Mr. Norristown ’23: An Event Full of Humor and Love

Hope Rose Mauch, Editor-in-Chief

The crowd was dead silent as the final five Mr. Norristown contestants took the stage. All the acts were unique, and with the amount of effort put into the production, any of the guys could have won. After weeks of grueling practice, everything has come down to this moment. Members of the audience held hands as the anticipation grew and grew. Suddenly, Steven Rubio was announced to be the 2023 Mr. Norristown, a moment that Norristown Area High School will never forget. 

“If it wasn’t for [my mom] and my dad I would have never gotten here,” said Rubio. “I am so thankful for them.” 

Mr. Norristown has been a NAHS tradition for over 20 years, most recently hosted by Kate Bartlett, Jen Shahin, and the Blue & White Society . Male seniors show off their best outfits and talents to become the next Mr. Norristown. This year’s Mr. Norristown was indeed something special with not only the talents showcased but the crowd participation and energy. 

Nine seniors competed this year: Samier Miles, Javier Sanchez-Chavez, Juan Rojas, Douglas Cawley, Jose Ortiz-Flores, Brandon Torres, Wilson Prieto, Steven Rubio, and Matthew Pritz. Each of these young men brought something different to this competition. 

The night’s hosts, Ryan Morse, and Vanessa Ramos kept the show moving with their witty banter. Both women had wonderful stage presence, and the crowd was engaged the whole night. It was really fun to see Morse dancing and getting into each number in the stage wings.  The ten judges were given a “Mean Girls” style introduction, letting everyone know who was in charge.  

“I laughed the whole way through,” said Lindsey Martin, one of the judges. “This is probably my favorite night of the year.” 

There are four events the guys compete in: formal wear, casual wear, swimwear, and everyone’s favorite, the talent portion. All of the guys pulled out their best clothes to show off. For formal wear, the guys were escorted to the front of the stage to strike a pose. For the swimwear portion, the guys were equipped with floaties and even a surfboard. 

During the formal wear portion of the night, Cawley was brave enough to ask his girlfriend Lilly Richardson to be his prom date. She said yes; Richardson later admitted she knew something was up but was still very surprised. 

To start the talent portion of the night off, Javier Sanchez-Chavez came out with a mariachi band and his baile folklorico dance group. From the start, the energy was off the charts already, and I knew it would be a hard act to follow. For each performance, each guy tried to outdo the last. 

“I feel really proud because I showed my culture and everything and I’m proud the audience is into it,” said Sanchez-Chaves. “If you know me, Gume, I’m always extra and over the top, so  obviously my last year I had to bring it and kill it and bring it all out” 

Many of the contestants showed off their singing abilities. Prieto came out with a boy band-like group and performed “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X. The backup dancers filtered into the crowd to continue their dance and get the audience moving.  While Miles was performing “Let Me Love You” by Mario, he pulled his girlfriend out of the crowd to sing to her on stage. You could feel the love in the air. As the night went on, Torres did a Michaell Jackson mashup to pay tribute to his younger self.  

Cawley performed a Justin Timberlake mashup with his girlfriend Lilly by his side, stealing the hearts of the judges instantly. To play up the family aspect of Mr. Norristown, Rojas performed “Baby Shark” in an inflatable shark costume. Pritz’s act was different from the other acts, as he played some of his favorite alternative rock songs on bass guitar. 

The second to last number of the night was that of the eventual 2023 Mr. Norristown winner. Rubio performed a traditional folk dance from Nayarit, a state in Western Mexico. In his performance with his dance group, he threw machetes, even blindfolded at one point. Rubio has been doing this for about 10 years, so a trained professional in my books. Do not copy his act at home. 

“I been said that [Rubio] got it, and I expect him to win because that’s talent right there with the machetes and all that,” said Samir Miles. “I don’t really care if I win that much because I did what I had to do and had fun and did something else nobody else would do.” 

As the night came to an end, the energy was still great. So many wanted their chance to get a picture with Rubio, who was more than happy to stay back and take all the photos he could. With the great turnout for the 2023 Mr. Norristown, the class of 2024 boys better bring their best to the competition next year.