The Amazing Ace

Featuring the contestants of The Amazing Ace, and the success of the night.

After two years of COVID cancellations, the loss of an irreplaceable MC, and two postponements, no one knew if Amazing Ace would happen this year. On January 30, the event finally took place with tremendous success; all of the contestants raised hundreds of dollars for their respective charities. While the auditorium was limited in capacity, it was still a fun-filled night with plenty of dancing, singing, and jokes. The contestants participated in several rounds designed to sway the audience and judges: including a catwalk, group dance, Q&A session, talent portion, and partner dance.  However, the night also marked a tragic first: Amazing Ace without beloved MC, Sean Hughes. Hughes’ loss was felt very deeply at the Amazing Ace, and the touching tribute video reminded the audience of everything he  brought to the show. It was clear that  all of the contestants did their absolute best to honor Hughes throughout the night.

The eight contestants showcased a variety of talents throughout the night | Photo courtesy of The Enchiridion

The night followed a Mario Kart theme where all the contestants were different characters on a mission to rescue Ace the Bulldog. The eight seniors—Zev Charlson, Philip Gao, Liam Gordon, Connor Marsh, Emi Reed, Spencer Rosenbaum, Jack Shapiro, and Leo Solga—showcased a variety of talents ranging from expansive musical productions to cinematic experiences accompanied by harmonica playing. 

Zev Charlson played Princess Peach. Accompanied by Lillie Abella ’22, Charlson raised money on behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Charlson showcased a variety of juggling talents while revisiting his third grade knack for reciting Pi. 

Phillip Gao personified Yoshi. Accompanied by Aaron Levine ’22, Gao supported the American Cancer Society. Gao sang a heartfelt rendition of “When I Was Your Man” accompanied by an entertaining duo who took the performance to the next level. 

Liam Gordon represented Donkey Kong. Accompanied by Ben Scherluebbe ’22, Gordon raised the most money out of any contestant: over 3,400 dollars for Project Home! Gordon’s passionate presentation against the dangers of smoking brought laughter and confusion to the audience. 

Connor Marsh portrayed Bowser. Accompanied by Ryan Hillis ’22, Marsh fundraised for Philabundance and had—perhaps—the most impressive talents. Marsh first played the piano and then solved a Rubix cube—all while blindfolded. His skills left the crowd dumbfounded.

Emi Reed played Princess Daisy. Accompanied by Pari Petramfar ’22, Reed raised money for Cradles to Crayons. Reed took the stage to perform a thoroughly choreographed tap dance routine to the tune of well-known pop songs. 

Spencer Rosenbaum personified Luigi. Accompanied by Makenna Sill ’22, Rosenbaum  supported the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  His eccentric performance started off with him slowly playing the piano and culminated in a full-scale performance with the addition of his band “Lights on the Field” where Rosenbaum played the trombone. 

Jack Shapiro dressed up as Wario. Accompanied by Sam Aronson ’22, Shapiro competed on behalf of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His act involved Shapiro serenading the audience with an assortment of friends who provided fun backdrops. 

Leo Solga portrayed  Mario. Accompanied by Camille Halbert ’23, Solga supported the Trevor Project. Through a wonderfully produced video, Solga took the audience through an elaborate day in the life, accompanied by a harmonica soundtrack.


Other critical members of the Amazing Ace include the MCs that keep the entire show running smoothly. Hughes always held a critical role as MC, and the charisma and joy he would bring to the show was deeply missed. This year’s MCs, seniors Logan Hall and Rachel Zhang, felt the loss more strongly than others, as this year’s initial planning was done together with Hughes. Hall admits, “It was hard to do it without Mr. Hughes and he definitely crossed my mind during it.” Outside the auditorium, banners hung with “Character Counts” written over pictures of Hughes in previous years of Amazing Ace. Wanting to keep Hughes as a part of Amazing Ace was extremely important to Hall as she explains, “Rachel and I (along with the other guest MCs) tried our best to honor Mr. Hughes in the best way possible.” This year’s MCs wore golden bow ties as a tribute to Hughes’ iconic sparkly gold jacket. Along with the MC’s, the contestants all tried to honor Hughes as best as they could. Rosenbaum shares his thoughts:“it was a strange feeling doing the event without him. The deficit of not having Hughes—in an event that he championed for such a long time and that I had hoped to be in with him since my brother and sister were in Mr. LM—was certainly apparent. My performance on Sunday was undoubtedly in loving memory of him.” All the contestants keep Hughe’s memory in the forefront of their minds throughout the night, as Gao explains, “We were all obviously very saddened by the fact that he couldn’t be here, and we wanted to be enjoyable and favorable to his legacy and I think we accomplished that.”

Outside of the challenges of the night, to Hall, “The night was amazing. I had the most fun getting to know people I wouldn’t ordinarily have collaborated with! Despite having two date changes, we were still able to have the event and make it a really great performance.”

Together the contestants raised over $20,000 for the many charities! At the end of the night,

the audience had the opportunity to vote for their favorite contestant, and chose Charlson, Solga, and Rosenbaum as the top three contenders for the title of Amazing Ace. Ultimately, Rosenbaum claimed the coveted title and brought an end to the night. When asking Rosenbaum about his experience, he detailed, “I have nothing but positive things to say about the overall experience. Winning is great, but I don’t think it’s what I find most exciting about it. Having the opportunity to perform in that fashion was truly thrilling, and I’m glad that that seemed to be the case not just for me, but for the audience, too. More notably, I was honored to have raised such significant money for a charity that is so important to me.”

For the first Amazing Ace in two years, the event surely did not disappoint—it brought together LM students and helped support a multitude of deserving charities.


The Merionite Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox, every issue.