SINGAPORE - From the moment the 24 beefcakes walked out to the tune of hit song Blurred Lines by US singer Robin Thicke, there was no stopping the audience.
With party clappers, horns and whistles, the 600-strong crowd almost brought the house down at local club Neverland II at St James Power Station on Wednesday night at the Manhunt and Senior Manhunt Singapore 2013 finals.
The women - and some men - eagerly snapped pictures of the contestants in their Waveline swimwear, and their appreciation of the guy's hot bods showed all over their faces. They also chanted and sounded their horns for their favourites Hadi Omar (Manhunt) and Andy Chng (Senior Manhunt).
But the hunks and their supporters were blindsided by the actual winners, who, when compared to the rest of the guys, were more slender.
Jason Tan, 21, and Gilbert Tang, 42, were crowned Manhunt and Senior Manhunt Singapore respectively at the three-hour event, which also celebrated the pageant's 25th anniversary.
Hadi and Chng took home the runner-up positions in their respective categories.
Both Tan and Tang are first-time pageant contestants and somewhat unexpected winners in a group filled with pageant title-holders, personal trainers and fitness models.
It's a personal triumph for Tang, who, less than a decade ago, could not even stand looking at pictures of his then-91kg self.
"I didn't dare show those pictures to anyone. I was not confident at all then. People used to call me 'Chub'," said Tang, who is single.
He does procurement for a retail brand and is also a part-time property agent and a freelance model.
In his mid-30s, fed up at being overweight, he started dieting and exercising, going to the gym five to six days a week.
Tang, who is 1.7m tall, is now 70kg, after adding daily 45-minute swimming sessions to his routine to prepare for Manhunt.
"In the five months before Manhunt, I completely cut out my favourite foods like fried kway teow, laksa and chocolate," he said. "It was torture."
But it certainly wasn't torture on stage. If anything, Tang deserved the winner's sash for the energy and overly-enthusiastic facial expressions he brought to the stage during the guys' dance routine, while others bit their lips from embarrassment or struggled to keep up with the beat.
"I really love dancing and I think you saw it on stage," said Tang with a laugh.
Manhunt Singapore 2013 winner Tan also impressed with his outgoing onstage persona,
The freelance model and Temasek Polytechnic student, who is completing his diploma in business process and systems engineering, breezily made it through his Q&A segment when asked why he would choose skydiving over bungee jumping.
"You don't get to see the world from such a view every day," was his response.