The Last One Standing: Noel’s SZA Ticket Giveaway


Students congregate around the Oreo for Noel’s SZA challenge.

Emma Cahill, Co-Culture Editor

How far would you go for SZA tickets? Villanova student and Tik Tok sensation Noel B. Doherty put this question to the test on Villanova students this past Sunday February 26th. 

Junior Alex Tessendorf heard Noel B Doherty was planning on giving away tickets. Assuming that it would be a straightforward trivia quiz, Tessendorf began studying up on her SZA facts. When she arrived at the Oreo at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, she was met with a challenge much different than what she originally thought. 

Outside the Oreo, Doherty drew a chalk circle and offered a challenge to students passing by: whoever was the last person left in the circle would win tickets to a SZA concert. A seemingly simple challenge, many students clustered inside the circle, ready to camp out for the concert tickets that had been so difficult to obtain for many. Many had their laptops open to study, friends delivering them snacks, and a determination to last hours in the challenge. 

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Tessendorf said. “Noel did not tell us what the challenge to win the tickets was going to be. I did my best to stay as long as I could, but eventually lost a challenge, thus getting kicked out of the circle.”

These challenges, as Tessendorf alludes to, were unbeknownst to participants. In the circle, Noel B. Doherty had quite a few tricks up his sleeve to intensify the competition. In addition to the mental and physical strength required to stay in the circle, Doherty put together games to weed out participants. Freshman Lauren Armstrong, one of the participants in the giveaway, reflects on the different challenges she experienced during her time in the circle. 

“Through the process there was trivia, games, contests and twists involved,” Armstrong said. “In one round I had to sing SZA on a TikTok live in order not to get voted out. I was in the circle for a little over four hours and made it to the top 13 contestants. My friend Marissa Bastian and I were in it together and both tried to stay in as long as possible. We both unfortunately got out during the challenge of trying to balance on one leg.”

Despite their persistence to win, many others faced the same fate in Noel’s challenge. Another contestant who faced a similar outcome, sophomore Julie Soutter, describes her time in the circle. But even though Soutter did not win, she still cherishes the experience she had. 

“I lasted for around two and a half hours in the challenge before I was unfortunately voted out during one of Noel’s twists,” Soutter said. “Even though I had the opportunity to save myself, I chose to back out in hopes that my friend who was still in the competition would take home the win. I am glad that I participated because it will definitely stick with me as a fun memory, despite not making it to the end.”

Keeping everyone on their toes, Doherty describes his inspiration for the competiton.
“The challenge was heavily inspired by Mr. Beast,” Dohert said, “He has done videos where the last person to leave a circle wins a big prize. I studied and took notes on one of his videos in preparation for the SZA contest. I enticed them with lemons and money to step out of the circle. One girl got three lemons and one guy got $100.”

In the end, there was ultimately one winner whose perseverance won them a live performance of the hit album “SOS”. Sophomore Mari Beneti, who spent over, describes her experience in the circle. 

“I did not even know what the challenge was, let alone that I was going to win it,” Beneti said. “I was sitting in the library when my roommates dragged me to the Oreo and I just kinda went with it.”

In spite of this, Beneti stuck it out and was able to take home the win. Beneti describes her excitement after winning the challenge, and explains what she plans to do with the tickets.

“I do not think there is anyone in the world who is more excited for this concert than me,” Beneti said. “I cannot wait to share this moment with my two roommates, Mia and Maya, and my friend Maddi, who stayed by my side through the whole challenge. I could not have done it without them so it is very rewarding that we can all enjoy this together.”

To see how this challenge went down, tune into @noel.b.askin on TikTok to see some of the shenanigans that went down.