The competition can take a lot out of the 21 competitors facing different drag challenges each week and pushing the boundaries of the art form far beyond just looking pretty and lip-synching. The girls battled it out, wearing outfits inspired by animals, dark monsters, pop stars and beyond, dancing to music videos and creating one last performance; the process is now down to three final stars.
Adryanna Slayz, aka Jairo Guerrero, has only been doing drag a short while, but this spicy Latin hot-stepper brings dance and pizzazz to the stage, as evidenced by her spirited semi-final number.
“Getting the title would mean showing representation to not only me, but all of my community and the many facets of the drag spectrum," Slayz says. "This competition teaches us how to grow, show versatility and how to learn from our mistakes, move forward, keep your head up and better yourself even in your darkest moment.”
Evelyn Evermoore, aka Connor Whitcomb, brings pageantry and gown glamour to her look, and mixes a healthy dose of comedy with her rhinestones and original fashion creations. Her semi-final number brought down the house with sass and creativity.
Evermoore says the competition "has helped me grow so much — not just as a drag queen, but also as a person. I've made some incredible friends out of competitors, and gotten closer with my mom, who came every week. Being this close to winning the title has been the rhinestone cherry on top of it all. I want Denver to be known for our drag, and as your hopeful Ultimate Queen, I hope to help this city grow into something to be reckoned with. Watch out, Chicago. Denver's coming for you!”
Her?, aka Rachel Allen Dennis, is the last of Westword's 2017 Thirteen Freshest Faces of Drag still standing, and she has excelled by running on a non-traditional platform. She is a bio-queen, a cis woman donning drag to explode female expectations and, like drag itself, break down the rigid concepts of gender stereotypes. That controversy has followed her into the contest, but has been countered by the creativity she has brought along.
“At this point, I don't want to win for me," says Her?. "I want to win for every woman in this world who has been told they weren’t allowed to do this. To win means the whole Denver drag game will change, and I want to inspire everyone – not just women. With this title, I want to work hard to get Denver drag on the map and show we are a city of talented, creative queens who are capable of raising all these baby queens to be the best they can be, in a very supportive and loving community.”
The Ultimate Queen Competition will crown its winner this Friday, June 9, at Tracks, 3500 Walnut Street; doors open at 7 p.m. The finale follows a screening of RuPaul’s Drag Race at 7:30 p.m.; admission, 18+, is $5. Get more info at Tracks.