The Round-Up Saloon played host to Night Two of the annual Miss Gay USofA Classic Pageant on Monday. Similar to the Miss Gay USofA Pageant in every way save for an age requirement, Classic boasted 29 contestants, all ages 40 or above as per the rules. Contestants hailed from all over the country, the closest being Dallas’ very own Edna Jean Robinson and UnShante DeFoxx, and the farthest being Marina Del Rey, who traveled from Hawaii. Amy DeMilo won the title with Roxie Hart and Victoria Lace finishing as first and second runners-up, respectively.
Night One of the pageant set the stage for the elimination of all but the top 12 competitors. Remaining contestants competed in two categories: Evening Gown and Talent. In many instances multiple talent presentations were as flashy, intricate and creative as the gowns worn. With five minutes allotted to each contestant to set up the stage, many took advantage, and — with the help of each contestant’s own personal team — assembled elaborate sets adorned with props, hidden places for costume changes, and specially made backdrops. One in particular was Billie Jean, the winner of Miss Gay New England USofA Classic. With three costume changes during the allotted seven minutes of performance time, Jean began with a costume bearing a striking resemblance to Wonder Woman, then transformed to impersonate Annie Lennox from the Eurythmics, and ended as a priest(ess), complete with collar and rosary. Another over-the-top performance was given by first runner-up Roxie Hart. With the help of two professional ballet dancers, Hart put on her own rendition of Black Swan, with herself in the title role, and received a standing ovation at the conclusion of her talent presentation.
While numerous sets complemented the theatricality worthy of professional actors and actresses, many austere sets were just as engaging. Aaron Davis put on an act that began as a Golden Girls sketch with nothing but a table and three chairs. It then morphed into Golden Girls meets Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” complete with the choreography and glittering four-pronged canes to match.
On a somber note, Whitney Paige, a former Rose Room performer and holder of numerous titles, participated in the evening’s festivities as part of the entertainment between acts. Paige, who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, had announced her condition via her Facebook page the previous week. In a show of unwavering support and love, many in the audience walked directly to Paige to tip her instead of following the customary practice of waiting at the edge of the stage to be approached by the performer. Tears were streaming down many faces as all who approached Paige to show their support.
With so much raw emotion, artistic talent, and ambitious showmanship in the Classic, one wonders what the younger competitors will bring to the table in the regular Miss Gay USofA Pageant. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, the Round-Up will host the preliminaries. The final night of competition is Friday, and will be held at The Palladium.
All prelims begin promptly at 9 p.m. at the Round-Up. Admission to each pageant is $15.
More photos below.
For more information visit http://www.usofa.org