Fake Singing, Real Laughing

Lip Sync contestants included Cameron Rishland, Newman Becker and Steve Martinez.

Lip Sync contestants included Cameron Rishland, Newman Becker and Steve Martinez.


What makes the Payson Lip Sync Contest such an amusing, entertaining and lively event?

Could it be the song choices?

The participants?

The props?

The scholarship?

For the 2014 judges, it was the overall drama of the acts.

“There were individuals that were good every year, but this year had the strongest group,” said Nancy Landino a judge and attendee of all six Lip Sync Contests. Fellow judges included the winner of the original Lip Sync six years ago, Troy Wyland, Victoria Graham, Fred Carpenter and Melissa Hamilton.

Hundreds of people crowded into the Payson High School Auditorium to laugh, clap and tear up while helping local service organizations raise money for scholarships. Mostly high school student performers flung themselves into hit songs, golden oldies and Broadway tunes — often with seemingly professional choreography and headlong enthusiasm.

The first place for a traditional act went to Sierra Ramos who lip synced to a Miley Cyrus song, “Party in the USA,” while dancing intricate steps and mouthing the words in perfect sync.

For comedy, Brad Guyton swept away the competition with a hilarious interpretation of the quirky song “What Does the Fox Say?”

He creatively cast himself as a crazy professor including wild hair and a white beard covered in calculations all surrounding the question, “What Does the Fox Say?” For added cuteness, he crooned to a stuffed fox, but emcee John Landino wondered about his act.

“Very obviously Brad needs help — he has attachments to small furry things,” he said.

Second place overall went to Elle Lablanc for her perky sync of “Don’t Rain on my Parade” from the musical “Funny Girl,” on a stage decorated with a bench and street lamp and a costume that included bright red boots to accent her umbrella and rain hat.

Third place overall went to Larissa Popke for her crazy characterization of an insane asylum future resident syncing “They’re Coming to Take Me Away.” The song tells the story of a dog owner’s decent into insanity after the dog abandons him after years of supposed perfect care.

The coveted Audience Choice Award went to Leah Braham and Cody Rislund for their haunting enactment of the duet, “Say Something I’m Giving Up On You,” set up as a lover’s goodbye on a park bench. They punctuated the tragic words with longing looks, tender embraces and intense hugs.

Many in the audience had to wipe a tear because of their performance. The show’s quality almost made the audience forget its purpose: raising money for scholarships. The Rim Country Optimist Club, Payson Rotary Club Foundation, the Modified Motorcycle Associa­tion and American Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education sponsored the event, which raised more than $1,000 for the students who participated.


Opening Act:

We’re All In This Together – Jr. Thespians

Act 1

  1. The Ballad of Mona Lisa – Devon Marcus

  2. Anyway You Want It – Elijah Werner, Nathan Crane

  3. Say Something I’m Giving Up On You – Leah Braham, Cody Rislund

  4. Don’t Rain on My Parade – Elle Lablanc

  5. Love – Emily Blakley, Kelli Kimbrell

  6. Say No More – Ty Braham

  7. Popular – Lindsay Popke, Hannah Welker

Act 2

  1. Daddy Come Home – Zoia Brouwer

  2. If I had a Million Dollars – Cameron Rislund, Newman Becker, Steven Martinez

  3. Eye of the Tiger – Caleb Barton

  4. What Does the Fox Say? – Brad Guyton

  5. They’re Coming to Take Me Away – Larissa Popke

  6. Party in the USA – Sierra Ramos

Teacher Act:

Drive My Car – The Payson Education Center


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