Just in time for the season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Season 2, gay hot spot Tracks has selected the best of its Ultimate Queen Competition for Denver's own All-Stars battle, which kicks off on Thursday, August 25, with a wig and a prayer.
Over the years, seven scrappy divas have been crowned Ultimate Queen at Tracks — Bella Couture LeCher was the latest to snatch that title — while leaving the fierce bodies of dozens of amateur performers in their wake. Like Drag Race, the show that inspired it, the Ultimate Queen Competition is a weeks-long battle royale; Colorado’s drag elite list the fight proudly on their résumés as the place where their heels first hit a stage and they learned to “lip-sync for their lives.”
Now, just as RuPaul has personally selected the best of seven seasons to compete for the Drag Race All-Stars award, Tracks has culled eight of the UQC’s shiniest gems from years of prominent contestants to vie for Denver's All-Star crown over the next seven weeks.
This season’s All-Star competition comes with a cash prize, a six-month run in the legendary Tracks Drag Nation show, and the first “official” UQC All-Star Crown. (Tracks had a regular UQC battle during Drag Race’s first All-Star battle.) It will be hosted by dynamo diva Mia StaxXx and 2015 UQC winner Yvie Oddly, while Diva Dozen alums Felony Misdemeanor, Mariah Spanic and Victoria Sexton return to mentor and judge the cast.
We grabbed a minute with each of this season’s All-Stars to ask them for the All-Stars slogan they’d slap on a bumpersticker — it's a political season, after all — and who they consider their biggest competition.
Shayne made her big debut in this year’s UQC but failed to reach the top three. Now she plans to crack that glass ceiling with a stiletto heel.
Political slogan this season: "There's worse decisions you could make. Vote for Anka Shayne."
Biggest competition this season? “I'm not counting anyone out. We have all worked so hard to be All-Stars, and it could definitely be anyone. If I wasn't competing, my money would be on Arial StaxXx or Valerie Shearz. They've got it all — the look, the personality, the performance.”
The newest StaxXx stomper fought her way to runner-up to UQC 2015 winner Yvie Oddly and has only upped her game since then, bringing daring flips, perfect lip-syncs and live singing to the yard.
Political slogan this season: “Back by popular demand. She's gonna Slaaayy, just ask your man.”
Biggest competition this season? “I am my biggest competition because I'll be pushing myself to the outer limits of drag that I have never attempted.”
A seven-year veteran of drag, new-to-town Candy worked her way into this year’s top three. But why just take a nibble when she can have a whole bite?
Political slogan this season: “Candy Everybody Wants!”
Biggest competition this season? “Truthfully, it’s myself. I know that this is a super-pageant answer, but it's most important that I focus on myself and what I bring each week. I have no idea what these queens will bring, but we are all All-Stars and will be bringing our A-games, so rather than worry too hard about what's going on in their lane, I just need to focus on mine!”
Starting out on a pair of wobbly heels at UQC 2015, Cherry came back to the competition this year ready to make her mark. She made the top three, then went on to be named named this year's Miss Denver County Fair. But could All-Stars be the cherry on top for her?
Political slogan this season: "Cherry today, Cherry tomorrow, Cherry forever!"
Biggest competition this season? “The thing about this season is it's All-Stars, so you can't really look at one girl as being your competition. We were all chosen to be here because we've all shown something that's incredible — so I would say they’re ALL my competition in some way! I'm just really excited to see what everyone brings to the table, because there is no time to be a #basicbetty!”
The 2013 UQC marked the launch of the StaxXx navy, with Gia, Mia, Yazmeen and Andrea sailing through; Gia took ninth place while sis Andrea claimed the crown. Now an auntie to fellow competitor Arial, she'll show whether blood is thicker than water on stage.
Political slogan this season: “Gia StaxXx — A drag queen for a Tulitè Tomorrow! #itsLit”
Biggest competition this season? “Valerie Shearz and Kyile Vanderpump! We have all been in the drag game for the same amount of time, and we all have our aesthetics on lock, and none of us can dance — so we have THAT in common.”
Kyile left her footprint on the 2012 and 2013 seasons of UQC, climbing first to third and then to second place. Recently named Miss Gay Pride of All Colorado, Vanderpump really needs the UQC crown for when her other one is in the wash. [paint nails emoji]
Political slogan this season: “Don't be a chump, vote for the Pump!”
Biggest competition this season? “I look at all of the ladies as my biggest competition! I mean, we were all selected out of dozens of girls to be the best of the best. I’d be dumb to underestimate just one.”
Mani debuted in UQC 2014 with a fascinating “masked” style that knocked her out early on. She returned the following year with a new attitude but with her uniqueness, nerve and talent intact, and won fifth place as well as Miss Congeniality.
Political slogan this season: “Vote for a queen you won’t catch on her knees!” (Fun fact: Mani doesn't have knee caps.)
Biggest competition this season? “Anka, because a comedy queen is hard to beat!”
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This rock-and-roll dynamo debuted in the 2013 UQC but left without a crown. She could be the hair apparent this year.
Political slogan this season: #queerZ4ShearZ
Biggest competition this season? “Myself. I wanna push outside my own box and challenge myself to be as creative as I can be. I think every competitor in this game has amazing creativities all in different ways. It's really up in the air, so every girl for herself!”
Ultimate Queen All-Stars begins Thursday, August 25, 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. Attendees get to stay and enjoy Tracks' additional Thursday party events until 2am afterwards. Admission for 18+ is a $5 cover, $10 after 10pm; 21+ is free. Find more info at tracksdenver.com.