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Miss Gay America contestants sparkle and shine at 47th annual competition

Andora Te'Tee (right) reacts in disbelief after being crowned Miss Gay America 2019 by 2018 winner Deva Station (left) at the 47th annual Miss Gay America pageant at the America's Center in downtown St. Louis on Oct. 6, 2018. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes, cfletes@post-dispatch.com.

Andora Te’Tee was crowned Miss Gay America 2019 on Saturday evening in St. Louis, the new host city for the annual competition.

Te’Tee qualified for the pageant as Miss Gay New York America 2018.

Runners-up were first alternate Dessie Love Blake (Miss Gay New York America 2018 alternate), second alternate Sofia Anderson (Miss Gay Nevada America 2018), third alternate Janessa Highland (Miss Gay Missouri America 2018) and fourth alternate Alexis Mateo (Miss Gay Florida America 2018).

Miss Gay America contestants sparkle and shine at 47th annual competition

Michael Collins as "Andora Te'Tee" does a quick-change dance number for the talent portion of the 47th annual Miss Gay America pageant at the America's Center in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes, cfletes@post-dispatch.com.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 43 hopefuls — representing 22 qualifying prelims across the country — competed in preliminary talent and evening gown rounds at Hamburger Mary’s downtown. (A 44th qualifying contestant was unable to attend.) A “male interview” portion of the contest took place without an audience. On Friday evening, also at Hamburger Mary’s, former titleholders took the stage for a revue show, and pageant contestants introduced themselves.

Saturday evening at the Ferrara Theatre at America’s Center, the Top 10 modeled themed “presentation” costumes, answered onstage questions, and recompeted in talent and evening gown in a show that spanned nearly six hours. There also were performances and appearances by former titleholders, including Norma Kristie, who in 1972 was crowned the first Miss Gay America.

The Top 10, in random order:

• FiFi DuBois, Miss Gay Western States America 2018

• Dessie Love Blake, Miss Gay New York America 2018 alternate

• Nicole James, Miss Gay Maryland America 2018

• Sofia Anderson, Miss Gay Nevada America 2018

• Selena T. West, Miss Gay Heart of America 2018

• Alexis Mateo, Miss Gay Florida America 2018

• Shelita Bonet Hoyle, Miss Gay North Carolina America 2018

• Andora Te’Tee, Miss Gay New York America 2018

• Janessa Higland, Miss Gay Missouri America 2018

• Dextaci, Miss Gay Western States America 2018 alternate

Contestants from the St. Louis area were Highland, Makena Knight (Miss Gay Missouri America 2018 alternate), Nina DiAngelo (Miss Gay Midwest America 2018), Atheena Vocé (Miss Gay Gateway Elegance America 2018), Lindsay Bryant (representative) and Kyra Banks (representative).

Miss Gay America contestants sparkle and shine at 47th annual competition

Jamie Olsen performing as "Nina DiAngelo" lines up with other contestants before modeling a themed “presentation” costume during the 47th annual Miss Gay America pageant at the America's Center in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. The theme of the pageant was "Fantastical Creatures." Photo by Cristina M. Fletes, cfletes@post-dispatch.com.

Miss Gay America 2018 is Deva Station of Columbus, Ohio.

The winner of Miss Gay America receives a prize package valued at $50,000. In addition to traveling to and overseeing preliminary pageants nationwide, the titleholder handles a number of administrative duties, including recruiting contestants, selling advertising, working with pageant promoters, fundraising and serving as an ambassador for the system.

The Miss Gay America pageant — the oldest and largest for female impersonators — has been held in St. Louis before, most recently in 2013 at the now-shuttered Millennium hotel.

The pageant is a production of Mad Angel Entertainment, whose owners also are co-owners of Hamburger Mary’s in St. Louis.