Before his debut on MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino said he was a big dreamer, much like the contestants on YOBI.tv.
“(Many people) dream of doing what you love,” he said. “YOBI.tv gives regular people a chance.”
On Friday, YOBI.tv, a user-generated website that holds talent contests, invited the public to become part of a live audience from noon to 6 p.m. at Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre during the shoot of its new web series “New Stage,” featuring Sorrentino.
YOBI.tv allows photographers, singers, filmmakers, comedians and actors to submit samples of their work to the website. Viewers then vote for their favorite artist entries, and contest winners receive positions as part of the cast or crew in YOBI.tv’s web series.
Filmed at Wharton, “New Stage” features the winners of season four contests in a spoof of TV talent shows, such as “American Idol.” Sorrentino plays the role of Angel Adonis, a hip-hop star and lead judge for the fake competition, alongside ditzy blonde judge Lola and British judge Rufus Middleton, played by contest winners Ashley Gerke and Ben Green.
During the shoot, the talent competition contestants performed to their own music, and audience members, including MSU students, stood in the rows of the theater. Audience members were instructed to clap and cheer for the performers and were filmed for the web series.
Social work junior Lindsey Wilkinson, who stood in the front row of the live audience, enjoyed her experience on the set.
“It’s nice to see how they do everything behind the scenes,” she said. “Being a part of (the audience) is really cool.”
Several times between takes, Sorrentino said, “Go green!” into his microphone, and MSU students in the audience automatically replied, “Go white!” YOBI.tv’s CEO Dianne Victor said the actor definitely brought something special to the shoot.
“He’s got a big personality,” she said. “He walks on the set, starts ad-libbing and brightens up the room.”
Premedical sophomore Lindsie Brown said the MSU students YOBI.tv used to help with the shoot took their job seriously.
“They’re handling it very professionally,” she said.
Victor said negotiations with MTV and having to work within Sorrentino’s tight schedule led to the decision to film in Michigan.
Although YOBI.tv advertised its arrival, many students were surprised by Sorrentino’s campus visit — including some of Wharton’s staff.
“I didn’t even know until this morning Mike was going to be here,” said packaging senior Jackie Doroshewitz, who works at Wharton. “This is definitely one of the more unique events while I’ve been here.”
As for their experiences at MSU, members of the cast and crew of “New Stage” were impressed.
“I’ve never seen so much school spirit,” Evans said.
During his visit at MSU, Victor said Sorrentino was surprised by his fan base on campus.
“He was overwhelmed — all the coaches and basketball teams wanted to meet him,” she said. “He said he didn’t want to be a bother and was humbled he got to meet them.”