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Ru Paul’s Drag Race had pickied up cult status long before 2012’s Season 4 came around. Self-aware and knowing, as all reality TV shows must be, the additional element of brand savvy drag queens just added the ingredient needed to push ‘potential’ into ‘phenomenon’.
For Season 4 the reality TV trope ‘series-length rivalry’ was edited to within an inch of its life between Sharon Needles (whose début runway look involved a bald cap and fake blood) and Phi Phi O’Hara (the more traditional ballgown and pageants queen). Of course the drama was ramped up to eleventistupid, it involved reality television, gay men and narrative convenience. What transpired generated enough social media content and Twitter friendly memes to guarantee Drag Race success from the first episode onwards for ever more.
Here’s another grand tradition of drag queens: their inevitable pop careers are usually disasters. Cheap songs, cheaper videos, in-joke lyrics. If Sharon Needles represents anything, it’s the results of knowing your gay history and working on songs with depth and content. It may not be a coincidence that the hit count for this video is much lower than would be expected from anything released by a series winner. #Choices.