Vincent P. Buscemi led a 6-foot, inflated whale in a comic waltz, played a rapid-fire talk show host with biting satire, and charmed judges with stories of helping handicapped students.
The performance earned the 17-year-old senior high marks in the swimsuit and talent categories and the title in the second annual Mr. Liberty Pageant on Saturday.
In the good-natured spirit of the competition, the two "tearful" finalists broke from their consolation hug, hoisted Vincent on their shoulders and carried him offstage.
"What an interesting way to spend Saturday night," said Dave Marcum, the morning announcer on WGRX radio.
Mr. Marcum was one of seven judges for the contest in which five students competed for the crown and a plethora of prom perks.
All contestants earned free prom flowers. The three finalists also received tickets to Liberty's prom. The victor won a free limo ride to the dance at the Pikesville Hilton.
The Liberty students nominated 42 of their classmates to participate in the contest, but only "five had the courage to perform," Mike DeBoy, president of the Liberty PTSA said.
"It takes a lot of nerve to get up in front of your peers," said Donna Biemiller, who taped the show for a video yearbook.
About 200 students and parents watched the pageant and cheered loudly for their favorites.
The evening got off to a raucous start as the five contestants paraded in swim trunks and flexed their muscles for the screaming crowd.
Several young women rushed forward to grab Steve Reigel's T-shirt as he tossed it into the audience. Mike Cutsail drew hearty guffaws with his surfboard dance under an orange umbrella. Vincent, in shades, sun hat and nose cream, pranced with a replica of a killer whale.
Ron White, master of ceremonies, promised the entertainment segment would be whimsical and serious. And it was. Ray Helvig, the only junior in the contest, lip-synced and strummed his guitar to a Nirvana song, which he dedicated to Kurt Cobain, the lead singer who was found dead Friday in an apparent suicide.
Steve read an untitled poem he wrote about "reputations people create for themselves."
The competition took a decidedly silly turn with Mike's impersonation of a tough teacher, Vincent's take-off of Robin Williams in "Good Morning Vietnam" and Pat Stoetzer's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," which he tapped out on his head. Pat and Mike were runners-up in the contest.
Teachers were amazed at some normally shy students who blossomed on stage.
"That Mike is so quiet in school," said Missie Schaefer, Latin teacher and senior class adviser.