Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent

There’s only one week left! One week until the final of that TV show that everyone’s watching because the third season of Gossip Girl is so completely, undeniably – oh, […]


There’s only one week left! One week until the final of that TV show that everyone’s watching because the third season of Gossip Girl is so completely, undeniably – oh, it’s a tragedy... But we don’t care, we don’t mind, because Channel 4, the home of great trashy television, has stepped in to fill the void, with the first ever, the best ever, the one and only – 

 

“Gentlemen, start your engines. And may the best, woman, WIN!”

It’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, the place where America’s next top model collides headlong with the yummy, slummy, slutty world of tranny faaaaaaabulousness. Get on 4od and watch all the episodes that are left, because where else can you see so much prancing, strutting and flaunting? There’s bitchiness in shedloads, glam, glitz, gloss – and three of the most amazing televisual moments that are ever going to leave you stunned, shocked, or screaming. And I’m not saying what they are. It’s all completely worth it for the climactic scene in every episode, where the two queens put up for eviction are told by RuPaul that “the time has come, for you to lip-sync – for your life!”

 

 You don’t normally associate drag with high fashion; the Wilma Fingerfits and Tequila Mockingbirds of this world, lovely though they are, are usually either of the “sequinned hotpants” or “bad dress and grey wig” variety. It’s a place where Dame Ednas and (god forbid) Jodie Harshes gather the detritus of a thousand years of so-called style and, quite rightfully, laugh at it.

RuPaul, however, promises us a different style: a model and singer herself, she is looking for a perfect illusionist, someone who can carry off great clothes and ooze personality on stage, someone to follow in his own footsteps. And so the outfits we have seen so far have been – yes, crazy, yes, over the top – but ooooh do you want to wear them!

Bebe Zahara Benet and Nina Flowers are the best of the three girls remaining, because Rebecca Glasscock is a bitch and should never have got so far. Bebe regularly wears all of Africa on her shoulders, whether it’s that hair, loads of love-it-or-hate-it leopard-print, or jewelled, droopy, gorgeous traditional costume. Nina goes for a look no drag queen has ever dared before: punk. It’s all loud colours and loud hair with her, and she’s even been known to wear bits of real mango-rind on her collar. So although subversion and extravagance are still the orders of the day, we can thank the drag divas of the world for showing us that it works. Watch, learn, and emulate.

It would be useless to list all the fashion tips you can get from RuPaul. It’s all there, whether you want to go cheap – watch “Drag on a Dime” – or House Show (“Absolut Drag Ball”). So educational. I even now know the word for “when two drag queens have sex”. (It’s Ki-ki.) And if you’re just looking for an hour of entertainment, there’s enough of that to go round too. Because ultimately I don’t really agree with all this drag-fashion malarky. For me, the best drag queens are the hilarious, the overblown, the magnificent, bitchy, filthy, fat, vile trannies of old. To hell with fashion! I want Divine!

RuPaul’s Drag Race airs on Tuesday nights on Channel 4, with 4od catch-ups. It showed ages ago in America though, so don’t look it up on youtube or you might ruin the ending...