As a consequence of continued school closures, Bowie Idol 2020 will be held virtually. Student Council Sponsor Kaylin Brett hopes that the event can act as a demonstration of the Bowie community’s strength and unity in this time of physical seperation.
As a consequence of extended school closures, several sacred annual Bowie traditions have been modified, postponed, or even cancelled altogether. One of the many beloved traditions that has been affected by school cancellations is Bowie Idol, an annual American Idol-style talent show that is put on by the Bowie Choir Department and Student Council. Bowie Idol has been a staple in the community since the school’s establishment in 1988.
Although students cannot go to the school building, Bowie Idol is still happening, just in a slightly different way. Bowie Idol 2020 will be held virtually, through videos sent in by participants and a live viewing party. The viewing party will be held on Saturday, May 9 and it will be a chance for all students and staff to vote for who they would like to win.
“My Student Council officers, who are mostly seniors, were very upset when so many milestone events were being canceled like prom, senior breakfast, and the postponement of graduation,” Student Council Sponsor Kaylin Brett said. “We need something for our students to look forward to, [and] we felt that Bowie Idol could bring some joy and happiness to our community and also show how strong our community truly is.”
This school year is Brett’s first year as the Student Council sponsor. She expressed that it is important to her to keep the spirit of the Bowie community thriving during this time.
“It is personally important to me that this event continues to keep Student Council traditions alive,” Brett said. “With the current climate, I believe Bowie Idol will provide something for us to look forward to.”
In order to participate in the competition, students will film a short video of them performing their chosen talent. The video must be school-appropriate and must be no longer than five minutes. Then, students will upload their video to a class in Google Classroom (code: xp2k34f) no later than Friday, May 1. Students will also need to upload a Media Consent Form that is signed by their parent or guardian with their video. Details for the voting process will be announced at a later time.
“We are still figuring out the best strategies for the voting process,” Brett said. “We will definitely publish it on our JBHS website and send the video out to the students however we possibly can.The plan is to send a ballot to the entire staff through email, and to our student body through Naviance. We are trying to figure out a way to do a virtual watch party when the votes come in, and announce the winner of the competition.”
Because of the physical isolation that all students are participating in right now, Virtual Bowie Idol performances will feature less collaboration with peers than traditionally. Participants are encouraged to make videos with multiple people; however, safe social distancing guidelines must still be carried out in the video’s production. Additional students must all be current Bowie students, have their own Media Consent Form, and be identified in the submission of the video.
“I believe the virtual Bowie Idol will not be as interactive as in previous years,” sophomore Malaika Beg, who was a competitor in the 2019 Bowie Idol competition, said. “One of my favorite parts of Bowie Idol is going up on stage and also getting to know the other students and hang out together as we are all stuck in the choir room for a full day.”
Beg believes that a virtual Bowie Idol could take away many of the fears that the live audience at Bowie Idol typically presented.
“If I was auditioning for the Virtual Bowie Idol I would feel more comfortable rather than nervous about the auditions,” Beg said.
Since contestants’ submissions are not live, there is no limit to how many times they can refilm and perfect their talent. However, once videos are submitted to the Google Classroom, they cannot be edited in any way.
“If any students are unsure or nervous about auditioning, I would tell them that for the first time in their lives you can perform without having to get up in front of a crowded auditorium,” Brett said. “You have the opportunity to create your video and perfect it. If you mess up, no one will ever know.”
Once videos are submitted, they will go to the Bowie Idol Committee of teachers, who will scan them for appropriateness among other things. The Committee will choose about 20 videos to compile into the virtual show.
“When finalizing the videos of the various talents, we are looking for creativity, uniqueness, but also impressive talent,” Brett said. “We are excited to see what different talents we are going to see since students are no longer limited to a stage.”
Beg expressed that she would rather perform in or watch the show in person, but she understands that continued physical separation is better for the community.
“I believe Bowie Idol is better in person because of the live audience and interacting with the stage,” Beg said. “But I do think that it would still be fun to see my friends perform virtually,”
Despite not being together in real life, Brett believes that Virtual Bowie Idol will allow the true talent and creativity of the Bowie community to shine through.
“I truly hope that this event will provide our community with happiness and make our community proud of our Bowie Bulldogs,” Brett said. “We need to show everyone how talented, strong, and amazing our community is.”