And the Voice of Pride winner is…

From left: Fourth runner-up Steven Patterson, Guyer, Ramalho, third runner-up Imani Handy and Gilstrap.… Alvaro Ramalho! The local singer, pictured center, took the grand prize at the Voice of Pride competition, the annual “Dallas Idol” singing rondelet that culminated last night in the Rose Room. The winner (and first and second runners-up, John Paul Gilstrap and Colby Guyer) ride in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sept. 18 and perform at Reverchon Park afterwards. Congrats!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Voice of Pride finalists ready for the final competition

Top-10-VOP-2016BIt takes weeks of preliminaries and months of preparation to whittle down dozens of contestants to a top 10, but that’s exactly what the Voice of Pride does every year. The finals competition isn’t until Aug. 21 in the Rose Room, which gives these folks — including a number of new faces — about two weeks to perfect their looks, their vocals and their techniques. The winner gets a cash prize plus gets to ride in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and perform at the festival in Reverchon Park. Wish your favorites best of luck!

The contestants are, front row: Michael Duane, Imani Handy, Colby Geyer, Steve Patterson; Alvaro Ramalho; and back row: Maurice Doniphan, Eric Way, John Gilstrap, Gloria Devine, Nikolas Dombkowski.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And the 2014 Voice of Pride winner is …

Reynolds, Ramalho, Guzman

… Loni Reynolds!

Loni wowed the audience and the judges in her three appearances — two solos, finishing up with a powerful version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and in a duet with fellow finalist Lauren Shafer on Adele’s “Someone Like You” — to take the 11th annual title. In fact, Loni was so good, she and Lauren jointly won the “best duet” award, voted on by the audience, meaning she took home $3,850 — not bad for one evening’s work!

First runner up was Alvaro Ramalho, followed by Vanessa Guzman, Carlos Saenz and Steve Patterson. Congrats, Loni and all the contestants on a great show. And look for Loni, Alvaro and Vanessa in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and festival next month.

You can see a slide show of the event by clicking here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

6 ways to fabulize your week

divineWe’re all about diversity in the gay community, and here’s how we prove it.

Let’s say you have a hankering to spend some time in the dark with gay Latinos this week. We got some suggestions. One is by seeing the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, a musical set in a South American prison. Another is checking out Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown at Teatro Dallas, which features nine comic monologues dealing with all aspects of the gay Latin experience in the U.S.

If you’re tastes fall more along the lines of WASPy gay humor, you can still try to scrounge up a seat to Kathy Griffin, who is performing tonight at the Verizon Theatre. She’ll certainly talk about Kardashians, Real Housewives and, of course, “her gays.”

If that’s not your style, perhaps a little drag is what you need. The Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff is screening a 35mm print of John Waters’ outrageous classic Polyester tonight at 9:30 p.m., followed by a John Waters-themed dance party at 11. Costumes are encouraged. (You know you wanna try out that Tracy Turnblad get-up you have!)

If you wanna up the fashion quotient, the DFashion Week runway show — an inaugural fundraiser benefiting AIDS Arms and LifeWalk — comes to the Rose Room on Saturday. You can get tickets here.

For those who prefer the whole smorgasbord of choices, and like to be entertained as well, Sunday night is the Voice of Pride finals at the Rose Room. Ten singers walk in, one walks out with the title, cash, plane tickets … and bragging rights.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Voice of Pride finalists selected

VOP13 - Finalist Group Photo

Last night at the Round-Up Saloon, the contestants who have been vying all summer to be crowned the 2013 Voice of Pride got whittled down to a final 10. These 10 will compete on Aug. 11 at the Rose Room in the final showdown of the year; the winner gets bragging rights and the chance to sing at the festival in Lee Park following the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, plus $3,500 in cash and two round-trip airline tickets and a hotel stay at a luxury Hilton.

Congratulations to all the finalists, listed here in alphabetical below:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Angie Landers wins Voice of Pride

This year’s Voice of Pride wasn’t short on familiar faces from previous years. You can almost guarantee who you’ll see in the finals each time, but this time, veterans stepped up their games big time. Some found their voices while others polished off past performances to a shine. But the night belonged to victor Angie Landers.

After her first round song “Anyway” by Martina McBride, it could have been fair to say that Landers had it in the bag. The crowd was behind her after all her just-misses in the past. But no one held back from working to give performances of their lives. Vanessa Guzman added sparkle to her deliveries in both dresses and charisma. She crooned “At Last” with solid emotional conviction in Round 1 and continued to knock out the crowd with a killer rendition of “Rain on My Parade.” Showtunes never hurt in this competition, but she amplified it to bombastic.

I’ve seen Carlos Saenz perform several times, but there was always a little something missing. He would sometimes be a little stiff with the song, or a tune didn’t display his talents properly. He found whatever that was Sunday night. In dapper threads, Saenz channeled his sex appeal and “there-it-is” voice with soulful versions of “Unchained Melody” and the gospel tune “His Eyes on the Sparrow.” Stellar stuff that gave him a good shot.

Erik Way, another familiar name to the contest, brought it just as hard. As the second “You & I” of the night, he somehow trumped an already impressive version by Jennifer Arrambide. Along with Landers, these were the ones to keep an eye on, but Landers seemed to have learned from prior outings how to relax into her music and her first track, Martina McBride’s “Anyway,” showed she was there to win.

I tend to question obvious song choices (read: Celine, Whitney), so when her second round song “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston started, I cringed a bit. Landers didn’t try to be Houston, but instead, embraced the song into her own and in her final note, the buzz in the crowd was for sure in her favor.

As the winner was to be announced, emcee Edna Jean Robinson played coy before announcing her name, but once he had, the crowd erupted, as did Landers.

“I’m so proud of her,” Robert Olivas said. “She finally did it, and I knew it was her night.”

Olivas is the other half of Spare Parts, the singing duo with Landers who won last year’s competition for groups.

Newcomers Aaron Alarcorn and Jazsmyne Kelly made healthy impressions in their first finals with operatic work by the former and some sexy soul by Starks. If there could be a Balls Out award given, that should be handed to Steven Patterson for his second tune, Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round.” The clean cut guy with the sweet face was committed to the retro dance tune — never treating it tongue in cheek which kinda made it great.

The runners-up included Greg Castillo, fourth runner-up, Eric Way, third, Carlos Saenz, second and Vanessa Guzman as first runner-up. More photos after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Pink Noise: The Dallas Voice Radio Show

Our guests this week were Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin Republicans Dallas; and Dru Rivera, 2011 Voice of Pride winner. Tune in live next Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. at RationalBroadcasting.com. You can also subscribe to Pink Noise on iTunes, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. The video version of the show is below.

—  John Wright

Voice of Pride finals tonight

Sing for your life

Voice of Pride comes to a climax tonight as winners in both solo and group categories are selected. After all those preliminaries in various clubs, tonight’s the night this crop of singers will pull it all together and offer up as much awesomeness as they possibly can. Winners earn a cash prize and performances at Pride. So this is a big deal.

DEETS: Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. DallaTavernGuild.org.

—  Rich Lopez

10 singers, 3 groups make Voice of Pride finals

Yesternight at the Round-Up Saloon, 10 vocalists and three singing groups made it through to the Voice of Pride finals. Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said this is probably the best crop of talent to come through VOP, and he was pretty much on target. As one of the judges, it was tough to whittle the list down to 10.

Five groups competed, but Steelos, AMPH (pronounced “amp”) and Spare Parts made the cut and will compete Aug. 14 in the finals at the Rose Room.

The 10 singers to move on were Dru Rivera, Angie Landers, Joel Canales, Vanessa Guzman, Juliana Jeffery, Blake Askew, Steven Patterson, Carlos Saenz, Christine Pradia, Kristen Philips. They ranged from classic rock to American standards and everything in between. Just like last year, the field is split evenly with five ladies and five gentlemen advancing.

Perhaps a surprise to some — and definitely to his fan club on hand (with T-shirts) — was the omission of Robert Olivas. Having been named a finalist the last two years, Olivas’ supporters were brought to tears by him not advancing. However, he does still get to compete with Angie Landers as Spare Parts in the group category, and with a solid performance last night, they could be the one to beat.

Now a note to the contestants: I get it – black is slimming and easy, but after the first, oh, like 10, it got really  tiresome. Color isn’t a bad thing. Don’t be afraid of it. Or bedazzle the heck out of those black shirts and pants.

There were some pretty great voices and personalities on stage last night, along with host Victoria Weston, pictured, but dare I say this couple stole the show during the tallying of scores? They pretty much got a 10 from everybody. When they guy pulled her hair (I KNOW!), and dropped her to the floor only to catch her it was better than anything on Dancing With the Stars. I’m hoping fellow judge Gary Floyd will share some of the video he caught of the two wowing us during Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.”

—  Rich Lopez

Voice of Pride elimination round at Barbara’s Pavilion tonight

Start the eliminations

Voice of Pride is is now in elimination mode across clubland. Tonight, singer hopefuls head to Oak Cliff to test their vocal mettle at Barbara’s Pavilion and move on to the final.  Good luck to the contestants.

DEETS: Barbara’s Pavilion, 325 Centre St. 8 p.m. DallasTavernGuild.org/VoiceOfPride

—  Rich Lopez