Life has been pretty rubbish of late, hasn’t it, what with the pandemic screwing up our lives and the soaps continuing to serve up the most depressing dreary storylines – so praise be as Drag Race series 3 lands.
Because what we all need right now is a rainbow-coloured, glitter-tastic escape from the real world.
And bravo, this week, not only are we being whisked off to the star-spangled ballroom with the first live show of Strictly, a bunch of super-glam drag queens are enchanting us.
Yes, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series 3 has finally arrived on BBC3.
Now, if these words are like an otherworldly language to you, where the hell have you been?
The show is a global sensation (catch the US series on Netflix and the international spin-offs on WOW Plus) and is one of BBC3’s most watched TV shows.
But for those unfortunates yet to experience this magical joy, let us break it down for you. Because, folks, watching this programme will definitely improve your life. Fact!
First up, let’s start at the beginning.
RuPaul is the legendary drag superstar who first entered our lives back in 1991 with her anthemic song Supermodel Of The World (You Better Work).
Charming all walks of life
She duetted with Elton John on a disco cover of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and even had a regular interview slot on This Morning.
Then in 2009, she dreamt up a sassy elimination game called Drag Race which saw a bunch of glam queens take on weekly challenges to become the next drag superstar!
(If you are still finding it hard to get your head around this wild concept, imagine The Apprentice with Alan Sugar wearing a three-foot high magenta wig and a scarlet sequinned frock.)
Although the multicoloured campfest featured an exclusively LGBT+ cast, the show was an instant hit in the US, not just within the community it celebrated, but with viewers from all walks of life.
Its impact on viewers – especially young teens and women – didn’t go unnoticed by the mainstream media, resulting in the show scooping awards left, right and centre.
Recently, RuPaul made herstory by becoming the most-awarded black artist in the Emmys’ history after talking home a statuette for the Outstanding Competition Programme for the 11th time.
As word of the glorious show spread across the globe like a perfumed pandemic, rumours were rife that a UK version would soon follow.
And in 2019, after many years of whispers, the first ever series of Drag Race UK burst onto our screens and became a global sensation thanks to its perfectly cast collection of brassy northern queens, arthouse drags and fresh out of school novices.
The Drag Race Generation of queens are nothing like the Danny La Rues or Dame Ednas we used to see on TV back in the day.
These days, young queens see their drag as an art form, a way of expressing themselves and giving them an extra layer of confidence to combat the world.
Can we get an ‘Amen’ up in here???
The makeup is mostly extraordinary, detailed, artistic and beautiful and the wigs and dresses extravagant.
Deliciously vulgar humour
Even the queens who are less polished like the iconic Baga Chipz from season one (check her out on Youtube) made up for their lack of artistry with their cracking sense of vulgar humour.
While many have come from the traditional club/cabaret circuit, others have caught eyes on Instagram where they dazzle their thousand of followers with their transforming skills.
But while the sparkles and sequins and diamante eyelashes are a big pull for viewers, what’s really touched them is the loveable queens and the heartfelt stories they share.
Breaking down boundaries
Punctuated throughout the insane challenges are moments of pure warmth as the young queens open up about their struggles with sexuality, bullying, rejection, depression and more.
And it’s these open and brutally honest moments that resonate most with viewers, both young and old.
For the first time LGBTQ+ issues are being served for mainstream audiences, breaking down important boundaries in the process.
Inspiration to kids preparing to come out
The queens’ journeys inspire kids who are afraid to come out, while parents who find the variety and intricacies of sexuality confusing get a glimpse at what it all means and looks like in real life.
In season two, viewers were enthralled and illuminated by a revealing conversation between queens Bimini Bom Boulash and Ginny Lemon about how they identify as non-binary and the way those around them dealt with that.
This moving, poignant moment fleshed out a term that many cis gender viewers (a person who identifies with the sex that a doctor assigned at birth) had heard about but hadn’t really understood.
Hearing these two articulate young people expressing their experience perfectly illustrated how there are wonderfully different people within our society.
Blankety Black on acid
With rounds called The Snatch Game (think Blankety Blank on acid) and an end of episode of Lip Synch For Your Life (where two queens battle it out to remain on the show by miming and dancing) RuPaul’s Drag Race is indeed a wonderful, feel-good entertainment show that’ll have the whole family in hysterics and buzzing with glee.
But we can’t underestimate the important role it plays in unifying our ever-dividing society as it simply underlines the fact that whoever we are, whoever we love, whatever we do, we all need to love ourselves and accept everyone around us.
After all, as Ru tells us every episode – ‘If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?’ Can we get an ‘Amen’ up in here???
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