Category: RuPaul's Drag Race

Reality Rocks Expo: The sad reality of it all

The inaugural Reality Rocks Expo hardly found its groove the second day.  The crowd was fairly anemic Sunday in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

The biggest line of the day wasn’t for meet-and-greets with the likes of Ray J (“For the Love of Ray J”) or Omarosa (“The Apprentice,” “The Surreal Life”), rather it was for a casting call for The Hub’s new music competition series “Majors and Minors.” And panels still drew sparse crowds — only they appeared larger because rows were roped off in the bigger rooms. 

A rockin’ hit or not, it gave us these gems:

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Tweeter's Digest: TV celebs tweet about Sheen disaster and natural disasters

Tyler Sheen Tweeter's Digest rounds up the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. This week began with many actors and reality stars united by a topic of interest -- Charlie Sheen, last week's Tweeter's Digest superstar -- and ended united by a very different matter: the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 

In between, director Paul Feig marked Steve Carrell's final episode of "The Office"; "American Idol" colleagues Steven Tyler (@iamstevenT) and Ryan Seacrest (@ryanseacrest) traded surreal banter, while Paula Abdul, RuPaul, and fellow reality stars Kelly Bensimon and Cheryl Burke tweeted about bullying after President Obama held a conference on the subject.

More after the jump.

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Exclusive video: Shangela talks about her surprise return to 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

It's Feliz Navidad  all over again!

How did you like RuPaul's present to you? Sooo sneaky but you were glad to see Shangela again, weren't you? We loved seeing how the other queens reacted to the return of the first contestant eliminated from the second season.  We admit--we have a soft spot for Shangela, especially after we saw what a great job she did on "Terriers." Girlfriend can act!

The surprise twist has made us want to create our own holiday tradition. From now on, under our Christmas tree, there will be at least one drag queen in a box. Promise.

The Times visited the set of Logo's big hit in July and chatted with Shangela about her second shot at becoming America's drag superstar, among other things. Listen for yourself:


Since RuPaul is full of secrets, we thought we'd try to learn a few things about the world's first drag superstar herself. Here's the dish from five of the 13 contestants.  They appear in the following order:

Manila Luzon, 25, of New York City; Shangela, 28, of Los Angeles; Yara Sofia, 26, of Puerto Rico; Raja, 36, of West Hollywood; and Alexis Mateo, 30, of St. Petersburg, Fla. (Special treat:  We allowed Yara Sofia to speak in her native Spanish. Sorry if you don't comprende her lingo.)


--Maria Elena Fernandez

Videos: Maria Elena Fernandez/Los Angeles Times


Exclusive video: Meet some of the new contestants of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

Exclusive video: Behind the scenes of the third season of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

Exclusive video: Meet some of the new contestants of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

The third season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" kicks off Monday on Logo at 10 p.m. (Though if you're a big fan, you'll probably want to see the casting special that will air at 9 p.m.).

The Los Angeles Times visited the set of the reality competition in search of the next drag superstar in July and interviewed a few of the contestants.

In the two videos below, four draq queens share their best and worst career drag moments as well as their best and worst moments on the TV show. Can we get an amen?

The contestants appear in the following order:

Manila Luzon, 25, of New York City; Yara Sofia, 26, of Puerto Rico; Raja, 36, of West Hollywood; and Alexis Mateo, 30, of St. Petersburg, Fla. (Special treat:  We allowed Yara Sofia to speak in her native Spanish. Sorry if you don't comprende her lingo.)




— Maria Elena Fernandez

Videos: Maria Elena Fernandez


Exclusive video: Behind the scenes of the third season of "RuPaul's Drag Race"

Exclusive video: Behind the scenes of the third season of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

Hallaloo! The most creative reality competition show on television is back Monday for its third season. (How is that even possible? Season 3 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" already?)

And there are some changes afoot on Logo's quest to find America's next drag superstar.  A new judge will be seated at the table with RuPaul and Santino Rice: RuPaul's longtime BFF, Michelle Visage, a morning radio host, among many other things.

Visage told the Los Angeles Times during a set visit in July that she had always wanted to be a part of her best friend's show, but her day job had kept her away. The guest-judges roster also includes an eclectic bunch: LaToya Jackson as well as Chloë Sevigny, Wayne Brady and Sharon Osbourne.

For the first time, host-judge-mentor extraordinaire RuPaul will let viewers behind the scenes of the casting process in a special that will air at 9 p.m. Monday, an hour before the third season kicks off with a 90-minute episode.  And, yes, "Untucked," is back too and will follow "RuPaul's Drag Race" each week.

The contestants hail from all over the United States and Puerto Rico. The L.A. Times visited the Culver City set in July and observed some of the drag queens getting ready in the workroom for a three-tier hair challenge sure to leave viewers breathless.  Seen preparing and rehearsing in the video below are: Raja, 36, of West Hollywood; Yara Sofia, 26, of Puerto Rico; Alexis Mateo, 30, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Manila Luzon, 25, of New York City.

The Times also interviewed judges Santino Rice, Michelle Visage and Wayne Brady.

Coming Friday: video chats with some of the contestants.


--Maria Elena Fernandez

Video: Maria Elena Fernandez


Complete Show Tracker coverage of "RuPaul's Drag Race"

2010 top terms we learned on reality TV


We are writers, and we're always looking to expand our vocabulary. Here are some words that were not on our SAT but very well should have been.

1. Hippopotamus ("Jersey Shore"). As if it wasn't bad enough to be referred to as a grenade, here comes her "big" sister, the hippo. Of course, The Situation came up with this term of endearment for an overweight woman, and watching him get rid of his hippo proved he's a cheating mastermind. (You can watch all the action here).

2. Tanorexia ("The A List"). A debilitating condition of never ever feeling tan enough. Because we come from warm beach states, we completely sympathize with the afflicted.

3. DTF ("Jersey Shore"). We can't spell it out because it includes a curse word, but it refers to people being down for a hook-up. It's economical and serves a purpose.

4. Boughetto ("Real Housewives of Atlanta"). The combination of being bougie and ghetto. What falls into this category? Rhinestones on the eyelashes, roses in the hair. Look for yourself.   

5. Prostitution whore ("Real Housewives of New Jersey"). It may sound redundant, but sometimes extra emphasis is needed to make a point, especially if you're Teresa Guidice.

6. T-shirt Tiiiiime! ("Jersey Shore") This signals the men are ready to go out. They change into fresh shirts and they're off. Pauly D started this craze, and we like it so much that it makes us fist-pump. (It even has a theme song).

7. Vagenius ("The A List") Used when something amazing happens or something is great. Whoever coined it was vagenius indeed.

8. Throw shade ("RuPaul's Drag Race") To talk trash about someone in public. RuPaul turned this into one of the most hilarious competitions on his show. We laughed as we learned a new art form.

9. Hallaloo! ("RuPaul's Drag Race") You know, hallelujah but cooler.

10. Mantrum ("The A List") A man tantrum. We saved this for last because we don't like whiny men but we like new words.

-- Yvonne Villarreal and Maria Elena Fernandez

Video: The Situation explains grenades and landmines, the hippo's sisters. Credit: YouTube

'RuPaul's Drag Race' spinoff: Class is in session

Oh. My. God. Do we have dragalicious news for you!

A "RuPaul's Drag Race" spinoff is in the works. "Drag U" is a special university that enrolls "biological women" in an attempt to get them in touch with their inner divas.

And who are the professors? "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestants, that's who!

Can you imagine taking makeup lessons from Raven? Or picking up self-love tips from Nina Flowers? Or overall fabulousness instruction from Queen Bebe?

Each episode will feature three women going to drag school, and they will be evaluated based on their Drag Point Average. Think "Drag Queen for a Day" meets "Extreme Drag Makeover," sources told Show Tracker.

There is a winner at the end, but everyone's a winner on Draguation Day.

Especially the viewers. With RuPaul, Jessica Wild, Pandora Boxx and Tatianna in our lives, could life get any better? Apparently.

—Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Photo: Raven gets ready for a challenge on Season 2 of "RuPaul's Drag Race." Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times



RuPaul gives drag queens the royal treatment

Los Angeles Times behind-the-scenes gallery

'RuPaul's Drag Race' returns for a second season in a big way

"Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best woman win!"

Oh, how we've missed that and so much more about "RuPaul's Drag Race."

The good news is that Logo's hit is back for its second season, and everything about it is shinier and brighter.  The Times spent two unforgettable days on set of the show last summer during production.

To read a feature about our experience, sashay here, and to see L.A. Times photographer Mark Boster's dragtastic photo gallery, sashay there. 

Wanna know more about the cast? Shante here.

The 'Race' premieres tonight at 9 p.m. with a new companion series, "Untucked." We don't need to tell you what that's about, do we?

Can we get an amen?


-- Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Photo: RuPaul on set. Credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times

Video: RuPaul and last season's top 3 perform in RuPaul's "Cover Girl" video. Credit:YouTube


RuPaul rocks the critics

RuPaul answers tall order with 'Drag Race'

Rupaulsdragrace300 The competition is on to crown 'America's next drag superstar,' and who better to preside over the proceedings than onetime club icon RuPaul.

RuPaul, the 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 (by his own varying accounts) African American drag queen who sashayed his way into mass consciousness in the 1990s with the club hit "Supermodel" and a VH1 talk show, is back on TV with “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” A reality competition show now about three-quarters through its first cycle on Logo, the LGBT-themed cable net, it aims to discover "America's next drag superstar" -- that is, the next RuPaul. It's a little bit "America's Next Top Model" and a little bit " Project Runway," and like drag itself, parodical without being a joke.

If it's highly unlikely that a superstar, even a subcultural superstar, will emerge from a third-tier cable game show, or at least solely because of it, "Drag Race" has done very well by Logo standards and is scheduled to be rerun on VH1, its higher-profile, gender-neutral cousin under Viacom. (The series is also available on the network website) Like its host(ess), who appears in drag and out of it, functioning as both (sharply dressed) Tim Gunn and voice of decision Heidi Klum -- now a mentor, now a judge -- the show is good-hearted and basically family friendly, adjusting for your family's tolerance for sexual innuendo and risqué acronyms. Challenges have included "Drag on a Dime," in which the contestants had to build a look from thrift store clothes, create a girl group to lip sync to Destiny's Child,channel their inner Oprah, and dress female martial arts experts as versions of their drag selves.

It's clear from the range of styles, attitudes and ambitions on display that there's nothing monolithic -- homogeneous, if you will -- about drag culture. Shanelle, a Las Vegas veteran, is all high-polished glitz; Tammie Brown, with her Bette Davis eyebrows and slathered-on lipstick, was like an echo of '70s-style downtown camp (and was soon eliminated). Nina Flowers, tattooed and muscular and made-up and bewigged like something not quite of this Earth, doesn't "even consider myself a female impersonator," while Rebecca Glasscock comes across mainly as a normally pretty girl. When the contestants were asked to do one another's makeup, most were unhappy with the results.

Read the full story.

JAUNTY: RuPaul is two-thirds through the run of “Drag Race” on Logo, but previous episodes are on the website. The show's contestant Ongina is pictured. Photo credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

TCA press tour: RuPaul rocks the critics

RuPaul came to the TCA press tour today. Where do we begin?

First of all, he looked debonair in a pin-stripe suit and a pair of leopard-print fly shoes, opting to leave the drag queen regalia to three of the contestants on his new Logo reality series, "RuPaul's Drag Race."  He insisted on standing at the podium, like Logo President Brian Graden, instead of sitting in the chair provided for him, mostly so he could do Bill Clinton imitations. Clearly, RuPaul had never been to TCA before, because no one laughed, leading him to observe:

"This is a somber lot, isn't it? Are you American? Do you speak English? Is there booze in your cups? Ladies, give them booze!"

That landed him some laughs. Then it was off to the races. Pity the pour soul who asked him what he owes to Tyra Banks.

"Nothing! And don’t you ever bring up that name again! Where is this man's car? Shannel, key his car. Security, get this man out of here! She learned everything from me darling!"

The critic attempted a follow-up: "But what if I said that the show reminds me of 'Top Model'?"

"Then you're retarded. Don't give me no Tyra ... ! That's it! I let her borrow all my used wigs. That's it!"

That ended that. Next, the drag extraordinaire was asked to tell the story of how the show, which premieres Feb. 2, was developed. Whose idea was it, anyway?

"The universe called and we answered that call. This was a show that had to be made. Whether it was come up at a toilet stall at Illusions on Santa Monica Boulevard, I mean, really, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that we have this show that is going to turn TV upside down. The whole world loves drag, whether they admit it or not.  We live in this culture that's hypocritical where we hate drag because it's misogynistic but we also love it because it's sparkly and shiny. This was a show that had to be made, darling! Egg? Chicken? It's here, eat it up! Egg? Chicken? Chicken, egg? What came first? I don't care! Give me my breakfast!"

We were still feeling sorry for the critic with the Tyra question when one of the more senior TCA members, Rodi Alexander, piped in with an unfortunate idea. She wanted the three contestants who were milling about the audience to stand on stage with RuPaul and answer questions. Oh boy! RuPaul immediately seized on an opportunity and urged Alexander to join all of them on stage. This made a lot of us wince because it was just a few press tours ago that the New Jersey critic fell at a party and broke her hip. But with the help of the host, she made it on stage.

"This is what press tour has been leading up to for 25 years," whispered South Florida Sun-Sentinel TV critic Tom Jicha, watching the tiny Alexander sandwiched between very tall and ornate people. When RuPaul mentioned it was funny that Alexander was up there, she replied: "What's funny is putting me up here with men, looking like beautiful girls, and then I have to go look at me when I go home."

"You're lovely!" RuPaul answered. "Isn't she lovely? Isn't she lovely?" RuPaul then started doing a bootie dance that he wanted Alexander to do, at which point a critic interrupted and asked a question, adding, "Sorry, Rodi, I don't want you to throw out your hip. I mean that sweetly."

— Maria Elena Fernandez


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