SANTA ANA — Four first-time drag performers traded jeans and sneakers for dresses, heels and wigs and took the stage by storm at the Fourth Annual Closet Ball and Silent Auction hosted by OC Pride and the Frida Cinema on April 8.

OC Closet Ball 2017

All of the evening’s contestants eagerly wait to find out who will be crowned Ms. OC Closet Ball 2017. Photo credit: Katarina Scalise

Closet Ball contestants Tabitha Nevers, Cody Ludwig, Bryan Terry and Christopher were paired up with their own professional drag mentors that transformed their looks and trained them in the art of lip sync performances.

Tabitha Nevers, (Paisley Darling), was mentored by Nikki Licious and held her own as the only drag king in the competition.

Her impersonation of Prince in her performance of “Let’s Go Crazy” was one of the crowd’s favorites.

“I was really surprised at how amazing the first-time queens were,” said Oliver Drennan, Cal State Fullerton student and drag queen enthusiast.

“They really worked hard along with their mentors to put on outstanding performances. My personal favorite of the night was Eden Apple, who really committed to her comedic character during her performance.”

The competition was fierce, but with help from his drag mentor Christine Voss, contestant Christopher Bronson, (Robin Hearts), took home the crown and the title of Ms. OC Closet Ball 2017.

His energetic medley performance of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by the Andrews Sisters, “Candyman” by Christina Aguilera, and “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé had the crowd cheering and the cash tips flowing.

The Closet Ball judges included OC Pride President Meg Kott, Closet Ball 2016 winner Robert Amayo, OC Imperial Court member Lisa Porfi and Mr. and Ms. OC Pride 2016 Manny Muro and Bellonce.

OC Closet Ball 2017

Paisley Darling, a.k.a. Tabitha Nevers, gives her best Prince impersonation. She was the only drag king contestant of the evening. Photo credit: Katarina Scalise

Judging was based not only on the contestants’ performances, but also on how much money they were able to collect in tips.

When asked if they would ever perform in drag again, a few of the contestants seemed excited at the idea, but Cody Ludwig said otherwise.

“No way, it took so much work and its so hot in this outfit!” said Ludwig, who was paired with mentor Kunda Couture.

Ludwig’s hard work paid off however, and his one and only drag performance of Chicago’s “All That Jazz” earned him the title of runner-up.

All of the proceeds from the event, including ticket sales, raffle tickets and tips collected by the performers, will be going to this year’s Orange County Pride event to be held on June 24.

Head over to the OC Pride website for more information about this year’s Orange County “As One” LGBT Pride Parade and Festival celebration.

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