RuPaul's Drag Race
|RuPaul's Drag Race|
|Directed by||Ian Stevenson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||71
(as of May 6, 2013)
|Running time||42 to 48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||World of Wonder Productions|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original run||February 2, 2009– present|
|Related shows||RuPaul's Drag U|
RuPaul's Drag Race is an American reality competition television series produced by World of Wonder for Logo. RuPaul plays the roles of host, mentor, and source of inspiration for this series, which details RuPaul's search for "America's next drag superstar."
The show was greenlit in May 2008, according to a press release by MTV Networks. It premiered in the U.S. on Logo on February 2, 2009, and in Canada on the MuchMore network on February 15, 2009. The show also airs on the VH1 network, at 9:00 pm Eastern Time. On March 12, 2013, RuPaul's Drag Race was renewed for a sixth season. Logo will re-air the first season, which had been unavailable for telecast or on home media, starting September 30. 2013.
In the show's first season, it was the most-watched series on Logo, and in its second it became the most-streamed series ever on LogoTV.com. The title of the show is a play on drag queen and drag racing, and the title sequence and song, "Drag Race," both have a drag-racing theme.
Casting calls are announced online, where prospective contestants submit audition tapes in hopes of being cast. All contestants selected must be 21 years of age or older at the time of taping. They may have any sexual orientation, although most contestants to date have been gay men. Transgender women are eligible, and have become more common as seasons have progressed. Sonique (a season two contestant) became the first openly transgender contestant of the series when she revealed her status as transgender during the season two reunion special. E-2.12 Monica Beverly Hillz (a season five contestant), became the first transgender woman to reveal her status during the competition.E-5.01 The other transgender contestants have entered the competition as biologically male and begun transitioning after their elimination. Carmen Carrera, a season three contestant, announced her transition during an episode of ABC's Primetime: What Would You Do? Season four contestant Kenya Michaels announced her own transition via Facebook and Twitter.
RuPaul plays dual roles in the show. USA Today's Lifeline explains: "RuPaul the drag queen will be the final word in judging and eliminations, while RuPaul the man will offer guidance to contestants for each challenge." RuPaul's Drag Race uses progressive elimination to reduce the number of drag queens in the competition from the initial field of fourteen contestants (the number established beginning in the fifth season) down to the three who will compete in the final challenge. Each episode (with the exception of the casting special, "recap" episode, and reunion special) follows a format consisting of a mini challenge, a main challenge, a runway walk (where the contestants model fashion on a runway, usually with a theme based on the main challenge), and the judging panel.
In the mini challenge, each contestant is asked to perform a different task with varying requirements and time limitations. Certain mini challenges are repeated from season to season. For instance, the first mini challenge of each season is a photo shoot with the photographer Mike Ruiz that includes some kind of special twist (such as being doused with water while in full drag,E-1.01 having a high-powered fan turned on during the shoot,E-2.01 or being photographed while jumping on a trampoline).E-3.02 Another recurring mini challenge is dedicated to "reading," which is a drag term for making insulting observations about one's peers for comic effect.E-2.07 E-3.08 The winner of a mini challenge is sometimes rewarded by being given some kind of advantage in the main challenge. For example, if the main challenge will be a "makeover challenge"—where contestants must put a random individual with characteristics atypical of a drag queen (such as an elderly manE-2.08 or a very masculine male athlete)E-3.12) into drag—the advantage awarded to the winner of the preceding mini challenge is to be allowed to choose which guest they will make over and which guests each of their competitors will make over. E-1.05 E-2.08 E-3.12
The requirements of the main challenge vary across each episode, are usually individual challenges (though group challenges do occur in each season), and initially grant immunity to the winner (until RuPaul announces the discontinuation of that policy mid-season). The winner of the main challenge receives a special prize for their win. In the past, challenge winners have been rewarded with custom designer clothing, cruises, and quality cosmetic items.
RuPaul has jokingly said of the show: "Tell Tyra [Banks] that the Queen has returned, and while you're at it have Heidi Klum clear the runway. I'm going to pump some 'realness' into reality. To be a winner on this show the contestants need to be a fashion designer, an American Idol, and a top model all rolled up into one. And they definitely have to be smarter than a fifth grader." The goal of each main challenge involves a new theme and outcome. Contestants are often asked to design and construct a custom outfit, sometimes incorporating unconventional materials.E-3.11 Other challenges focus on the contestants' ability to present themselves on camera,E-1.03 perform with music,E-2.06 or perform comedically.E-3.08 Some challenges become a tradition across seasons. For instance, Snatch Game is a challenge where the contestants re-enact Match Game: the drag queens impersonate celebrities of their own choosing, RuPaul stands in as host, and two celebrity guests stand in as Match Game contestants.E-2.04E-3.06
As of season five, Santino Rice and Michelle Visage are the staple judges alongside RuPaul. Visage replaced fashion journalist Merle Ginsberg, who was a regular judge in the first two seasons. Prior to the grande finale, the two are joined by a celebrity guest judge and an extra-special guest judge each week. Celebrity judges have included Kathy Griffin,E-2.01 Henry Rollins,E-2.06 Jackie Collins,E-2.07 Sharon Osbourne,E-3.12 LaToya Jackson,E-3.04,Eliza DushkuE-3.07, and Rick Fox. In certain instances, Rice has been absent and replacement judging has been provided by make-up artist Billy Brasfield,E-3.04 Mike Ruiz,E-3.13 Jeffrey Moran (Absolut Vodka marketing executive),E-3.10 or Lucian Piane.E-4.08
The judges each provide their opinion on the contestants' performances on the runway and in the main challenge before RuPaul announces which drag queen is the episode's winner and which two had the weakest performances. The day before judging, the contestants are all provided with a song that they must learn the lyrics to. The contestants deemed as being the bottom two must "lip sync for their lives" to a song by a female artist in a final attempt to impress RuPaul. After the lip-sync, RuPaul alone decides who stays and who leaves. RuPaul describes the qualities the contestants must have to be crowned the winner of the show as "Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent... These are people who have taken adversity and turned it into something that is beautiful and something powerful." The phrase "charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent" is used repeatedly on the show, the acronym of which is CUNT. On the All Stars season, "synergy" was added to provide an explanation behind the contestants being sorted into teams (expanding the acronym into CUNTS).
Under the Hood and Untucked
The first season of RuPaul's Drag Race was accompanied by a seven-episode web series called Under the Hood of RuPaul's Drag Race. LOGOonline published a webisode of Under the Hood after each episode of Drag Race. In this companion series, RuPaul presents a documentary of contestants' conversation in the green room, replays pertinent moments from Drag Race, and airs deleted footage.
Starting with season 2 of Drag Race in 2010, Logo reformatted Under the Hood, increased its production budget, moved it from the web to television, and retitled it to RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked. Logo broadcasts an episode of Untucked after each episode of Drag Race. Untucked replaces the basic green room of Under the Hood with two decorated rooms sponsored by Absolut Vodka and Interior Illusions, Inc.: the Interior Illusions Lounge and the Gold Bar. These two backstage areas allow for separated group conversation.
|Season||Premiere||Finale||Winner||Runner-Up||Third Place||Number of Contestants||Number of Episodes||Miss Congeniality|
|1||February 2, 2009||March 23, 2009||BeBe Zahara Benet
(Nea Marshall Kudi)
|2||February 1, 2010||April 25, 2010||Tyra Sanchez
|3||January 24, 2011||May 2, 2011||Raja
|4||January 30, 2012||April 30, 2012||Sharon Needles
Phi Phi O'Hara
|October 22, 2012||November 26, 2012||Chad Michaels
|Jujubee (Airline Inthyrath)
Shannel (Bryan Watkins)
|5||January 28, 2013||May 6, 2013||Jinkx Monsoon
(Justin Andrew Honard) Roxxxy Andrews
Almost all music used comes from RuPaul's albums. More specifically, RuPaul's recent albums, Champion and Glamazon. Exceptions are songs used during the lip-sync portion of the show.
Essentially, Champion is the series soundtrack, but an EP album called Drag Race, was also released to iTunes and other digital markets. Composed of remixes from RuPaul's Champion album, it also serves as a soundtrack.
- Main Event (Matt Pop 80's Tribute) (4:16)
- Let's Turn the Night (Matt Moss' Vidon Remix) (5:11)
- Never Go Home Again (Moss Moss' Vidon Remix) (3:20)
- J.O.M.B.2.0. [Jealous of My Boogie] (RevoLucian's Redux) (3:35) – featuring Tilly Key
- Destiny is Mine (Matt Moss' Vidon Remix) (3:35)
- Hit the Floor (Matt Moss' Vidon Remix) (3:20)
- Champion (DJ BunJoe's Olympic Mix) (3:42)
- LadyBoy (DJ BunJoe's Bangkok Booty Mix) (3:08)
- Main Event (Joe Carrano's TKO Mix) (3:41)
- Let's Turn the Night (Matt Pop Bootleg Mix) (6:43)
- Never Go Home Again (Matt Pop Amsterdam Jam) (4:01)
- Main Event (Matt Pop 80's Tribute Extended) (8:37)
- Cover Girl (Matuchi's Taterz Deep Edit) (4:49)
- Main Event (Chris Thomas' Hi-NRG Mix) (5:07)
The song Champion (DJ BunJoe's Olympic Mix) was used during the show and was the basis for the final video challenge. After the closing of the third season, the album, Glamazon was released through iTunes. Songs from that album that were used in the season were:
- The Beginning
|Season||Release date||Episodes||Special features||Discs|
|2||December 6, 2011||12||
|3||December 6, 2011||16||
|4||June 26, 2012||14||
|January 22, 2013||6||2|
|5||June 10, 2013 ||14||5|
DVDs for seasons 2 and 3 are only available in Region 1 and are produced on demand by Amazon.com. Season 4 will be available in Region 1, produced on demand by Amazon.com, is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.
Awards and nominations
|2009||NewNowNext Award||Most Addictive Reality Star – Ongina||Won|
|2010||GLAAD Media Award||Outstanding Reality Program — RuPaul's Drag Race||Won|
|NewNowNext Award||Best New Indulgence — RuPaul's Drag Race||Won|
|Most Addictive Reality Star — Jujubee||Nominated|
|2011||NewNowNext Award||Most Addictive Reality Star – Carmen Carrera||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Reality Series – Competition||Nominated|
|2012||NewNowNext Award||Most Addictive Reality Star – Willam||Nominated|
|NewNowNext Award||Superfan Site Award — lipsyncforyourlife.tumblr.com||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Reality Show Host – RuPaul||Nominated|
|TV.com's Best of 2012 Awards||Best Reality Show Judge/Host – RuPaul||Won|
|TV.com's Best of 2012 Awards||Best Reality Competition Series — RuPaul's Drag Race||Won|
|2013||RyanSeacrest.com's Favorite TV Show Awards||Best Reality Series — RuPaul's Drag Race||Won|
RuPaul's Drag Race has been criticized for appearing to favor glamorous drag queens over comedic or camp queens. For example, Popbytes commented Drag Race has been accused numerous times of keeping some of the more unpleasant but feminine queens in the competition for the sake of keeping the drama high. However, Common Sense Media commented, "RuPaul's Drag Race combines the fashion design drama of Project Runway with the modeling excitement of America's Next Top Model to create an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the performance art world of drag queens. There's plenty of over-the-top stuff, but rather than simply treating drag performers as people to be laughed at and/or scorned, the show also focuses on the hard work and talent that goes into drag performances." Entertainment Weekly cited the elimination of comedian and eventual season two fan favorite Pandora Boxx as the season's most controversial. In response, RuPaul has said, "What we're looking for is someone who can really follow in my footsteps: Someone who can be hired by a company to represent their product, someone who can put together a sentence on television and present themselves in the most incredible way."
New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum has praised Drag Race as "simultaneously sincere and self-mocking" in its approach to the reality format: "In many ways, it is just another copycat talent show, mashing up product integration, quasi-scripted banter, and themed competitions...But, even in this context, the show is mighty queer. Rupaul -- who appears first in a suit and serious eyeglasses, then in full femininity -- parodies both Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, 'queering' Bravo's Project Runway, which was already the gayest thing in town."
- The series airs on OUTtv in Canada at the same time as the US airing. MusiquePlus is also airing the first three seasons.
- During Summer 2009, TIMM – a former gay television channel from Germany – aired the first season every Friday night.
- In Australia the fourth season will air early 2013 on cable television channel LifeStyle YOU. In addition, free-to-air channel SBS2 began screening the first season on August 31, 2013. 
- RuPaul's Drag Race has also been aired in Denmark, on the channel TV2-zulu, where the two first seasons have been aired in the time-frame of a couple of weeks, including the "extras" of the show.
- In Israel, the show aired on yes stars Next in Summer 2010.
- In Finland the program started airing on TV Viisi as Huippu- drag queen haussa ("Searching for the Top Drag Queen") on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 20.00.
- In Hungary the show aired on FEM3 channel as RuPaul – Drag Queen leszek! ("RuPaul – I'll be Drag Queen!").
- In Latin America, The second season premiered in January 2011, while later that same year, the first season was made its debut in May 2012. The third season made its premiere on April 5, 2012 and wrapped up on July 19, 2012. Season four starting airing on July 26, 2012 and wrapped up on October 25, 2012. The entire series has aired on VH1 Latin America.
- In Brazil, VH1 Brazil aired the third and fourth seasons under the name RuPaul e a Corrida das Loucas (RuPaul and the Race of the Crazy Women), probably named as a homage to the 1996 movie The Birdcage, which title was translated to Brazilian Portuguese as Gaiola das Loucas (Birdcage of the Crazy Women).
- Season 1, immediately followed by season 2, started airing in Sweden on TV11 early 2011. All four seasons have since aired.
- In honor of Manila Luzon, the Philippines aired season 3 on the Velvet cable network every Tuesday at 11 pm with RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked, airing directly after the show. Season 4 started airing on April 17, 2012
- In Italy, the third season began airing as "America's Next Drag Queen" on FOXlife on July 13, 2011 at 21.55 with dialogue dubbed in Italian.
- In South Africa, seasons 1 to 5 have been aired on the DSTV channel VUZU from early 2011
- In the Netherlands Out TV NL broadcasts all seasons every year before starting the new season.
- All 5 seasons are available on Netflix in Europe.
- The show was also first aired on E4, a UK entertainment channel, in September 2009, with the first episode airing on Wednesday September 9, 2009 at 11:00 pm. E4 announced through Twitter that it would no longer air the show.[when?]
RuPaul's Drag U is a spin-off, in which biological women compete to discover and develop their female potential through drag. They are counseled, mentored and given makeovers by Drag Professors, who are contestants from "Drag Race." As the series is filmed in Los Angeles over a month's time, the majority of the professors are queens who reside in Southern California.
In March 2012, it was confirmed by Entertainment Weekly that an All-Star edition of "Drag Race" would commence this summer, and would air in the fall, as well as a fifth season of "Drag Race". A new fan page on Facebook was created, asking fans to pick the queen(s) they would like to see in this spin-off; Chad Michaels, Yara Sofia, Mimi Imfurst, Jujubee, Nina Flowers, Manila Luzon, Shannel, Alexis Matteo, Tammie Brown, Raven and Latrice Royale were selected. Sharon Needles was initially also selected, but declined to participate and was instead replaced by runner-up Pandora Boxx. Logo scheduled six one-hour episodes of the All-Star series for the fall of 2012.
On April 15, 2013, RuPaul confirmed on Twitter that he will be the executive producer of a spin-off show featuring Alyssa Edwards of Season 5. Alyssa Edwards confirmed on Twitter that her spin-off is called Beyond Belief and in an interview with Queerty revealed that the series will be centered around her dance company based in Mesquite, Texas.
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- "VH1 Blog: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 Judges: Think Glee, Modern Family!". VH1 Blog. MTV Networks. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Attention Racers! Casting Deadline is April 9th". World of Wonders. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
- "Callie, dear...". RuPaul's Drag Race Facebook page. September 23, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013. "Callie, dear... Season 1 was never on Netflix nor has it been available for years. Hence, Lost Season."
- Shumaker, Jason; Jake Slane (2013-08-18). "Gentlemen, Re-Start Your Engines...and May the Best Woman Win...Again!". Logo Press Room. Logo. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- "Logo's Season Finale of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Burns Ratings Rubber, Clocking in as Network's Highest-Rated and Most-Watched Telecast Ever". PR Newswire. April 28, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- Avery, Dan (May 8, 2012). "Drag Race's Carmen Carrera Comes Out As Trans on ABC’s What Would You Do". Queerty. Queerty. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Lang, Nico (February 22, 2013). "Breaking ground: An interview with Precious Jewel on RuPaul's Drag Race". WBEZ91.5. Chicago Public Media. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
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- "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1". Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- Corfe, Steven (February 9, 2009). "Under the Hood of RuPaul's Drag Race". The WOW Report. World of Wonder. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 2". LOGOOnline Shop. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 3". LOGOOnline Shop. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 4". LogoTV Shop. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars". LogoTV Shop. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 5 Uncensored". Amazon.com.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: Seasons 2 & 3". Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 4". Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- 'RuPaul's Drag Race' recap: Drag mamas, Cloris Leachman, and the season's most controversial elimination!
- RuPaul on Drag Race, Hannah Montana, and 'Those Bitches' Who Stole Annette Bening's Oscar
- Nussbaum, Emily. New Yorker magazine. APRIL 23, 2012 ISSUE. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/notebook/2012/04/23/120423gonb_GOAT_notebook_nussbaum
- RuPaul's Drag Race on TIMM
- RuPaul's Drag Race at lifestyleyou.com.au.
- RuPaul's Drag Race at e4.com
- "Logo launching all-stars edition of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. March 12, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- "All Stars : RuPaul's Drag Race". Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Eichel, Molly. "'RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race' cast revealed, including a Philly queen.". Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Chris Spargo (June 21, 2012). "Sharon Needles Explains Why She Won’t Be On ‘RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race’". NewNowNext.com.
- Lloyd, Sarah Anne. Wetpaint http://www.wetpaint.com/network/articles/whoa-rupaul-took-alyssa-edwards-to-the-mtv-movie-awards. Retrieved April 24, 2013. Missing or empty
- Renzi, Dan. Queerty http://www.queerty.com/no-t-no-shade-alyssa-edwards-takes-her-next-step-20130615/. Retrieved July 12, 2013. Missing or empty