Ok, so a few things about Drag Race fans before we continue. What always amazes me is how similar the fans of Drag Race are to fans we meet at conventions. Everyone is so warm, friendly, and welcoming. Sometimes you make new friends just standing in line. It’s an amazing environment. There’s no judging. Just love.
We shared our table with a lovely couple, whose names unfortunately escape me. I think one of them was Erica? It was very loud in the House of Blues, and for those of you who don’t know, I’m partially deaf. It’s hearing aid overload for me, which mostly reduces my conversations to head nodding and hand signals. I really should learn basic sign language, but I digress. These ladies were super friendly and very sweet. We were happy to share our table with such good company.
The show opened with a performance by Cary Nokey. You can check out our interview with him HERE. The show was hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race judge, Michelle Visage and she was the perfect person to MC this event.
It was interesting to see the queens in their element, the stage, after watching them on TV. None of them disappointed. If anything, we were blown away and left being even bigger fans.
Alaska 5000 performed two of her songs, “Your Makeup is Terrible” and “This is My Hair. I Don’t Wear Wigs.” First, I didn’t even know Alaska HAD singles out there. Second, her voice is addicting. It’s like if you mixed the sound of scraping your feet down a gravel driveway with sultry undertones. I could listen to her talk/sing all day. When we got home, I immediately bought everything Alaska has on iTunes.
Sharon Needles also performed some of her singles. Coming out in a casket, she wowed the audience with “This Club is a Haunted House.” She was spooky yet sultry. A strange combination when you think about it, but for Sharon Needles it works 100%. You’d think it would be hard to top popping out of a casket, but Sharon did just that when she appeared dressed as Dracula from the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula. She sang “Dracula” off her new album coming out in May. Unlike “This Club is a Haunted House,” “Dracula” has less of a dance club feeling and more of an old school Marilyn Manson vibe. It was KILLER. I’m anxiously awaiting this song’s release on iTunes.
I was excited to see BenDeLa Creme perform. I was a fan of hers during Season 6 and was curious what she was like on stage, in her element. I wasn’t disappointed! BenDeLa had us rolling with laughter during her Little Mermaid burlesque routine. Burlesque seems to be her thing…and it completely works. BenDeLa has the perfect balance of glamour, humor, and sex appeal to pull it off. You can see the freedom performing brings to her. She loves the stage and the stage loves her.
Season 5’s Miss Congeniality, Ivy Winters did a spectacular quick change performance. With the aid of some curtains, she changed her costume 5 times during a song. Each change only took a matter of seconds, and was flawlessly timed. She returned to the stage later in the butterfly costume she wore during one of the episodes. And yes, she was on stilts! Ivy’s constant movement, however, sadly made it very difficult to get a picture of her.
Manila Luzon was another queen I was looking forward to seeing perform. I’m a fan, but felt like we didn’t get to see her perform enough on the show. Watching her live was a completely different experience. She came out, dressed in a re-designed version of her t-shirt and sang, of course, her hit “Buy My T-Shirt.” You’ve gotta love a queen who’s not afraid to hawk her merch on stage…in the middle of a song! It was pretty awesome and made me wish we were sitting in the front row so we could buy her t-shirts.
Aside from the queen’s performances, two of Drag Race’s famous challenges were repeated. Makeover and Snatch Game.
During the makeover, three people were pulled from the audience. The queens, Raja, Manila, and Ivy, were then challenged to use the contents of Phi Phi O’Hara’s suitcase (an inside joke from the show) to makeover the contestants within the specified timeframe. Boy did those queens take it seriously, producing hilarious consequences.
Snatch Game has always been one of my favorite challenges of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The idea behind Snatch Game is to impersonate a celebrity, alive or dead, during a game show. It’s a make-or-break challenge. You’re either able to deliver a character or you’re not. So naturally, when Michelle announced they were going to play Snatch Game, I was thrilled!
Out came Sharon Needles as the late Joan Rivers, Alaska as RPDR contestant Laganja Estranja, Jinkx Monsoon as Alaska, Manila Luzon as Madonna, and finally, BenDeLa Creme as the ultimate Drag Race super fan. All of them were hilarious, but as you can see by the video below, BenDeLa Creme not only hit the fangirl nail on the head, but she stole the show!
Jinkx mesmerized the crowd by belting out the Witch’s portion of the “Act One Prologue” from Into the Woods, and followed it up with “The Last Midnight.” Dressed in an amazing blue gown, reminiscent of Meryl Streep’s in the movie, Jinkx had the entire audience under her spell. She proved exactly why she was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. And I have to say, her version of the Witch’s songs were a good rival to Bernedette Peter’s original. I would pay to see Jinkx on Broadway any day.
Raja and Manila were adorable dressed in the Harajuku/Lolita style as they bobbed around the stage to “Gimme Chocolate.” The song isn’t as catchy as say “Pon Pon Pon,” but it does make you want to jump up and down. Honestly, the song itself wasn’t my favorite. I found it kind of screechy. Luckily, Raja and Manila’s intricate costumes and exuberance made up for any irritating factors the song possessed. Which just goes to show you, it’s not the song that makes a performance good.
Tiara and I had a blast at the Battle of the Seasons. It was a great way to kick off what would end up being a drag weekend. All of the queens scheduled for the BOTS Tour are true performers. If BOTS comes to your city, we encourage you to see it. It’s well worth the ticket price. We can’t wait until next year!
Photo credit to Tiarala.