McCormack takes the Mr. Dartmouth crown

What’s better than watching five of Dartmouth’s finest senior boys dancing to “Uptown Funk,” strut their stuff in some swimwear, perform some amazing talents, and see them dressed to the nines in evening wear? How about watching six of Dartmouth’s finest boys do all of the previously mentioned activities?

Because that’s exactly what you saw if you came to Mr. Dartmouth at 7 p.m. last Friday night. Mr. Dartmouth is an annual mock-beauty pageant with male participants from that year’s graduating class and is organized by the junior class officers and advisers as a fundraiser for the grade.

This year, the contestants and female hosts were DHS seniors Thomas Hartman, Jack McCabe, Daniel McCormack, Matt Jones, Matt Franco, and Alec Niehoff, and Kelly McManus and Molly Dreher, respectively. They were judged by a panel of DHS teachers that consisted of Don York, Elizabeth True, Matthew Caron, Andrew Apperson, and Jessica Pacheco.

After the competitors began the show with a hilariously choreographed dance to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, the casual wear and introductory portion began. This part of the show was significantly shorter than in past years, as there are usually more than ten boys competing for the crown.

Despite this, these six boys were able to fill the stage with their unique and charismatic personalities. The highlights of this portion were Hartman chugging a bottle of water in five seconds and Franco delivering his line from the Friday morning announcements, “Yo, what’s good?”

Next came the swimsuit portion. There was a patriotic theme among the boys, as almost all of them wore swim trunks with some variation on the American flag print. McCabe made his reputation known as the most flirtatious of the competitors when he turned his receiving of CPR from escort Tayla Gonsalves into an onstage kiss, and McCormack made his reputation as the stud muffin by ripping off his “wife beater” tank top to show off some beautiful abs to the crowd. Hubba hubba!

The boys presented a wide variety of skills when it came time to show off talent, from playing “Bohemian Rhapsody” on the trumpet (Hartman), performing a Magic Mike inspired dance – shirtless backup dancers included (McCabe), performing soccer tricks (Neihoff), spitting some fire puns and a rap (McCormack), playing “Heart of Life” by John Mayer on guitar (Jones), and boogying down throughout the decades (Franco).

Hartman’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was certainly impressive, but was not able to hold the five-second attention span of the common teenager, as observed from nearby attendees. This might’ve led to the surprising (at the time) reveal that he did not make it into the qualifying top four contestants.

You could tell that McCabe was participating in Mr. Dartmouth purely for the fun of it as he and his friends morphed into male strippers on the stage and danced to a mashup of “It’s Raining Men” and “Flawless.” The choreography had the crowd in uproarious laughter and included more twerking, booty-popping, and hip-thrusting than most DHS proms.

Alec Neihoff’s soccer skills also didn’t help him make it to the final four, as they dulled in comparison to Matt Jones’s beautiful guitar playing. Dan McCormack’s puns were original and witty; and his raps were able to light-heartedly make fun of issues like the Class of 2015 caps and gown situation, as well throw down some of DHS’s homegrown “rappers” such as Kid Craig and Ill Will.

After the talent portion, the boys were given a break and the DHS a capella group Harmonix took the stage to perform “Imagine” by John Lennon. It included solos sung by DHS seniors Kristen Catana, Glenna Forgue, Allyson Morrissette, and Jordan Pinto, all of whom were able to add their own unique sound to the classic song and make it a fluid performance.

Once the final four Mr. Dartmouth contestants had been chosen (Matt Jones, Jack McCabe, Daniel McCormack, and Matt Franco), they were asked the question, “What qualities should Mr. Dartmouth possess?”

All four were able to project confidence in their answer when responding, but only a couple stood out from the rest. Matt Jones’s answer reflected 100% of his personality, full of kindness and carried equal appreciation for every one of his competitors’ special talents and character traits.

McCabe’s answer lacked originality (though no participants knew the question ahead of time), as if it were read off the school’s list of “core values and beliefs,” and was too tailored for the judges’ liking. There was no apparent ingenuity behind it and that could have been his downfall on the path to the victory.

McCormack began answering the question in his rapper persona, but ditched it halfway to finish with his own voice and opinion. This dramatic shift in personality allowed the judges to see McCormack’s real self and gave his answer the credibility to lead him to the Mr. Dartmouth crown.

Dan McCormack’s stage alter-ego was so drastically different from his behavior in school that he impressed the judges with his ability to so largely step out of his comfort zone. In his eyes, a potential Mr. Dartmouth should be “studious” and “respectful,” among other things.

This year, the shoe, or should I say “crown,” of that description certainly fits the winner.