The Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium at Florida Atlantic University was filled with students Saturday night who came to sing with, dance with and throw money at a lineup of performers at this year’s Homecoming Drag Show.
The sixth annual drag show was hosted by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and was emceed for the sixth time by the show’s consistent queen, Ariel Rimm.
The night started with a performance of Beyonce’s song “Halo” by drag queen Anastasia, which had those in attendance clapping their hands and singing along. The crowd went wild when Rimm made her debut on stage, keeping the Beyonce streak by dancing to “Formation.”
“Who’s ready to Draguate, bitches?” Ariel asked, making a play on words of “graduate.”
Before every act, Rimm would come out in another outfit, drawing cheers — and some cash offerings — from the audience.
“It takes a lot of time and a lot of money to look this cheap bitch, but I’m here for you,” Ariel said. “I’m going to make you scream, I’m going to make you question your sexuality, I’m going to make you call your mom and say … We got to talk.”
Nothing was off limits for the performing queens — a Mean Girls-esque “Jingle Bell Rock” tribute that later turned into an intense metal rock number and a soulful anthem performance of “Chandelier” by Sia. This gave way to a show of flips and butt-shaking to the same artist’s “Cheap Thrills,” as the song transition was made complete by a tear-away costume change.
Those tear-away costumes were a big theme of the drag show. The trick outfits marked a transition from slow intros to upbeat dance numbers with skin-tight pieces that left close to nothing to the audience’s imagination.
Valerie Dior changed from a flowing ball gown to a see-through dress with duct tape covering private parts. Another queen named Rubber Child tore out pages of the Bible and sprinkled them on stage before ripping her clothes off.
None of the queens were shy in dealing with the crowd, as many would run into the audience and do flips in the aisles while collecting the handfuls of cash that were being offered.
The majority of the show was fun and upbeat — but the second act changed tone to address the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Rimm came out in a white gown while a recording of Barack Obama talking about the Pulse victims played. Lip-syncing to a heartfelt musical anthem, she was adorned with an oversized rainbow shawl by backstage helpers as she pointed upward to lights shining down on her.
She teared up during her performance as audience members waved their cell phone flashlights to the music. She ended her tribute by addressing the tragedy to the crowd.
“No one, no one, no one deserves to die for being gay,” she told the audience.
After the final performances, the show ended with a meet and greet with the queens. Many students and audience members crowded around the performers with compliments and, of course, more cash.
“Go out there and make a difference in somebody’s life,” Rimm said to the crowd. “You never know whose life you will touch, if you will have just a small impact, or a big one.”