Magic City Casino's Ultimate Miami challenge returns with comedy, drag queens, cocktails and more

In case you needed a more legit justification for hanging out at a casino than your usual mantra of “Gambling and drinking are good for the soul!”: Magic City Casino is throwing down a seriously fun series of events over the next two weekends that are guaranteed to pass the sniff test.

It’s called The Ultimate Miami challenge, and it consists of four nights of entertainment, each pairing a local talent competition for cash prizes with nationally known performers to create an intriguing mix of bartending and dessert-creation skills, vocal prowess, comedy and, of course, drag-queen fierceness.

So if you’ve got talent in any of these fields, well, it’s too late, because all of the finalists have been chosen. But you can still have a great time watching the would-be winners compete for a $5,000 grand prize nightly, all the while snarkily pointing out to your friends (and anyone within earshot, most likely) how you should be the one up there onstage. Fun!
Here’s the breakdown, night by night:

*8 p.m. Fri., June 19: George LaMond, the Puerto Rican “King of Freestyle” who gave us the hits “Bad of the Heart” and “Que Te Vas” teams up with fellow New Yorker Judy Torres (“Come Into My Arms,” “Back In My Arms Again”), while amateur singers duke it out for the chance to be crowned the Ultimate Miami Voice winner; $10 cover.

*9 p.m. Sat., June 20: Drag divas and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants Adore Delano and Courtney Act perform as hopefuls compete for the title of Ultimate Miami Drag Queen; $20 cover.

*7:30 p.m. Fri., June 26: Miami freestyle group TKA (“Maria,” “One Way Love”) and The Cover Girls (“Show Me,” “Wishing on a Star”) take the stage while mixologists and sweet-treat aficionados compete for the titles of Ultimate Miami Bartender & Dessert, respectively; $40 cover.

*8 p.m. Sat., June 27: Stand-up superstar Carlos Mencia shows ‘em how it’s done while local comedy connoisseurs face off to see who will be the Ultimate Miami Comedian; $40 cover.

All shows are at the Magic City Casino, Stage 305, 450 NW 37th Ave., Miami; 305-460-6579 or; VIP tickets available; 21 and over.