And the winner is … this year’s Mr. Eastern

What is the secret to becoming Mr. Eastern? If the contest on Nov. 27 serves as any clue, not only do you need to be creative and dramatic, you must be willing to put on girls’ clothing.

In the overpacked Dining Commons, eight dynamic men displayed their greatest for the coveted title of Mr. Eastern. Exceeding the 150 chairs SGA set up and forced to squeeze along the walls, the loud and animated crowd persevered through the stuffiness to watch one of the best contests in recent years.

Jason Collins, a commuter, Justin Ostrander, from Gallup, and Steve Chaffee and Ben Lander of Kea-Guffin represented the first-year class, while Dominick Baruffi and Mike Jones epitomized the sophomores. Junior Taylor Kiser and senior Mike Skinner, both from Kea-Guffin, rounded out the competition.

In the end, judges Duffy Robbins, head of the youth ministry department, Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of student development, and Eileen Korman, the Breezeway’s public relations manager and cashier, chose reigning homecoming king Mike Skinner to be this year’s Mr. Eastern.

Skinner squeaked past the entertaining Baruffi in a very close and hilarious contest. In addition to bragging rights, Skinner and Baruffi received $40 and $20 gift certificates, respectively, to the King of Prussia Mall.

In front of what SGA President Marvin Jones called a record crowd, the contestants endured rounds of lip-synching, talent demonstrations, improvisation and Q and A session. After each round, two contestants were eliminated.

For the lip-synch, Baruffi donned girl jeans and a tight t-shirt while rocking out to “Summer of ’69” on a Guitar Hero guitar. Skinner came out in a winter coat, only to reveal black high heels hidden in his pockets and a polka-dotted red dress underneath while singing, “Everything I Do.”

For the talent portion, Baruffi sang a remix of a Flight of the Conchords song for Dining Commons cashier Carol Robinson, which included dimming lights, hinting at romance amidst dorm visitation rules. Skinner displayed his interpretative painting skills to the tune of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” producing a beautiful purple flower.

In the improvisation round, Baruffi delivered several creative uses for his props, including a mustache, helicoptor, canoe paddle and armpit hair. Skinner followed with weight lifting, juggling and walking a tightrope.

In the Q and A session, Skinner shared about his dream major of extreme sports, including courses that would consist of ramping off of Doane Hill and destroying Cabrini property. In response, if he could get lost anywhere in the world, Baruffi said, “The ideal place to get lost is somewhere where I can be with a lot of lady people.”

According to Robbins, Baruffi’s thoughtful answers were not enough to compete with Skinner’s lively, full-bodied answers to his questions, going as far as to question if Skinner was being drugged behind stage. However, Baruffi fans shouldn’t worry because the vibrant sophomore still has two more years of eligibility and is already a judge favorite. “We feel as though you haven’t peaked yet,” Robbins said.

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