By: Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff (‘23)

Under the lights and expectations of the auditorium spotlight, a new era of the Mr. Indian Hills pageant has come to fruition. For those who may have not experienced the glorious nature of the Mr. IH event, let me provide a run down. Mr. IH was created to serve as a reverse to the stereotypical female-based pageant that has dominated much of the past. In the past few years, Mr. IH was expanded to include women and other individuals to promote inclusivity. This year’s show offered live music, impressive comedy, exciting entrances, and beautiful, heartfelt speeches.

The first contestant was Bobbie Kowaleski. During her talent portion of the competition, she performed an immaculate rendition of Cups from the Pitch Perfect soundtrack on her ukulele. 

The next contestant was Alejandro Zeledon who offered the perfect amount of comedic relief. His talent was a comedy show, which the audience truly enjoyed. His performance was unique and set him apart from the competition. 

Ryan Sprung was up next. Sporting jeans and red flannel, Ryan performed a rendition of ‘Fly Me To the Moon’ by Frank Sinatra that connected with the crowd. 

Instead of performing by themselves, contestants Ezra Shafron, Evan Novelli, and Eddie Young teamed up and performed ‘Let It Be’ by the Beatles. Ezra sang, Evan played the guitar, and Eddie played the piano. The three contestants came together to make one of the best ensembles of the night.  

Apollo Pascual was up next, he performed a piano edition of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. This was a lively piano performance, receding the stereotype of old, slightly boring composer based music. His performance ultimately earned him runner-up Mr. IH. 

In the end, the winner was Jaden Mayer-Costa. His performances were spectacular, including a full one-man show-style rendition of the mainstream hit from the Disney movie Encanto, ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’. This performance even included a tasteful amount of umbrellas, spins, and timely comedy added. The crowd truly came alive during his performance. However, his formal wear section was the best part of the competition.  During the formal wear segment, all contestants were asked to wear their fanciest dinner attire. Jaden made the bold decision to sport a long blue dress and heels. The crowd absolutely adored this fashion choice, even more so when he ran around the entire auditorium on a victory lap (remember, in heels!). When asked about his win, Mr. Indian Hills Jaden Mayer-Costa said “Winning Mr. Indian Hills will undoubtedly be one of the biggest highlights of my high school career because of the pride that is associated with it and the honor that it is to be chosen for such a coveted position. At the end of the day, though, I think this pageant was really just a great way to show off all the strong school spirit we have, and the real winners are all of us that make up this incredible school that has shaped us in so many ways. I’m happy that I, as well as my fellow candidates, were able to exemplify the positive attributes that the student body demonstrates each and every day. Because as everyone knows, it’s always a great day to be a brave!”