a hard act to follow

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a hard act to follow

Someone or something so exemplary that it overshadows anything that follows. I don't know how Mel's replacement will be received by the staff. He was so admired and respected that he'll be a tough act to follow. That award-winning play will be a tough act to follow on Broadway.
See also: act, follow, hard

hard act to follow

Also, tough act to follow. An outstanding performance or individual. For example, Lucy was a terrific group leader-hers is a hard act to follow, or Bob's record is excellent-it will be a tough act to follow. This expression, dating from about 1900, was originally used for a particularly good vaudeville act that made the next act look poor by comparison. It soon was extended to other enterprises.
See also: act, follow, hard

a hard act to follow

COMMON If someone is a hard act to follow, they are so good at what they do that it will be difficult for anyone else to be as successful. Prince Charles has known his destiny since childhood. He knows too that his mother will be a hard act to follow. Note: Adjectives such as tough and difficult can be used instead of hard. There's no doubt Alex Ford's vision and hard work have played a major role in the museum's success. He'll be a tough act to follow.
See also: act, follow, hard

a hard (or tough) act to follow

an achievement or performance which sets a standard difficult for others to measure up to.
1996 Independent Her determination and championing of tourism will be a tough act to follow.
See also: act, follow, hard

a hard/tough act to ˈfollow

a person or a group that is so good or successful at something that it will be difficult for anyone else who comes after them to be as good or successful: The last head teacher achieved a lot — she’ll be a hard act to follow.
An act is one of several short pieces of entertainment in a show.
See also: act, follow, hard, tough
References in periodicals archive ?
This will be the fourth Hollywood stab at the story of a singer battling with addiction, and Lopez has a couple of hard acts to follow.