by Donalevan Maines
Alaska, one of the top three female contestants still in the running on the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Logo TV, helps kick off Pride Superstar when the competition begins at 10 p.m., Thursday, May 9, at South Beach nightclub.
“It’s so exciting because she will perform, guest-judge, and meet fans,” said show director and judge Joey Guerra, the ubiquitous music writer/critic for the Houston Chronicle and star of American Idol chat on Fox TV. “Our luck is that Alaska could be the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5 when it’s announced on May 6.”
Guerra and fellow judges Tianna Hall, an award-winning jazz vocalist, and singer/songwriter Benjamin Phoenix of 104.1 FM KRBE fame picked eleven finalists from about forty singers who lined up on Saturday, April 27, for auditions which about one hundred fans attended at South Beach. The finalists are competing for more than $5,000 in prizes, said Guerra.
A “wild card” will be chosen to join them with the help of voters on Facebook, he added. At the end of each weekly sing-off, the audience will get ten minutes to text their votes, which will be added to the judges’ scores to determine who gets to continue in the competition. Concert tickets and CDs are among the weekly audience giveaways.
“I am so excited about the people in this year’s contest,” Guerra said, emphasizing the diversity of music genres that audiences can expect. “We have two country-western, one who auditioned in Spanish, some pop singers, a quirky indie-acoustic musician, and one with hip-hop rap influence. Five of the finalists so far have previously been in the competition, so they have built up a following. People familiar with the contest will enjoy seeing them again.”
Now in its seventh season, Pride Superstar is an official event of Houston Pride Week. The competition has showcased a number of promising LGBT artists who have performed at Pride Houston and other events throughout Houston.
Returning as host of the weekly competition is Mix 96.5 FM morning show host and OutSmart columnist Blake Hayes.