In week three of the Ultimate Queen All-Stars competition at Tracks, the seven remaining contestants were challenged to present a tribute to their favorite idols, with the most unique celebrity tribute winning its creator queen of the night.
The contest's judges — Mariah Spanic, Felony Misdemeanor and Victoria Sexton — were joined by the queen of L.A. drag, Melissa Befierce, and had their claws ready, reminding the girls that they were "the best" as All-Stars and that they needed to be better than the best if they wanted to take the competition. It was a fair and necessary note as the battle ramped up.
Cherry Poppins opened with a nod to bizarre Drag Race alum Alaska Thunderfuck. Mani Queen, who'd won the first two contests, presented a creative mashup in the music and looks of Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson (though really she looked more like Peaches), Kyile Vanderpump paid tribute to Mean Girl Regina George, Valerie Shearz hoofed it with her version of Paula Abdul, Arial StaxXx sang live and then went synch for her take on Rihanna, Anka Shayne returned nearly naked for a tribute to Gaga, and Gia StaxXx closed out the show with an adorable Celia Cruz.
In the end, Valerie took the crown: Not known for her dance moves, she popped out of her box and presented a choreographed number that was mostly flawless (check the video for the world's most perfect accidental wig loss) and demonstrated new range and prowess.
At the bottom were Anka Shayne, whose ambitious number, complete with dancers, tripped her up; and Kyile, whose tribute was clever but just shy of being as smudge-proof as her idol. The two met at midnight for a lip-synch battle to Britney Spears's ubiquitous "Toxic," and Anka was ultimately sent packing — but not before she'd collected a clutch of new fans and a sweet shot of confidence to take her into future drag endeavors in town.
This Thursday, the remaining queens — Arial, Cherry, Gia, Kyile, Mani, and Valerie — face an "Animals" challenge, and are charged with presenting a head-to-toe performance of their favorite wild thing.
Until then, here are some clips from week three of the competition:
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Ultimate Queen All-Stars continues Thursdays at Tracks, 3500 Walnut Street. Doors open at 7 p.m., with new episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars starting at 7:30 p.m.; the UQ All-Stars competition rolls after that, and the party continues until 2 a.m. Admission for 18+ is a $5 cover, $10 after 10 p.m.; 21+ is free. Find more info at tracksdenver.com.