tough act to follow

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tough 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, tough

tough act to follow

 and hard act to follow
Fig. a difficult presentation or performance to follow or improve upon with one's own performance. Bill's speech was excellent. It was a tough act to follow, but my speech was good also. In spite of the fact that I had a tough act to follow, I did my best.
See also: act, follow, tough