Senior Max Lofton wins sixth annual Mr. WHS Competition


Senior Max Lofton smiles after being crowned the 2013 Mr. WHS on Jan 25. Photo by KAVYA PATHAK


Senior Max Lofton smiles after being crowned the 2013 Mr. WHS on Jan 25. Photo by KAVYA PATHAK

Back for the sixth time, the annual Mr. WHS Competition on Jan 25. provided two hours of talent, comedy and entertainment. Showcasing 15 contestants from all four grade levels, the competition culminated in senior Max Lofton being crowned the 2013 Mr. WHS, with sophomore Caleb Cotter as First runner-up and senior Jacob Zufelt as Second runner-up, as well as senior Adrian Salvador Mercado winning the Talent Trophy.

Contestants were scored on their participation in a group dance, their talent, their style and their interview by Mr. Jason Knowles, Mr. Kesham Zawaki, Ms. Suzie Main, Mr. Brian Pointer and Ms. Halley Cutts, as well as a guest judge from the audience who was chosen by a random drawing of ticket stubs.

The night began with a group dance with all of the contestants choreographed by Hayley Silva and Annika Terpstra. Fifteen female dancers were part of the dance as well, as partners for the contestants.

The talent portion of the evening was next, and included a variety of performances, as contestants sang, danced, played instruments, lip-synced and rapped. Many of the talents took weeks to perfect for the show.

“Putting together my dance (with Caitlyn Parker and Victoria Bigsby) took a few weeks. I had to change a lot of moves and so we literally were in the dance room during intervention and lunch every day stretching and practicing those jumps to to really make sure they were perfect for the show,” Mercado said.

However, other contestants did not need to rehearse as much to get their performance ready for the competition.

“I could able to rap ‘Ice Ice Baby’ no problem since I was six, so I didn’t need a lot of rehearsal to prepare for the competition and I just went for it,” Cotter said.

Other contestants planned on performing more difficult talents for the show, but had to change them in order to be ready in time for the show.

“My friends (Alfredo De Ollas and Jacquon Evans) and I were originally going to do the “Single Ladies” dance, but we saw the music video and realized that it’s really hard because there’s a lot of hip movement, and we didn’t think we could do it in time for the show, so we decided to dance to ‘Beat It’ because Michael Jackson does hip movements that are easier and still pretty cool,” Kyen Balzer said.

Despite the rehearsing that went into each talent, not every performance went to plan during the show.

“In the beginning part of my performance, I was supposed to rip off the sweatpants I was wearing over my shorts, but the pants got stuck to my leg. I was trying to shake them off of my leg for part of the song, but it was still really fun,” Ryan Hodgens, who rapped the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, said.

After intermission, the competition continued with the style portion, as contestants showed off their personal style in morphsuits, top hats and cowboy boots.

“My favorite part of the entire show was the style section, because it was really fun to see the guys come out in crazy outfits. My favorite one was Max (Lofton’s) cowboy outfit because I thought it was really cute,” Starlyn Snitko said. Snitko was called on stage as one of the guest judges after intermission.

During the final portion of the competition, the interview, emcees Alex Clark and Sidney Raey-Gonzales asked each contestant questions that ranged from what his ideal date would be to what he thought was the greatest problem facing teenage boys today. Since this part of the show is usually not rehearsed, it was particularly nerve-wracking for some of the participants.

“I was pretty nervous for the interview because they could ask me anything and I wasn’t prepared for it, so I just winged it,” Hodgens said.

This part of the show was particularly important to Kyen Balzer, as he planned to ask his girlfriend Sara Miller to junior prom during that time.

“The whole reason I did the competition was because I needed a way to ask my girlfriend to prom, and I thought this would be a cool way to do it,” Balzer said. “My favorite part of the night was when she said yes.”

As the final judges’ scores and results from the coin voting during intermission were tallied, emcees Clark and Raey-Gonzales performed a rendition of “4 Chords,” a pop medley of 36 songs that all have the same basic chords, receiving a standing ovation at the end.

“My favorite part of the night was Alex and Sidney’s song because they’re really talented and their performance was really amazing to listen to,” Kylie Borchelt said.

The Mr. WHS crown, first and second runners-up sashes and the talent trophy were then awarded to Lofton, Cotter, Zufelt and Mercado, respectively.

“Waiting to hear who won was the scariest part of the night. I was so nervous, but then realizing that I won felt amazing. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world, and I’ve never felt anything like it. It’s a thrill,” Lofton said.

This year, judges were able to choose a talent winner for the first time in the history of the competition, allowing them to individually recognize the contestant with the strongest talent.

“I was really surprised when I won because I really just wanted to do this for fun, because it’s my last year here. I’ve never really done anything like this before, so to show my talent to everyone and be recognized for it was really nice,” Mercado said.

No matter who won, the contestants still enjoyed the entire experience of the competition.

“It’s been super fun hanging out with all of the guys,” Zufelt said.

The 2013 contestants have been a particularly close group, as six contestants who competed last year returned this year, and two contestants are younger brothers of previous contestants.

“It’s like we’re a little brotherhood of Whitney High School contestants,” Zufelt said, “and it’s been a blast.”