© Queens from various seasons gathered at a VH1 premiere - Photograph by Shutterstock
Have we had too much of Drag Race? Shall we rather skip all of the upcoming seasons and prefer real drag shows in pubs or clubs? Let's get controversial!
Even though it’s only been a short while since Symone was crowned in the middle of an empty theatre, racers have already been given a taste of All Start Six – producers confirmed that the premiere will be aired on June 24th, and that thirteen queens will return to ru-deem themselves thereof. But while there’re fans who eagerly awaited such colourful news, there’re some others who feel quite swamped by this RuPaul tsunami.
They’re probably right. It’s as though the show had replaced what we once experienced with the so-called Harry Potter fever; an industry that has no intention to retire whatsoever unless it has squeezed out the last penny. With more versions of Drag Race lined up – Spain, Canada, and Australia, to mention a few –, would it be time to take a break?
Is there such a thing as quitting Drag Race? And if so, why?
I first discovered the reality show in 2017 whilst on a holiday with a straight cousin in Manchester. She couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of queens like Bianca Del Rio, Shangela or even RuPaul herself – whence I inferred that my gayness was not yet concealed. We bought drinks, sat on the sofa and watched it all thoroughly, from season one to eight. I was left astonished. Seriously.
© Bob the Drag Queen - Photograph by Shutterstock
Seeing season-eight winner Bob the Drag Queen making endless pirouettes with her butts, or even the glorious Violet Chachki conquering the stage with her never-before', burlesque-themed performance in the finale of season seven, definitely enriched my then precarious LGBTQ+ cultural baggage. No one can deny that Drag Race contestants are gifted with such extraordinary abilities; they all possess a sort of a grandiloquent style that is difficult not to be entranced by.
However, as much as RuPaul is to me what cigarettes are to nicotine-dependent individuals, I suspect the production might be struggling to keep things fresh.
This year, US RuPaul’s Drag Race was aired concurrently with its British adaptation, and many folks seemed to have preferred watching the queens from across the pond. It stands to be said that the UK cast was having a lot more fun than their US counterparts, mainly because of the narrative created by American producers. Although VH1 might have benefited from the incredible talent of fan-favourite candidates like Rosé or Gottmik, the BBC let its girls showcase their personality without relying on irrelevant storylines for the sake of the show’s popularity.
Likewise, Britons didn’t have to sit back and wait three whole weeks to find out which queens were first eliminated, a twist in the drama that caused the US fanbase to start to get bored very easily. This sense of freedom seen in UK RuPaul’s Drag Race season two must have emerged due to the fact that they weren’t competing for any prize money but for the spotlight, whereas the queens in America were definitely wagging for the fat cheque of $100.000.
Alongside unnecessary plots, US RuPaul’s makers cut off the rivalry too early; they could’ve fostered Tamisha Iman and Kandy Muse’s hysterical clash all the way through to the end of the season, but instead, they removed Tamisha from the picture and kept Kandy afloat when that was remarkably unneeded. Perhaps, if only VH1 businessmen realised that RuPaul’s preference towards Kandy was as tedious as Silky Nutmeg Ganache’s survival in season eleven, for instance, we wouldn’t now be calling out for a change in the show.
What we all know is that several of the old queens will soon enter the competition and work their asses out to make it to the Hall of Fame. I can foresee that having Eureka and Silky Nutmeg Ganache together in the same set will cause such wasteful turmoil, which might affect how the queens interact with each other throughout the season. Furthermore, we will also witness the presence of Ginger Minj, whom we have enjoyed in All Stars Two. At this point of my saying, I seriously wonder whether we should have contestants coming back to the competition repeatedly when they have already had their moment on the TV screen.
Wouldn’t it be time to promote the art of other queens whose journey is yet to be catapulted? – such as Scarlet Envy, for example? – Maybe, that’s not for me to say. In the end, I’m just a queer journalist putting his opinions out there for people to debate upon.
© Cameron Michaels - Photograph by Shutterstock
What I do hope though that I’m not left like Jan when she lost Madonna’s Rusical maxi challenge.
Races, start your engines as disappointment might be on the horizon.