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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Miss Gay America Pageant Brings "Sparkles" and More to Downtown St. Louis

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Missouri's Christa Collins wants to dance for you. See the full slideshow of photos here. - JON GITCHOFF

Collins paid tribute to A Chorus Line, performing in a sparkly purple skater dress to "The Music and the Mirror." Using only a spotlight on the dark stage to highlight her moves, she drew an ovation when she gracefully extended her arms and almost touched the floor during a deep backbend.

Sinclar played Madonna dressed as an Egyptian warrior, performing a remix of "Vogue." Surrounded by male and female backup dancers and standing high on a gold dais, Sinclair moved just as much as the Material Girl does, offering a production worthy of Las Vegas.

The other top-ten contestants paid homage to musicals and icons as well, with intricately choreographed productions featuring Barbra Streisand songs, Cats and Chicago being hits with the audience. But it was Miss Gay Western States America First Alternate Truly Fabu who brought down the house with her Broadway-worthy performance of songs from the musical version of The Addams Family. With the family's haunted mansion and graveyard taking over the stage, Fabu did cheerleader pyramids and flips while singing "Pulled" and mixing in Scissor Sisters' "Let's Have a Kiki."

As the judges ran off to add up the points for the evening's final categories, 2013 winner Sally Sparkles returned for her goodbye performance. She emotionally lip synched to "For Good" from the musical Wicked, bringing out her young niece Darby McBride who was dressed in a pink gown, updo and glitzy crown that was identical to those of Sparkles'. As is customary at female impersonation shows, audience members rushed to the stage to offer dollar bills to the entertainer, thanking her for her service during her reign as Miss Gay America 2013. All 52 contestants reemerged on the stage to offer dollar bills as well, and Sparkles began to tear up as she continued "singing." Her farewell "lap" lasted for about 30 minutes, resulting in the night's longest standing ovation.

Finally, the top five were revealed. Miss Gay Missouri Christa Collins was the only regional representative to make the final group, being named second alternate (essentially third place).

But the Show-Me State didn't show enough, as the 2014 Miss Gay America crown went to Jessica Jade, Miss Gay East Coast America. Jade clutched her heart and heaved as the former winners placed the crown on her head, gave her a bouquet of flowers and draped a sash over her gown.

"It was a fabulous year for Sally Sparkles," pageant co-owner Larry Tyger later told Daily RFT. "And Jessica Jade is very deserving. She's been in the system for nine years, and she'll be a great representative as Miss Gay America."

Kansas representative and Missouri dweller Jade Sinclair takes on Madonna. See the full slideshow of photos here. - JON GITCHOFF

Critic's notebook:

  • The pageant began at 6 p.m. and concluded at 11:16 p.m., with no intermission. Every minute of the event was filled with performances, competition or parades.
  • "We Are Family" played often over the speakers, and the family aspect was evident all night through the honoring of the former winners, the appreciation for fellow competitors and the use of "my sisters" in nearly everyone's interview or speech.
  • Though some women were present, the audience was mostly men in "Team _______" shirts promoting contestants, snazzy suits, rhinestone button-down shirts or women's attire.
  • People in the audience greeted each other with "Bitch," "Sweetie," "Peaches" and "Biscuit."
  • The parade of all contestants in formalwear represented the best and worst of a Barbie doll's extensive closet.
  • Contestants strutted the stage to instrumental versions of Bryan Adams' "Heaven," Bette Midler's "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and other popular inspirational tunes.
  • The lobby served as a marketplace for sparkly, attention-getting rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Made for a Queen and Vegas By Design specialize in rhinestone jewelry for pageants and also sell to the public.
  • "It takes a whole group of homosexuals to decorate a room like this overnight -- tulle, chiffon and glitter, honey." -- said by a former winner who was emceeing part of the pageant.

Miss Gay East Coast America Jessica Jade is crowned as the 2014 Miss Gay America winner.  See the full slideshow of photos here. - JON GITCHOFF

Follow Allison Babka on Twitter at @ambabka. E-mail the author at allison.babka@gmail.com.

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