Mr. Kitchen is Mr. Dartmouth

Mr. Kitchen is Mr. Dartmouth

I’m not sure what it was, but on the night of Saturday, March 5, the air inside the DHS Auditorium was crackling with electricity, anticipation, and possibly a little bit of magic.

I’m only kidding. Of course I know why it felt like that. Because 10 of Dartmouth’s smokiest smoke shows were battling it out (i.e. singing, dancing, playing instruments, and looking fre$h to death) to see who would be crowned 2016’s Mr. Dartmouth.

This year’s contestants were seniors Bryce Boswell, James Cassell, Cam Clark, Austin Couto, Shawn DaSilva, Nathan DeMello, Patrick Kitchen, Cooper Smith, Josh Souza, and Ben Szteliga. Hosted by the effervescent Alice Goodman and Seth Rogen look-alike Nash Biddle, the show was bound to be a great one from the moment it began.

The opening number came straight from the 80’s…at first. Olivia Newton-John’s, “Let’s Get Physical,” came on and the crowd was ready to see the contestants begin dancing/doing aerobics, but then the music was cut and replaced with the 2015 hit song “Confident,” by Demi Lovato, drumsticks materialized from backstage, the lights went out, and then suddenly everything turned glow-in-the-dark.

When the introduction dance ended, the casual wear portion began, which Nathan “Rocko” DeMello held most of the weight in. No, I’m just kidding. But he did lift weights. Shawn “hurdled” over the competition while donning his track uniform, just proving that you can take the uniform off the athlete, but you can’t take the athlete out of the kid wearing the uniform, and sometimes you can’t ever take the uniform off the athlete. (By the way, shouldn’t that have been turned into Mr. Reed or Mrs. McCaron by now?)

Cooper from State Farm gave Jake from State Farm a run for his money. He came out on stage complete with a swivel chair, a Bluetooth headset, and of course, those infamous khakis. All State’s catchphrase question “Are you in good hands?” suddenly felt as if it belonged to the wrong insurance agency.

It appears that not only were students eligible for Mr. Dartmouth this year, but teachers were too, and English Teacher John Caron chose to participate. In place of Cam Clark, Mr. Caron walked out on stage dressed in the same outfit as Cam. According to people who were in Mr. Caron’s English 12 Honors class first semester with Clark, the two share very similar personalities.

I have attended Mr. Dartmouth every year since freshman year and what made this year’s competition stand out from any other is that all of the talents were amazing. Each contestant was able to grab the audience’s attention and leave nobody bored.

Souza wrote and performed a Portuguese-themed parody of the “Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler, which had everybody in the auditorium laughing. Couto played a guitar that he rebuilt himself by hand and Szteliga danced to a mashup of Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, while accompanied by his very own dance team.

Boswell, the Class of 2016’s president, performed the dance routine from Napoleon Dynamite with his backup dancing duo of Callie Dulong and Elissa Tetrault. DaSilva shared some of his favorite jokes, most pertaining to fat kids, pedophiles, fitness, or dance, and Clark lip-synced to Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” with the bootylicious trio of Jacob DaCosta, Aidan Ashton, and Matt Craig.

Another talent that got a reaction from the audience belonged to Smith. The school sees him as the football player, belonging to that basic high school trope, so when he sat down to play the piano, plunked out “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” with one finger, and got up and left, we bought it. But then he walked back on stage and amidst the confused gasps and whispers of the crowd, he sat back down and played Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” made famous from the movie Titanic. The juxtaposition between the shocked silence during the time he played and the wild applause after he finished made it all the more worth it.

When Kitchen walked out on stage wearing cowboy boots, a robe, and a towel on his head, what his talent would be could have been anybody’s guess. But then the instrumental soundtrack to Adele’s “Hello,” began playing and it all became clear.

As he sang, he untied his robe and released the towel to reveal a dress, fur coat, and wig to model after the British singer/songwriter. Kitchen has been claiming lead roles in DHS’s musicals since freshman year and it’s pretty obvious why.

“Patrick’s Adele cover was unbelievable. I didn’t know he had pipes like that,” said DHS English Teacher and Mr. Dartmouth Judge Marek Kulig.

However, an act that will go down in Mr. Dartmouth history is James’s dance to Sia’s “Chandelier.” While the projector screen played the song’s music video behind him, James danced along with Sia in nothing but a nude leotard and a white fluffy Sia-esque wig.

What made this dance so entertaining to watch was not just the fact that some kid was prancing around on stage in a leotard, but you could tell that this kid had talent. He may not have been able to do the flips in the air or a full split like Sia (however, he did come fairly close to it), but there was a type of fluidity and motion in his movement that can only belong to someone who is able to dance at least semi-well.

From Kitchen to Cassell (partially) to Clark’s dancers, is it just me or did this year’s Mr. Dartmouth competition include more cross-dressing than usual?

The top five contestants came down to Souza, Kitchen, Cassell, Boswell, and Clark. After a challenging question-and-answer round, Class of 2016 advisers Angela English and Nicole Heath announced the top three contestants: Josh Sousa winning third place, Boswell claiming runner up, and Patrick Kitchen snagging the title as 2016’s Mr. Dartmouth.

“Being crowned Mr. Dartmouth is an incredible honor, and it’s really exciting to join such a great line of winners of DHS graduates that have come before me,” said Kitchen.

According to Mr. Kulig, the judges were given a rubric to score the contestants. Such details that were taken into account were first impressions, sincerity, confidence, poise on stage, showmanship, and sportsmanship.

This year was DHS history teacher Caitlin McCarron-Deely’s first year as a judge, but not her first time attending.

“I thought this year was enjoyable primarily because I knew so many of the kids competing, including kids that I’ve coached and kids that I’ve taught,” said McCarron-Deely. The crown really could have gone to any of the contestants, as each one exemplified all of the characteristics that a school could look for in their “king.”

McCarron-Deely continued, “It was really difficult to make the decision. Luckily we had the rubric. It came down to whether they were meeting the requirements.”

Good luck to next year’s Mr. Dartmouth contestants, they have some big, Adele-sized shoes to fill.