a tough act to follow

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a 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

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

tough act to follow

See hard act to follow.
See also: act, follow, tough
References in periodicals archive ?
Other iconic tough acts to follow on TV include Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman, Jay Leno and Lily Tomlin.
Sir Jimmy Savile, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, and Neil and Christine Hamilton have all been tough acts to follow.
Hollywood babe Bridget Fonda has some tough acts to follow.