Twelve men hopped, wiggled and thrusted on Saturday night for the title of Mr. Yale. But only one thrusted hard enough.
At the end of the competition, Avinash Gandhi ’10 — an economics major in Pierson College — was the only man standing, claiming victory in the third annual Mr. Yale competition. The event, planned by the Yale Student Activities Committee, featured an evening wear competition, a talent portion, a dating game and a question-and-answer session intended to whittle the initial 12 competitors down to one.
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The 12 men opened the night gyrating to Britney Spears’ “Circus” as a group. Mr. Timothy Dwight, Max Uhlenhuth ’12, said he found the experience invigorating.
“It was an honor to publicly humiliate myself with awesome comrades,” he said.
The competition kicked off with a showcase of evening wear, in which men sported formal suits — or at least parts of suits.
The talent portion featured Silliman College’s Kunmi Sobowale ’09 bench-pressing, separately, a woman and two men; Berkeley College’s Robert Martinez ’09 balancing a bike on his chin; and Ezra Stiles College’s Martin Erzinger ’10 singing and rapping to “I’m On a Boat” while dressed as a Viking, accompanied by a T-Pain impersonator from the crowd.
But it was Pierson’s Gandhi that caught the judges’ eyes as he turned the house lights down and DJed for the crowd.
“It was definitely difficult to pick between acts,” judge and Yale College Council President Rich Tao ’10 said. “What influenced me the most was stage presence and connection with the audience. I really liked Avi’s DJ set.”
Gandhi, who began DJing at the age of 16, has been playing at Yale events, including college screws, fraternity parties and a Jack Wills party, for the past three years.
Halfway through the night, six contestants were eliminated and contestants moved on to the dating game, in which YCC member Courtney Pannell ’11 asked each of them hypothetical questions about how they would respond to difficult romantic situations. (Pannell is a staff reporter for the News.)
Several contestants said they disliked the format of the events, mentioning in particular the technical difficulties and time constraint.
“The dating game questions and final questions did not leave a lot of room for contestants to distinguish themselves,” Danny Jimenez ’09 said. “I wish we could have shown a little more personality through those questions.”
The final three contestants — Gandhi, Peter Jasinski ’12 and Chaka Jaliwa ’10 — moved on to the last portion of the night, a question-and-answer round. When asked how he would rescue the hostage University President Richard Levin from a tower in Cambridge, Mass., Gandhi channeled Rapunzel: he said he would ask him to let down his hair, climb up it and save him.
Crowned and adorned with a sash, Gandhi walked offstage with a $50 gift certificate to the Yale Bookstore and bragging rights. But Gandhi said he is still dumbfounded by his accomplishment.
“I honestly don’t know how I won, given the incredible talent and spirit that my fellow contestants had,” Gandhi said. “Those guys made this an enjoyable and memorable experience. To me, they are all Mr. Yale.”