In a come from behind victory, Carolina Crown (1st, 98.25) surged ahead of the Blue Devils (2nd, 97.60) Friday, Aug. 9, during the DCI World Championship Semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. "Tonight was phenomenal," said Carolina Crown Drum Major Larkin Sharpe. "The run was a step up from last night for sure, and tomorrow we're going to come in even harder. I can't wait until everyone sees us in Finals." In Prelims the night before, .15 placed Blue Devils ahead of the South Carolina corps, but a jump from seventh to fourth in the Percussion caption, along with minor improvements in placement within others, helped them finish more than half a point ahead of the defending 2012 World Champion. "Honestly, I was startled by the audience's response during our show tonight," Sharpe said. "There are parts no one's ever responded to that really pumped them up this time." Blue Devils trumpet soloist David Reaver called the corps' Semifinals performance the best to date, but said they have even more in store for Saturday's Finals.
"Sometimes, people try to over-hype the Finals Week performances, but I think the key to having a great performance is consistency," Reaver said. "It's important to treat every performance like you're going into Finals, so today and tomorrow haven't been treated any different." The Cadets (3rd, 96.85) and Santa Clara Vanguard (4th, 96.50) maintained placements from the previous day, but the gap between the two was chopped nearly in half, narrowing from six tenths of a point to just .35. After Bluecoats finished ahead of Phantom Regiment in the corps' past two meetings, they both increased their scores to 93.05, leaving them tied for fifth place. Tied coming out of Prelims, the Cavaliers (7th, 91.25) and Madison Scouts (8th, 90.50) each improved in score, but the Cavaliers' .35 increase left them ahead of the other all-male corps, who added just .15. "Competitively, we've been sliding around a bit over the last week or so," Madison Scouts Executive Director Chris Komnick said. "I think the members took it as a call to arms to really focus and get some things cleaned up in the show, which they accomplished. They've really driven it home the last two performances."
Boston Crusaders' (9th, 90.00) score leapt 2.05 points since Prelims, allowing them to finish ahead of Blue Knights (10th, 89.35). A portion of the score increase was a result of not having a one-point penalty that had been assessed to their final score during Thursday's Prelims. "We had kind of a rough start this morning because of the penalty last night," Crusaders Drum Major Stephen Grindel said. "But we brought everyone in and we had a great ensemble rehearsal. The vibe was great coming into tonight." Spirit of Atlanta (11th, 86.40) and Blue Stars (12th, 86.20) rounded out the top 12 corps, who qualified to compete in the World Championship Finals the following day. Blue Stars narrowed its margin behind Spirit of Atlanta by more than a point, going from a 1.25 gap during Prelims to just two tenths the next day. "Coming into Semifinals, we just wanted to leave it all out there, because you never know what's going to happen," Blue Stars Color Guard Captain Kelsey Moe said. "We're excited and hopeful for our Finals performance."
Troopers (13th, 86.05) jumped ahead of Crossmen (14th, 84.85) for the sixth time of the 18 they've met this season. Though both corps trailed the top 12, Troopers finished just .15 away from securing a spot in the Finals competition, much closer than the corps' nearly two point margin below 12th the day before. Troopers Drum Major Justin Anderson called this season one of the most memorable portions of his entire life, saying the corps' production, "Magnificent 11," brings tears to his eyes. "The entire season has been an uphill battle after not receiving the placement we would've liked last season," Anderson said. "But the fans and DCI audience have embraced us since the very beginning. Our performance today was a culmination of the standing ovations every night and encouraging messages from across the country, even around the globe." Crossmen Drum Major Jordan Schock said that he is pleased with the Texas corps' season. "It's been a growing and learning experience since the beginning," he said. "We just hope we made an impact."
Pacific Crest (16th, 82.30) finished behind Colts (15th, 82.45), who improved their score overnight by more than a point. According to Colts Drum Major Kyle Lewis, the corps had its best performance of the season, demonstrating the connection developing between members throughout the summer. "20 or 30 years from now, no one will remember a drum corps score, but I'll always remember the people I stood next to," said Lewis, who is a sixth-year member of the corps. "Drum corps has made me who I am today, it's hard to say goodbye to a teacher like that. I hope people never take this activity for granted." Oregon Crusaders (17th, 81.05) finished ahead of Mandarins (18th, 79.75) while the Academy (19th, 78.20) jumped two places, finishing in front of Blue Devils B (20th, 77.95). Earlier in the season, Academy rookie member Derek Edous injured himself, but made an effort to keep up a positive attitude during the season.
"Last night, I marched through most of it, but I had to drop out during the show," Edous said. "I marched tonight, and it hurt really bad, but I thought about all the people aging out, and how it was their last show. I kept going for them." 2013 Open Class Champion Vanguard Cadets (21st, 77.70), earned the second-highest score of the Open Class corps competing in Semifinals. Jersey Surf (22nd, 75.40), Genesis (23rd, 74.65) and Spartans (24th, 72.85) all completed their DCI seasons at the Semifinals, finishing in the same order as the night before. Music City (25th, 72.75), competing in the Word Championship Semifinals for the first time in its five-year history, had more energy than they did in Prelims, as they left the pressure of trying to finish in the top 25 behind, according to Drum Major Matthew Carter. "This year was about getting over the wall of limitations and setting a new standard, paving the way for the next members," Carter said. "We really upped our skill set this year, and we were very focused. In the future, this corps will just keep surprising people." View a complete recap of scores from the 2013 World Championships Semifinals. View a photo gallery from this event on Facebook. Watch Saturday's World Championship Finals LIVE at DCIFinals.com. Contributing to this report: Christina Mavroudis, Jessica Skogh