Monday morning, doors across campus were plastered with posters containing the faces of eight sophomore men. These handsome, smartly- dressed individuals turned out to be the contestants in Thursday night's "Mr. Polar Bear Pageant," a Bowdoin Student Government (BSG)-organized male talent contest that occupied Kresge Auditorium from 8 to 9:30 p.m.

Melody Hahm '13, president of the sophomore class council, first presented the idea of hosting a male pageant as part of her campaign promise.

"Last year, the pageant was definitely an idea in my head. This year, I brought the pageant idea up at our very first meeting," she said.

Determing the format of the evening was straightforward, as the council referenced the model of the annual "Mr. Spartan Pageant" held at Hahm's high school. Finding male contestants willing to parade downstage in front of professors, parents and peers, however, was a more challenging feat.

Initially, BSG asked for self-nominations and voluntary participation. When Bowdoin boys were too shy to nominate themselves, the council asked sophomores to volunteer their friends.

Carl Spielvogel, Mike Bottinelli, Aggie Kelly, Robbie Deveny, Peter Yen, Ryan Larochelle, Simon Ward, and Asher Stamell were the eight sophomores confident enough (or subjected to enough peer pressure) to enter the competition. During four two-hour rehearsals, the council endeavored to coordinate the boys' timetables and dancing feet.

"These guys are involved in sports, a cappella, social's really hard to come up with a two-hour chunk of time that works for everyone," said Hahm.

During rehearsals, the contestants learned a dance choreographed by Elemental dancers Larochelle and Quinn Cohane '13, reviewed the format of the event, and had their pick-up lines and personal talents approved.

From the outset, the contestants viewed the pageant as a comedic performance rather than a legitimate talent competition.

"I think I was nominated because people know I have no shame, no problem embarrassing myself for the sake of a few good laughs," said Stamell.

In fact, though the group was filled with gifted athletes, singers and actors, the boys agreed to refrain from showcasing their most prominent talents.

"[The pageant will be] eight guys making a fool of themselves on stage. But it's comforting that the other guys will be there embarrassing themselves with me," shared Larochelle.

"I think there's more camaraderie [than rivalry] between contestants," he said. "It's about being on stage together to perform for an audience."

As Facebook invitations, class e-mails and flyers hoped to encourage wide attendance, students were not sure what to expect from the evening.

"There's a dichotomy of people who think it's a joke versus those who are taking it seriously. People are definitely talking about it, but there are varied responses," reported sophomore Katie Fitch prior to the event.

The Mr. Polar Bear Pageant's opening act—a group dance to "I'm Too Sexy"—set the tone for the evening. Co-emcees Stanton Cambridge '13 and BSG representative at-large Leah Greenberg '13, who substituted for an ill Sara Driscoll '13, welcomed the audience, providing lively commentary for the remainder of the evening.

During the Formal Wear competition, each participant was escorted by another member of the class: Bottinelli was escorted by Issy Albi, Larochelle by Andrew Gluesing (the sole male escort), Spielvogel by Jessie Turner, Ward by Sarah Levin, Stamell by Fitch, Deveny by Nani Durnan, Yen by Quinn Cohane, and Kelly by Judy Yang. Short biographies of the contestants, prepared by the escorts, were read as each man walked across the stage.

Escorts were then subjected to pick-up lines ranging from Stamell's straightforward, "I play D3 Hockey," to Spielvogel's chemistry-inspired, "I wish you were H2O and I were an alkaline metal, so I could get in you and explode."

During the interview portion of the contest, audience members learned that Yen's favorite compliment is being compared to the polar bear and that Kelly has no favorite gym exercise.

For the final half hour, contestants revealed their individual talents. Performances included Bottinelli's rendition of "La Bamba," Deveny and Spielvogel's performance of "Big Girl (You are Beautiful)," and Stamell's dramatic reading of YouTube videos.

A photo slide show of contestants distracted the audience as a panel of seven Bowdoin staff judges deliberated and class council tallied audience votes for "Mr. Congeniality." The panel included Chris Rossi from Residential Life, Dean Jarrett Young from Student Affairs, Sarah Seames from the Mckeen Center, Allen Delong and Christine Drasba from the Student Activities Office, Patty Silevinac from the Dining Service, and housekeeper Sabrina Bouchard.

Finally, BSG members revealed the results. Second runner up for event was Kelly, and first runner up went to Larochelle, who also received the title of "Mr. Congeniality." The winner of the Mr. Polar Bear Pageant and recipient of the $50 cash prize was Asher Stamell.

"I was truly inspired by the genius that is Sara Driscoll," said Stamell. "She really lifted me to such great heights. I wasn't surprised [that I won], but my vote still went to Carl."

The class council breathed sighs of relief and contentment as the approximate 300 attendees heartily applauded the contestants' efforts.

"This has been my most successful event at Bowdoin because it has been the most fulfilling," said Hahm. "Everyone I spoke with left laughing, and that was our goal. I could not be more elated."