Future Stars 2011 Finals Performed to Sellout Crowd


Julia Rampton, Claire Shorin and Corey Garff hosted all five shows of Future Stars 2011.

Melanie Langa and Amelia Deihl

Lauren Victor and dance troupe Mystical Methods (Peter Bai, Sander Bregman, Andrew Choe and Yusef Houamed) won Future Stars 2011 on Saturday night.

There were too many glowing cell phones to count. Normally nuisances in crowded auditoriums, tonight they enhanced the atmosphere. As Ari Axelrod sung “This Is the Night” the 1600 people packing Pioneer’s Schreiber Auditorium swayed in unison.

Future Stars 2011 finished strong. The fifth and final show was performed to a sellout crowd. This event combined 12 finalists—three each from the four preliminary shows—with three wildcard judges’ picks. In addition, the Rising Stars, an ensemble that sang at each of the shows but was not judged, added two more numbers. Finally, the show’s directors gave guest performances to round out the evening.

The Rising Stars perform "Billionaire."

The directors of show are all students at the University of Michigan and Pioneer alums. Dorothy Yarrington has come full circle, from winning Future Stars in 2008 to directing the show in 2011.

“It is always great to see the new talent that comes up. When I was a senior there were freshmen who were in Rising Stars and now it’s fun to see them be Future Stars. That is what I like most about it, seeing how amazing everyone has become,” said Yarrington.

Helping the 2011 Future Stars prepare their pieces has caused Yarrington look back to her days at Pioneer and her experiences on the Schreiber stage. “Giving a few comments made me remember when I was performing and how nervous I was on stage and for me to be able to help people it felt great,” she said.

Yarrington, who sung “Firework” by Katy Perry as a guest performance, thought that the show went well overall. “It was great. There is so much talent this year. There was a lot of versatility and the audience loved it,” she said.

Before the finalists began, the full cast of Future Stars performed a medley of Queen’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “We Will Rock You” followed by the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Got A Feeling.”

Julia Rampton, Claire Shorin and Corey Garff hosted all five shows of Future Stars 2011.

Community High student finalists were Eliza Stein who sung “Forget You” popularized by Cee Lo Green, Hank Miller with “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble and “Misery” by Maroon 5 and Carly Paul-Baird performing Jay-Z’s  “Empire State of Mind.”

Three judges critiqued each performance and eventually chose five potential winners. Roger LeLievre, music writer for annarbor.com, Matthew Altruda, host of the radio show Tree Town Sound on 107.1 and Nora Menken, a senior studying musical theater at The University of Michigan were all judges.

The five acts picked by the judges to be in contention for the win were Ari Axelrod’s performance of “This Is the Night,” “Misery” performed by Schuyler Robinson, Russell Norris, Ray Hong, Hank Miller and Gabe Novak, Mai Jammeh’s perfomance of “I Never Loved A Man,” Lauren Victor’s performance of “I Will Survive” and the dance troupe Mystical Methods’ choreography to a remix of Kid Cudi’s “Day and Night.”

Eliza Stein waits to hear comments from the judges.

The winners were chosen by the audience. The applause for each chosen contestant was recorded and the performer with the loudest applause was declared the winner. As in past years, there was a tie for first place. Both Lauren Victor and Mystical Methods (made up of  Peter Bai, Sander Bregman, Andrew Choe and Yusef Houamed) were winners.

Mystical Methods was announced first and the audience waited with baited breath for the name of the final winner.

“Oh my God. It was antagonizing. I just wanted to say to them ‘Hurry up who is it!’ It was the worst thing in the world to just stand there and listen to them finish and not hear your name. It was horrible. But then, it is relief,” said Victor of waiting for her name to be called. Once the suspense was over Victor could enjoy herself much more. “I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride… It is the greatest feeling in the world. I actually didn’t think it was going to happen. There were so many great people,” she said.

Victor believes her performance in the finals was enhanced by the support she felt from those around her. “I feel like I put a lot more in it tonight. I talked with my mom on the phone right before I went on and she was like ‘This

Hank Miller and four others perform "Misery" by Maroon 5.

is your last shot.’ And actually my grandmother just died so this is all for her. I feel like I had a lot more behind it… I just went out there and did it.”

Watch Lauren Victor perfrom “I Will Survive.”


Watch Mystical Methods perform an original dance to a remix of “Day and Night” by Kid Cudi.


Watch the full cast of Future Stars perform “We Will Rock You” by Queen.


Watch Eliza Stein perform “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green.


Watch Carly Paul-Baird perform “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” by Alicia Keys.


Watch Ari Axelrod perfrom “This Is the Night” by Clay Aiken.


Watch Mai Jammeh perform “I Never Loved A Man” by Aretha Franklin.


Watch Dorothy Yarrington perform “Firework” by Katy Perry.