On the hunt for Vancouver’s next drag superstar

Queens and kings gather at Celebrities for a night of talent


RuPaul may be the biggest huntress for drag talent, but that’s not stopping Vancouver from looking for some homegrown talent of its own, henny.

Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar began on Feb 4, 2016, at Celebrities Nightclub, and it’s the younger generation that’s leading the charge — half of this year’s contestants are under the age of 26. After the first preliminary round, these young, fresh faces are ready to battle it out for the title.

Teayana, a 22-year-old professional dancer, quickly established herself as a fan favourite, performing to a mash-up of Janet Jackson’s “Doesn’t Matter,” “All For You,” and “Feedback.” Not surprising, as she’s danced backup for Jackson during her Vancouver show in August 2015.

But dancing isn’t all she can do. Next week, Teayana says she’ll be bringing something new to the competition.

“I’m versatile as a performing artist,” she says. “I can do more than dance.”

Adam Zapple, 25, didn’t disappoint the crowd either — nor is he a completely fresh face. This is Zapple’s second time competing for the title.

“I was born on this stage a year ago, opening night,” Zapple says. “Last year, I agreed to do the competition as long as my friend did, but she didn’t follow through.”

That friend, who is in the competition this year as Glitteris, is one of a handful of performers Zapple says he would be honoured to lose to. However, Zapple says he is going to fight for the title.

“I have a hunger for it this year,” he says.

And he isn’t afraid to take a risk. Despite being the last performer to take to the stage after an almost four-hour long show, Zapple dazzled the crowd with a creepy rendition to Awolnation’s “Sail.”

Ilona, while not the strongest competitor of the night, was fierce and knew all of the words to her song, “Savages” by Marina and the Diamonds. The judges agreed that she had the most passion for drag.

 

Ilona’s first drag performance was in January 2015, when she was pulled onstage at an Adore Delano show.

“I can’t really sing so I can’t do YouTube covers,” she says. “If I do a drag performance to a song I really like, I can let out my feelings and entertain people while I’m at it.

There were seven other competitors last night aged 25 and under, including Coco Klein, Glitteris, Sativa Devine, Mila Dramatic, Jack Slayer, Shay Dior, and Salem Witchburn.

Following the performances, Sativa Devine, who performed an emotional act to Fleetwood Mac’s “Seven Wonders,” was immediately eliminated, along with Cashmere. And despite her unique goth persona, Salem Witchburn lost to Dynasty during the lip-sync battle to Cher’s “Believe.”

Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar will be crowned at the finale on Feb 25, 2016, and will win a trip for two to the RuPaul’s Drag Race finale party.

Layla Cameron is a freelance journalist and PhD student at Simon Fraser University. She has been writing for Xtra since 2011, and can usually be found working for film festivals or exploring the west coast. You can contact Layla at layla.a.cameron@gmail.com or see more of her work at www.laylacameron.com.

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Culture, Nightlife, Vancouver, Arts

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