Mermaid fins and Spandex are
favorites at Mr. USU Pageant
KING OF THE
SEA: Mr. USU, Christian Brinton, performs as
King Triton from The Little Mermaid at the
Mr. USU Pageant. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen
By Kathryn Kemp
October 6, 2006 | Mermaids, comedians, dancers
on treadmills and Spandex -- lots of Spandex --
could only mean one thing . . . it was time to
crown a new Mr. USU.
Wednesday night, Mr. USU 2005 Zach Ames passed
on his title to the winner of the mock beauty
pageant for men.
The prize: not a crown, but a belt, adorned
with a custom-made Mr. USU belt buckle donated
by S.E. Needham Jewelers. And of course, the honor
of being Mr. USU for a year.
The candidates: Brian Watts, Adam Strong, JR
Richins, Kevin Foulger, Bryce Cranney, Kelby Bosshardt,
Coy Whittier, Christian Brinton, Taylor Hawkins
and Tyler Neal.
The winner: Christian Brinton.
Brinton, who had to compete against the other
nine men in four categories-swimwear, talent,
formal wear and question and answer-was overjoyed
as he held his arms in the air while Ames put
the belt on him.
"It is one of the best feelings I have ever
had in my life!" he said. "It's like going down
a really long slide. It's the excited feeling
in your stomach."
Brinton said he isn't even sure why he won.
In each category it seemed something went wrong
with his act, whether it was his swimsuit that
didn't fit right, or the CD that kept skipping
during his talent.
"The best part was the part I didn't even practice,
and that was my interview," he said.
Ames said he knows why Brinton won. "No inhibition.
He just went for it and gave it his all," he said.
Brinton, a junior majoring in international
business, was also voted by the other contestants
as Mr. Congeniality. "He's hilarious!" said contestant
Hawkins, "Everyone likes him."
Even though Brinton doesn't know why he won,
somewhere along the line he stood out to the six
judges. In the swimsuit competition he looked
suspiciously like King Triton from Disney's The
Little Mermaid, when he came out wearing
a shiny blue fish tail and carrying a tinfoil
trident- long white beard included.
Bryce Cranney, above, won over the judges with
his coconut brassiere. Below, Mr. USU 2005, Zach
Ames, at left, performs during intermission. At
bottom, skier Kevin Foulger performs his talent
on the trampoline, and Brinton reacts to being
named Mr. USU. / Photo of Brinton by Kathryn
Kemp; all others by Brianna Mortensen
He became a blonde, but still curly haired, Richard
Simmons for his talent.
Dressed in a patriotic ensemble of blue shorts and
a white tank top over a red t-shirt, Brinton (or Simmons?)
and three back-up dancers performed a popular dance
from the LDS church's Especially For Youth Program,
referred to as the PB&J dance because the actions imitate
eating a sandwich.
He then invited the audience to participate.
"Say, 'I'm beautiful!'" he commanded them. "Say it!"
"I'm beautiful!" they shouted back. He then told "his
story" through a rendition of "Part of that World" from
The Little Mermaid, making up his own words
about his desires to be strong and wear spandex.
"You want phalanges," he sang, "I've got twenty! But
who cares, no big deal, I want more!"
For the final event, formal wear and question and
answer, Brinton toned it down a bit. He tangoed out
with his escort in a black tuxedo, and then sat across
from Miss Utah, Heather Anderson, who was reading the
His question . . . what is your best physical feature
"My body...that's a physical feature right?
He changed his mind, and thought about it for a minute.
"No...no...no..." Then finally, "my legs! No...yeah,
my legs!" He said it is because he likes to play soccer
and kick the ball "really hard, preferably in the goal."
And he likes to run "really, super fast."
Feeling good about his answer he removed his jacket
as he walked off stage...revealing a sign on his back
that read, "Miss Utah thinks I'm hot!"
While each contestant in each category received thunderous
support and applause from the audience, there was only
one part of the competition that received a standing
ovation. It wasn't given to any of the contestants or
even to Brinton when he won. Instead, it went to hosts
Emily Mueller and Zach Ames, along with Staci Meacham
and Jake Roskelley.
While waiting for the judges to make their decision,
the group dressed in workout clothes and sweatbands
and performed a synchronized dance on eight new treadmills,
donated by ICON Health and Fitness,...while the treadmills
The dance was an imitation of a music video found
on www.youtube.com and involved jumping between the
treadmills, walking across all of them, and some fancy
footwork...all while the treadmills were moving.
Although that was one of the audience's favorite performances,
there were several costumes and talents in each category
From the scuba suit worn by Neal to the arm floaties,
fairy wings and tiara covered in glitter worn by Richins,
nothing was too extreme for these guys in the swimwear
competition. But in the end, Cranney won the judges
over for this category.
He was carried on stage flipping a shiny silver mermaid
fin while he primped his long blonde hair (a wig) and
adjusted his coconut bra. When he reached center stage,
he was lifted straight up into the air while he kicked
his tail back and forth.
The talent competition showed a lot of variety and
a lot of spandex.
"I have to say something about these guys. I have
never seen so much spandex backstage!" said Mueller,
who co-hosted the pageant with Ames.
About half of the contestants did a dance number of
some sort and the majority of those dancers wore black
spandex pants with glitter tops or colorful spandex
tights under shorts. But even with the common clothing,
the dances were all unique.
Aside from the dances, the talent act featured two
guitarists, a comedian and a skier. Strong and Cranney
both sang original songs while they played the guitar.
Strong sang about the woes of being skinny, asking
people not to forget about the skinny people in their
lives. "It's not easy being 6'3", a buck-fifty-with
shoes on..." he sang.
Cranney's song got a lot of mixed reactions, as he
sang about the uniqueness of Utah girls. Bleached blonde
hair ratted in the back and "Utah-looking thighs" were
some of the ways he described them. Each verse listed
something else that made Utah girls a little different,
many of the descriptions funny, but not so flattering.
"Utah girls are crazy as heck!" he sang.
"I was looking for a wedding band. God bless Utah,
the promised land!" he said sarcastically in the chorus.
"There's no way he can win from drinking that much
'Haterade,'" said Benji King, an audience member.
Before announcing the next number, Mueller returned
to the stage, commenting, "I'm a Utah girl."
All of the talents received a lot of applause, but
it was skier Foulger 's talent that won in that category.
The curtains opened and there stood Foulger, on a full-size
trampoline with skis strapped to his feet. He asked
for the audience's help in singing "Jingle Bells" while
he did jumps and flips in the air from the trampoline.
On his final flip, he spun to the side and almost didn't
land back on the trampoline, but he recovered to the
cheers of the crowd.
As Foulger walked off stage, Ames said, "That was
The formal wear and question and answer portion went
together. Each contestant was escorted on stage, where
they showed off their outfit, and then sat down next
to Miss Utah, who asked them a question. Sometimes it
was the answers that stood out, and sometimes it was
the choice of formal wear.
Cranney appeared dressed head to toe as a pilgrim,
with a Native American man next to him dressed in a
loin cloth. It wasn't the answer to his question that
left an impression.
On the other hand, Bosshardt was dressed in a simple
sweater and tie, but said the smell that best describes
him is fresh laundry because "you just wanna grab it
and hang on!"
Strong, dressed in pants that were only as long as
his shins and a mismatched suit coat, won the formal
competition. His question and answer: What piece of
playground equipment would you be and why? He would
be the swing.
Swinging his arm back and forth and up and down like
a swing, he said, "In life we have times when we're
back here and a little bit low and sometimes we're up
here and a little bit high. When we're down here, we
just gotta wait until we're up here."
The winner of each category received a gift back with
an Aggie water bottle, a pennant, blanket and Frisbee.
Brinton will reign as Mr. USU over the next year,
doing whatever it is that Mr. USU does. As former Mr.
USU, Ames isn't worried about Brinton holding the title.
"Christian's a great guy," he said. "It's in good