By Lev Simon
EAST GREENWICH, RI- For the first time in two years, International Idol will grace the stage in the East Greenwich High School auditorium. For the uninitiated, International Idol is a singing and dancing competition held amongst the language classes of East Greenwich High School. Each class chooses a song written and performed in their language of study. Then, they have roughly two weeks of in-school time to create and perfect choreography and costumes. Everything culminates on one night, during which each class performs their act to a panel of teacher judges.
A number of factors go into each act’s score. Most important, though, are the quality of dance and the quality of song. To determine the winning act, judges look for a clean and original dance, as well as sustained singing from the act’s members.
The Latin program is given a small exception in the song selection process– due to the lack of contemporary Latin music, those classes are instead allowed to translate a modern English song into Latin, and then perform it. In fact, the Latin students did just this in 2015, when they performed a translated Circle of Life to a packed auditorium. Their expressive interpretation of the classic Disney song was awarded first place in that year’s Idol, the first time a Latin class has ever won the entire competition.
Last year, the usually annual Idol was cancelled as a protest. At the time, the teachers’ union and the East Greenwich School Committee were engaged in a heated salary negotiations. As teachers strikes are forbidden by Rhode Island law, the union instead turned to a strategy known as work-to-rule. Under work-to-rule, teachers fulfill their most basic contractual obligations, but sharply curtail all other activities, including staying after school, writing letters of recommendation, and, at least last year, hosting International Idol.
Now that the salary dispute has been resolved, though, the International Idol is back on track to run in 2018. Students are delighted by the turn of events. After last year’s surprise cancellation, some EGHS kids were concerned that International Idol would never run. “I was concerned that they would never run it again,” says Stephanie Chow ‘18. “I’m sure it’s an expensive and time-consuming event for them to run.”
The hosts this year will be Johnny Podraza ‘18, representing Spanish, Cole Campbell ‘18, representing Latin, and Lev Simon ‘18, representing French. International Idol is scheduled for Thursday, March 8th, at 6:30 pm.