by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
RuPaul has done it again. On January 24, America's (and perhaps the world's) most famous drag superstar debuted the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race, and honey, this is going to be one hell of a ride!
The show - Logo's most successful - is ridiculously entertaining and incredibly addictive. For those of you not in the know, RuPaul's Drag Race is the ultimate drag queen competition. Playing a dual role, RuPaul reigns supreme in all judging and eliminations, while RuPaul, the man, helps guide the contestants as they prepare for each challenge. Contestants include the nation's most outrageous, cutting-edge, talented, and stunningly gorgeous drag queens, all fighting for the title (and tiara) as top drag queen of the land. Each week, through the trials and tribulations of glam, glitter, and show-stopping performances, one drag queen is eliminated until the next superstar drag queen of America is named.
This season, RuPaul has upped the ante; America's next drag superstar will receive the top spot on the Absolut Vodka tour, a lifetime supply of makeup from Kryolan, and $75,000 - $50,000 more than last season's $25,000. It's going to be a hot mess on set by the time finals roll around!
The drag queens competing to be the next drag superstar for season three of RuPaul's Drag Race are: Alexis Mateo, 30, Tampa, FL; Carmen Carrera, 25, Elmwood Park, NJ; Delta Work, 34, Norwalk, CA; India Ferrah, 23, Dayton, OH; Manila Luzon, 25, New York, NY; Mariah, 29, Atlanta, GA; Mimi Imfurst, 27, New York, NY; Phoenix, 29, Atlanta, GA; Raja, 36, Los Angeles, CA; Shangela Laquifa Wadley, 29, Studio City, CA (returning from last season); Stacy Layne Matthews, 25, Back Swamp, NC; Yara Sofia, 26, Manati, Puerto Rico; and Venus D-Lite, 26, Los Angeles, CA (eliminated in episode one).
Hollywood fashion designer Santino Rice returns as a main judge and is joined by singer and TV/radio host Michelle Visage (who replaced Merle Ginsberg at the judge's table). Each week, esteemed guest judges such as Bruce Vilanch and Vanessa Williams on the first episode join Santino, Michelle, and RuPaul. A new pit (RuPaul's beefcake model/assistants) was also introduced.
In episode one, 'The Queen Who Mopped Xmas,' RuPaul introduced America to the new queens vying to be the next best thing in drag. As one might expect, there were the usual surprises (such as reintroducing Shangela, who was first to be eliminated from last season's cast) and challenges. The dolls received their first mini-challenge: A Christmas-card photo shoot on a trampoline (with celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz taking the picture). Raja - a fierce makeup artist and runway model from L.A., won the challenge. Then it was off to a thrift store where the queens had a limited time to stock up for their holiday-themed runway outfits. Hilarity and drama ensued as the queens had to turn thrift store items into runway chic! In the end (once again) Raja was declared the winner. Venus D-lite is sent home.
START YOUR ENGINES, SEATTLE!
Seattle's vibrant (and often dramatic) drag scene is nothing to shake a stick at. On any given night, at a number of local bars, clubs, and even some restaurants, a local queen can be found entertaining locals and tourists alike. Some are funny, some bitchy, while others are just plain weird, but the point is that drag and Seattle seem to go hand in glittery hand.
Sitting at home on your couch isn't the only place to catch the show. Returning as this year's official viewing spot (endorsed by LOGO) is The Lobby Bar. Each Monday at 8 p.m., join local talent GLAMAZONIA and Lily Armani as they host the event and bring there own style of performing and humor to the table.
'During commercial breaks, we'll do a brief commentary - engage the crowd and add our own observations,' GLAMAZONIA said.
'Our first night was packed with excited friends and fans from last season and RuPaul's Drag U,' she told Seattle Gay News. 'Lobby has added more flatscreen TVs in addition to the video projector, upgraded the sound system, and has really thrown their support behind this event.'
According to GLAMAZONIA, LOGO and Absolut Vodka are providing the drag duo with lots of great giveaways, including five pairs of limited-edition Absolut speakers for iPods and five pairs of Absolut iPod earbuds.
In addition, GLAMAZONIA says she and Lily will give away T-shirts, calendars, posters, and pom-poms. Also, whenever the audience hears the term 'lip-sync for your life,' the bar will offer a special $1 Absolut-inspired shot.
'Shows like Drag Race give people the inspiration to come out and try drag,' said GLAMAZONIA. 'I love all kinds of drag from camp to couture.'
'My hope is that anyone who becomes serious about drag - more than a Halloween costume or novelty thing - will take the time to study, practice, master, and grow,' she continued. 'Develop a look (or looks!) that work for you and that you can do well.'
'Queens of any rank should have an immeasurable passion for the craft,' Lily Armani told the SGN. 'Passion is the only thing in the world (and in this business) that you cannot fake! You can fake the hair, the hips, the boobs, the ass. You can fake the words to the latest hit from Brit-Brit. But the lack of passion for your craft is immediately detected, and can be smelled 140 miles away in Moclips, WA. That isn't to say that your talents can't lie in only lip-syncing to the top 40; just the opposite! If that is your lane, and you utilize it for all its potential, mazel tov! Not every queen has to (or should) host a show, make their costumes, choreograph the Beyoncé routine, or even enjoy Lady Gaga.'
'I'm not a seamstress. I'm not a Rhianna impersonator. I'm not even a dancer - just an actor that can move well,' Lily said. 'And, I'm none of the other hundred things that some think you need in order to be on top. Identify your talents and showcase them!'
'Definitions of talent are as varied as Charlie Sheen's hookers,' she added. 'Everybody's a critic, honey, but so few are entertainers!'
Seattle, if you want The Lobby Bar to win RuPaul's Drag Race Ultimate Contest, then you've got to go to www.logotv.com/contests/ultimate_queen/index.jhtml and vote for local drag queen Dolly Madison. The queen with the most votes will earn a visit from the winner of this season of RuPaul's Drag Race, which will be filmed for a LOGO special.
The Lobby Bar isn't the only location showing RuPaul's Drag Race (although it is important to note it is the only official LOGO Seattle location). R Place also has dedicated its Monday nights to viewing parties. You can watch the show on one of the bar's bigscreens, receive party favors, and enjoy Absolut drink specials. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. In addition, R Place management has announced that they are looking to bring some talent from the show for a special live performance in March.
I think it is safe to say that Seattle is suffering from RuPaul fever! You better work!
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