Mr. Blazer contest delivers a night of talent and fun


April 20, 2004, midnight | By Feza Kikaya | 16 years, 6 months ago

Anticipiated annual competition is a hit


Blair's Mr. Blazer competition, consisting of eight contestants, began about a half hour after the ladies' Ms. Blazer contest concluded, attracting a greater crowd in the auditorium than its counterpart on April 16.

Members of the senior class—President Lynn Favin, Vice President Ayo Cole, Secretary Martha Gould and Treasurer Isatta Mansaray—hosted this year's competition. All four students brought energy and liveliness to the stage in presenting the finalists and calming the sometimes rowdy crowd.

Blair staff members Lansing Freeman, Michael Horne, Cindy Villavicencio and Julia Smrek were introduced as the judges of the evening's event. The recently crowned Ms. Blazer, senior Brittany Ruffin, as well as the previous Mr. Blazer, graduate Alex Lo, made an appearance on stage and received a positive response from the audience, kicking off the evening's event.

The show began with the interview portion of the competition, in which each male was required to march on stage with an escort and tell her his best pick-up line. Each contestant was then required to name three items that he would bring if he were shipwrecked on an island and three characteristics that he believes the ideal Mr. Blazer should possess.

Senior Alan Coleman was first, immediately catching the eager audience's attention as he strutted on stage in a black suit while carrying a blazer over his shoulder. Coleman was accompanied by senior SGA President Denise Sylla, who wore a figure-fitting dress. The long peacock feather in Coleman's hat further attracted the crowd's attention. Coleman named sunscreen, a George Foreman grill and a waterslide as three items he would take with him if shipwrecked on an island. He stated that the model Mr. Blazer should represent the school, have lots of school spirit and possess tons of charisma.

Senior Victor Arumeni was next to glide on stage, wearing a brown suit and shirt that complimented his complexion. Arumeni's interesting and friendly personality shone through as he responded to the questions asked of him. He stated that cocoa butter ("I don't like to stay ashy"), chapstick and Girl Scout cookies, preferably Samoas, were three items that he would take with him to an island. He then said that the ideal Mr. Blazer is someone who is humble, funny, spirited and basically "anything positive."

The third contestant for the evening's event was senior Vital Akimana, who appeared on stage sporting a black suit with an accompanying female escort. When asked to use a pick-up line, Akimana informed the audience of the importance of treating women with respect. He then proceeded to ask his escort, "Did you fall out heaven? 'Cause you look so heavenly." His manner created a good first impression with the audience and judges. Due to the importance of loved ones in his life, Akimana stated that he would take a portrait of his family, a recording of human sounds and an open mind for adventure if shipwrecked on an island. Characteristics he believes to be possessed by the exemplary Mr. Blazer include individuality, respect, intellectuality, knowledge of the people around you and recognition of the good in humanity.

Senior breakdancer Jesse Galef was the fourth to face the audience. His dark-blue suit and various poses on stage attracted the crowd's attention as he moved and spoke with a pleasing attitude. This was evident when he asked his escort, "Well, I'm here. What are your other two wishes?" Galef stated that he'd bring a diamond ring (in case he met a special someone) and a hard floor on which to break dance. He mentioned suave, charming and an "active supporter of the wonderful community" as three characteristics of Blair's ideal male representative.

The fifth contestant, senior Josh Gottlieb-Miller, was next to walk on stage. He, too, received a lot of attention from the audience, due in part to escort senior Ben Austin, who was dressed in a denim mini skirt and girl's shirt. Roars of laughter emerged from the audience as the two affectionately embraced and stage kissed. Once his escort walked off stage, Gottlieb-Miller said if shipwrecked on an island, he would take his girlfriend ("because she's amazing"), a bed and a mirror. He believes that a person who is intelligent, knows how to treat his lady and has "a head full of hair" (at which Freeman frowned) fits the criteria of the exemplary Mr. Blazer.

Senior Todd Bryant also made his mark on stage when he told the crowd that he would bring a supermodel, another supermodel and Gottlieb-Miller's escort with him to the island. Bryant listed cool, charming and good-looking as characteristics of the ideal candidate.

Cuban native senior Sergio Garcia made his impression on stage with his attractive (for females) Spanish accent. A lifelong supply of paint, paint brushes and a girl ("because being there alone is like serving a life sentence in solitary confinement") were at the top of Garcia's list of items he would bring. He stated that someone who is smooth and not afraid to dance would fit the ideal Mr. Blazer.

Last (but certainly not least) to grace the stage was senior Tekle Ghebremeschel, who caught the eye of many females in the audience as he smoothly glided on stage in a grey suit that flattered his skin tone. A reclining chair, food and the first season of "Survivor" were all items that Ghebremeschel would take with him if stranded on an island.

The competition continued as the evening's hosts transitioned the show into the next portion of the event, which was talent.

To start this off, Coleman delivered a comedic piece entitled "The Upsides of Blair" and highlighted the school's issues, ranging from overcrowding to eating habits. He states that he thinks it's "great" that "for breakfast, I can get a vanilla ice cream sandwich." Coleman covered other topics such as break dancing and amused the crowd as he broke into a commendable attempt at the Harlem shake.

Arumeni took the show to a more serious level as he presented original poetry called "The Act." Arumeni rhymed about the many issues facing teenagers today and the many ways in which adolescents get carried away. He told the audience of matters about which he ponders, such as "why girls at 17 forget the American dream." He informed the audience that "not sex, money or even a rifle" are not characteristic of power, but rather, "taking care of your life" is what gives one authority. Arumeni ended his powerful message by instructing his listeners to be cautious; he tells them, "I ain't ready to be dead or a dad."

Akimana continued on this serious mood with a soliloquy from Shakespeare's Hamlet. By first showing the audience his firm biceps, Akimana engaged them in the words of the speech with expression in his voice. With "To Be or Not to Be," the finalist effortlessly presented the piece and bowed to a round of applause from the audience.

Galef appeared next on stage and lightened the mood in the auditorium as he and his fellow dancers break danced to upbeat music. Although his performance was a collaborative effort due to the presence of his fellow dancers on stage, Galef did manage to wow the crowd whenever he executed a maneuver. Galef's personality added to his performance, and the audience was able to recognize the talent of a few of the break dancers at Blair.

Gottlieb-Miller was next to present in the form of a poem entitled "To This Woman." Gottlieb-Miller caught the crowd's attention as he recited a poem about a girl he was informally acquainted with (he never actually met her) and had affection for. Throughout his poem, Gottlieb-Miller repeatedly informed the audience that "I knew I didn't love her" and received support from the crowd in the form of cheers.

"Guide to Women" was a comedic piece performed by Bryant and senior Phil Ries "for all the bachelors." The two told the audience about the "correct" way to treat a lady, which, to the audience, was not only questionable but oftentimes offensive. Bryant and Ries instructed men to ignore their girlfriends when they, according to the two, talked nonstop. Bryant also gave the males in the audience a few tips on to how to attract a lady. The two amused the audience, such as when Bryant encouraged men to "never wear deodorant, [because] women go wild for your manly scent."

Garcia immersed the crowd in a different culture as he performed the samba with Sylla, who wore a fitting, knee-length halter dress. The pair moved to upbeat vocals and instrumentals and kept the crowd entertained throughout their performance.

Ghebremeschel was last to present his piece, but his performance was worth the wait. With the support of the audience, Ghebremeschel sang "Love" by Musiq Soulchild a capella with impressive vocal ability. Closing his eyes and engaging himself in the words of the song, the senior sang about and referred to love as he stated "so many people use your name in vain" and "for better or worse, I still will choose you first." His ability to hit the higher notes positively affected the audience, especially when they burst in a round of applause even during his performance.

While the judges deliberated about whom they should crown as this year's Mr. Blazer, Lo (last year's winner), gave the audience a taste of his moves as he performed wushu. Lo awed the audience with difficult and seemingly painful moves and caused the audience to quickly realize why he was the recipient of last year's reward.

After all eight contestants reentered the stage and were reintroduced once again before the audience, the senior class announced Arumeni as this year's Mr. Blazer. The Mr. Personality Award, which was given to the finalist most preferred by the audience, was given to Bryant. This award was not easy to give out, however, as the intensity of the audience's applause was difficult to decipher. After three rounds however, in which Akimana, Bryant and Ghebremeschel received applause, the senior class decided that Bryant was most popular among the audience.

Thanks were given to the judges, stage crew and Blair sponsors Norman Stant, John Kaluta and Linda Wolf.



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Feza Kikaya. Feza Kikaya is finally a SENIOR in the CAP program at Blair. She enjoys driving, hanging out with friends and laughing. Most importantly, Feza is counting down the days to graduation so she can begin a new chapter of her life in college. Her favorite … More »

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