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Beelzebubs perform for MTV's "My Super Sweet 16"

Published: Monday, January 7, 2008

Updated: Sunday, August 17, 2008 13:08


Courtesy Matt Thomas

The Beelzebubs perform at the orientation a capella show. They made their first-ever MTV appearance this August on "My Super Sweet 16."

The MTV cameras were rolling as 16-year-old birthday girl Alexandra Post stepped out of her limo surrounded by an entourage of friends. To the tune of "Burning Down the House," a small man in a devil costume ushered her past the roaring crowd and down a long red carpet to what was sure to be the party of her life.

Such was the scene this August as members of the Beelzebubs, Tufts oldest all-male a cappella group, made their first-ever MTV performance - as openers for a party on "My Super Sweet 16."

The series follows teenagers, often children of the rich or famous, as they plan and execute outrageous and over-the-top parties for "their most important coming of age celebrations," according to The parties are known for their dramatic entrances, lavish expenses and exclusive guest lists.

"It was definitely ridiculous," Bubs president Doug Terry said with a laugh. "It made me realize that the Tufts party scene could be so much better."

The Bubs landed the gig through an alumnus, Jeremy Cramer (LA '00), who Terry described as "a Boston socialite." Cramer is a family friend of the Posts and helped set up their initial contact with the Bubs.

The Bubs' role in the party was to perform outside as guests lined up around the red carpet in anticipation of Post's entrance. The main performer at the party was the rock band Shiny Toy Gun.

When Post arrived, they sang "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads at her request, which featured Bubs singer Chris Van Lenten as the lead soloist.

"While people were waiting we sang a few of our usual classic songs - our staples," he said. "And then when she got there it was kind of awkward. She stepped out of the car, and we were given the cue."

"I'm not sure she knew what was going on," he added.

Bubs music director Alex Koutzoukis said the performance was hectic, but exciting.

"When her limo came up while we were singing, there was much more of a distraction - people were cheering for her and the cameras were running, and every 15- and 16-year-old wants to be on television," he said. "So we kind of got pushed to the side, but they still filmed us through the whole thing."

Nonetheless, Terry said the group was well-received.

"Tufts has such a big name in the greater Boston area, and a cappella is such a big New England thing that a lot of the kids actually knew who we were and were kind of excited to hear us," he said.

As for the party itself, the Bubs said it lived up to its hype. The theme was "seven deadly sins."

"She played the theme up by having a station for each sin," Terry said. "So sloth was personified into a group of massage therapists who all brought their massage chairs and were giving people body massages in the middle of the party. Gluttony was literally like this wall of candy. Greed, there were one- and two-dollar-bills hanging from strings from the ceiling. They wanted people to take the money from the strings."

"And for lust, there were strippers," he added. "Two girls and a dude, essentially dancing in very little clothing."

While it was expensive and impressive, the party was not exactly fun for the college-aged Bubs.

"If I were in high school, I would have died," Terry said. "For us it was kind of awkward. We stayed for an hour before coming back to Tufts."

Koutzoukis agreed.

"Once we got downstairs [into the party], it was kind of one of the most awkward things you've ever been involved in," he said. "It was a bunch of 15- and 16-year-olds grinding on each other to a DJ, and we were all basically afraid that if we even looked at them the wrong way, there could be a lawsuit involved."

The party was sponsored by Red Bull and was completely dry, though full of energy.

"It was like a high school dance with themed sections," Van Lenten said. "Maybe part of it is my jaded, 21-year-old college mind, and if there's not alcohol at a party I don't consider it a party."

"Though you could tell a lot of the teenagers had pregamed before they got there," he added.

Overall, the Bubs said they enjoyed the experience. While it will not be their first television appearance, it will be their first on MTV.

"It was really cool that we got that opportunity in the first place," Koutzoukis said. "Regardless of what the show is and what the exact exposure is, it's still exposure to us. We were on MTV, even though it was 'My Super Sweet 16,' we were still featured on an MTV show."

But Van Lenten said that while he was excited to perform on MTV, it wasn't as exciting as it sounds. "On paper it sounds like a huge deal. Television looks so glamorous," he said. "Behind the scenes, all the glamour is gone. It's just another gig. Everything looks shiny and bright on television, but when you're there, it's just a performance."

The Bubs said the episode will air sometime this season.

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