On Oct. 29, the crowd in the Dinning Commons watching Mr. Eastern roared even louder than the moaning Phillies fans in the Breezeway. This excitement arose when the four judges selected not the winner but the final three contestants: Dominick Baruffi III, Tommy McGrady and Kenneth Hufnal, all seniors.
After the final round of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and a brief question-answer session, the emcees, junior Joshua Reid and senior Jacqueline Yurik, announced Baruffi as the winner. The three contestants did not seem to care who won because all of them celebrated and hugged each other with equal excitement. The crowd reflected the happiness of the final contestants.
The final contestants were roommates last year and McGrady is a close neighbor to Baruffi and Hufnal this semester. “He is like the other roommate,” Baruffi said.
Baruffi gives credit to many of his friends for making his final shot at winning the crown of Mr. Eastern a successful one. “I would like to thank Caitlin, Kristin, Ken, Diana, Big Tony, Jeremy and Smitty for helping me out,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been nearly as attractive a woman or as graceful a dancer without their help.”
Baruffi performed an interpretive dance, or as he referred to it “poetry and motion” to “Circle of Life” from The Lion King as his talent. For the lip-synching round, Baruffi epitomized his song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” by donning girls’ jeans, a pink printed top, oversized sunglasses and a wig full of black curls.
“He deserved to win,” McGrady said. “To see him win like that feels so good.”
“This will be one of the best moments at Eastern,” Hufnal said in agreement.
Hufnal’s parents and his brother came to watch the competition. In an e-mail, his brother Phillip Hufnal said, “It was quite ridiculous at times, but generally entertaining. And I am glad that Dominick won. It takes a lot of guts to compete for Mr. Eastern.”
In his acknowledgement, Baruffi mentioned the late Mike Skinner, the winner of Mr. Eastern 2007.
“I’d like to dedicate this win to my friend Michael Skinner,” Baruffi said. “Mike was my RA sophomore year and the guy who beat me in Mr. Eastern two years ago. Mike was an inspiration and beloved brother in the Lord, and I can think of no better tribute to pay him than to wear the crown of the man who beat me two short years ago.”
According to Reid, it should have been “Mr. Three-stern and not Mr. Eastern” because all of the final contestants were equally competitive and entertaining. When the top three were announced, it was as if they had already won together.
“The three finalists were so original and creative, and it was hilarious,” senior Ashley Loufik said.
“The judges made it clear that they were looking for something different and creative this time, and the winner proved his skills with The Lion King enactment – that was great,” junior Dominique Wilson said.
“It was a nice, special moment for the three of us,” McGrady said. The audience saw a great deal of support and cooperation among these three contestants.
“Mr. Eastern was probably the hardest I have ever laughed at Eastern and the guys had a bro-mance going on,” Sophomore Brianna Hall said.
Juniors Mike Montgomery, Jonathan Hodge and Jason Collier also displayed enormous talent but, when it came to the Halloween costume and apple-bobbing round, the seniors took the lead and the juniors bid farewell to the Mr. Eastern crown.
“It was a lot of fun. There were some great guys competing,” Collier said, who stunned the audience with his amazing voice but was eliminated in the selection round.
With so many skills and humor, Mr. Eastern 2009 was “the best one I’ve seen in my four years at Eastern,” Loufik said.