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Tuesday, November 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ werqs it for the first time in Spokane

Kameron Michaels performs during “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World Tour 2019” at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Sunday. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Kameron Michaels performs during “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World Tour 2019” at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Sunday. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

A line of fans snaked the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox lobby on Sunday evening waiting to pose for photos with all seven cast members of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World Tour 2019” pre-show: emcee Asia O’Hara; most-recent Season 11 winner Yvie Oddly of Denver; and Kim Chi (Season 8), Kameron Michaels (Season 10), Plastique (Season 11), Naomi Smalls (Season 8 and “All Stars” Season 4) and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (Seasons 10 and 11).

“The ticket sales for the VIP meet-and-greet are huge,” said Alison Highberger, a publicist for the Fox. “And the main floor is sold out.” General-admission tickets were $55, while the exclusive tickets were $165, plus fees.

Based on the enthusiastic audience reaction from start to finish, the price of admission was worth it, as the “RDR” drag queens performed a two-hour eleganza extravaganza that featured gorgeous over-the-top costumes and gowns; flawless makeup and wigs; high-energy music and choreography; a little naughtiness for good measure (O’Hara flirted with a contestant from the audience who stripped down to black boxer briefs twice); and shout-outs and ties to Spokane.

O’Hara announced that it was the “Werq the World Tour’s” first show in Spokane, as two of the crew members hail from here, and it was time to bring their act to the Lilac City. O’Hara described the city as a gem – “very ‘Twilight’ and beautiful.” And during O’Hara’s performance toward the end, she spun around a lighted long stick that flashed the logos for Washington State University, Gonzaga University and the Seattle Seahawks much to the crowd’s approval.

But in the most heartwarming moment of the evening, Rico Tripplet, an 11th-grader at Lakeside High School, who was accompanied by his mother, Dalena, and his sister, Brittany, and is an aspiring drag queen, won an impromptu Lip Sync for Your Life battle onstage. O’Hara joked that young Rico, born in 2003, was Bruno Mars, and the crowd erupted when O’Hara praised Rico’s mother and her support of her young gay son.

“It is the most important thing in my life to support my son no matter what the circumstances are. I want him to know that I am his biggest fan and support whatever he decides to do,” Dalena Tripplet said post-show. “His sister Brittany and I have made sure that he is loved, supported and guided in a safe environment.”

Rico Tripplet said post-“RDR”: “The show was spectacular. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better! It felt awesome to win. It was a complete life-changing experience.” He said onstage that he is in 10th grade, but “I’m actually in 11th grade. I got so flustered onstage that I said the wrong grade – it was super embarrassing. I was born in 2003, one of the best years, I think.”

Tripplet has an Instagram account for his drag @rickeybiggs: “I post a lot of pictures on there. You can see on my account that I have a lot of inspiration from Naomi Smalls. She is one of my absolute idols. It’s been one of my dreams to meet her, and to be a part of this experience was breathtaking.” O’Hara said that last night’s LSFYL was the best of the tour, and the audience was the loudest alongside fans in Los Angeles and Denver.

Also Sunday night: The order of introductions was emcee O’Hara, Plastique, Smalls, Vanjie (“Vaaanjie! Miss Vaaanjie!”), Kim Chi, Michaels (who was the cover girl of Friday’s Seven in The Spokesman-Review) and reigning queen Oddly. The crowd screamed loudly for all seven of RuPaul’s girls, but Vanjie was the crowd favorite of the evening.

The music of the night included songs by RuPaul, Planet Soul, Madonna, Rihanna, Paula Abdul, Evanescence, Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, Tove Lo and Ginuwine (during Ginuwine’s “Pony,” the male backup dancers performed a striptease a la “Magic Mike”). The night’s first death drop was by Plastique during Abdul’s “Cold-Hearted Snake.” Not to be outdone, Vanjie performed a death drop and trust fall, and Michaels later jumped down into the splits.

VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and its host, RuPaul Charles, last week won their fourth consecutive Emmy Awards for reality-TV competition and host, respectively. “Last night was such a fantastic show – we were impressed with it all, from the queens to the sophisticated light show along with the great dancers, music, humor and the wonderful audience. I can’t remember a more fun Sunday night – ever,” Highberger summed up.

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