Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar 2016 enters final stretch

Ilona owns the semi-finals, who will win the title?

The semi-finals proved to be Ilona’s night to shine at Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar competition, Feb 18, 2016.

Ilona impressed the judges with her craft, having not only created her own elaborate props and costumes, but also those of her backup performers.

(Ilona also showed her sense of humour in the second half of the show when she dressed up as guest judge Trixie Mattel./Layla Cameron photos)

The theme of the night seems to have worked in her favour as Ilona, who brought anime character Homura to life on stage, says she got into drag after dabbling in costume play (cosplay). Though Homura wasn’t necessarily well known to most of the audience, the strength of Ilona’s performance made character recognition less than essential.

Now, Ilona says she’s ready to go big for the finals on Thursday, Feb 25.

“I’ve been keeping it pretty simmered down for the first two rounds,” she says. “But the stuff I have up my sleeve is going to blow everyone away.”

Ilona says she thinks she has a good shot at winning the title. Teayana agrees: Ilona’s got her vote.

Blending drag and cosplay, Teayana and Coco Klein put on their own impressive performances.

(Coco Klein as Mia Wallace; she even aced Pulp Fiction’s iconic dance moves.)

Coco’s intensity suited her take on Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction. Teayana’s well-choreographed Mulan routine received positive feedback from the judges, but she doesn’t think she’ll win the competition:


Adam Zapple strayed from traditional drag with one of the strongest cosplay performances of the night as the Swedish Chef. Zapple performed a skit rather than a song, and had the audience and judges howling with laughter.

(Adam Zapple channels the Swedish Chef on stage.)

While unconventional, Zapple’s use of prosthetics was quite impressive.

“I feel like I’ll be in the top,” Zapple says. “But honestly, amongst these guys, I think anything can happen.”

(Adam Zapple gets into character as the Swedish Chef.)

The second half of the show got a bit awkward and tense as contestants were asked to poke fun at each other and at the judges. Drag king Owen refused to participate, objecting to some racist and fatphobic slurs.

After being encouraged to leave the stage, Owen was later eliminated, along with Shay Dior.

Also in the bottom four, Glitteris and Eva Scarlett battled it out, with Eva finally securing the last spot to move forward to the finals on Feb 25.

Special guest judge Trixie Mattel, from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7, will help crown the competition’s winner this Thursday at Celebrities Nightclub on Davie Street.

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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 or see more of her work at

Read More About:
Culture, Arts, Drag, Vancouver

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