Chiffon Dior: Paige? Are you alive? Paige? *gentle nudge*
Paige Turner: I’m here! I’m here! I’ve been robbed..oh wait, it’s just all the shit from the finale. Gurl!
CD: What a night! If there was a hotter event in the city this week, I’ll be damned if I know what it was!
PT: Other bars said they were dead. *laughs* #sorry It was amazing and rewarding!
CD: New World Stages was packed!
PT: There were 436 people at the Finale, not including all the helpers and people in it!
CD: I think if you look closely at that picture, you can see me over at the bar. Was this the biggest crowd to date?
PT: It was the biggest crowd. This year’s opening night was bigger than last years Finale night. The girls did a tremendous job of promoting and getting people there. Word of mouth started right after the opening week and the talent this year of helped, because each week the show was fantastic. You really can build a fan base/audience whether you win or not and that definitely happened this year. I just love that i get messages from people saying they made great friends or what a great weekly outlet that was. It’s different from a bar. Its a theatrical space, but not in a theater. It’s bright and inviting, you can walk around, go upstairs, it’s pretty great.
CD: It has a ton of character as far as venues go. You couldn’t really ask for a better environment for an event like this.
PT: No, a theater would be fun, but different. This is perfect.
CD: And before we go on, I have to tell you that you kicked ass. Chelsea kicked ass. Sutton kicked ass. Nomi kicked ass. All five gurls kicked ass. It was such an epic night. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud.
PT: They are and I’m already missing it. Even if they didn’t win, they are extremely happy to have been a part of it. Some of the girls who didn’t make the finale came and were emotional about it. It was a wonderful ten weeks
CD: I said to a few of them backstage afterwards that, it sounds so hokey, but there really were no losers. I think the sky is the limit for all five of them. Next year’s cast has their work cut out for them.
PT: Oh lawd! Do NOT MENTION next year. I’ve had five people ask me already! Lawd!
CD: So wait, we’re NOT here to preview next year??
PT: ……………………Barbara please
CD: Okay fine! So let’s start from the opening number then! What made decide on this for the finale opener?
PT: I had another idea, but it would have taken weeks of planning and I would have had to have know the finalists way ahead of time, so I’ll save it for a non-competition show. “Magic To Do” is less crazy and diva, it’s intoxicating , like something exciting and special is gonna happen on the stage that evening. I’m also always drawn to circus type themes which is also how they do Pippin in the revival. I also wanted to encorporate Nomi and Chelsea in the number since they were a big part of this season. Nomi choreographs all of that and is amazing! It was a perfect family unit piece. It’s not a number for everyone to be a diva, just a little solo line there, for each person to stroke the audience’s….(ahem) hair before what we’re about to give them. I knew the girls for this cast would be giving crazy production numbers, so i wanted to ease into the evening and seduce the audience, invite them in to the spectacle.
CD: Well, it certainly was a spectacle.
PT: I definitely thought anyone could win on the Finale night. I’m not just saying that, the votes were through the roof on every girl! We’re talking like over five hundred for some! The thing that is hard about the competition is that they have already done amazing things to win so bringing something even more theatrical and outlandish that past weeks for a finale can be hard. Only one of their numbers could be a mix out of their two songs and it really helped. Also only one of their numbers could have other people in it too which gave us a chance to focus in on them, make sure they can hold their own and such. I thought the girls took great advantage of this, sang when they needed to, got intimate.
CD: So let’s start with Alexis Michelle who opened up with a Sister Act number, complete with an army of nuns!
PT: It was like a show, not a competition! I kept being late coming out after the numbers because I was caught up watching them! All the people helping these girls out or performing with them was a true testament to their character. They’re good queens and just happen to also have a lot of talent so of course people want to be a part of their mayhem and fabulousness.
CD: And then for her second number, she went with “Wig in a Box” from Hedwig. I have to admit, the damn song has been stuck in my head since Thursday night.
PT: *Laughs* and i just saw it today on Broadway with Sutton. That song is always in my head! It’s always a great choice and it was nice to see her vulnerable. We saw all sides from everyone including nudity but we’ll get to that later!
CD: I agree. It really felt like she was just putting it all out there for everyone to see. And she belted it out live nonetheless!
PT: Yeah, they all can sing.
CD: Next up was Dusty Ray Bottoms who opened up with of all things, a Deven Green mix! I was so blown away, I had to text Deven and let her know! By the way, Paige could you pick up that name I just shamelessly dropped?
PT: Welcome to my home. Do you like my stack of microwaves. These are my breasts. Dusty is HIGH CAMP but in a clever contained way. I mean she did a Carol Burnett number that maybe only I had heard of but it doesnt matter because she stays true to herself. She’s wanted to change things in the past but I told her to stay true and she has, Its a really good thing, she is going to go far.
CD: Her second number was unique to say the least! It already has over a thousand views on YouTube!
PT: Are you serious? That’s awesome! Yeah it was just sublime, such a great opportunity for exposure. I’ve watched it a few times.
CD: After Dusty was Maci who did “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret to start and then she finished up with a Devil Wears Prada mix for her second number.
PT: I liked them both! They were contrasting in a good way and she chose material she loved.
CD: I really loved her Devil Wears Prada number. She really poured her heart into that I thought.
PT: The girls were all very happy with their numbers. They did the work. It showed and they were able to enjoy themselves. That’s a big deal. That’s also why we take a two week break between the last show and finale, so they have time to prep.
CD: Next up was Schwa de Vivre.
PT: She did a big Jessie J mix with dancers and then she sang “I Am Changing” and got naked! Schwa has this edgy undertone.
CD: Everyone went crazy for that mix.
PT: Yes, with the dancers we all wanted to fuck. I thought Schwa had a good chance of being in the top two. She BROUGHT a way different side to her in a great way. Although she had won before, she really did pull out the surprise performance that we weren’t expecting and got tons of votes and many new fans. It was a wonderful competitive performance.
CD: And last but not least was Holly Box-Springs who opened with the Carrie Underpants song, “Something in the Water” and finished up with a cute mix about relationships. Holly is so adorable.
PT: Yes, Holly was a Paige fan and was going to do my annual virgin show, which I ended up not doing so she then applied for SYTYCD and gave an awesome audition video that blew us out of the water! Or shall I say SOMETHING IN THE WATER, no pun intended!
CD: I’m pretty sure that pun was intended. So the final two came down to Alexis and Dusty which led to an epic lip synch face off. How did you pick the song for the final number?
PT: Not unlike the opening, I don’t think the lip sync needs to always be a cooter slamming thing, in fact this was not a cooter slam crowd. This was a tell a story and connect to something crowd. Familiarity is a very good thing on a lip synch showdown, for the audience to respond to and get excited about the performers as well as the song. Also they tend to sing along too. I mean look at the lyrics to the first part of the ABBA lip synch…
The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all
The Winner Takes it all!!!!!!!
The lyrics were very personal and then it switched into Dancing Queen which lead to a nice chance to change outfits and to bring the audience in as well!
CD: What did you think of the two gurls final performances?
PT: It was a very TOUGH CHOICE! I don’t think the girls knew that the judges myself and the new world producers really truly loved both of them but we had to make a decision. JC Alvarez has judged about twelve times for us now and his third this season including filling in once for Justin Luke. Paul had seen the show and watched all the videos of the finalists! He wasn’t joking around!
CD: So what put Alexis over the top in your mind? I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one to make the decision, it was that close.
PT: Either one is clearly very capable of doing a show. I just think it was Alexis’s time. She applied late last year and didn’t get in otherwise I would have taken her then. She has been in the scene for a while and I’m like why have we not seen THIS before? I feel like she had something inside of her that needed the right platform to shine and let it all out.
For Dusty, she’s newer on the scene. but light years ahead of most people who have been doing this for a while. She also has star quality and a great sense for the business side which she’s learning very quickly. Although she didn’t win a show, I really feel like she is a huge winner. She has fans, a following and really kicked ass. I’m so proud of her. I feel very motherly to her and I never like putting mother and myself in the same sentence. Hey, it sucks not to win! I’m not good at competing but you can take something wonderful away from an experience and my god these girls have. I’m inspired and recharged because of them.
CD: I agree with you about both gurls. Really the whole cast, talent for days! So is there anyone involved in this season of SYTYCD that you want to give a final shout out or thank you to?
PT: YOU! I hope you heard me mention you a few times!
CD: I did! I didn’t expect that, nor did I expect to see the Not Safe 4 Werk logo up on the wall all evening which was amazing! So really, thank you!
PT: I tried very hard to say thank you over the course of the evening to everyone. Yes to Tommy Buckner my boss, and the entire staff of New World Stages and especially Molly Mermerlstein, our stage manager. That’s a true talent and she’s amazing. Also Season One’s Honey Davenport’s Finale performance was fabulash! She won the Miss’d american pageant with that number and I asked her to come do it. She’s come a long way and is great! And I’ve said it before but Chelsea Piers and Nomi Sas are family and were both such a big assest to the competition this year. I couldnt have done it the way I wanted to without their help and hours of work. I’m a very lucky girl.
CD: Well said, it really was a wonderful evening and a perfect ending to a great season. I also just want to add that it was great to see New York City support a drag show that isn’t just former Drag Race queens. Not the disparage those gurls at all because they work extremely hard and their travel schedule is ungodly but there a ton of queens out there who are just as talented, just as creative and deserve to be seen and supported!
PT: Yes, thank you! Its important to have a competition that lifts people’s spirits and also helps people work on their craft and feel supported. And don’t forget!! Next up at New World Stages is A PAIGE TURNER CHRISTMAS, with many of your favorite SYTYCD stars including Alexis Michelle!
CD: The show never ends for you, does it Paige?
PT: It will be the gayest Christmas pageant you’ve ever been to and there will be cabaret seating for this event! (For more info, go here!) And don’t forget my pop up SLURP SHOP, complete with exclusive PAIGE TURNER MERCHANDISE featuring some items I have hand made, including Mommie Dearest prints! Also Andrer Werner has his line of men’s accessories and a few other vendors will be selling that night as well so you can shop and show!!
CD: I hope we can twist your arm to come back and talk with us before the show.
CD: Shall we plug your upcoming week one last time for this season?
PT: There’s not much. SLURP on Sunday and WERK Wednesdays but they’re great! *Laughs*
CD: Well, we’ve reached the end of the line for season five Paige. I’m so happy I’ve gotten to know you because you’re amazing! It has been a lot of fun for me and I hope we can do this again for season six! Any final words before we sign off?
PT: Yes, keep on doing what you love and remember to take care of yourself in the process. Keep calm and slurp on!