In a VIP booth at Chateau nightclub inside Paris Las Vegas, sequin bras, feather boas, leopard print boots and blonde wigs littered the floor and table Thursday night.
No one was celebrating a prenuptial last hurrah or a milestone birthday, but the girls, they were crazy.
“Everyone looks like a Britney Spears backup dancer,” a woman said over the chatter from about 10 people in various states of dress sitting and standing nearby. The sounds of high-pitched laughter filled the back corner of the venue.
The cast of Planet Hollywood’s “Crazy Girls” showed up, energized, after two performances to defeat the cast of Rio’s “Chippendales” in an all-out girls-versus-boys lip-sync battle on the neighboring Beer Park stage.
“I think in most of the numbers, they’re more so. They’re not serious, they’re kind of like trying to make fun of Chippendales,” Rachel said. She asked we only use the performers’ first names.
Individual Robin Hood costumes, cuff links and bow ties sat atop the bar as evidence of the coming parody. It’s a half hour until showtime.
“I don’t think we feel nervous at all. I think we’re just excited to kind of do it,” Sarah said.
The women met with their show’s choreographer, Enrique, and began planning for the epic battle about 10 days before. It took just three rehearsals to prepare.
“We’re so used to being so sexy all the time, you know, in our job, so it’s nice to be able to do something that’s completely the opposite,” Rachel said. “We actually have clothes on.”
The competition lasted three rounds, and the women, with Enrique’s help, chose to memorize and mouth the lyrics to RuPaul’s “Supermodel,” “Men in Tights” and “Bye Bye Bye,” by ‘N Sync.
Host of the competition, Bryan Cheatham, who is the creative director of “Chippendales,” may not have been rooting for team “Crazy Girls,” but said he felt like they could come out on top.
“Now, here’s the thing,” he said backstage, gesturing to the women getting ready. “They’re trying to bring the heat, saying that they’re going to beat the ‘Chippendales.’ I don’t know.”
Trying to remain unbiased, he paused and then said, “As I’m looking over there, the ‘Crazy Girls’ might have something on the ‘Chippendales’ … the guys might be in trouble tonight.”
News of the opposing team’s tardiness spreads through the chaos-filled booth dressing room, and sighs are heard. The men, too, are bringing their post-show best and were held up taking pictures with fans.
“We need the ‘Chippendales’ to show us how this works,” a woman said, trying to fasten her cuffs and collar. It’s not the only snag caused by the men’s absence.
During the women’s first act, they’re choreographed to point and taunt their opponents. But the show must go on.
The women reach for their boas and drape them around their necks as a cloud of feathers rains down the floor below.
Once more, they mark their RuPaul routine, calling out each step while sometimes singing the lyrics aloud. They’re given the OK to perform.
After Cheatham kicks off the battle with a rump and crowd-shaking performance of “Baby Got Back,” for the women, it’s showtime.
Hundreds of people surround the stage, halting their games of Jenga and Connect Four to pay attention to the unexpected production.
The Bellagio and Caesars Palace tower in the background, back-lighting the lip-synchers and stealing none of the show.
Cheers, “woos” and “yeahs” ring out as a second cloud of feathers rains — this time from a dancing bachelorette standing stage-side with a tiara and boa.
At the conclusion of Round 1, Part 1, Cheatham returns to the stage, voicing over the screaming men and women in the audience.
Unimpressed by the response, he asks for more noise and participation from the observers.
It’s time for Round 1, Part 2, and the first “Chippendales” dancer appears.
Ryan Stewart is soloing in blue Dickies pants, Converse tennis shoes, a ripped white tank top, and three belly-button jewels. In that moment, he was just a girl.
Channeling his inner Gwen Stefani, the female review dancer dramatically worked the stage, lip-synching “I’m Just a Girl,” and the crowd went crazy.
Despite the women’s best efforts, elaborate costumes and team spirit, “Chippendales” dancers dominated throughout the evening, capturing the most applause and the victory.
All is not lost on the “Crazy Girls,” who may have a shot at redemption.
“We want every show on the Strip to compete,” Cheatham told the crowd, adding that he hopes the battle will become a monthly occurrence.
Contact Kimberly De La Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5244. Find her on Twitter: @KimberlyinLV