With bright red sashes to complement their sassy performance, 12 male contestants danced in sync to Nelly Furtado’s song “Promiscuous,” kicking off the fourth-annual Mr. Spirit male pageant competition.
The Student Activity Center’s auditorium filled with applause on Friday night as competitors from different student organizations danced, sang and joked their way to hopefully win the title of “Mr. Spirit.” Hosted by the Texas Spirits service organization, the show raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Texas and the Saint Louise House, which helps Austin mothers and children overcome homelessness.
“We put it on to unite the UT community every year,” event director Daisy Holland said. “Mr. Spirit brings guys from all over campus together.”
Holland, a chemical engineering senior, said in addition to helping out a good cause, the event brings students from across campus together for a humorous result.
“It allows boys to be silly,” Holland said. “They’re really funny, and every year Mr. Spirit brings a different kind of hilarity that you might not see at other events.”
This year was no different, from Mr. Hellraiser Joe Mason’s comedic poetry reciting to Mr. Communication Council Zachary Long’s skit, in which he dressed as chef Paula Deen and had the audience laughing with each reference to “more butter.”
One of Long’s supporters, communication studies senior Carla Benitez, said she was pleasantly surprised by the level of talent the night offered.
“It’s actually really great,” Benitez said. “The guys are so talented, and I really wasn’t expecting that it was going to be this exciting and fun to watch.”
The boys brought the talent, but in the end, only one competitor could be crowned Mr. Spirit — Mr. One Note Stand Ben Hlousek walked away with the ultimate title.
“It was definitely an honor,” business senior Hlousek said. “I loved being able to do this event and do it for a great cause, that was awesome. But I never thought I was going to have as much fun as I did.”
During Hlousek’s soulful cover of the song “Dancing on my Own” by Robyn, the audience’s phone flashlights lit up the auditorium.
“The feeling of singing it up there, I just let go a little bit,” Hlouwsek said. “I love singing with the group, but it was something different and really powerful to me, singing up there by myself for the first time since high school. It felt really good.”