On Friday, April 19, the Illinois Drag Wars is returning to the Urbana-Champaign area for an evening of contesting queens lip-syncing against each other until a winner is chosen as the Drag Wars champion.
51 Main is hosting this legendary event, founded by Apollo Summers, the creator and original Dag Wars title holder. In fact, Summers is one of the many performers ready to compete against the other contestants: Gigi Mayonae, Ceduxion Carrington, and Glinda B. Fierce. Anyone who wants to partake in the event is accepted. There aren’t any restrictions towards who can come to see the show as long as they come to support the event and everyone in it. There is no fee at the door but guests are encouraged to bring money for the performers so it can be donated to the winning charity at the end of the night.
“Drag wars is a lip sync battle competition designed to place every entertainer on the same playing field. No entertainers’ costumes, makeup, hair, ability to dance, gender identity, etc are used to determine who wins,” Summers said.
For entertainers like Summers, drag can be a life-changing experience that drives a passion. “I first started performing competing for a pageant and then I fell in love with it. After that, I just devoted myself to providing entertainment and illusions to anyone and everyone.” This will ring true as, according to the official Drag Wars Facebook, about 253 people are interested, and 35 people have indicated they are going to the event.
This solidifies the equality of competition between the performers. The quality of their lip syncs as the deciding factor to the judges who, along with guest entertainers, will be performing during the event as well. The lip syncs alone determine the winner in a series of matches and during which the entertainers can collect tips. All tips raised are donated to a charity chosen by the previous winner. In the final match, the audience chooses the winner of the competition.
Drag Wars is an accepting space for performers and entertainers who want to experience drag.
“The competition is open to any entertainer who would like to compete. As we are a safe space for all styles, no entertainer who wants to participate will he turned away,” Summers said.
Interested participants do not have to live in the state of Illinois to register to participate in the event. Drag Wars also attracts a mixed variety of people who want to support and explore the world that Drag Wars creates for itself for others to enjoy.
Drag Wars will start at 8:30 p.m. at 51 Main, 1906 W Bradley Ave, Champaign, Illinois. For more information and packets, you can check out the official Drag Wars Facebook.