It’s not just Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper who make showstopping performances to the tune “Shallow.”
A North Dakota high school senior wowed not only those attending her class’ graduation ceremony but a much wider audience with her original lyrics, sung to the breakout song from “A Star Is Born.”
Sydney Helgeson belted out her “speech” for her 270-person Class of 2019 graduation from Bismarck High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, at the end of May.
“Tell me something class / Are you happy that today’s the last / Or do you need more / Are you ready to go out that door,” Helgeson sings in a confident voice captured on video. “It’s time to go our own way / No time for sorrow today / Go where your dreams go / We’re not far from tomorrow now.”
“Graduation speeches are a tradition, but when words fail, music speaks,” Helgeson said, introducing her song.
She hadn’t originally wanted to audition to be a featured speaker at her graduation. But she said her mother encouraged her and they came up with the idea of her singing rather than talking.
“Of course, you can’t get me to give a speech, but I’ll sing in front of these people!” Helgeson told local TV station KFYR-TV.
Helgeson said writing the alternate version of “Shallow,” which she called “Tomorrow,” came together quickly. She was inspired by a parody of “Shallow” done by Alicia Keys and James Corden.
“When writing the lyrics, I thought about all the things that made me proud to be a Demon,” Helgeson told Good Morning America, evoking her high school mascot. “Things like winning the state football championship and marble staircases in our halls. I tried to reminisce on all the moments that our class has shared together. The good, the bad, the funny — all the memories.”
She was excited when her school picked her to present at the graduation ceremony, non-traditional format and all. It wasn’t meant to create such a fuss, though, she told Inside Edition.
Thanks to resharing videos of her song, Helgeson’s “speech” was a hit far beyond the day-of crowd. Her own posting of the song had close to 38,000 views as of June 17 and has been covered widely in local and national media. Her sister sent the video to “Good Morning America.”