New rumours about a Drag Race US Live series sparked waves of backlash against toxicity within the fanbase and the franchise’s lack of inclusivity.
It’s just like that old saying goes: RuPaul works hard but the rumour mill works harder. After being gagged by the death drop of a potential All Stars International cast, queer Twitter are once more reeling over a possible shakeup to the Drag Race US format which gives fans the power to pick a winner.
The Holy T Twitter page Ruvealed a potential shakeup to the format that could change everything about Drag Race US. Their source claimed, “Producers are discussing the idea of having the contest run live over a 14 week period. Each week the contestants will compete in challenges, and on Friday night a live show will see the public vote for who they want to see going forward.”
Rumours on the grapevine are suggesting a MAJOR shakeup of the US format going forward 👀 pic.twitter.com/AHyFsPiENR
— HOLY T (@Holy_TEurope) March 22, 2021
“The bottom two will then lip sync and Mam Ru will send a queen home. It is hoped the new format will give more control to the fans and will think it is just the shakeup needed to keep the show fresh. It would also mean the winner will be announced live, eliminating the need for multiple endings to be filmed,” the source went on to add.
Well that would of been me gone by episode 1 if it’s based off first impression lol https://t.co/CVnJacWzEr
— A'WHORA (@awhoraofficial) March 22, 2021
In response to the rumour, Chicago drag artist Travis Fiero expressed, “Letting the mainstream decide what’s good drag? That doesn’t sound good.”
Letting the mainstream decide what’s good drag? That….doesn’t sound great….. https://t.co/sqybvFlzTL
— travis fiero (@FieroTravis) March 23, 2021
Further speaking out against the alleged shakeup, another person said, “Bye. The only people less qualified to judge this show than RuPaul are the fans.”
the last thing we need is more people who don’t do drag/aren’t in the entertainment industry having that kind of say 👀👀 https://t.co/xLbLRr0XW7
— 𝕹𝖎𝖈𝖐𝖎 𝕹𝖆𝖘𝖙𝖆𝖘𝖎𝖆 🌹 (@NickiNastasia) March 23, 2021
Speculating on the inspiration behind exploring a live version of Drag Race US, one person shared, “I’m guessing producers got tired of constant bullying from fans about their riggory for the sake of story lines.”
While many were quick to point out the rumour originated from Facebook and, as such, loses credibility, Drag Race Live brings up enormous issues around the lack of inclusivity throughout the franchise. From past alumni calling out the absence of trans performers or drag kings in the main cast to contestants receiving death threats from fans, the show may preach love but there’s a hostile environment undermining these sentiments.
If you think ru is even considering for a second thinking of giving up his absolute power over the results of the contest then you're a fool. He says the decision is 'mine, and mine alone' for a reason.
— Lucas (@LucasNoahs) March 22, 2021
fans of rpdr: please go back to the old format, use double saves sparingly, and stop over-producing and blatantly favoring contestants in an effort to get fans to respond positively to them
rpdr: oh so u want us to just ruin the whole show for u? https://t.co/iRNEPN2hUV
— karla lavey (@bitchy_athena) March 22, 2021
Addressing the lack of inclusivity, drag king Maxxx Pleasure responded to the source by writing, “’A shake up to keep the show fresh’!!! Might I suggest…drag kings???”
In regards to toxic fans, singer Kelechi expressed, “Mawmuh, this is garbage. Listen…folks think the fandom is toxic now…wait until every week the Black and Brown queens are in the bottom.”
Mawmuh this is garbage. Listen… folks think the fandom is toxic now… wait until every week the black and brown queens are in the bottom… and imma be over here like… pic.twitter.com/MU9wxC6u6c
— kelechi (@its_kelechi) March 22, 2021
Speaking about the impact of toxic fandoms on a Drag Race Live edition, media critic and educator Dr John Paul stated, “I would love this idea if most of the LGBTQ+ Drag Race fandom/ LGBTQ+ community wasn’t racist.”
I would love this idea if most of the LGBTQ+ Drag Race fandom/LGBTQ+ community wasn’t racist. https://t.co/FsKVW079fM
— Jon Paul, Ed. D. ✊🏾🏳️🌈 (@DoctorJonPaul) March 22, 2021
Looking ahead to what might come out of this new format, Canada Drag Race alumni BOA wrote, “‘The fans have made their decision and you will be executed publicly for robbing another queen, you fat b*tch’.”
“The fans have made their decision and you will be executed publicly for robbing another queen, you fat bitch”. 💀💀💀 https://t.co/ZAkGSty6bF
— BOA (@bitchonarrival) March 22, 2021
Current AND former RPDR queens spend half their week calling out toxic fans online, and you might wanna let them vote now?! Not this. https://t.co/ihlVDnWjnQ
— It was Adam All Along (@adamj_griff) March 22, 2021
Actor Paul McCallion summarised what a Drag Race Live might end up looking like: “‘I’ve consulted with the judges, but the final decision is drunk twinks’ to make’.”
One Twitter user predicted, “It’s about to get real WHITE in here.”
— Twilight Pillow Princess (@KharloKong) March 22, 2021
Although Drag Race Live might never happen, it has showcased the necessity for a massive shakeup within this franchise. Despite the ever growing Rupire, there’s still a noticeable lack of both drag artists on the judging panel and trans or AFAB performers competing, which reads as deeply problematic for a show that’s success was built from supposedly celebrating drag.
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