Mr. Flash showcases male talent on campus


Senior Spanish literature, culture and translation major Victor Benton becomes emotional after being named 2016 Mr. Flash on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016 in the Kent State University Ballroom.

Nathaniel Harvey

Kent State’s Center for Student Involvement hosted the 5th annual Mr. Flash male pageant Tuesday evening.

“We came here last year and it was a lot of fun, and it was very upbeat and entertaining,” said Julia Alcorn, a sophomore nursing major.

Alcorn waited in the long line of people outside the ballroom.

Host Emonte Wimbush, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, introduced the three judges and six contestants to kick off the event, as well as what Mr. Flash would win — $100’s worth of pizza from Domino’s, and $500 of free advertising for their student organization.

The Mr. Flash pageant is a male-only pageant consisting of five rounds of events: men’s formal wear, celebrity impersonations, swimwear, talent and a round of questioning.

There were six contestants that participated in Mr. Flash this year: sophomore applied engineering major Brennan Macaluso, of the Student Homecoming Committee; senior Spanish literature, culture and translation major Victor Benton, of the Spanish and Latino Student Association; senior geography Kyle Brooks, of FLASHanthropy; junior sports administration Eric Abowd, of the Catholic Student Association; senior visual communication design major Nicholas Labate, of Flash Harmony; and junior fashion design major Courion Williams, of Exquisite Inc. Modeling Troupe.

To be selected as a participant, men must be nominated by a student organization to which they are a member. Participants can win one of three awards: Mr. Congeniality, Audience Choice, and the overall title of Mr. Flash.

The first round performed was celebrity impersonations. To start off the round was Macaluso, who impersonated Rocky Balboa. Benton danced and sang in Spanish while he impersonated singer Romeo Santos. 

Brooks did an uncanny impersonation of Gollum from the “Lord of the Rings” series. He spoke as Gollum to impersonate Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“We will make the fat hobbitsies pay for the wall,” Brooks said to the crowd.

Abowd impersonated New York Jets coach Todd Bowles, giving an inspirational speech. Labate brought in a stuffed ‘Kermit the Frog,’ and impersonated the famous frog by singing his song, “Rainbow Connection.” Lastly, Williams grabbed two volunteers and impersonated Tyra Banks, as if he was on “America’s Next Top Model.”

Each contestant took to the stage to strut their stuff in the swimwear portion, with Macaluso pouring a full bottle of water on top of his head. Brooks pulled his swimsuit off to reveal his compression shorts, and Williams unzipped his jacket to reveal a fishnet top.

The third round was the talent portion, giving each contestant three minutes to impress the judges and crowd. Macaluso’s talent was resting on top of a bed of nails, and having two volunteers from the audience step on him.

Benton had a partner up on stage with him, and the two danced to salsa music. Brooks’ talent was singing the “Fifty Nifty United States” song to the crowd, gaining participation from the audience.

Abowd performed a magic trick, reading the audiences’ mind to guess a card picked by a volunteer. Labate brought up part of Flash Harmony to perform “Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE.

For the last act, Williams danced to Beyoncé’s “Formation.” Williams ran through the crowd and strutted his stuff, with backup dancers following in his steps.

During the event, six attendees were given tickets to Thursday’s concert, co-headlined by Kesha and PartyNextDoor, after participating in a dance-off.

The question and answer portion of the pageant followed the talent competition.

Wimbush asked each contestant a different question: “What would you do if you were president of Kent State?”, “What are you going to be for Halloween?”, “What would do if you got a million dollar donation from Kent State?”, “What kind of impact would you make on Kent State?”, “As a student, how do you show your Kent State pride?” and “What is your favorite tradition at Kent State, and why is it your favorite tradition?”

After much consideration from the judges, Mr. Congeniality and Audience Choice winner was Labate of Flash Harmony. The audience was able to vote for their participant of choice via text message.

Benton danced his way to the title of Mr. Flash after participating in all five rounds successfully.

“I’m very emotional all together right now (and) I’m feeling a lot of things,” he said, after winning. “I was definitely not expecting to win; I was actually rooting for some of the other guys … it just feels amazing.”

Nathaniel Harvey is the activities reporter, contact him at [email protected].