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Moonwalker, tap dancer win Mr. and Miss West Islip homecoming contest
If “Glee” wrote a homecoming episode it might have played out like this.
Channeling his inner Michael Jackson Tuesday night, Andrew Schlosser crooned “The Way You Make Me Feel,” executed MJ’s classic leg kick and moonwalked across the stage at West Islip High School to win the title of Mr. West Islip.
The Mr. and Miss West Islip competition is West Islip High School’s way of selecting its homecoming king and queen, more pageantry and less of a popularity contest. A panel of judges determines the winners based on talent and their responses to random questions.
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Out of the 11 West Islip seniors -- six girls, and five guys -- competing for the titles this year, Schlosser, 17, was the last one to perform during the talent round. The previous male acts included rap, classical piano, a country song and a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
“I knew there was a lot of talent and they all had a chance,” said Schlosser, who choreographed the beginning of his routine but improvised the rest.
Schlosser said he’s never taken a dance class in his life, but learned last year that he has a knack for impersonating Jackson’s dance moves when he earned a solo, performing “Man in the Mirror” for his high school’s show choir, Vocal Motion.
The title of Miss West Islip went to Schlosser’s best friend and fellow Vocal Motion member Maria Keuler, 17. Keuler performed a fast-paced four-minute tap routine to “Stomp to My Beat.”
Keuler, who has been dancing since she was 1 and takes classes six days per week, said she prefers the process her school uses to select its king and queen.
“This is just so much cooler, because you get to show everyone what you can do and be picked upon that,” she said.
Schlosser added, “It’s different, because you get someone who is not obvious.”
Schlosser and Keuler will be featured in Saturday’s homecoming parade along with first runners-up Matt Crawford and Sharon Bownes.
Keuler added, “It’s feels amazing, especially to be a winner with my best friend.”