The audience screamed as David Archuleta took the stage at BYU’s Homecoming opening ceremonies in the Marriott Center Tuesday morning.
Advancement Vice President Matthew Richardson pretended to host BYU Idol, a mock of reality TV show American Idol. He introduced the three judges and invited the contestants, Tori Pence, from Divine Comedy, and Vocal Point onto the stage. They all performed, but the judges said they did not qualify as a BYU Idol.
Richardson then said there was one last-minute contestant. Archuleta walked on stage and sang “Crush,” his first hit single, accompanied by an orchestra. He then performed his song “Glorious” from Meet the Mormons, with the Cougarettes dancing in the background.
Archuleta came second in American Idol’s seventh season. He has since released six albums and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile.
BYU alumni activities chairwoman Charlene Winters told The Universe she arranged for Archuleta to make the surprise appearance for Tuesday’s event. She said she knew many students would not get the opportunity to see Archuleta perform in the Homecoming Spectacular shows Oct. 8-9.
“I wanted the students who cared enough to come to the opening ceremonies to experience that,” Winters said.
The BYU Idol performances concluded the opening ceremonies, which paid tribute to BYU founder Abraham O. Smoot.
Smoot was responsible for the construction of the Provo Tabernacle, currently becoming the Provo South Temple, and the BYU Academy building, now the Provo City Library. He went bankrupt in his efforts to improve the city, Winters said. “He absolutely sacrificed everything.”
The School of Communications held an essay contest where students researched and wrote about Abraham O. Smoot. Elder John H. Groberg presented the first place winner at the ceremony with a $3,000 reward.
BYU President Kevin J Worthen and his wife, Peggy, then gave an overview of all homecoming week events. They said they hope students will participate in these events and keep up their enthusiasm.