Monday, October 21, 2013
 Nick Verreos, Battle of the Strands 2013 Finals, Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas

This past week--last Monday--I flew to Las Vegas to judge for the second year--the fabulous "Battle of the Strands" hair, makeup and style competition. This year's competition was held at Pearl Theater in the Palms Casino Resort...

The contest featured many salons from all over the Continental United States--as well, as abroad (from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama). I arrived in Vegas, checked in to the Palms Casino Resort and then made my way to the Pearl Concert Theater, site of the Finals...to check out the "scene":

Hello Vegas: Nick Verreos checks out the stage at the "Battle of the Strands" 2013 Finals Pearl Theater Palms Casino & Resort Las Vegas

Time for the Final Show:
Hosts Kim Vo and Kandee Johnson--Battle of the Strands Finals 2013 Pearl Theater,  Palms Casino & Resort Las Vegas 

The Final Competition featured the Finalists--teams from all around the US, as well as Panama and Puerto Rico, who had qualified to be in the Finals after winning several qualifying rounds and challenges--imagine "Project Runway" for Hair, Makeup AND Fashion! The one-and-only Master Colorist to The Stars Kim Vo and YouTube Sensation (and Fabulous Vegas Bestie!) Kandee Johnson hosted the Final Competition and I was one of four judges to decide who the WINNER would be. The theme was "Icons" and most of the Finalists chose Madonna, Lady Gaga or Cher as their Battle of the Strands Finals "muse". Here are some fab photos from the night:

WM Squad Carolina Puerto Rico: Their inspiration was Madonna and Marie Antoinette (Hello!!) and I think they did a fabulous job! Look at that hair: UNBELIEVABLE! The costume was also very good. I'm usually not a fan of so much iridescence but here it totally worked.

L'Occoco Team, Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico: L'Occoco was inspired by Cher. I also think their entire ensemble had some touches of the iconic Aztec Calendar and Native influences. I was blown away by all the use of real human hair--and that CRAY-CRAY crystal-encrusted head atop the model's hair. Muy Bien!

Angel Rosario Salon San Juan Puerto Rico: Madonna was their inspiration and they took the "Vogue" theme to a more directional and not so overtly referential level. The heart-shaped hairstyle was amazing! In terms of fashion, I loved the bodysuit...and yes, the no-shirt boys :)

Miranda Beauty Group San Juan Puerto Rico: This team were influenced by Cher and a Sea Goddess.  The costume was STUNNING; so intricate, so much detail, so COUTURE. I loved it. This should definitely qualify to be the next National Costume for "Miss Puerto Rico Universe". For sure. The star fish-accented bouffant hairstyle was also very, very good!

House of Style Henderson Nevada: House of Style was inspired by Lady Gaga and her recent love of 1990s Versace. The black leather and gold studded vest and skirt were definitely an homage to that. The model also had a big ol' ship on her head as part of her hairstyle/headdress. I appreciated it all.

Peter Cardon Salon Guaynabo Puerto Rico: The Peter Cardon Salon created a whole look that was very Tango/Argentine Diva. I loved the peplum bustier and rosette-covered organza mermaid-shaped skirt. She was a definite "Red Carpet" Reina! So much so that I actually handed them an award as a result, for their fashion and style.

Charlie's Place Republic of Panama: This team gave it their all--when it came to the hair, makeup and fashion. It was so overwhelming that it was almost too mucheey. And I told them so. They were my "sentimental" favorite because my mommie is from Panama.

And The Winner Is...
Clark Russell Salon Lafayette California: The winner, Clark Russell Salon created such an incredible overall look--from the over-the-top hair to the spot-on costume that was obviously inspired by Cher and that Bob Mackie ensemble she wore at the 1986 Academy Awards. In case you didn't know, Cher asked Mackie to make her this over-the-top ensemble when she was asked to present an award at the 1986 Academy Awards. She had been snubbed by the Academy for a Best Actress award and well, she wanted to "Give It To Them!" when she appeared onstage.

Clark Russell "Battle of the Stands 2013" Winning Creation...and Cher at the 1986 Academy Awards--Clark Russell's creation was 110 % fantastic and the obvious winner. All the judges--including myself--were like "Done & Done!".

Host Kim Vo and the Winner, Battle of the Strands 2013 Finals, Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas

Congrats to the Winner: Nick Verreos poses with Hosts Kim Vo (third from left) and Kandee Johnson (far right) as well as the Winners of "Battle of the Strands 2013"--Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas

Nick Verreos and last year's "Battle of the Strands" Winners, Minnesota's "Glam Alliance"  Brenda Torre (left) and Andrew Schmitz (right)--who presented the 2013 Winners their Trophy


Que Viva Panama: I had to borrow a Panama flag from the Panamanian team so I could take a picture and make my Panamanian mommie proud.

Congratulations to the "Battle of the Strands 2013" Winner and See You Next Year!

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