The Search for America's Next Gay Icon Is On

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And I helped!

Last night, I judged a contest with just that name at RockBar in the West Village, hosted by Sir Ari Gold, a self-admitted "pushy Jew" singer.

Eight people took the stage to sing -- no lip-synching is allowed -- for the approval of me and the other judges, including the saucy Laverne Cox from VH1's TRANSform Me and Ari Gold's straight brother, Steven, who kept nudging me with recommendations, bad jokes, and ass-kissing.

One contestant did a heartfelt tribute to the victims of 9/11, but it was so painful to the ears, I had to interrupt him by saying, "9/11 was bad enough."

"Don't stop believing," chimed in Cox, "in other people's talent."

But a lady named Ruth Devorah -- who happened to be the next-door neighbor of Ari Gold's parents -- dazzled with a version of "Ring Them Bells" that had me feeling like I was on a cruise ship to Bermuda and had just wandered in from shuffleboard.

She was adorable.

The winner, however, was a person named Xavier, who sang some syllable-packed, uptempo song which had him garbling his words as if they were marbles, but radiating hot enough vocals and star power to leave the competition behind in the river.

He put the "I" back in "Icon"

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