Last year St. John’s held its first “Just Press Play” concert, which successfullycaught student interest anddrew a grand turnout. The performancesat the concert covered variousstyles of musical genres, whichattracted a wide audience. The mainattraction was obviously the headliner,the All-American Rejects,although the other performers, suchas the Roots and Nina Sky, also contributedsignificantly to the greatattendance. Hoping to repeat thesuccess again this year, the universityplanned “Just Press Play II” withrap artist, Ludacris, as the mainattraction. Yet, just two weeks beforethe show, this year’s well-publicizedheadliner was cancelled.
Proponents of the show, andothers as well, called the Universityon their announcement that the”Monologues” were too “divisive” tohave on campus while at the sametime inviting a famously controversialrapper to perform at the springconcert. Those who brought up thispoint were right in doing so, but wastheir objective really to get Ludacriscancelled? It seems more likely thatthe aim was to have the Universitychange its stance on “The VaginaMonologues.” Nevertheless, theadministration ended negotiationswith Ludacris, and the”Monologues” are still not beinghosted here.
When Ludacris was officiallydropped from the lineup last week,the University made a statement sayingthat they “are actively exploringother performing artists to headline.”Now, only a week before the show isscheduled to take place, theUniversity has announced Ludacris’sreplacement: Ciara. This change ofheadliner comes a bit late, and somestudents might not be willing toaccept the exchange. Many studentswere really looking forward to a performanceby Ludacris. To have himcancelled and then replaced in thelast two weeks leading up to thespring concert could leave some fansfeeling leftdown.
While Ciara is a big-nameperformer, she just does not have thesame appeal as Ludacris. If theUniversity had started looking for aheadlining act sooner, it may havebeen able to schedule a better performerfor a better price.
It is now the week of the concertand posters advertising the newheadliner are hastily being hung uparound campus. With Ciara as theheart of the concert this Saturdayinstead of Ludacris, it is doubtfulthat the show will draw as big acrowd as Ludacris would have.
The “Just Press Play II” is nowleft with two major problems leadingup to the week it is scheduled to takeplace. First, there is the factor of studentswho are angered by the loss ofLudacris. Some of the people whohad been planning to buy tickets andeagerly looking forward to the concertmay have lost their desire toattend. Secondly, there is the issueof whether or not Ciara will make upfor the loss of Ludacris. Whileadding her to the lineup will restoresome of the variety of last year, hername will simply not be big enoughto make the ticket price worth it for some students.