Sangria Salsipuedes takes home Drag Show crown
Sangria Salsipuedes takes home the crown as Drag Show winner
Sangria Salsipuedes, played by senior Daniel Preciado, was crowned winner of this year’s Pride Union drag show Thursday night.
“Winning was never my main goal as I wanted to have as much fun as possible, and I am glad to say that I did,” Salsipuedes said. “Getting to be there with the other queens and kings was amazing and I had such a blast. Personally, I am very proud of myself as well as being so incredibly grateful of everyone who helped me bring Sangria to life.”
The four finalists took to the stage for a second time in what were their most lavish performances yet. Interspersed throughout the show were performances from the judges – who are also professional drag queens – as well as performances from the two celebrity guest hosts of the night: drag queen Manila Luzon, a season three runner-up and recurring contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and drag king Landon Cider, the winner of season three of Dracula.
“I love dressing up. Who doesn’t love dressing up?” Manila asked the audience to kick off the show.
As the lights dimmed and the bass started thumping, flashed across the stage’s jumbo screen were the words “Pride Union stands in Solidarity with #NotAgainSU.” Enormous applause erupted across Goldstein Auditorium.
Sangria Salsipuedes mesmerized the audience from the minute she took the stage, wearing a fluffy pink bathrobe and singing into a hairbrush as a makeshift microphone. Her performance mirrored the trajectory of a woman’s experience after being dumped, transitioning from sad, to angry, to empowered, to seeking revenge.
Salsipuedes had the audience in fits of laughter and awe, as the physicality of her performance perfectly captured a woman scorned. At one point, she shed her bathroom and pink corset to reveal glittery nipple tassels underneath. Spreading fake blood over her body in both a cathartic and comical moment, she had the audience hooked on her every move, hysterical facial expressions and sassy hair flips.
“Remind me never to break up with Sangria,” Manila Luzon said after Sangria’s performance.
All of the finalists gave performances that dazzled – bringing their outfits, makeup, choreography and personalities from the preliminaries to the next level.
Velveeta, played by Michael Bonavita, began her performance to the Velveeta processed cheese advertisement jingle. With her saucy dance moves and coy nature, Velveeta’s performance had an overall air flirtatiousness.
Playing Javier El Jugador, Rachel Ayala amped up the drag king’s sexuality with captivating audience interaction and even a couple of lap dances.
Standing in a sparkly dress and holding a bouquet of red roses, Brian Chau’s Vita Vanitea had the audience melting as she belted her heart out to an emotional ballad, but still retained her cheekiness with a few well-placed spicy gestures.
Between acts, Manila gave a shout-out to her family in the audience, noting how grateful she was for their support, something not always common in marginalized communities.
“If you don’t have the biological family members to be there by your side supporting you, you can find your own family with your friends and other people around here in the [LGBTQ} community,” Manila said.
Landon Cider performed halfway through the show in drag that appeared to be a gothic satan. His scary persona was accompanied by a mashup of Billie Eilish songs.
Manila Luzon performed in a dress that resembled a canvas with paint splattered across it, holding a paint palette and comically lip-syncing to a rendition of the Disney song “Colors of the Wind.”
The three judges also shared stage time between the performances.
Paris Lurux, a drag queen who has performed around New York State, jumped and landed in a split multiple times in her performance, including one time, a jump off of the stairs.
Syracuse drag queen Daphne York embodied the character Karen from the movie Mean Girls, strutting around the stage while lip syncing to the character’s most famous lines.
From New York City, drag queen Jasmine Kennedie amazed the audience, dancing in a red lace bodysuit with thigh-high red boots – and at one point, she even seamlessly landed a backflip.
At the end of the evening, Landon Cider told audience members to raise a fist in the air to symbolize something that they’re revolting against, as way to combat that negative energy and be grateful for what they have at that moment.
“We’re going to be grateful for the shoes on our feet, the air in our lungs, the food in our belly, the clothes on our back. We’re grateful that my marriage to my beautiful wife is recognized at the federal level,” Cider said.
After expressing gratitude for black history month and the awareness it raises of the oppression that African Americans still face today, Landon ended the show with a final statement on equality.
“We’re grateful that no matter who you voted for, we recognize that we are a human race that we will speak up and act out if we see anyone being treated less than equal, because we are all [expletive] equal,” he said.