Confessions of a ‘Drag Race’ Virgin

I know it’s hard to believe now, but up until the start of 2015, I was a ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ virgin. I had heard about the show, but had never watched an episode.

Then my partner bought tickets to see Bianca Del Rio when she toured Australia. I figured since we were going to see a show of a ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ contestant, we should at least watch one or two episodes of the show.

Well, ‘one or two’ episodes turned into a binge watching marathon! My partner and I consumed the whole of season 6 in just 4 drag-tastic days! It was such a thoroughly entertaining show, we couldn’t stop watching it. So, my ‘Drag Race’ confession is – I’m a total convert to the show!

This really surprised me, since prior to watching ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, I didn’t consider myself to be a particularly huge fan of drag. The few times I’ve seen drag live, I have to say I’d been kind of underwhelmed by it. But hey, each to their own. I’ve always been a big fan of showing support to all members of our community. It was with this attitude that I approached watching ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’.

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The show, in case you haven’t seen it, is a reality competition, along the lines of America’s Next Top Supermodel and the plethora of singing competition shows such as X-Factor, Idol and The Voice. The show begins with 14 drag queens.

Each week, they’re put through their paces in a series of challenges. The challenges allows us, the audience, to see different sides of the queens. Their talents, personalities, vulnerabilities and how they handle pressure – come out for everyone to see. Each week, one drag queen is eliminated until finally a winner is crowned.

There were quite a lot of things I liked about the show. Firstly, the style of it. It has fun and makes fun of itself. It’s always good to see when people are in on their own joke. RuPaul is a brilliant host/ess, keeping the show sparkling and moving at a cracking pace. The sets are as bright and bubbly as the contestants. The production value is clearly high.

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Ru Paul (middle) with the Scruff Pit Crew.

On the judging panel, RuPaul is joined by Michelle Visage and Santoro Rice. The chemistry between the three works really well. They each bring their own unique favour to the table. With Michelle, I liked how she spoke her mind. Even when she was being negative or critical, she never came across as being mean. It always felt like she was trying to help the queens. Santoro is a real sweetie. He really seems to be enjoying himself and always gave useful notes.

(On a side note, the season 7 judging panel has received a major shake-up – in hopefully a good way. Santino Rice has sashayed away and been replaced by Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley.

Plus, the guest judge line up for the upcoming season is pretty cool. It includes – Ariana Grande, Jessica Alba, Demi Lovato, John Waters, Kat Dennings, Kathy Griffin, Olivia Newtown-John, Alyssa Milano, Jordin Sparks, Mel B and possibly more!)

Then there are the queens themselves. I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical about viewing drag as an art form before watching the show. Don’t hate me for saying this, but I thought drag queens were basically glorified lip synchers, who in some of the cases I had seen, were’t even able to do that properly.

The talent the queens displayed on the show, blew all those preconceived notions out of the water. Each and every one of them was a true performer. They brought a range of talents, from make up, fashion, singing and performing to the table. They were polished, they were professional and they were incredibly talented and undeniably entertaining performers.

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Drag Race Season 6 queens in challenge mode!

The weekly challenges are a really great aspect of the show. You got to be entertained by whatever the wacky challenge set for that week was, but you also got to know more about the people behind queens, make up and outfits. There were issues of insecurity, rejection and self-esteem that I could really connect with, even though I’ve never done drag in my life.

And ultimately, that’s what I liked most about the show. It transcended being a show just about drag. It became a show that showed people in a wide variety of states, going through challenges – as we all do in life.

Season 7 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ starts on 2 Match 2015. In the meantime, you can watch (or re-watch as the case may be) Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race here.

You can also follow ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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