own interpretation of "life" to their musical idol Madonna's 'Like A Prayer'.
Until next year ... Or until America Idol producers and directors make another trip to our mighty city in search of new talent...