Story by Brianna Willis, Staff writer
Travis Whitlow, senior from Mayfield, Kentucky, was waiting for Todrick Hall at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the CFSB center, an hour and a half before the event was set to begin. Dressed in a unicorn onesie and shoes fashioned after Hall’s Teddy Bear backpack, Whitlow said he was excited to see Hall perform.
“Years ago, I was introduced to Todrick Hall with Toddy’s World,” he said.
“Toddy’s World” are a few videos Hall has uploaded to YouTube since joining the website in 2006. Now, he has more than 1.7 million subscribers and 242 million views. He also appeared on the ninth season of “American Idol” and made it to the semi-finals.
Superfan Ashlyn Smith, a student at Henderson Community College, said she has been in love with Hall for years. She drove more than two hours to attend the show. Smith said she has several friends who attend Murray State, who she says texted her the second they found out he was coming.
“I found out about him a couple of years ago,” she said. “I’m a huge Disney nerd and so one of his Disney videos led to another one, and another, and now here we are.”
This is the story for many Hall fans who stormed the CFSB Center to try and get a front row seat to the performance. When doors opened at 7 p.m., people flooded into the room, climbing over rows for a prime seat.
Hall’s mass appeal drew in a diverse crowd, as people from all races and ages came out to see him and hear his main point “own your brand,” which included eight tips for the audience.
“People can tell when you’re not authentic,” he said. “Since my time on ‘American Idol’ I have committed to being myself 100 percent and I have been much happier.”
In an effort to bring happiness to Murray State, he showed a series of video clips from notable people such as President Barack Obama, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, television personality Tim Gunn and more, with the theme being “it gets better.”
“I want you to know you are loved, and so loved, the world would not be the same without you,” he said.
While the show had its serious moments and heartfelt lyrics, including a rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” Hall kept the energy up the entire show.
While Hall interacted with the audience and asked questions without missing a beat, fans responded back to him enthusiastically, calling out, “I love you, Todrick!” Two students even joined Hall on stage in a fierce dance to “Twerking in the Rain,” Hall’s twist on “Dancing in the Rain.”
The show was topped off with a Q&A, a watch party of the episode of his show, “Todrick,” and a meet and greet.