by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
The LGBT community loves us some divas! With their big hair, beautiful gowns, and lots of attitude and talent, we Gays just can't get enough of our Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, Bette Midler, and & well, you get the point! We love them and we celebrate them.
On April 17 at Pride Idol, we got to meet eight local divas. And as one has come to expect from this year's competition, the show was fierce!
Pride Idol is a citywide singing contest produced and presented by SO&P, Verizon Wireless, FUZE, Seattle's Best Karaoke, and Seattle Gay News that takes place every Sunday night at Neighbours Nightclub (1509 Broadway) and is hosted by Gaysha Starr. Doors open at 6 p.m., when contestants can sign up to sing in the 7 p.m. competition. The grand finale is scheduled for June 19, where a winner will be chosen as Seattle's 2011 Pride Idol!
The amazing and multi-talented drag sensation Aleksa Manila joined me, Sister Domine Trix (who unabashedly flirts with every single contestant), and the incredibly well-dressed and beautiful Kitty Corset to critique our local divas. From the very start, it was obvious that this was going to be a night of true talent showcased in style.
Returning to the stage, contestant number one, Eric, decided to perform a song from a male diva: Luther Vandross. Eric's performances are always good, but this week he gave his best effort to date.
Missy Cruz brought three things to the competition: talent, friends, and a guitar. That was her recipe for success, and she was advanced to the finals to compete for the top spot to become Seattle's next Pride Idol. Missy's performance was an original as she gave us a stripped-down, acoustic version of three divas: Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Paula Abdul.
The Pride Idol family loves Ryan Crawford! Ryan is a great sport with a wonderful voice who always leaves the audience with a memorable performance. This week, Ryan tackled Adele's 'Someone Like You' with an arrangement that he recorded with Victor Cruz especially for the competition. Although Ryan did not advance to the next round, something tells me we haven't seen the last of him - and for that, I'm glad!
Surprise, surprise; I somehow ended up onstage with Aleksa Manila singing the 'boy parts' to Aqua's 'Barbie Girl.' I had no idea there were so many boy parts to the song! Performing with Aleksa was a blast and maybe, just maybe, it will happen again.
Jennifer O'Brien is a true entertainer in every sense of the word. She shows up ready to win, dressed for the occasion, and always has the right song choice. This week was no different as she belted 'I Am Changing' by Jennifer Holiday. In a word: amazing.
What's not to love about contestant number five, Angel Chris? He's funny, has personality for days, and the boy can sing! This week, broken ankle and all, he sang 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me' (both Elton and George Michael's parts), and the audience adored it!
Opening the second part of the show was local entertainer Yee-Shin Huang. You may remember Yee-Shin as a finalist from last year's Pride Idol. Confident, cute, and talented, Yee-Shin stood out as one of the 2010 competition's fan favorites. On Sunday, Yee-Shin performed something of a signature song for him, George Michael's 'Father Figure.'
Ezra Horne, contestant number six, sang a beautiful version of 'Get Here' by Oleta Adams. Ezra's take on the song, typically performed by a female, was wonderful.
Sherry Eberhardt made us all feel good with her version of Aretha Franklin's 'Dr. Feelgood.' Classy, talented, and poised, Sherry brought the house down with a great performance!
Donta Rogers has become a part of Pride Idol history as the most competitive of all Idols, past and present. He is a true entertainer through and through who clearly loves the connection that he shares with the audience. This week, Donta performed 'Rock With You' by Michael Jackson.
This year, Pride Idol is themed!
April 24: '80s Night
May 1: Pop Culture Night
May 8: Latino Night
May 15: Country Music Night
May 29: Soundtrack Night
June 5: Burlesque Night
You don't have to choose songs that go with that night's theme, but it is highly encouraged. Also, remember to dress the part - you are performing, after all - and try to win over the judges and audience alike.
Each week there is a prize of $100 for first place, a Verizon Wireless Bluetooth Device and a spot in the Wildcard round for second place, and two VIP tickets to Le Faux at Julia's on Broadway for third.
Who's going to take home the Pride Idol trophy and prizes this year? Why not you? You can sign up in person the night of the competition or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/162931. There is a $10 fee to enter the contest.
This year's Grand Finale prize package is very attractive: $300 will go to third place, $500 to second place, and first prize is $1,000 and a Verizon Wireless phone with two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. or Canada aboard Delta airlines (courtesy of Orbitz), and a chance to perform aboard the SO&P float during the Seattle Pride Parade, June 26.
Come out and sing! Show us what you've got and become Seattle's next Pride Idol!
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