The announcement of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK has been met with mixed reactions. Some people have welcomed the news with excitement, whilst others believe that the show’s dynamic will change when introduced with UK queens.
Drag Race staple, Michelle Visage, has been pushing for a UK version of the show for years, branding herself as an “anglophile”. Her best friend and the show’s executive producer, Rupaul, has been a little more dubious of the prospect. And who could blame him? Over the past ten years, Ru has built an empire of queens, events and merchandise — which has proven to be quite the lucrative machine. Any variation in the formula could prove disastrous.
But I’m here to say let’s give Drag Race UK a chance — I believe there is more than meets the eye at first glance.
The UK has always been a hot bed of drag talent: Lily Savage, Dame Edna Everage and Jodi Harsh as examples. Even London queen Charlie Hides took part in Season 9 of Drag Race (she has an US green card). It makes sense to delve into this untapped market. Sure, the British sense of humour is different, but as Sharon Needles (Season 4 winner) proved, drag is not one-size-fits-all. One would be naive to believe that Drag Race in it’s current form represents all types of drag.
In addition, with Drag Race’s global reach, baby queens have been popping up all the over the place. Season 8 winner, Bob The Drag Queen, says she herself was inspired to put on a pair of heels after watching Season 1 of the race. The story is the same in the UK. There is no shortage of queens.
The show normally showcases all types of queens, which opens the opportunity to veterans from the Blackpool stage to Insta-famous crossdressers.
Bringing the show to the UK means new celebrity judges. No longer will we have to Google a judge’s name to find out that they played a minor role on a show that never made it out of the US. Ideal candidates for the job would be Lorraine Kelly, Paul O’Grady, Cheryl and Jade Thirlwall. Graham Norton has already judged on All Stars 2, and Sophie Ellis Bextor has already thrown her name into the ring for consideration. Whatever they do — please do not bring faux-gay David Walliams on. Acting gay for personal gain on TV is not what this show needs.
In the same vein as guest judges, a UK show brings more personalities to impersonate. With the popularity of reality shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity, there are so many iconic people and moments to take off. A snatch game made up of Gemma Collins, Kim Woodburn, Nikkie Graeme, Gillian McKeith, Joanna Lumley, Julie Walters and Miriam Margoyles would be of epic proportions.
With the UK drag scene being geographically smaller than the US, a lot of the queens will know each other — or at least heard of each other. Paired with the renowned sharp tongues and quick wit of UK queens, this will make for a shady reading challenge.
Lip Sync For Your Life
The UK has always had the pleasure of high quality popstars who US success has evaded. Therefore, their music never made Drag Race US. Just imagine the lip syncs to:
- Girls Aloud — Sound of the Underground
- Steps — One For Sorrow
- Alexandra Burke — Bad Boys
- The Saturdays — Notourious
- Sugagabes — About You Now
- Alesha Dixon — The Boy Does Nothing
- Little Mix — Shoutout To My Ex
In essence, let’s not be too quick to judge Drag Race UK. In a time when the US show is facing claims of transohobia, racism and fixing, maybe a British show will be the breath of fresh air we need.