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Drag queens turn on their best talents in Turner Hall

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RuPaul's Drag Race brought drag queens of many talents to Turner Hall Tuesday night. Graphic by Caroline Devane / caroline.devane@marquette.edu

RuPaul’s Drag Race brought drag queens of many talents to Turner Hall Tuesday night. Graphic by Caroline Devane / caroline.devane@marquette.edu

“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons” brought everything fans love about the Logo reality show to Turner Hall Tuesday night (minus RuPaul herself). Show judge Michelle Visage and a selection of a few favorite queens from past seasons delivered a variety show performance that was odd, impressive, entertaining and a little baffling at once.

The thing about the contestants on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” that the live performance made clear, though, was that what these performers do really does take the show’s signature skills: charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Interspersed with little videos, mostly themed around the show “American Horror Story,” the queens made jokes, sang live and even walked on stilts, all while looking fierce as hell. But the queens have a singular kind of talent, the kind that veers far left of normal, for better or worse—but mostly better.

There were several stand-out moments among the acts, so here are some of the most memorable moments within a show chock of them.

 

Jinkx Monsoon

Serving: Broadway broad realness

Jinx Monsoon, winner of the season five title of “Next Drag Superstar,” gave a powerhouse live-singing performance dressed like an old-western redhead. She called two “go-go boys” from the crowd on stage to sing a suggestive rendition of “Everybody’s Girl” from the musical “Steel Pier.” She also reminded everyone how she charmed the crowd with her natural sense for physical comedy as she danced with the two (shirtless) crowd members. At her request, they promptly picked her up, with layers of her dress flying.  By the end of her performance, most of the crowd jumped to their feet.

Bonus Points for: A perfect delivery of the line: “It’s so nice to be back in Wisconsin. I love cheese!”

 

Sharon Needles

Serving: Hail Satan realness

Sharon Needles, the season four winner, was the only other crowned queen in the house and is arguably one of the most famous winners with her alien, gender-bending look that is instantly memorable.  After a performance of “Ouji Board” by Morrissey that was fairly conventional, she gave the crowd a throwback favorite, singing “Sweet Transvestite” from Rocky Horror Picture Show dressed in a leather corset that gave a nod to Tim Curry’s original creation. You could feel her true admiration for the film, and the crowd loved the reference. Later, though, she came out in a simple floor-length black dress and hella-creepy goblin mask. She did a slow, emotional number in which she did not, as fans of drag queens could naturally expect, rip off the dress or the mask. It was totally bizarre in the saddest and eeriest way possible — but that’s why she is one of the most memorable queens in the show’s history: She knows how to shock.

Bonus Points for: Being unconventional, even for a drag show.

 

Carmen Carrera

Serving: Britany Spears in the “Lucky” video realness

Carmen Carrera, who recently came out as a transgender woman after her time on the show, was the seductive act.  She basically just showed off how flawless she looks, but it was still one of the most memorable acts of the night. After sporting an outfit that was essentially just glitter and giving out a few lap dances, Carrera later came out between acts with signs of the different queen’s faces like a boxing ring girl. The only real purpose was so everyone could see her in the world’s smallest bikini, but color us all impressed.

Bonus Points for: a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported her through her transition as a transgender woman.

 

Pandora Boxx

Serving:  Flawless Ice Queen realness

Pandora Boxx had quite a few different acts throughout the night, but hands down her best moment was when she came out dressed as Elsa from “Frozen” and performed “Let it Go.” She had the character’s “I don’t care what you think, peasants” power walk down and proved that the song was pretty much made to be performed by a drag queen with all the drama, key changes and attitude. Then, being the comedy queen that she is, she was joined by Olaf the Snowman as the song abruptly switched to “Hot in Herre” by none other than Nelly himself for a fun surprise.

Bonus Points for: Coming out as a stand-up comedy unicorn earlier in the show. She worked that horn.

 

Ivy Winters

Serving: Maleficent realness

Ivy winters was the biggest surprise of the night. Her final act was the true showstopper. Though she isn’t one of the most popular queens from the show, if this performance really was a battle, she won. For her final appearance of the night, she came out onstage in a huge black cloak that stood about ten feet tall. When a dub-step remix cut into her music, La Roux’s “Bulletproof”  she grew about another 5 feet to gasps from the crowd. She was on stilts! She then threw off her hood to reveal fierce sparkly Maleficent (from “Sleeping Beauty”) horns and a matching outfit. She looked great! If that wasn’t enough she then Pulled. Out. Some. Knives. What is she going to do with those knives? Juggle them and then swallow them, of course. It’s surprising she didn’t end by exploding into glitter and flying away. She was the last act of the night before all the queens returned to sing “Hey Big Spender” from “Sweet Charity” and served to end the show on a bang.

Bonus Points for: Surprising everyone as the best act of the night.

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