Nobody goes on reality TV these days to win – that's a concept about as antiquated as, like, "shillings", or me ever owning property. Reality TV, like everything else, is now just simply a platform from which to launch yourself headfirst into a vast surplus of fans and money. Few shows are quite as efficient as doing that as RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The show began in 2009, and is essentially America's Next Top Model for drag queens (a fatal flaw is that it lacks the inclusion of camp icon Tyra Banks). Since it premiered, it's made stars and cult icons of queens like Bianca del Rio, who's playing Wembley Arena next month; Violet Chachki, who graces the pages of Vogue Italia not infrequently; and Shangela, who was literally in A Star Is Born. And now we're finally getting a UK version; maybe the winner will get to be in Corrie.
Today, the ten queens who'll take part in the first iteration of Drag Race UK were revealed, looking as magnificently tacky as is befitting of the cast a BBC remake of a high budget American talent show. Instead of predicting who's going to win (because *The Rock voice* IT DOESN'T MATTER), we imagined where these queens' Drag Race journeys might end up taking them.
I was concerned about Drag Race UK, you know. I was worried that it would be too American, that British humour and cultural icons are too specific to appeal to other audiences, and that therefore some of the Hiding Seven Cans of Smirnoff Vodka-Cranberry In The Lining of Your Jacket As You Enter The Pub energy of British drag would be squeezed out of the show.
But then London queen Baga Chips did an impression of Corrie's Deirdre Barlow in her intro video, and in that moment I felt peace.
Baga Chips is extremely funny, and the funny queens always do well. Can see her doing standup and taking a one woman show called something like "Baga Chips: Salt and Vinegar, Please" around the country to much acclaim.
Northern Irish queen Blu Hydrangea describes herself as a "look queen", but she also describes those looks as "like a GCSE art project" – which is, objectively, a funny thing to say about yourself, and indicates yet again how much more of a laugh the UK and Ireland queens are than the US ones.
Her makeup looks are actually very cool (I really connect with the one that is: a woman whose eyeballs are hanging out of her head), so can imagine her getting quite a big social following and making a very healthy living just going on Insta Live all the time, showing us how we too can make our entire faces into disco balls.
Also, I don't want to box anyone in or anything, but if she doesn't do "Nadine Coyle from Larkhill in Derry, date of birth 15th of the sixth, 85, making me a Gemini: for Snatch Game, should she even be included?
DIVINIA DI CAMPO
Her Marie Antoinette Goes On a Bender in Las Vegas look is amazing, and I feel like she can catalyse her position as a judge on the BBC’s All Together Now into something even bigger. With enough Drag Race success behind her, there’s definitely a universe in which Divinia Di Campo is on X Factor mentoring the Boys category this time next year.
Crystal says she brings an "east London" edge to the competition. I would normally take this to mean that she's going to bring the vibe of someone who sullenly stomps around health food shops looking for a particular type of vegan cheese and does tweets about the Overground being off, but I think what she actually means is that she's not a polished, poised pageant queen, but more of a performance artist.
Can really imagine her having a show on the Southbank during the summer months where she combines aerial dancing with social commentary or something.
SUM TING WONG
Sum Ting Wong is a vocals queen, and honestly on the strength of her breast plate alone she deserves the Christmas number one.
With her New Look dress, polished look and name based on the former Girls Aloud member who's most popular among straight people but least popular among the gays, Cheryl Hole is most likely to have whatever is the opposite of a "cult" following.
Basically, she'll get voted out third after an acting challenge where Michelle Visage calls her "wooden", appear on an episode of Loose Women where they debate "teaching drag in schools", before becoming a regular on the Celebs Go Dating / The Only Way Is Essex / Celebability circuit.
Eventually, she'll make a shit ton of money selling false eyelashes to drag queens and Essex girls alike.
While this season of Drag Race UK has a lot of campy queens from around the country who have probably won competitions in their respective towns, it's distinctly lacking in the sort you see in nightclubs, strictly after 1AM, behind a DJ booth in 20-inch creepers and leather. Gothy Kendoll is as close as we've got to the latter sort of queen, or what the US might call a "club kid".
That said, Gothy seems a little wet behind the ears, and earnest ("I actually wrote a dissertation on it" – who hasn't, hun). Give her half a decade, though, and she’ll probably make a killing as a performance artist whose thing is that she never speaks.
Firstly, don't Google the term "Vinegar Strokes" like I did just now. Secondly, if someone doesn’t give Vinegar Strokes a performing slot in EastEnders for their next Albert Square does Pride episode, I’m calling the police. After that, I can actually see her hosting some sort of documentary on BBC Three, because even though she describes herself as a "comedy queen", her VT is the most serious and eloquent among them.
Scaredy Cat is too strange and fragile to become one of those queens with her own sold out stand up show and T-shirts with printed catchphrases. Instead, she gives off a distinct Spent A Lot Of Time On Tumblr and Is Also Into Cosplay vibe, and those people thrive on Instagram. Watch when she gets, like, 750K followers and a hardcore legion of baby queer fans who do illustrations of her, but reimagined as a real life cat.
The Vivienne is, quite clearly, going to spend the eight or so weeks of the competition just waiting to be crowned, so brightly does her charisma and lipgloss light up the screen. Americans won’t have a fucking clue what to do with her (google searches of "Kim Woodburn who" will presumably spike in the US today), but over here I can see her as a TV host.
Give her a late-night chat show where she both interviews and impersonates Gemma Collins and Rebecca More, or revamp Bullseye and make her the rosé-addled landlady-cum-presenter. Or at least put her on The Real Housewives of Cheshire, where I imagine she’ll steal everyone’s husbands in one episode, to become the Realest Housewife. Essentially, I'm saying she's a star.