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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 25
Victor Cruz crowned as Seattle's 2011 Pride Idol
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Victor Cruz crowned as Seattle's 2011 Pride Idol

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

After 12 weeks and more than 100 contestants, Seattle has a new Pride Idol: Victor Cruz!

Pride Idol is a citywide singing contest produced and presented by SO&P, Verizon Wireless, FUZE, Seattle's Best Karaoke, and Seattle Gay News at Neighbours Nightclub (1509 Broadway). The weekly event was hosted by Gaysha Starr.

The competition was tough, as Victor had to compete against 10 other Pride Idol finalists: Julie Mains, Brandee Mataris, Christina Brewer, Gregory Conn, Missy Cruz, Mike Bowers, Clayton Coleman, Zoe Dixon, Christopher McCormick, and Angela Piacentini for the top spot as Seattle's 2011 Pride Idol.

'I was completely shocked,' Victor told Seattle Gay News about his win. 'I zoned out and went numb for a bit. I was trying really hard not to cry, and I remember looking out into the audience thinking, 'This can't be happening.'

Each week, Sister Domine Trix of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Abbey of Saint Joan; Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, an entertainer from the cast of Le Faux at Julia's on Broadway; and myself judged the competition. On Sunday, the judges' panel was joined by Egan Orion of One Degree Events (the organization that produces PrideFest) and local drag superstar Aleksa Manila. Victor's upbeat, fun version of 'Tonight I'm Lovin' You' by Enrique Iglesias won over the judges and the audience as the performance of the night.

'Seattle Out and Proud, along with all the sponsors and volunteers, came together to build community and shed light on such an important time for the LGBT community - Pride month,' said Victor. 'I think the judges are a great representation of what this type of event is all about. Each judge, in their own way, works hard in our community and volunteered their personal time to provide a safe and fun space for all the participants and their friends to just enjoy being who we are.'

'Even if I hadn't won the competition, I couldn't have asked for a better time,' he added.

Week after week, for three months, Neighbours Seattle was host to the hottest singing competition in Seattle, and the venue looked dazzling with rainbow flags, stage curtains, and much more.

'Neighbours deserves a lot of credit for hosting an amazing event. They transformed a fun bar into a mini American Idol-style stage,' said Victor. 'Along with the sponsors and decorations, Pride Idol was an official competition unlike any other. It felt so amazing to sing on stage.'

'Gaysha Starr is glamorous,' he said of the host and local drag entertainer. 'As a person of color, it's great to see diversity in all aspects of entertainment. She's funny, talented, and classy.'

Victor described his Pride Idol experience as 'surreal.'

'I entered this competition to have fun, to spend time with my friends, and to celebrate Pride month,' he said. 'Winning is just icing on a cake I never thought was mine.'

Aside from winning the $1,000 prize, Victor received a Verizon Wireless phone and two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. or Canada aboard Delta airlines, courtesy of Orbitz.

For Victor, the real prize is being able to carry the title as 2011 Pride Idol and perform aboard the SO&P float during the Seattle Pride Parade, June 26.

'I'm excited because I get to represent Neighbours Seattle, Gay City Health Project, and the HIV Vaccine Trials in such a fun way,' he said. Victor is an employee at Gay City and the HIV Vaccine Trials, and routinely volunteers at various community events. 'I love working for the community I am a part of and everyone that is involved with Pride deserves a huge thank-you for sharing their time and hard work.'

Victor says this year there is special cause to be proud during Pride. 'To me, Gay Pride means a celebration of everything that I am,' he said, 'a Latino immigrant, an adopted son, a brother, and a proud Gay man who believes in building community.'

'Sometimes we are blessed in the most amazing ways.'

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Victor Cruz crowned as Seattle's 2011 Pride Idol
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