Organisers of this year’s Drag Industry Variety Awards are promising a pre-show spectacle when showgirls and their supporters descend on Oxford Street for a public voting session this Saturday.

The voting day at the Colombian will see fans vote for awards including Bitch of the Year, Sydney’s Favourite Drag King and Drag Queen and the prestigious DIVA Rising Star.

Unlike the judge-voted section, there are no pre-announced nominees in the public category. Instead, punters are free to vote for any performer. The winners will be announced at the DIVA ceremony at Star City next Monday.

Every year it seems to get bigger and more full-on, DIVA chair Stuart Doherty said of the public voting day.

[Awards hopefuls] started spruiking probably three or four years ago, and then they started handing out flyers and how-to-vote cards.

We’ve had people hanging off lampposts and street signs. There’s going to be a lot of colour and movement down there on Saturday.

DIVA organisers are also planning one of the most spectacular awards ceremonies yet this year, with one production show to feature more than 16 drag queens and another to star an as-yet-unnamed very well-known Australian entertainer.

DIVA has already confirmed pop quartet Young Divas will sing on the night.

Punters can also expect comedy and high fashion, not least from Vanessa Wagner, who will share hostessing duties with fellow drag identities Verushka Darling and Mitzi Macintosh.

I won’t be performing in any of the production shows, but I’ll be hoping to add my own bit of style, Wagner told Sydney Star Observer.

Luckily my mate who does a lot of my gowns has just been in Japan. He’s brought back some lovely Japanese kaftans and little lollipop outfits, so I might wear one of those.

Wagner will also try to keep next Monday’s ceremony civilised before the official after-party at Oxford Street nightclub DCM -“ no mean feat in a room full of drag queens.

It’s much more of a challenge to entertain people through sophisticated humour rather than just dissing people, so I’m hoping that there won’t be too much of that, she said.

But if there is, I’ll go with the flow.

The DIVA public voting session is on Saturday 26 August at the Colombian, 117 Oxford St, from noon to 5pm. Tickets for the DIVA ceremony are available on 136 100 or at the Ticketmaster website.

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