TELEVISION – “Condragulation.” The French adaptation of the most famous drag queens competition RuPaul’s Drag Race arrives (finally) this month on our screens and according to the first images which were shown during a press conference, organized this Thursday, June 2 in Paris, it has nothing to envy to the initial program.
The show, which is called Drag Race France, is produced by Endemol and France Télévisions. Faithful to American reality TV, which now has fourteen seasons, it presents itself as a funny, creative and committed entertainment program, concerned with defending the interests and diversity of the art of French drag against a backdrop of self-acceptance.
The goal of the game is the same: it is a competition during which drag queens compete in events that combine singing, acting, dancing and modeling. At the end of each episode, one of them is eliminated. The winner leaves with a sum of money and (often) large commercial contracts.
The HuffPost summarizes point by point everything you need to know about the first event season of Drag Race France.
The first episode will be broadcast on June 25, the symbolic date of the Pride march in France, on France.tv Slash from 8 p.m. The season has eight. The following ones will arrive on the streaming platform every Thursday at the same time.
Fans of the program are familiar with the presenter of the show and president of the jury, it is the French drag queen Nicky Doll. The latter participated in the twelfth season of the American program. She said she was “very moved and very honored” to help “give more spotlight” to the drag community.
At his side, we find Kiddy Smile. Singer, dancer, DJ, actor and queer activist, he is an expert in “ball culture” and voguing. “It was important to me [de participer à ce projet] because it’s one of the most awarded reality shows. And it was created by a queer and black person, like me”, he blew.
Host Daphnée Burki is also in the game. Best known for the various programs she presented on Canal + and on the antennas of France Télévisions, she also worked for a long time in fashion, at Dior. She defines herself as a “committed ally” to the LGBT+ community and says she has lived, with Drag Race France“one of the most beautiful experiences of [sa] life”. “I wasn’t ready and you’re not ready,” she promised.
Of the 450 applications received, the production selected ten with the desire to represent the art of French drag as much as possible. The ten contenders for the crown are not all from Paris. One comes from Clermont-Ferrand, others from Bordeaux, Toulouse or Saint-Denis. Also (and even though we had to wait for the thirteenth season in the United States), Drag Race France has in its ranks a trans woman, La Briochée.
The other nine competitors bear the names of La Grande Dame, Soa de Muse, Paloma, La Big Bertha, La Kahena, Lolita Banana, Elips, Kam Hugh and Lova Ladiva.
What does the first episode look like?
The first episode is very funny and promising. It starts like every season start of RuPaul’s Drag Race, namely by a fashion show in the exuberant pink workshop, decorated here in the French style with small touches in the manner of the Château de Versailles. Everyone’s comments are hilarious. The tone is the same: crude and derogatory.
We attend the first test, it is a talent show. Some will show us their mastery of dancing, singing and even the trumpet. Others, that they are the queens of lipsync, including when it comes to miming the lyrics of Burn the fire by Juliette Armanet.
To decide between them in this first eliminatory round, two stars were invited alongside the permanent jurors: the fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier and the former Miss France, Iris Mittenaere. Both will also have to give their opinion on the outfits that the drag queens will have made for their first fashion show, the theme of which is “Liberty Equality Jean Paul Gaultier”.
But be careful, don’t expect to hear “Okurrr” or “Sashay Away”, two emblematic English expressions of the show across the Atlantic. They have not been translated into French either. No, the production says it tried to create its own French lexical field, a “duty” towards the French drag community, according to Nicky Doll. An exception: “condragulation”. “Félicidragtion” would have, indeed, paled in comparison.
See also on The HuffPost: These drag queens took over the Open Ceremony show at New York Fashion Week