The time has come! Nevermind that we have had five seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2020 (US main season, All Stars, Celebrity Drag Race, Canada’s Drag Race and Drag Race Holland), nothing quite beats the excitement of a new American season with a whole new cast ready to battle it out for the ultimate prize.
No, not the $100,000 cash prize, but instant fame and a showbiz career, hunty!
True to superstition, the show has already been jinxed when a 14th contestant was told to go home just before filming started (allegedly), in order to avoid another sexual harassment incident like last year.
Here are six queens from the remaining lucky 13 that are standing out as potential highlights of the season (solely based on my opinion):
Gottmik – This queen has been receiving the bulk of media attention for being the first openly trans man to be casted. That should not however detract from her finely honed androgynous style that questions standard drag conventions. Primarily well-known for her makeup artistry, her impressive clientele includes Paris Hilton and Cindy Crawford.
Tina Burner – Seasoned NYC queen with a lifetime of experience in the scene, known for her razor sharp wit and dubious taste (“I would say that my fashion style is…. questionable.”) The reference to illicit pharmaceuticals in her name should give you a hint of what this queen has to offer.
Denali – Every season needs a hyperactive bucking queen to deliver the splits and high kicks, so that producers can safely place her in the bottom in order to send the other girl home. In addition to being a drag artist Denali is also a professional ice skater who has toured with Cirque du Soleil. Even though she has only done drag for little more than two years, her performance experience and athleticism means that she will certainly eat up a stage in lip syncs and performance challenges.
Tamisha Iman – Every season also needs an old school pageant queen with multiple titles, Miss UsofA 2005 among them. Tamisha is also a cancer survivor and drag mother to over 70 queens, including this season’s La La Ri. She certainly has the pedigree in competitive drag, but will she be stuck in her ways, or will she let her bouffant hair down and have fun with the many mini, improv and acting challenges?
Her participation also marks a first for the show in casting a mother-daughter pair in the same season, which already promises so much reality TV drama to look forward to. Will they strike an alliance? Will the family have to lip-sync against each other? Will they never speak to each other again? I’m positively gaggin!
Kandy Muse – Already a well-known personality among the drag race fandom, Kandy has released a single with Alaska, is a member of the House of Aja (with last season’s Dahlia Sin) and a participant in numerous social media feuds. Who knows how she will do in the challenges, but one can look forward to this big personality sparking fights with other queens in the Untucked lounge.
Symone – Easily the winner of the cast Ruveal with that intricate hairpiece styled in loops with touches of gold running through it spelling out her name. If this is the level of creativity that she is bringing to the show, I’d say that we are in for some pretty awesome runways!
Just like every major sporting event has spawned an industry of pundits and commentators, no season of RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing is complete without having other fans and experts chime in with their own two cents. Here are some that you might enjoy:
Podcast: Race Chaser by Willam and Alaska. The bad girl of the RuGirls teams up with the poster child of the fandom to bring us this award-winning podcast. One can look forward to an insider’s approach to their weekly recaps as well as appearances by queens from the current and past seasons.
On YouTube: Bootleg Opinions by Yuhua Hamasaki – Inspired by Raja and Raven’s Bootleg Fashion Review, Season 10’s Yuhua Hamasaki launched her own programme to give her own take on each episode’s runway moments. This programme used to be called Bootleg Fashion Photo Review until WOW had their lawyers called in with their opinions (allegedly).
In addition to being a RuGirl herself, Yuhua also makes costumes for other queens including RuGirls on their regular seasons. As a working garment maker herself, she gives good constructive criticism and recommendations. Each episode features a special guest, usually another queen from earlier seasons which we would be less likely see elsewhere.
Ms Mojo’s Drag Race RuCap on YouTube – Canadians Sam and Samantha share their thoughts on what happened every episode. While recap shows are aplenty when it comes to RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ms. Mojo’s standout with their scorecard that tallies up each contestant’s wins and losses. Not that points matter when it comes to reality TV, but it’s fun to keep track anyway.
After the season
Hey Qween (YouTube)– A late-night talkshow given the gay treatment with sequins galore and gogo boys grinding out lap dances. Johnny McGovern presides as host and producer as each week’s guest RuGirl sits on the couch to dish the dirt on their season and share with us their latest projects. This is a must-watch for fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race to keep up with the queens after their respective seasons.
Where to watch
Now I’ve had to rely on dubious websites to download episodes in the past, but thankfully they can now be viewed on Netflix (two days after it airs in the US), or get yourself a WOW Presents Plus subscription for only USD3.99 a month to get same-day access. With RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 2 set to debut soon, there’s no better time to get one for yourself, and you can check out all the other shows featuring your favourite queens as well!
Enjoy the show and now, let the music play!
Steven is a performance arts professional who wears many hats, mainly as a performer and teacher of vocal technique. Although not a queen himself, Steven enjoys every opportunity to prance around in glittery costumes onstage. He can be found on Facebook and Instagram.