SPOTSWOOD, NJ - It just wouldn't be springtime in Spotswood without Mr. Spotswood. The rather unique pageant held its sixteen competition yesterday at the Spotswood High School Cafetorium, playing to a packed house. Twenty-six Spotswood High School seniors threw their hat into the ring in February as potential Mr. Spotswood candidates. A Google Classroom vote narrowed the field to 12 participants that included Anthony Bonacci, Michael Cantatore, Andrew Faulkenberry, Ian Fee, Jack Keenan, Justin Mendez, Andrew Mishriky, Nick Moran, Matt Pelham, Nick Rascona, Matteo Tavella and Paul Toth.
After a show-stopping opening musical number that featured chorus line tricks, dance moves as well as a cheerleading-inspired stunt that sent Bonacci flying back and forth across the stage, the seniors competed in different competitions before the final five were selected for the question and answer portion.
All the teens needed to portray a talent, model as a celebrity imposter as well as an amusing "opposites attract" segment before strutting their stuff in formal wear that was provided by the Clothing Center in East Brunswick. The talent segment brought out a wide range of 'talent' from pickup lines to a dramatic reading of the song "I'm Sexy and I Know It" by Cantatore. However, Faulkenberry and Bonacci, two products of the Spotswood High School music and drama programs, both shined in this portion. Faulkenberry played the piano and sang the classic Don McLean tune, "American Pie" while Bonacci displayed his prowess on the drums.
The Celebrity Imposter portion and the Opposites Attract modeling brought out the creative sides of the participants. Rascona was a hit with his take on 80s sitcom star John Stamos as was Tavella with his portrayal of Tom Cruise from "Risky Business." While Toth nailed his impression of rock icon Elvis Presley, a shout out needs to go out to Cantatore for his showcase of Shirley Temple complete with curly red locks and a lollipop. The Helmetta native even tossed some lollipops out to the roaring crowd.
However, when all was said and done, five finalists took center stage. Mendez, Tavella, Pelham, Toth and Bonacci were all tabbed as finalists and needed to answer a question selected by one of the 12 judges, which were comprised of Spotswood High School faculty members. Toth was the fourth runner up and also won the formal wear portion as well as the Celebrity Imposter segment. The Milltown native was also voted Mr. Congeniality by Colleen Meyers and Suzanne Fredricks. Meyers was the pageant director while Fredricks was a script writer, and choreographer.
Menedez was tapped as the third runner up while Tavella was the second runner up. Tavella also earned the People's Choice award, which was voted on by his fellow students and SHS staff. That left just Bonacci and Pelham standing in the middle of the stage. Both teens seemed a little surprised that they had made it to the final five, but were all smiles as they waited to see who would take home the title of Mr. Spotswood 2017.
In the end it was Pelham who put on the crown. The Helmetta native is a member of both the Spotswood High School Music and Drama Clubs. His stage experience definitely showed throughout the competition as did Bonacci who was named first runner up. Bonacci also claimed the talent title with his entertaining drum solo. Rascona was picked as the Faculty Favorite by the Spotswood High School staff.
The fun evening of eclectic and upbeat entertainment ended with Mr. Spotswood 2017 Matt Pelham and his fellow Mr. Spotswood competitors posing for pictures along side their female classmates who has served as announcers, usherettes and formal wear escorts throughout the evening. It was another successful performance of the popular senior class fundraiser that is always a hit.