Pageant, American style

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2011

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – This time of year, pageants happen across the region nearly every weekend. But amid the glitter and tiaras, the

St. John Sugar Queen Pageant stands out, and one of the reasons is it is as much of a show as it is a pageant.

This year’s pageant featured a slew of song-and-dance numbers, mostly centered on the theme, “Celebrating America.”

The show opened with Courtney Boe, Lance Ural and Katelyn Stelly singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” Toward the last chorus, the trio was joined onstage by people dressed as Americans from all walks of life, from firefighters to office workers.

After the evening’s 10 contestants introduced themselves, the Sugar Teens took the stage with a dance number honoring one of America’s great pastimes, sports.

Next up was a trip through America’s musical heritage, starting with the Andrews Sisters. Boe, Jordin Keller and Gracie Millet, made up to look like the USO favorites, delighted the crowd with a rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Then, Stelly came back out for her interpretation of the Elvis Presley standard “Hound Dog.”

As the music was brought up to the present, the pageant paid tribute to today’s pop stars with what was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening.

“Hi Sugar Specialist” Barbara “BaBa” Oncale took the stage the stage dolled up in a platinum blonde wig, boa, and leopard-skin prints. As “Lady BaBa” she and a slew of male and female dancers produced roars of laughter from the audience as they danced their way through lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

Said Master of Ceremonies Mike Hoover, “I’ve often wondered what happens in the dark recesses of BaBa’s mind. I no longer do.”

Although the second half of the show was more centered on pageant fanfare, the annual tuxedo show made sure things never got too serious. Young men dressed in tuxedoes from Formal Connection danced and threw roses and beads to the ladies in the audie-nce.

And although the crowning of Chrissy Carter as St. John Sugar Queen LXIII was the undeniable climax of the evening, as usual Oncale, Suzanne Entremont Cancienne and Maria Hotard-Stelly put on a show that made the audience realize pageants can be much more than beautiful women parading in pretty dresses.

The video of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” performance on the Multimedia.