For the semi-finals of the Ultimate Queen All-Stars competition at Tracks last week, the category was "Dance & Choreography" — and the girls were stretched and ready for a fantastic and footloose battle, with a double elimination looming. Since one of the contest prizes is a six-month gig at the city's biggest drag show, Drag Nation, being able to hoof it with a stable of capable backup dancers and choreographers is a must.
Kyile Vanderpump opened with a spirited number set to Britney Spears's "Do You Wanna Come Over"; Valerie Shearz whipped her hair to Ariana Grande's "Let Me Love You"; Mani Queen mixed Sia with Gaga and an old-school Michael Jackson "Thriller" breakdown; Gia StaxXx shimmied to Gloria Estefan's "WEPA"; Candy Warhol conjured a conceptual performance of Sia's "Move Your Body"; and Arial StaxXx closed out the night with a red-hot medley of Beyonce.
After all the blood was cleaned off the dance floor, the judges determined that Arial StaxXx had secured her spot in the Final Four of the All-Stars lineup, alongside previous winners Valerie and Kyile. This meant that Gia, Candy and Mani — who were all clocked for various issues with their backup dancers — had to perform a lip-synch battle for the final remaining spot.
At midnight, the three hit the floor to Rihanna and Calvin Harris's "This Is What You Came For," to the roar of an exuberant crowd. All three put their best feet forward, but Gia lit a fire, heating up the stage as the audience chanted her name; she wound up with that last place for the finale, set for this Thursday.
At that battle royale, the four will get two chances to perform: first, a Drag Nation-ready number complete with dancers and production values, and then a solo number reminding the audience why they're still in the competition. The night will also include performances by the Ultimate Queen hosts and mentors: Mia StaxXx, Yvie Oddly, Felony Misdemeanor, Mariah Spanic and Victoria Sextion.
It promises to be the drag event of this fall in Denver. As RuPaul famously exclaims, "Gentlemen, start your engines. And may the best woman WIN!"
Keep reading for photos of the fierce dance-off. (Due to a filming error, audio was unavailable.)
Ultimate Queen All-Stars concludes on Thursday, October 13, at Tracks, 3500 Walnut Street. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Season 2 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.