TLC is bringing another great drag show in 2020 with the premiere of Dragnificent!
It’s long been understood that the universe of drag is fast expanding — but even so, 2019, in particular, was a big year.
Last year saw the 11th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which won its second consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, while RuPaul himself nabbed his fourth consecutive Emmy statue as the genre’s top host.
The Ru franchise expanded even further with its fourth Drag Race All-Stars competition and the debut of a highly-rated UK edition.
Two comprehensive books surveying the history of drag were also released in 2019 — Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business by Frank DeCaro, known as the gay movie critic from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Drag: The Complete Story by Simon Doonan, currently a judge on NBC’s crafting series, Making It.
And just last week, in the dawning days of 2020, Mama Ru herself debuted as one of the titular stars of AJ and the Queen, the new 10-episode comedy Ru co-created with Sex and the City impresario Michael Patrick King for Netflix.
Today at the Television Critics Association convention in Pasadena, TLC announced they are getting into the glam game with Dragnificent!, a makeover show wherein four RuPaul alumnae “flip the switch and sprinkle their glitz on people who desperately wish for a mega-makeover as part of an upcoming life milestone.”
Along the lines of Netflix’s Queer Eye or Logo’s Drag U from a few years back, Dragnificent brings its own fabulous foursome across the US, meeting such women as Amy, who is trying to regain her self-esteem after a large weight loss; Emily, an upcoming bride; and Laura, who wants to experiment with drag herself in order to understand her drag queen son.
And much as with Queer Eye, each fairy-godmother queen brings a particular specialty to the party.
Alexis Michelle, one of the top 5 contestants on Drag Race season 9, is an expert in hair and makeup. Jujubee, from Drag Race season 2, All-Stars season 1 and a regular presence on Drag U, draws on her deep knowledge of fashion and couture.
Bebe Zahara Benet, the first-ever Drag Race winner, is an experienced event planner who can transform any room into a fantasy space. And Drag Race season 8/All-Stars 3 alumna Thorgy Thor, an accomplished violinist who has performed with orchestras in New York’s most prestigious auditoriums, brings her knowledge and love of music to enliven any event.
But of course, when touching on such emotional topics as body image, self-esteem, and approval from one’s parents, it’s not all fun and games, and Dragnificent! promises that the queens are more than willing to wipe off the face paint and get as real and as raw as necessary.
“In every episode, we meet and fall in love with whoever we are taking care of,” Thorgy Thor explained to the TV Critics in Pasadena. “So if their families are involved and it makes somebody more comfortable to meet me out of drag or in drag, I’m comfortable either way… I’ve always found this, doing drag for 17, 20 years — when I meet somebody, it’s [often] like, all right, let me let down the armor for a second — and then I suck them in.”
“So when I fall in love with them and they fall in love with me, when I come in drag, they tend to just love me as a person because, in or out of drag, love is love.”
“The drag is beautiful, you can take that,” agreed Bebe Zahara Benet. But at the end of the day, we are also human beings with stories and we can also identify with those stories.”
“So being able to travel and meet these beautiful, different families and hearing their stories, we identify with them. And it’s just so touching. People need love. People need us to be their cheerleaders. And they need to be celebrated.”
Below, check out the trailer for Dragnificent! which premieres in April on TLC:
Dragnificent! premieres in April, 2020 on TLC.