Rider University, Lawrence Township, NJ – Freshman English major Kamanay Belcher has emerged as the victor in Season 14 of R Factor with her captivating ukulele rendition of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
Belcher’s journey to the championship was marked by self-confidence and trust in her instincts. Despite receiving suggestions from others, she opted to follow her own creative path, which ultimately led her to victory.
The Rider University community gathered at Yvonne Theater for the highly anticipated R Factor finale. Eight finalists, chosen through auditions, were paired with one of the four judges: Vice President of Student Affairs Nick Barbati, Dani Knight, Heather Thompson, and Trevor Penick. These talented performers had just one week to prepare for the grand finale.
The evening began with a performance by sophomore voice performance major Sela McMullen from Team Dani, who put her unique spin on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” McMullen’s dedication to delivering a memorable show was praised by the judges, who also acknowledged her powerful vocal prowess.
Following McMullen was senior arts and entertainment industry management major Ida DeMarco, also from Team Dani, who performed an intimate rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” The judges were captivated by DeMarco’s ability to transform an upbeat song into something deeply personal.
Junior music production major Chuck “The Prophet” Wilmore, representing Team Trevor, brought an original rap to the stage that enthralled the audience. Wilmore’s energetic performance left an indelible mark, and the judges praised his passion and vision as a performer.
Sophomore arts and entertainment industry management major Rosalyn Tiangco’s rendition of Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes” captivated the audience and showcased her vulnerability. The judges commended Tiangco for allowing the audience to connect with her deeply during her performance.
Junior musical theater major Breanna Lemerise delivered a dynamic performance of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” telling a compelling story that resonated with the audience. Her powerful delivery and storytelling abilities impressed the judges.
Audience member Jennie Mae Sprouse, a junior music production major, took to the stage with her captivating performance of Lizzie McAlpine’s “Ceilings.” The judges praised Sprouse’s pure and angelic vocals, recognizing the effort and emotion she poured into her performance.
Kamanay Belcher’s ukulele rendition of “Crazy” left the audience stunned. The judges were floored by her unique vocals and expressed confidence in her future success as a musician. Belcher’s embrace of the song’s essence, despite its unconventional translation to the ukulele, earned her high praise.
The final performance of the evening came from senior global supply chain major KC O’Brien, a returning R Factor contestant, who sang Luke Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy.” O’Brien, known for rallying the crowd with cheers, once again left a lasting impression.
After the eight contestants performed, the audience voted for two finalists, while the judges selected one more. The finalists were KC O’Brien, Kamanay Belcher, and Ida DeMarco.
In the final round, O’Brien delivered a heartfelt rendition of Michael Bolton’s “Go The Distance,” impressing the judges with his authenticity and connection to the song.
Ida DeMarco’s interpretation of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” was slower and calmer than the original, showcasing her ability to make the song her own. The judges were wowed by her transformation of the song.
Kamanay Belcher concluded the finals with another ukulele performance, this time taking on Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain.” Her performance left the judges and the audience speechless, with the judges allowing the audience to define its impact.
In the end, the audience voted, and Kamanay Belcher was crowned the Season 14 R Factor Champion. Her remarkable ukulele performance and unique vocals captured the hearts of the audience.
Co-host Riley Mozes shared her excitement about witnessing the transformation of the performers in just one week and how the show had impacted her experience as a co-host. She praised the contestants for their growth and expressed joy in energizing the crowd for each performer’s act.
Kamanay Belcher’s victory in Season 14 of R Factor represents her trust in her creative instincts and the power of her unique voice, securing her a well-deserved championship title.