Superpowers unleashed: Joshua Braun voted Mr. GCU
Story by Jeannette Cruz
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s “Mr. GCU.”
A loud roar of humor and delight arose Wednesday night from all corners of Grand Canyon University Arena as 12 young men conquered the stage to compete in the annual male talent competition.
The evening broke out in total darkness just as the hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, ran onto the stage with one ulterior motive – to awaken inner superheroes.
Even without breathing fire, shooting lasers or flying off of ridiculous heights, the contestants reeled in the judges with their hidden talents. In fact, although the group was filled with skilled athletes and musicians, contestants avoided the obvious. Instead, they appeared rapping in a music video, acting, flossing and even eating a sandwich … slowly. (Click here to see a slideshow.)
The brave contestants were Daniel Trueblood, Matt Burkholder, Joshua Warshaw, Steve Johnson, David Beck, Mark Nuttelman, Parker Shipe, Joshua Braun, Omar Williams, Isaac Plentl, Cody Dumas and Mikee Garcia. Then they were narrowed to the top five, leaving Garcia, Braun, Plentl, Johnson and Shipe at the hands of the judges for questioning.
During their interviews, the participants were asked serious questions, such as, “If you had to describe yourself using an ice cream flavor, which would you be?” and, “What superhero power do you wish you possessed?”
Garcia said, “Baskin Robbins … Wild ’n Reckless.”
During the event, Thunder flew in over the crowd as Captain America and almost won the crown as a spoof. (Mrs. Incredible, one of the hosts, intervened.)
In the end, second runner-up was Garcia, first runner-up was Johnson and “Aquaman” Braun plunged through, winning “Mr. GCU.”
“I thought all of the guys were wonderful, and I’m excited to now go back with my team and eat some snickerdoodles tonight,” Braun said.
For his talent, Braun emulated a 2007 Saturday Night Live skit, “Locker Room Motivation,” about a struggling basketball team and a coach who uses dance and music to arouse the team during halftime. However, he added his own flare by poking fun at the Lopes and men’s basketball coach Dan Majerle.
“The big thing was just to have fun, and all of the guys really enjoyed it,” Braun said.
Finding male contestants to strut the stage was not a challenge, said Julia Bates, the event coordinator. Students on campus nominated the participants.
During rehearsals, the contestants also learned a choreographed dance routine to Justin Beiber’s “What Do You Mean?” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” to coordinate their dancing feat and had their talents and music approved, Bates said.
“They’re all creative, fun and witty, so there’s a reason they were nominated by their peers,” she said. “On top of that, some are in student leadership, others are in the Havocs, they’re RAs or in student government – so they really live and breathe GCU culture.”
From the outset, preparing for the show was a whirlwind, said Williams, who jumped into the show as superhero “Netflix.”
“We’ve all been out here making a fool out of ourselves,” he added. “Overall, it’s been super goofy and entertaining to see.”
Event organizers and students said they were pleased with how well the event turned out.
“I was most impressed by the acting and how the judges responded to the acting,” said Daishaun June.
Caleb Rainey, who performed along with Garcia, said he was blown away by some of the answers contestants gave during the top-five Q&As.
“It’s amazing to see that although GCU keeps growing and getting more diverse, we still have a strong student body who care about Christ and care about supporting His name, even in fun events like this,” he said.
Bates said the goal of the event was for students to come together and celebrate the culture that is GCU.
“I think it’s something that students look forward to every year because it’s something different from the norm around here,” she said. “The guys put a lot of time and a lot of thought into this to go in front of thousands of their peers.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or [email protected]