Tali De'Mar, Angela Sommers wear the crowns at the EXOTIC DANCER Invitational West

Held at Dames n’ Games in LA, the first EDI Contest enjoyed capacity crowds and unforgettable performances from entertainers in the “Showgirl” and “Newcomer” Divisions
They used to be called “pageant girls.” For decades, scores of feature entertainers—showgirls, really—gained many of their most valuable “credits” via industry contests. It was usually some form of “Miss Nude” this or that, and when combined with adult magazine appearances, these credits gave the touring showgirl entertainers a resume they could build their career on.

Well, we all know what happened with adult magazines—the Internet killed them (mostly, anyway). And though the 2000s saw two national showgirl dance contests flourish—the Pink Pony of Atlanta’s “Exotic Dancer National Championships” (a contest that was never directly affiliated with this company—Ed.) and the New Orleans Penthouse Club’s “Gold G-Strings”—they both disappeared almost as soon as they’d arrived.

With a clear void in industry feature dance contests facing touring feature entertainers—and with few avenues available for these showgirls to build their resume and gain a reputation as a top entertainer—the stage was set, both literally and figuratively, for ED Publications to introduce the EXOTIC DANCER Invitationals (EDI). It was announced in late 2013 that there would be two invitation-only feature contests each year—the EDI East and EDI West—with the winner of each contest’s “Showgirl Division” becoming an automatic nominee for ED’s coveted Overall Entertainer of the Year Award, while the winner of the “Newcomer Division” would be an automatic nominee for the ED’s Newcomer of the Year Award.

Held at Dames n’ Games (a Spearmint Rhino club) in Los Angeles on April 10-12, the EDI-West was greeted with three nights of packed crowds to witness performances by 12 competing entertainers in the Showgirl and Newcomer Divisions. The EDI-West Contest was hosted by A Entertainment/PlanetPlatypus.com’s Tony Batman and produced on site by contest coordinator Lexi Lamour and EDI Founder and Producer, ED Publications’ Associate Publisher Dave Manack.
Kathy Vercher, President and COO of Spearmint Rhino, said of the EDI-West Contest, “It was a fantastic event—the club looked great! ” she stated, noting that the club was literally standing room only on the evening of the Finals (Saturday night), while the room was also full on Thursday and Friday evenings. “Everyone seemed to be having a great time. Thank you to your entire staff!”

When it was over, only two of those entertainers wore the respective crowns for Showgirl Champion and Newcomer Champion. For the Newcomers, it was the blonde bombshell Angela Sommers who outlasted the competition to take home the title of Newcomer Champion, while the redheaded burlesque queen Tali De’Mar wowed the crowds and the judges to take the crown in an extremely competitive Showgirl Division.

“I’m so excited to be back on the circuit and blown away by my recent win!” says Tali De’Mar, the first nominee for ED’s 2014 Overall Entertainer of the Year Award. “There was definitely stiff competition, and thank you to all the girls for bringing their A game. I’m humbled, ecstatic and inspired to pick up where I left off with bigger and better burlesque shows than ever. I’m touched by this warm welcome home!”

“My experience competing in the Exotic Dancer Invitational West was an awesome one to say the least,” adds Newcomer Champion Angela Sommers. “I am a little over a year new into the feature dancer industry, and I was so excited to finally meet all of the girls I had seen perform at the EXPO and followed via social media. Although we were all competing for the titles, I was pleasantly surprised to see how friendly and “un-catty” all of the contestants were! We were cheering each other on and complimenting each other’s shows as we entered and left our dressing room. Good energy and competitive excitement were definitely floating around the club all weekend!”

Having only recently announced her return to the industry after a short retirement, former two-time ED’s Entertainer of the Year nominee Tali De’Mar made a huge splash in her first club appearance in almost three years. Her burlesque-style shows proved to be a huge hit with the EDI judges, which included Stix Zadinia and Lexxi Foxx of the band Steel Panther, major motion picture producer and music industry executive Andy Gould (“The Devil’s Rejects,” “House of 1,000 Corpses,” Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” and “Halloween 2”), award-winning adult movie director Jacky St. James and many more.

Fellow Showgirl Division Finalists Christina Aguchi (Showgirl Division First Runner-Up) and Canada’s Justice (Second Runner-Up) each presented amazing shows with high production quality, dance skill and pole acrobatics.  Other talented Showgirl Division competitors included Artemis Moon, Jaded Dawn, Darling Danika and Shay Lynn.

In the Newcomers Division, fellow Finalists Phoenix Phires (First Runner-Up) dazzled the judges with her “Alice in Wonderland” show on Thursday evening, cementing her spot in Saturday evening’s Finals.  Remy LaCroix’s glowing hula hoop show also garnered scores that sent her into the Finals, as she finished as the Newcomer Division’s Second Runner-Up. Fellow Newcomer Division competitors also included Cali Rose and Cheyenne Jewel.

“Each one of our 12 EDI competitors brought an incredible show and proved why they deserved to be invited to this selective, invitation-only dance contest,” says Manack. “The competition in each division was fierce, especially in the Showgirl Division, which included many well-known and respected entertainers. And as evidenced by the raucous, capacity crowds each evening, those performances were well appreciated.”

Each Champion (Showgirl and Newcomer) won the official EDI crown and trophy, while cash prizes were also awarded to Tali De’Mar ($1,500), Christina Aguchi ($1,000) and Angela Sommers ($500) as Showgirl Champion, Showgirl First Runner-Up and Newcomer Champion respectively.  Photos by Richard Kent
The following “mini-titles” were also awarded at the EDI-West:

Best Costume: Jaded Dawn
Hottest Body: Angela Sommers
Best Dancer: Tali De’Mar
Audience Favorite: Christina Aguchi
Most Original Show: Phoenix Phires
Best Overall Show: Justice