As a first-year, I had no idea what I was in for when I attended Champion of the Hill. As I approached the doors to the Pause on Friday night, I saw the line of people leading all the way up the stairs next to the stage and could hardly contain my curiosity. Finally, the doors opened and the Pause resembled the stampede scene from The Lion King. Students anxiously rushed in, hunting for chairs and places to sit with their groups of friends.

Soon, the stampede settled and the excitement of the evening set in. The lights dimmed, the chatter ceased, the MCs came out and the crowd went wild. The eleven contestants and their escorts were introduced, and the “newlywed game” began, which tested the friendship between the contestant and their escort. As it turned out, most escorts knew their contestant very well, so much so that one contestant, Josh Horst ’19, and his partner correctly answered the question: Where is Josh’s favorite place to pee on campus? The ansewr? The Natural Lands.

Already, the crowd was giggling and the judges were amused. Next up was the talent round.

For those who did not attend, you missed out on the greatest talents to be seen in St. Olaf history. The talent portion began with Eleanor Hastings ’20, the 2018 Champion, who kicked off the talent portion with Jimmy Fallon’s well-known stunt: writing thank-you cards. Hastings’ performance included shots fired at Carleton College, an immediate crowd pleaser.

The talent of the students continued to shock, entertain and confuse the audience as it included: a funny guitar parody, teaching the audience how to fold fitted sheets, reading aloud old diary entries, singing underwater, a comical song about roadkill, corny jokes, a stunning piano mashup and splitting apples aggressively and rapidly with the contestant’s bare hands. Also included, was a hedge trimming, metal detecting, singing performance and a steamy burlesque-like performance that got the crowd’s attention in the best way possible. Unfortunately, after the talent round, the crowd said goodbye to four contestants and the show moved on to its fashion show section.

Not only did the contestants nail their outfits, they rocked them. The outfits included a blow-up t-rex costume, a white robe and stole, a grandma hostess outfit, an outfit that included attire for any seasonal scenario and an outfit called “The St. Olaf Music Department.” This costume consisted of a blue bathrobe, a money sign hanging from the contestant’s chest like a cape and golden spandex filled with money and checks. After the fashion show, the audience said goodbye to another four contestants.

The final three contestants were Hastings, Horst and Blake Northrup ’20. Hastings, with her thank-you cards and granny outfit, definitely had a giant fanbase in the audience. Horst, could most likely be the next winner of America’s Next Top Model was also a fan favorite. Northrup, who, with his pastor-like outfit and charm had quite the sway as well.

After a quick round of questions with each contestant, the judges made their final decision: Eleanor Hastings would be the first female Champion of the Hill in St. Olaf history.

When asked how she felt after her win, Eleanor said, “I’m very shocked but also super excited. Three cheers for the first lady Champion of the Hill!”

Despite there being only one champion, no one in that audience could deny that all of the contestants were excellent contestants. For those who didn’t attend, be sure not to miss it next year.