Mr. Dartmouth: It’s all about the talent

On Friday, March 17, the DHS Auditorium was packed with a crowd eager to witness ten of Dartmouth’s finest battle it out for a silver crown and eternal bragging rights. The event, which featured a couple of backflips, a Speedo, a few well placed dabs, and a lengthy discussion regarding jorts, did not disappoint.

What else could this be other than Mr. Dartmouth, the annual mock pageant fundraiser for the junior class? A collection of seniors spend three weeks practicing to perform various skits and answer a couple of probing questions, in return for a chance at free prom tickets and a tuxedo, as well as a crown and sash.

This year the contestants included seniors Valentino Aiello, Liam Caulfield, Luke Clarke, Sam Coutinho, Cole Jacobsen, Will Labossiere, Anthony Lee, Colby Lima, Miles Linhares, and Colin McCabe. Dominic Vaccari, Victoria LaBree, and Lindsey Bedard served as dynamic and charming hosts.

The competition commenced with the contestants, clad in various sports jerseys, boppin’ to Bruno Mars’s upbeat pop anthem, “24K Magic.” For the most part, they remained in synch and even finished the number by tossing their hats off to the audience.

By far, the most anticipated part of the night was the talent portion. According to Judge and History Teacher John Caron, it is one of the primary factors in determining the victor. “Talent is number one. Sheer talent. It’s tangible: you either have it or you don’t,” he said.

One contestant who demonstrated sheer talent was Lima, who performed The Beatles’s “Hey Jude” by simultaneously singing, playing piano and drums, through the use of a foot pedal. By the end of the number, he managed to get the audience clapping along and finished to roaring applause. Clearly, his preparation meal of honey and diet Coke did the trick.

Who knew that children’s books were the future of R&B? Caulfield surprised the audience when midway through the reading of the Dr. Seuss classic, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, he disappeared, only to re-emerge donned in the typical garb of a rapper. He began spitting Dr. Seuss’s rhymes. When finished, he tossed the book onto the stage with a dramatic flourish. Caulfield was confident about his performance. “I’m not nervous,” he said, “because everyone is going to look like a bunch of goofs. It’ll be fun.”

Other highlights included Labossiere, whose act began with his playing a dramatic piano piece. Just when things were getting good, a beat started from behind the curtains of the stage, which opened to reveal junior Dan Mailloux playing a drum and senior Fallin Fagundes moving to the rhythm. With mock anger, Will asked what he was doing, then tore off his blazer to reveal a T-shirt ripped at the sleeves. He began rapping “Alphabet Aerobics” by Blackalicious, something only attempted previously by Daniel Radcliffe on The Tonight Show. By the time he had reached Z, he was red in the face and screaming as much as his lungs would allow.

With a change in attitude, Clarke sat in front of the closed curtain and sang ‘Cats in the Cradle’ by Henry Chaplin. “My mother used to sing this to me as a lullaby,” he explained with a blushing smile. “This has no correlation to my father, by the way.”

The overall star of the second half, however, was Anthony Lee. Cheers erupted at the announcement of his name. The curtains were pulled back to reveal him sitting in a Taekwondo uniform and a bamboo hat. This calamity did not remain for long. His act plunged into a high energy dancing-fighting combination, in which he displayed his green belt earned in middle school. As things grew more intense, he plunged into a backflip off the wall and another freestanding one. As a remix of ‘Titanium’ came through the speakers, senior Alison Silva entered, wearing a green tutu. The performance closed with Lee being carried off by the friends he ‘fought.’  Later, he explained that his dancing was inspired by his siblings. “They always used to be breaking it down,” he said.

Hosts Vaccari and LaBree filled silences between acts with witty banter, insults, and puns. Meanwhile, Bedard travelled through the audience, quizzing students with trivia based on the contestants, like the fact that Labossiere owns seven sheep named after Shakespeare characters.

Later, the boys come out to perform their synchronized swimming routine with towels around their waists. They were thrown to the front of the stage, revealing that everyone but McCabe wore swimming trunks. He stole the show in a Speedo.

After this swimwear soirée, the winner of the People’s’ Choice award was revealed as Colby Lima.

The formal wear section commenced, with each contestant being asked a different question. A certain crowd-pleaser was Aiello’s comment of success being measured not in the act of actually succeeding, but in hard work.

Finally, it came time for the announcement of the top five contestants: McCabe, Lima, Caulfield, Lee, and Labossiere. Each was asked the question, “What is one philosophy/value you hold dearest in life?” Lee said that he treasured family. “Family is always with you,” he said. “Happiness is key, and family is where it’s at.”

Lima was then announced as the runner-up. LaBree and Vaccari originally pronounced the winner to be La La Land, as a nod to the Academy Awards’ Best Picture fiasco. Then, the true victor was revealed. Anthony Lee.

After the crown and sash were handed to Lee by History Teacher Jeff Reed, he turned and smiled for the spectators. Later, he described the moment. “Words can’t describe it,” he said. “I’m very happy. I couldn’t believe my eyes that I had won.”