Dragnique pleases crowd with opener [photos]

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imageVIEW PHOTOS | Dragnique Premiere @ Jungle

Mix seven emerging drag queens with a sassy host and opinionated judges, and what do you have? The premiere of Dragnique to a full crowd Friday and the start of a seven-week competition.

Consider it a mix between “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “American Idol.” But Simon Cowell has nothing on this panel of judges led by Nicole Paige Brooks. They didn’t hold back during Final Judgment after each of the seven performers finished on stage – more lipstick, better hair, work on the performance face, more attention to detail on those outfits.

imageThe live reality show is the work of host Eve Michaels (second photo left with Sasha Perry), who debuted with the Armorettes on Feb. 28. Nicole Paige Brooks (third photo), long a fixture in Atlanta’s nightlife scene, can no doubt add the lessons she learned last season on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” On Friday, she was joined by guest judges Phoenix, who joins the Logo show when it debuts later this month, and Bubba D. Licious, who was representing Pets Are Loving Support.

Each week, Dragnique features a non-profit that benefits from the tips collected by the performers. For the premiere, it was PALS and the group provided Licious as a guest judge.

The seven performers competing include Vanessa Mykals, Pasha Nicole, Alissah Brooks, Ashley Diamond, Sasha Perry, Gunza Blazin and Janelle Brooks. For the first week, the contestants had to craft $10 worth of supplies from the Dollar Store into their performance outfits.

imageBrooks outpaced the rest of the group and finished hands down as the crowd favorite. For this competition, the crowd matters: They vote during the show and the performer with the smallest tally is up for elimination.

Diamond (top photo), who skimped on the challenge and didn’t electrify the crowd, fell short and was booted from the competition. Michaels hinted, though, that she may return in Week 5 as a wild card.

The Jan. 14 show benefits the Armorettes and carries a celebrity impersonation theme. Wild Cherry Sucret, who retired as an Armorette last June, serves as a judge.

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