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Judging drag queens allows good view of boys with poise

By Wayne Harada

LAST UPDATED: 2:25 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

From a judge's seat, it was finally a talent tidbit that made the difference in the Universal ShowQueen pageant last weekend at the Hawai'i Convention Center. I was one of seven judges, a perch providing an up-close-and-precise view, and Dee Ranged (yes, that's her name), a Nashville boy-beautiful, captured her crown notably and nobly with her spot-on two-faced talent segment, lip-syncing "The Time of My Life" from "Dirty Dancing" with costumed and choreographic splendor that was not deranged, but delightful.

She presented a split-personality execution — the right side of her face and body gussied up like a guy, with full-length half-a-tux and 5 o'clock shadow; the left side, a glamorpuss with a glitzy red-skirted outfit, topped with a frilly coif. She'd face left or right, depending on the male/female vocals of her lip sync, going frontal when both voices sang on the track. It was a knockout presentation that has evolved over time; you can see an earlier version on YouTube. She also won the talent title, plus the evening gown competition.

With four categories — cocktail couture, evening gown, talent and showgirl costume — this pageant requires more invention, work and stamina (not forgetting the requisite gobs of sequins, beads and feathers) than a traditional women's beauty parade.

Other winners: Jaiyah West Williams, World Show Queen (also the couture winner); Bebe J, National Show Queen (also the showgirl costume victor); and Lupita Ampara, Island Show Queen. Al Waterson and Dina Jacobs (the 1990 show queen) shared witty observations about both the audience and competitors. …

The surprise: Songstress Lani Misalucha, a Las Vegas diva with powerful pipes, sang three tunes amid rousing, thunderous applause and cheers while the judges' votes were tallied. Time for her to do a solo show here? …

SOCIAL NETWORK: When Jimmy Borges posted a Facebook message a few months back saying that he had liver cancer, he did not expect to receive a swarm of concern and a network of support. Amid the kokua was misinformed chatter — so he finally went public. Longtime pal Tony Ruivivar, Society of Seven leader, provided firsthand notes about the progress of the treatment, having survived his own ordeal, and Ruivivar has since been texting Borges daily prayers for inspiration. Borges' daughter Steffanie and son-in-law Randy nursed Daddy for two weeks. Borges is profoundly thankful for the kokua and care from family and friends. …

FURTHERMORE: The aforementioned Ruivivar is back with his Society of Seven (well, six) — plus guest singer Martin Nievera as a son of an SOSer (his dad, Roberto Nievera, was an early group member), and warbler Arshiel — at the Outrigger Waikiki's Main Showroom, through July 2. It's a nostalgic stroll through familiar turf (impressions, Broadway excerpts, visual comedy) but mainly a chance to cheer the irrepressible Ruivivar in all his glory after his cancer battle and welcome back the irresistible Nievera and his hits from yesteryear capped by his dad's iconic ballad, "Walk Away" …

And that's "Show Biz." …

Reach Wayne Harada at 266-0926 or; read his blog at

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