Back in 2009, season one of a late-night reality show called RuPaul’s Drag Race first aired on cable television. It presented a familiar talent show format: each week, a group of drag queens competed in a zany challenge and the weakest amongst them faced off in a shared lip sync performance, which ended with one of them being instructed to sashay away from the competition. Ultimately, the final queen standing was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar.
It was a fun show. The footage was fuzzy, the runway was rickety, and it was all a bit tongue-in-cheek, a send-up of its more serious contemporaries such as America’s Next Top Model and American Idol.