He’s One in a Million

Mr. IHS takes the Irvington stage for the second time

What’s the only thing better than one great-looking, talented, charming guy? Seventeen of them! On the night of May 1st, 2010, Mr. Alberto Ballado and MECha brought the heat yet again with the second annual Mr. IHS competition. After over a month of preparation and practice, dedication and hours of work, Mr. Ballado and his crew put 17 Irvington senior boys to the test on the Valhalla stage to see who has what it takes to be Mr. IHS 2010. To begin the four-hour show, the 17 contestants steamed up the stage with a booty dance to Justin Beiber’s “Baby”, getting the crowd pumped for the night of unique talents, hot swim suits, dashing formalwear, and memories that 17 boys, and many others, will never forget. Following the booty-shakin’ performance was another not too far off: a Tahitian dance leading into the introductions for each competitor. As the boys’ baby pictures passed by onscreen, the team of MCs, seniors Ally D’Ambrosia, Jessie Jenson, Elliot King, Lindsay Ricigliano, Smah Khatteb, and Brittany Foland brought each competitor out onstage to give a quick line or two as to why he or she was up on stage, one of the most memorable being, “I’m here only for two girls: my mom and my girlfriend.” [Jason Lacanlale]. And no one missed it when Michael Avina and Jason dropped their keys while walking off the stage, forcing them to have to bend down and pick them up.

Just as the MCs were wrapping up however, Josh Rebello ran onto the stage, yelling “You skipped me!” Despite the error, the show continued smoothly, and Josh had little trouble making an unforgettable impression on the judges.

While the contestants went back stage to prepare their vocals, muscles, and other various things needed for the talent portion, a group of Hula dancers came on the stage and had the crowd laid back and craving those Hawaiian summer days. Opening up for the talent segment, and having the audience ready for more was Andrew Clark, who dazzled and, quite frankly, surprised everyone with his speed and perfect score to the popular and challenging game, Dance Dance Revolution. Arjun Panda kept the bar high with his beat boxing medley, while Bryan Perez turned up the heat with a tango performance. Danny Carpenter brought the laughs with his reenactment of the Pokemon theme song, while Daniel Topps sang [and acted] his interpretation of “Fireflies” by Owl City. Following Daniel was Greg Huey on his ukulele, a powerful rendition of “I’m Alive”, an entertaining and fast-paced Tahitian dance by Jason, and an original spin on a well-known spoken word by Josh that had all of the ladies in the audience swooning. Keeping the steam rising was Juan Coronado, firing up the stage with his partner in a provocative meringue performance. Mathias Sorenson showcased his unique knack for stop-motion videos with a short clip from a day in his life. Matt Kaufman kept the crowd holding their sides with his comedy act featuring his strange habit of talking dirty to his… cake. Mattew Lee brought up the energy with his self-choreographed fight scene to protect his female partner, and Michael gave a quick lesson to all of the boys in the room on his “knack for success” with the ladies. Salil Babbar shifted to a softer tone by singing the Fray’s “Never Say Never” while playing it on the piano, which he sweetly dedicated to his parents. Wrapping up the talent segment was Sidhant Gandhi with an original song written for his girlfriend in the audience, whom he asked to “listen more to the lyrics than his singing”, and Stevin Gomez, who spent his entire Rap ‘N Roll act looking for Jacky.

After a short intermission, Act 2 began with “the only reason all of the girls in the audience spent that $10 on the tickets and came a half an hour early to get front-row seats.”[Lindsay]: the swim suit competition. The thermostat was cranked up all the way as each boy strutted his stuff across the stage in board shorts and tank tops, showcasing his physique. Jason brought out the swim floaties, getting ready to jump into the… shallow end, while Bryan took out the sun tanning oil and flirtatiously oiled himself down on the stage. Mathias, Stevin, and Michael pulled out the big guns and wasted no time to show off the products of hours in the gym. Juan pulled out some moves from his talent act, and a few of the boys, including Sidhant and Daniel showed some skin but quickly covered up again as they turned to exit the stage.

As the boys went back to change into their formalwear for the final portion before the announcement of the Top Five, Project “M” came back to perform at Mr. IHS for their second year, dancing to a mix of new hip-hop and dance music, with a little bit of alternative to change it up. The next performance, another Tahitian group, brought the audience back to the beach and Luau theme before the boys were ready to come back on stage.

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 9th, each contestant walked onstage to meet his mother, who adorned him with a flower lei, before they walked arm-in-arm towards the crowd. All seventeen boys gave his mother a quick hug and kiss before striding proudly across the stage in a debonair suit and charming smile. Andrew showed a small case of “momma’s boy”, showing how hard it was for him to leave his mother’s side, while Daniel had the opposite problem, unable to take his alone time on stage, though he didn’t seem mind much, taking his mother’s arm in his, and proudly walking with her. James’ mother unsuccessfully tried to hide a widening smile as her son had the audience laughing, and Danny’s simply gave in and laughed along with everyone, as he unfailingly kept them amused once again. After one last wave and smile to the crowd, the boys led their mothers off stage, ripped off the jackets, and spiced up the night with a choreographed dance to “It’s Raining Men”, Hallelujah!

Not letting the excitement drop, Sitaare’s Bollywood Dance team, starring mostly Irvington juniors and seniors, as well as a student from Mission San Jose High School, performed a cultural and stunning piece before a short video was shown of all the boys and the competitors were brought out once more to find out who had one the Public Awards and moved on to the next round. The first of the awards given that night included Most Photogenic to Michael, Best Interview to Josh, Best Swimwear to Mathias, Best Formalwear to Jason, Best Talent to James, and Mr. Congeniality to Arjun.

Finally the moment had come to announce the top seven: James, Mathias, Michael, Jason, Josh, Greg, and Danny. Each of the top contestants was then asked two questions, one funny and one serious. Given his first question, James barely began his answer before his bell rang and time was up. Confused, he grabbed his next question and answered it easily. Again, a mix-up ensued as each of the following contestants was only given his first question to answer, and then after each had answered his first, his second. Next, Tracey Tran sang “Remember” by Jay Sean and special guests De la Femme wrapped up the outside performances for the night with a hip-hop dance.

Before the night came to an end, the line of judges was introduced, filled with current and past students, as well as teachers and community members. Finally, the crowd grew quiet as Mr. IHS 2009, Christian Weeber, took his last walk across stage as Mr. IHS, said his goodbyes, and all 17 contestants were brough out one last time. In fifth place, came Josh, in fourth, Jason, in third, winning a $100 check, Michael, in second with a $200 prize, Mathias, and the winner of a $500 grand prize and title of Mr. IHS 2010 was James, who looked nothing but shocked and sincerely gratified for the honor.

All-in-all, the night was extremely successful for not only the winning contestants, but the 17 gentleman in general, as well as MeCHa, and Mr. Ballado, who successfully put on their second Mr. IHS, making students of both Irvington, and other high schools ready for another.

“This is what we’re lacking at Mission,” said senior Anjana Bala. “Something fun, entertaining, and really great for the students”