Arts & Culture

Syracuse Pride Union presents Preliminary Drag Show

Syracuse Pride Union presents drag show prelims

The annual event welcomes diverse performers to compete for the crown during next month’s finals.

2024 Annual Preliminary Drag Show
Jess Van
Twigs Von’Du kicks off the 2024 Annual Preliminary Drag Show hosted by the Pride Union on Saturday.

The 2024 Preliminary Drag Show presented by SU’s Pride Union took place in Schine Underground on Saturday, with each participant harnessing their unique style of performance and gender expression to battle for the top spot.

The prelim, which precedes a final show in April in Goldstein Auditorium, gave the performers a chance to get a taste of the competition. Four performers, Twigs Von’Du, Morticia Macabre, Jex Rose and Queen Presley faced off one by one by performing a lip sync to the song of their choice. 

Pride Union vice president Grey Turner said they joined the organization because they wanted to make an impact on the community. 

“It’s so important to keep the community active and alive. It’s nice to have a space together,” Turner said. 

The host of the night, Aja, was a hit for fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Aja was a contestant on season nine of the show and came in seventh place for season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Aja kicked off the show with a performance of her own, before introducing each contestant before their lip sync. 

In the end, Twigs Von’Du and Morticia Macabre were deemed the top two performers by the audience. Just like in every episode of Drag Race, Twigs and Morticia “lip synced for their life” to determine the final winner of the night. After an energetic performance and collaboration between the two to Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell,” Twigs claimed the top spot and was crowned by Aja.

The night concluded with a set of Drag Race trivia questions facilitated by Pride Union board member Brian Cohen with a final performance from Aja. One trivia question asked: “Complete this iconic Latrice Royal quote from Season four.” Audience members well-versed in the Drag Race universe shot their hands up.

The final drag show with every contestant from the preliminaries on April 27 will also include appearances from two other Drag Race alumni. Turner says the final “will feature the best and most sickening performers SU has to offer.” 

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The 22nd annual drag show gives Syracuse students and community members alike a chance to embody the spirit of drag, portraying whatever gender expression they choose. While conventional perceptions often associate drag with a man dressing as a woman, the essence of drag transcends such limitations, welcoming individuals of any gender to explore and embody diverse expressions.

Turner recognized the importance of inclusion within the LGBTQIA+ community and the role Pride Union plays in strengthening it. 

“Personally, it made me really proud to see all the different walks of life come together in this space,” Turner said.

The winner of the show, Twigs Von’Du, says that drag has given her a space to be her true self. Expression, to her, is pivotal for the LGBTQIA+ community. Von’Du has been involved in drag since 2016 and has been around queer culture since she was a child. Von’Du says that drag was something that came naturally to her.

For anyone and everyone, drag offers a diverse community where the possibilities are endless. 

“We create safe spaces for people to enjoy themselves,” Von’Du said. “Drag shows represent so much. It’s self-expression. There are so many branches of drag that include everyone.” 

Work After Sunset
Jess Van
Student performers and RuPaul’s Drag Race star, Aja, close the 2024 Annual Preliminary Drag Show on Saturday night.