The American program, which has been a hit around the world for ten years, finally arrives in France, this Saturday on France TV Slash. Sophisticated outfits, eccentric makeup, multicolored wigs… and deep voices: the curtain rises on a show of a new genre this Saturday on France TV Slash. The free platform will unveil at 8 p.m. the first episode of Drag Race France, a competition during which ten drag queens – men who disguise themselves as women to perform on stage – will compete to become the “next great queen of French drag”. .This concept, a sort of Incredible Talent with queer sauce, is completely new in France. But it’s already a television phenomenon pretty much everywhere in the world, and a core of loyal fans have been clamoring for a French version for years. A look back at the success of a talent show that is unlike any other and has only grown in size over the past decade. Concept came from America The Drag Race adventure was born in 2009 on the channel American cable TV Logo. The program, titled RuPaul’s Drag Race (“la race des drags de RuPaul”, literally), is carried by RuPaul, arguably the most famous drag queen in the world. To create his drag queen character he borrowed “two pieces from Cher, three pieces from Diana Ross, a hint of Dolly Parton and a little bit of David Bowie and James Brown. And a little bit of Bugs Bunny too”. This model, actor and singer, now 61, has made a career across the Atlantic by dressing up as a woman to perform on stage in shows combining music and humor. He created his own line of cosmetics, hosted a talk show and released several albums. It was therefore with a star aura that he launched the program thirteen years ago, as host and president. of the jury. Each week, the candidates compete in a series of tests. At the end of each episode, two of them find themselves on a ballot, and must compete in a “lip sync” – a lip sync, a typical exercise in the drag scene. The least convincing is eliminated. By mixing artistic performances, comedy and buns, Rupaul’s Drag Race quickly won over many fans far beyond the LGBT audience alone. Just look at the twenty Emmy Awards (the Oscars of television) that the program has won, and the world superstars who have made appearances on the show for one episode, as guest jurors: Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Gigi Hadid, Marc Jacobs…Witnesses to the growing popularity of the show, the sums at stake have continued to climb. In 2009, the winner of the first season, BeBe Zahara Benet, won a check for $20,000. When Willow Pill emerged victorious from season 14 last April, she walked away with $150,000, more than seven times that amount. A global phenomenon Already known around the world by connected fans, the program has experienced a resurgence in notoriety when Netflix acquired the international broadcasting rights. Today, almost all of the seasons of the American show are available on the platform. Such success is bound to be emulated. For ten years, adaptations have been emerging in the four corners of the globe. Rupaul’s Drag Race has (or had) its Canadian, Chilean, Filipino, Thai, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, English equivalent… By creating a mainstream show featuring drag queens, and exporting it all over the world, RuPaul has also largely contributed to popularizing drag culture, long confined to the queer milieu, through shows that combine burlesque, music, humor and transformism. It is probably no coincidence that, in recent years, drag shows have multiplied in Paris… where the stars of Rupaul’s Drag Race have sometimes performed themselves. Since 2017, the show Werq The World has crisscrossed the world and brings together some of the most emblematic candidates of the program. He passed through France three times, in 2018, 2019 and 2022. Their last French performance took place at the Zenith in Paris on May 15. A French RuPaul The French version of Rupaul’s Drag Race is one of the most recent to see the day. One of the challenges was to find the right personality to become the French counterpart of the charismatic RuPaul. The choice of production fell on Karl Sanchez, alias Nicky Doll. Still little known to the general public, this drag queen made in Bouches-du-Rhônes performs as far away as the United States. She is also the only French drag queen to have participated in Rupaul’s Drag Race, in season 12, broadcast in 2020. By her side, two 100% gay-friendly personalities complete the jury. The lively animator and fashion specialist Daphné Burki and the singer Kiddy Smile. The ten candidates for this first season (La Big Bertha, La Briochée, Elips, La Grande Dame, La Kahena, Kam Hugh, Lolita Banana, Lova Ladiva, Paloma and Soa de Muse) were recently unveiled. See you tonight at 8 p.m., then every Thursday, for colorful parades, diva brawls and “LÉ-GEN-DAIRES!” lip syncs.
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