Good evening my lovely readers. Hope you are all well and having a great start towards the month of May?
Today in my new blog, I am going to discuss everything RuPaul’s Drag Race.
People that know me personally would know that I don’t express my sexuality flamboyantly. I have always been the guy that is into musicals, professional wrestling and country music who is also gay. I was always dismissive of the art of drag. I respected artists who chose this as a career path but I was never fascinated or entertained by drag queens. Until two months ago when I discovered the reality drag show.
My usual readers may be shocked that I am writing about this but it’s something worth talking about. If you have never seen it before, I recommend it. It is full of over the top and lighthearted fun that will have you glued from start to finish. For those people who don’t know what I am talking about, this blog is my pamphlet to what Rupaul’s Drag Race is and why it is the best reality TV show today.
Firstly, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality competition that follows an array of professional drag queens sewing and lip syncing themselves to earn the title of “Americas next drag superstar”. The show is currently on its eighth season now, with seasons 2-6 available on Netflix which is how I have been viewing.
These queens range from different aspects of drag performance. For example, you have comedy acts like Bianca Del Rio (Season 6) who are known to ‘read’ which basically means to slate other drag queens in a fun and sassy way. The fashion queens like Ivy Winters (Season 5) who made a dress entirely out of photos of herself and take pride in what they create. My personal favourite style would be drag impersonators. These acts base their looks on celebrities. The most popular performers in Drag Race ‘herstory’ would be Chad Michaels (Season 4) who impersonates the greatest eighties rock diva of all time, Cher. The second, the recently eliminated Derrik Barry (Season 8) who is a highly successful Britney Spears impersonator. Derrik found fame by auditioning for America’s Got Talent in 2008.
We have the racers but how do we find out who has got what it takes to win. RuPaul then sets them mini challenges. These mini challenges sometimes have no relevance, but may help contestants to obtain a higher role in the main challenges like choreographer, director or even to choose the order of the challenge.
These mini challenges are all for good fun. These differ from dance competitions, memory games, quick designs and puppets. The puppet task I immediately fell in love with being a huge Muppet fan my whole life. In this task, the racers are given another contestant in the form of a puppet and are told to decorate the puppet and perform a short shtick. The task results in quirky yet bitchy circumstances but all in the name of entertainment, at least for us viewers.
Rupaul, the host of our show, announces the winner of the mini challenge and moves on to brief the contestants on the main challenge.
These challenges are similarly structured throughout each season. Yet it may feel repetitive at times, each season has different personalities which has shown in these tasks.
For main challenges throughout the season, we see queens create three looks and an opening number for a themed bal. For example the glitter ball, sugar ball and even a book ball. Nevertheless, we have a presidential speech for the confident speaking queens, and even a makeover challenge where the queens are given a stereotypical bloke from across the road of Hooters and create a beautiful drag persona for them.
The most established and infamous main task that has featured on each season is Snatch Game. Snatch Game consists of the drag queens performing their best celebrity impersonators. We have seen the best like Sharon Needles (Season 4) as Drag Race’s own judge, Michelle Visage, and Bianca Del Rio (Season 6) as Judge Judy. Unfortunately, we have seen the worst like Delta Work (Season 3) as the most boring Cher ever. The penultimate worst would be Gia Gunn’s Kim Kardashian. When I look at the success of this task, you have to choose a celebrity that has personality and then build that to its extreme. I imagine, looking as an actor, you have to give it your all in this task and if you have the slightest hesitation then it will not work. Totally balls to the wall but make sure you tuck first.
After the main task, the girls get their runway looks ready to show to the judges on the catwalk. This is where my respect for the art of drag increased. You see, these girls making dresses from scratch and using skills like sewing, stitching, comedy, mastering the walk and the makeup. I struggled with generic make up at Disney, but these can contort their faces to create the illusion that they are women and it works. It must be a hard craft to learn and perfect and these performers nail it.
Whilst everyone is getting ready, we gain insight to the contestant’s struggles on how they became a drag queen throughout the show. The hardest part is listening to the hate and barriers these performers have overcome in their lives and drag career. It is truly heart breaking to here when a queen’s family deserted them and rejected them as their son. Something I can defiantly appreciate and treasure.
Anyway back to topic. We have seen amazing runway attire throughout the seasons. For instance, Courtney Act (Season 6) serving guardian angel realness and Raja (Season 3) owning a horror style ‘Carrie’ dress. The best is yet to come.
After the runway, we hear the judges critics and discuss who has done the best and worst of the episode. This then is narrowed down to who is in the bottom two and who will lip sync for their life.
This is arguable, the best spot of the show. I’ve never witnessed so much pressure been dramatised for these queens to mime the hell out of a song, all in the name of staying in the competition. We see the contestants go hell for leather in this part of the show, busting out splits, kicks, jumps from everywhere, revealing costume changes and ultimately giving their all for the sake to stay on the programme.
The greatest lip sync battle I’ve seen would be between Latrice Royale and Kenya Micheals. In this, we see Latrice deliver a display of beauty with her rendition of ‘A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel)’ by Aretha Franklin. It’s mesmerising. The fact she does little makes it even more effective. Unlike Kenya, who is dancing and jumping to this slow ballad song which makes her look silly. From what I see, drag is a beauty spectacle and a shock factor art form. Yet a simple mime with passion and vulnerability is way more powerful than a dance display of craziness. If you want to see it yourself, please click the link below and let me know what you think. Latrice Royale Vs Kenya Michaels (Season 4)
After the battle, RuPaul then makes the final decision on who should stay and who should leave. This is when we see the relief, tears or both on the drag queens faces. Our eliminated queen takes her final walk down the catwalk, leaves the stage and on we go to continue until there is only one remaining.
There you have it. These are the components to the reality contest which is a well structured piece of television. It is easy to watch and superbly entertaining. You will find yourself glued to the heart, soul, laughter and all out ridiculousness of RuPual’s Drag Race. Like it or not, RuPual has created a show that has evolved into a monster hit.
I first started watching season four which was brilliant. If I had to pick the best season to view it would be season five. Season five has everything from drama, betrayal, tears and of course the best part of any reality show… the arguments.
What do you like about RuPaul’s Drag Race? Comment below and let me know what the tee is. Thanks for the read and I will be back soon.