Your only references in terms of drag queens are Chouchou, “La Cage aux folles” and Cabaret Michou? So wait there: after the UK, Spain and Italy, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the American reality TV show that has seen artists compete for more than a decade. He has transformed and performed rehearsals (make-up, costumes, dance, comedy) preparing for his arrival in France. And all this soon on the podium France.tv scale down.
What could such a competition consist of? Simple: Take dozens of drag queens from all over the United States (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta…). Make sure they are completely different in age, specialty, and level of experience (from comedians to ex-Broadway dancers, to those who just learned to wear makeup). Lock them up for a few weeks in a Los Angeles studio. There, put them to quizzes inspired by characters who are indispensable in the life of a professional drag queen – write a skit and get the audience laughing, make a costume with very few resources, learn choreography or take on a role in a comic. Musical … without forgetting the irony of the most emblematic aspects of American culture (distance shopping, Donald Trump, Madonna …). Finally, let everything be judged by RuPaul, the American High Priestess of this transformational art and former queen of New York nightclubs now looking, every season, for a new heiress ready to spread her message to the world. Peace, love and tolerance.
Because if “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the purest form of entertainment, its success isn’t due exclusively to the quality of the action, or even the advent of the “pit crew,” this army of doll boys oiled to toe, including a decorative presence peppered with certain episodes . More than a simple tailoring, comedy or singing competition, the show has already, over the thirteen seasons of its American version, established itself as a place to reflect on the state of people from the LGBTQ+ community in the United States, gay men making up the bulk of the candidates . After hastily making a dress out of the stuff in the landfill, or out of an underwater photoshoot, it’s not uncommon to see the participants, as soon as they take off their crafts (make-up, wigs, false eyelashes, false breasts, fake chest and buttocks) They discussed among themselves diverse and painful topics such as racism within the LGBT community, and discrimination against people living with HIV or even transgender people.
Be careful, however, not to let yourself be too swayed by the testimony of this or that candidate: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” remains a competition where the filters go well. At the end of each episode, the two drag queens whose performances were judged to be the least satisfactory for that day compete in “lip-sync” (a musical show in play, a classic of drag art). From RuPaul, longtime buddy Michelle Visage, but also distinguished guests ranging from rapper Nicki Minaj to American Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The goal: Determine who deserves to stay in the race with the $100,000 that goes to the winner each season.
Who’s the French jury? Mylene Farmer? Stephen Bern?
During its nearly thirteen years of existence, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has successfully transformed the once-secondary type of entertainment into a social phenomenon, attracting tens of thousands of fans on the occasion of every “DragCon”. (Agreements during which it was possible to meet your favorite queen), push certain candidates to the rank of star. Sasha Velor has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, and she goes on a world tour with her shows. Miss Fame and Violet Chachki are stepping up their collaborations with fashion houses: Jean Paul Gaultier, Margiela, Mugler, Miu Miu… Trixie Mattel is working on a partnership with Netflix, a YouTube channel, a makeup brand, and a music career. ..
But in France, where the practice of drawing is more clandestine than in America and where bars dedicated exclusively to it are rare, is a successful adaptation really possible? The post-show success of Nikki Doll, a French drag queen who lives in New York, was it enough to convince a copy of the house’s interest? On Twitter, the project led by Raphael Sioufi (author for Jean Paul Gaultier and Channel +), which has been announced since mid-November, is as disturbing as it is. Among the French fans of the show as among the local drag queens, expect the disrespectful humor of the original can be copied in our own language, on parts of our culture that would be subject to ridicule (attackers? Star Academy)? ”), or on LGBT icons selected to be part of the jury. Amanda Lear, Stephan Bern, Bilal Hassani, Mylene Farmer, Lawrence Pocolini? To find out, it will be necessary to be patient, because the production has just finished the most important stage: the stage of casting.
© Anthony Behar / CIBA USA / CIBA
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