Pride celebrations graced the nation’s capital this weekend during Pride Month, with a vibrant parade running through Washington, D.C. on Saturday (June 9) and the Pride 2018 Festival taking over Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday (June 10). With the United States Capitol in the background the Capitol Stage (presented by Hot 99.5/iHeart Pride Radio and brought to fans by American Airlines and Billboard), a number LGBTQ performers and allies hit the stage to perform for a crowd full facepaint, rainbow flags and, you guessed it, pride.
Here are six standouts from the DC Pride Festival.
Kim Petras’ Unstoppable Bops & Puppy Purse
Kim Petras has yet to release a song that isn’t a winner, and when she took the stage early afternoon, it was irresistible bop after bop -- the people in front knew every lyric, and those toward the back were readily giving themselves to the bouncy, summery jams. Just like her songs, her style similarly never lets up, from her immaculate white kicks (which didn’t get in the way her fancy footwork) to her glittery puppy purse -- which she almost forgot on stage, but quickly ran back to retrieve it. (Hopefully she keeps closer tabs on it at Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival this year).
Max’s Boundless Energy
Rocking a shimmery gold sequin jacket, Max hit the stage at DC Pride with seemingly boundless energy, running around the stage like a marathoner during his funky jams before wrapping with, naturally, “Lights Down Low” -- and one final high-flying jump split that any drag queen would be envious .
Keri Hilson Won’t Stay Down
Closing her set with “Knock You Down,” Keri Hilson knelt into the crowd to touch the hands eager fans. From the enthusiastic reaction, it was clear that 2009 hit has served as an enduring anthem persistence for many in the community.
Troye Sivan Crowd Surfs, Takes It to the Club
“Who’s blooming tonight?” Troye Sivan asked the crowd as he shimmied out on stage while “Bloom” played. A primarily straight audience might’ve answered that question with blank looks, but the sly smirks from the Pride audience made clear everyone knew what he was talking about. During his stellar set, the impossibly sweet Sivan even made technical issues seem charming, opting to crowd surf when stagehands were busy switching his mic. Closing with “My My My,” Sivan packed a bit a surprise -- toward the end the song, he kicked the familiar studio version into a rushing, pounding club remix “My My My” that pumped the crowd into a frenzy.
Asia O’Hara Gets Her Vanjie On
Following a lip sync to J.Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud,” RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 contestant Asia O’Hara delivered an important message about loving and supporting local queens who aren't on the show; she also urged LGBTQ people to support those going through “similar struggles” in different communities. Following those meaningful messages, she delivered two words that really floored the crowd: “Miss Vanjie.” O’Hara started to leave the stage, but realized she had forgot something. Returning to the front, she uttered those two immortal words three times while she walked backward f stage. “She’s probably making more money than people who make it all the way to the end,” O’Hara said the first queen to go from season 10, laughing to herself.
Alessia Cara Covers Disney & Daniel
The most impactful moment Alessia Cara's set was certainly her telling the LGBTQ crowd that “Scars to Your Beautiful” is “yours today.” But it was a wild delight when she delivered Moana’s soaring “How Far I’ll Go” (she sings the soundtrack version) and followed that with a cover fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part”; she warned the crowd she might need some help with the lyrics, but she certainly didn’t need help selling the sultry R&B ode.