by Alex Feit
Before he would walk the runway in a pink tutu and prance onstage, senior Jonathan Kim had a few choice words to say to his competitors.
“The other contestants should have better things to do with their time than lose a competition,” he said. “I’m in it to win it.”
Such was the atmosphere of the Mr. ‘013 all-male beauty pageant Thursday, Jan. 24, in which nine contestants, seniors Billy Cohen, Ryne Duffy, Brian Goldfinger, Kyle Hartmann, Emory Holmes, AJ Johnson, Kim, Jacob Schwartz and Randy Tow, played the part of divas in the attempt to win two tickets to the senior prom, a plastic crown and the title of “Mr. 013.”
“It’s not just a title or crown,” said senior Jackson Wells on stage, an emcee for the event. “It’s an honor.”
‘It slowly grew into a more serious idea’
According to senior Mike Safran, 2013 class president, the idea for the Mr. ‘013 competition had been floating around for about a year among the class officers and advisers.
“We wanted to come up with a fun event to bring people together, so the idea of a male beauty pageant came up,” Safran said. “It slowly grew into a more serious idea, until we decided that we definitely wanted to do it.
“We knew it would be a better event to have senior year, as opposed to junior year, because it would provide a nice way to take some time off on a school night from all of the stress and have some fun with friends.”
After deciding to hold the competition this year, members of the senior class nominated their classmates for the Mr. 013 contest a week before the event. The class officers selected only the 10 seniors who received the most nominations, with nine eventually participating in the competition.
Schwartz said that he was surprised that the class had chosen him.
“I was pretty shocked, to be honest, to receive the nomination,” Schwartz said. “I was thinking—really? Me? Jacob Schwartz? That can’t be right.”
Some such as Kim, however, were not nearly as taken aback, having proclaimed that his selection for the honor of Mr. ‘013 was already predetermined by the universe.
“I knew that it was always my destiny to become Mr. ‘013, so I accepted my fate when I was selected.”
The two, along with many of the other contestants, said that they had prepared a great amount for the competition, indicating that the event was of unparalleled importance to them.
Kim said that he had “poured blood, sweat, and tears into becoming the most attractive man in the field,” while Schwartz said that he had “finally arrived at perfection” in selecting his outfit to show off and to make a lasting impression on the judges.
The night started off with a quick introduction by senior Madeline Murphy, an emcee, and Wells discussing the importance of the competition for the spirit of the year’s graduating class.
“The man who wins the vote of Mr. ‘013 has to be strong, mature, chivalrous, amicable, formidable, intellectual, serendipitous, good at math, a senior and in the Class of 2013,” said Murphy and Wells, alternating adjectives as they spoke. They proceeded to introduce the judges, which included culinary arts teacher Lisa McKinney, math teacher Rachel Mingos, campus aide Nickole Mitchell and Barry House secretary Karen Tobin.
Immediately afterwards, the emcees introduced the nine competitors, with the contestants posturing and showboating on stage as the hosts read their respective bios to the audience. Some contestants, such as Schwartz, wished the crowd to learn of his affinity for bagels and lox, while others, such as Tow, proclaimed his desire for world peace for the judges to factor into their decision making.
The first part of the event involved a fashion contest, with competitors one-by-one swaggering across the stage with their various outfits. Duffy, for example, wore a lacrosse outfit, Cohen wore a leotard and did cartwheels across the stage and Kim wore his tutu.
Next, contestants demonstrated their unique abilities for the talent section of the competition, which took up the bulk of the time.
Johnson, first up, wore a cowboy hat and sang “Your Man” by Josh Turner, dedicating it for the “all the girls who have ever poked me on Facebook.” He estimated it was 90 percent of the crowd.
Schwartz performed his rendition of a “Part-Time Model” by Flight of the Conchords, dedicating it to judge Tobin.
Goldfinger, dressed in a green-man suit in homage to the character on the television show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, played a jazz piece on a piano that had been promptly rolled onto the stage.
Holmes executed three food endurance challenges on stage: the “cinnamon challenge,” in which he tried to eat a tablespoon full of cinnamon without gagging; the “hot-pepper challenge,” in which he tried to eat a large amount of hot pepper without water; and the “banana-Sprite” challenge, in which he tried to eat several bananas and drink a couple of liters of Sprite without vomiting.
Hartmann, dressed as The Grinch, flirted with the judges as he sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” across the stage.
Duffy performed “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin on his guitar, which he said that he learned specifically for the competition.
Tow performed a formidable lip-sync of the Backstreet Boys classic “I Want it That Way,” pleading before the judges on one knee as he mouthed the romantic lyrics to the song.
Cohen opted to perform a dance routine to a remixed version of “I Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez, successfully executing the moonwalk and robot throughout.
Kim, imitating the YouTube video of “Epic Sax Man,” donned sunglasses and a Sixth Man shirt to play his
saxophone rendition of the song, moving his hips back and forth on stage in the process.
The judges then proceeded to ask the contestants various questions, with many of the responses being humorous in the spirit of the competition.
Goldfinger, for example, noted that his ideal date would be with Queen Latifah, and Duffy said that he would take Mingos’ math class if he could not fail at anything.
Tow, keeping with his ambitions to rid the world of all injustice, responded to the question “What is the soundtrack to your life?” with “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan, a song about world peace. Kim ignored his question of, “What do you think Victoria’s secret is?” by instead singing the overly promiscuous song “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men.
While the judges began to deliberate over the winners of the competition, the contestants all performed a choreographed version of “Gangnam Style” to the delight of the audience. According to Safran, senior Caroline Nunberg had taught the dance to the contestants only 20 minutes before the show.
“For the dance to have gone on without a hitch, as if it had been practiced over and over again, was truly fantastic,” Safran said.
At the end of the night, Cohen rose triumphant, shaking hands with the other contestants after the emcees placed the glorious plastic crown on his head.
After the show
Overall, the contestants said they had a good time in letting loose and letting themselves be wacky on stage in front of their peers.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Schwartz. “It was a lot less nerve wracking than I thought it would be, and I thought it was great trying to be as goofy as possible during my routine.”
Kim said that he “liked seeing how seniors could make fun of themselves” throughout the night, adding that he thought that the class bonded well together.
Safran noted that he was ecstatic at how well the event was run.
“We were originally worried there would be a moment where someone would forget what to do or where to go, but everything really went well. It very much exceeded our expectations for a first-time event,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better show.”
Mingos said that she was “laughing for an hour straight” while she judged the competition.
“It was a lot of fun to see the contestants put themselves out there. I would definitely judge again if I had the chance,” she said.
As for next year, Safran said that holding the event for the rising senior class is imperative.
“I absolutely, 100 percent, without a doubt feel the event should be held next year as well,” Safran said. “It is an amazing and unique way to bring the school and the seniors together for a fun and entertaining evening.”