Cyclones took the stage Wednesday evening to showcase their skills at CyFactor, Iowa State’s student variety show.
CyFactor is a little different from more traditional homecoming festivities. CyFactor gives students the opportunity to showcase their talent at an all-inclusive variety show, which is similar to the "X Factor" competition television show. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to sing, dance, try stand-up or play an instrument, all acts are welcome to audition.
This event is one of Iowa State’s longest-standing Homecoming traditions, made possible by the Student Alumni Association.
“The reason this event began was to have something that really showcased student talent, a little different from Yell Like Hell — where it is more about stomping, screaming — CyFactor is auditioned for, and a single victor is selected,” said Chandra Bolin, senior in marketing and Homecoming co-director.
CyFactor auditions were held Oct. 8, and 15 acts auditioned. Of the 15, five were selected to perform in the final round Wednesday evening at the M-Shop. All of the acts selected this year were vocalists, either solo performers or duets.
Julie Brissette, sophomore in animal ecology, was the first vocalist to take the stage Wednesday evening. She covered the song “At Last” by Etta James. She had friends in the audience who were there to support her as well.
“Julie did amazing, and we’re here to support her,” said Danielle Jarosz, sophomore in communication studies.
The performances consisted of original songs, solo covers and an acapella ensemble.
The winner of CyFactor is decided upon by three judges based on a points system. The three judges are faculty members who were asked to volunteer for any of the Homecoming events on campus. The judges took about 15 minutes to come to a decision, which was not an easy one.
“They’re all very talented and they’re all wonderful; it’s always difficult to make a decision like this.” said John Flemming, an Iowa State alumnus and one of the three judges.
Acapella ensemble Hymn and Her took third place, Adam Kukielski, freshman in industrial engineering, took second place, and first place went to Zareon.
Using the pseudonym Zareon, Mason Weh, senior in liberal studies, sang and performed "Surefire" by John Legend on the piano, which secured him first place.
Weh will have the opportunity to perform at the Homecoming pep rally Friday evening. He is planning on performing, but said he's still shocked to have taken first place. Weh said he had his friends to thank for motivating him to audition for Cy-Factor in the first place.
“A couple of my friends said, ‘dude, you’re really talented,’ and I just decided I was gonna do it,” Weh said.