The 2024 Step Sing performances will continue to be judged and awarded based on the new criteria introduced in the 2023 season. Previously, winning Step Sing meant placing number one as either a women’s or men’s group, and then an overall sweepstakes-winning group would take home the trophy at the end of Saturday night.
However, this format changed in 2023. Rankings are now awarded with a sweepstakes winner in first place, a first runner-up in second place and a second runner-up in third place. Various awards, such as excellence in choreography, favorite moment, favorite song, etc., are also awarded throughout the weekend.
Last year’s winners were Phi Mu’s 9 to 5 in first place, Alpha Tau Omega’s Saved By the Bell in second, and Chi Omega’s For the Thrill of It in third. This line-up reflected the past judgment style, maintaining equal representation of gendered groups.
This new style of judging is more popular among participants and observers alike. Alpha Tau Omega junior Marcus Little, a participant in the fraternity’s shows for the past three years, likes the new judging format.
“Step Sing is a competition against every other group, not women’s groups against women’s groups, or men’s against men’s.”
Caroline Tapscott, a sophomore audience member, agreed. “I feel as if there is no difference between the girls’ and guys’ groups in talent, dedication, and spirit. Each is uniquely capable of winning and brings different perspectives and abilities to the stage.”
Elle Brown, a junior with three years of Step Sing experience (having been part of Freshmen Ladies, Sophomore Girls, and participating in Alpha Omicron Pi’s show for the 2024 season) observed the positive impact of this style change on various groups.
“It makes people more competitive, knowing that you have to beat the other gendered groups,” said Brown.
Mitchell Drennen, a junior who has participated in Alpha Tau Omega’s show for all three of his years at Samford, pointed out the risky fairness resulting from these new placements.
“It puts everyone on an even playing field, but it could mean that you have a year where no girls’ group [or] no guys’ group is recognized on the podium for their efforts,” said Drennen.
Little agreed: “The new judging format is more honest because there might be a year where three women’s shows are the best out of everyone, and vice versa. Now that possibility can be recognized.”
The consensus is that this new judging format takes some stress off of performers and adds a fun new layer of suspense.
“It’s everyone’s job in Step Sing to go out and do their best and earn their spot on the podium, so the best groups can still earn that,” said Drennen.