Eurovision has long been entwined with the LGBTQ+ community and seen a number of drag performers grace the stage – from Slovenia’s Sestre, the first drag act to compete at the contest in 2002, to Conchita Wurst (the drag persona of Thomas Neuwirth), who took home the trophy for Austria in 2014. Ever since the rise of television drag competition show RuPaul’s Drag Race, fans have long hoped to see these two phenomena collide. And finally they will, with the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK set to air a Eurovision-themed episode.

A spin-off of the Emmy award-winning American programme, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK screens on BBC Three and sees a number of drag queens competing to be crowned as the United Kingdom’s next drag superstar. The second season of the show began airing earlier this month.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK pays homage to Eurovision

For Eurovision fans, the key episode to look forward to is episode five, which will air on 11 February on BBC Three. The official preview description of the episode recently became available online and it details exactly what’s in store for this Eurovision meets Drag Race extravaganza:

RuPaul and the queens return from their lockdown hiatus and the search for the UK’s Next Drag Race Superstar resumes. With the queens reunited and added twists, there is much excitement in the air, but the competition picks up quickly as the queens form two groups for a Europop battle – The RuRuvision Song Contest. In a glorious homage to Eurovision, the queens record and perform the same catchy song, but can they swerve the dreaded nul points?! MNEK joins Michelle Visage and Graham Norton on the judging panel as a fifth queen sashays away from the competition.

The RuRuvision Song Contest – A Europop battle

From the description we learn that the show is rebranding Eurovision as “The RuRuvision Song Contest”. The remaining queens will be split into two and compete as rival girl-groups in a Europop battle.

As of the date of writing, two queens have been eliminated from the original line-up of 12. The note that “a fifth queen sashays away from the competition” during episode five means that this rate of one elimination per episode is set to continue (double eliminations and double saves have been known to occur as a part of the US version). Thus, we can expect eight queens to be remaining for episode five and hence the contestants to be split into two groups of four.

The description also details that the two groups will be performing the same song. This is similar to one of the challenges from the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, where two groups were tasked with performing their version of “Break Up (Bye Bye)”, with each queen writing lyrics for their own personal verse. Proving to be popular outside of the show, the song went on to peak at number 35 on the UK singles chart and launched the winning group, the Frock Destroyers, into the limelight.

The Frock Destroyers – consisting of Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, and Divina de Campo – have since spoken of their hope to one day represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision. A petition was initially set up by fans to bring them to the attention of the BBC, the UK’s participating broadcaster at Eurovision, and this has now received over 10,000 signatures. The BBC has not yet made any official announcement about their plans for Eurovision 2021.

The producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will no doubt be hoping that the song performed as part of The RuRuvision Song Contest will go onto similar success after the show.

To date, the BBC has still not revealed their song selection plans for Eurovision 2021. Fans have noted that the winning song of the RuRuvision challenge could — in theory — be internally selected as the UK’s act for Eurovision 2021.

Graham Norton and MNEK on the judging panel

Finally, we learn from the description that the judging panel for this episode will consist of host RuPaul, regular judges Michelle Visage and Graham Norton, as well as MNEK. As the United Kingdom’s Eurovision commentator since 2009, it was a natural choice to have recurring judge Graham Norton as part of this episode’s panel. Known for his sarcastic and sometimes snarky comments about the performances at Eurovision, we can probably expect similar remarks to be made about the queens on Drag Race.

MNEK is a Grammy-nominated British singer and record producer. As a performer he has four top ten UK singles under his belt, and as a songwriter he’s worked with artists such as Zara Larsson, Little Mix, Dua Lipa, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, Madonna and TWICE. MNEK was a guest vocal coach on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, where he coached the queens while recording “Break Up (Bye Bye)”. It seems that the British star could not only be back for a similar role as last year, but also as a judge on the main stage following the girl-group performances.

For now, that is all the official information we can gather about this collision of Eurovision and Drag Race. There will be preview clips released in the week leading up to the episode where we may also get a hint as to what the queens will be asked to wear for the runway part of the episode. Fingers crossed we’ll get to see each queen recreating some iconic Eurovision fashion – much like Rita Baga did as a part of Canada’s Drag Race.

Are you excited to see The RuRuvision Song Contest? How do you think the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will go about paying homage to Eurovision? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more RuPaul’s Drag Race news here

Base photo credit: BBC/World of Wonder

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Laburnum
Laburnum
8 months ago

Can’t wait for the episode. But off topic from drag race a great artist from the UK who would be a great act to send is Arlo Parks. She is a great indie artist and would bring a whole new vibe to the contest

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
8 months ago

Well, that’s certainly a new take on a possible selection process. 🙂
Perhaps my mask needs a matching frock after all. 😛
I wish all the singers the best of luck, and it’s great to have Graham’s support as well; that’s nice.

Cameron
Cameron
8 months ago

I either think as MNEK will be there and it is drag race we will either announce our 2021 person as MNEK or a drag group.

Honestly, I hope it’s not a drag group as that would be a step in the wrong direction for us, in my opinion, but MNEK but would be a really good decision

Gurl
Gurl
8 months ago

It’s a bit of a missed opportunity to not have invited Conchita to that episode. I mean, the epicness of it! Or some representative from the UK, SuRie comes to my mind

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
8 months ago
Reply to  Gurl

That would’ve been cool, but I’m thinking it likely didn’t happen because of travel restrictions due to the pandemic

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
8 months ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

Exactly this.

But they should have made a covid informercial where Ru asks Valentina to take that mask off her face, and Valentina says “no, bitch. Covid”.

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
8 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

That would be funny.

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
8 months ago

I don’t understand the James Newman support. He’s a good singer, but that song would’ve been solid last.

Leo
Leo
8 months ago

He can do a song which tells a story, feels more outside the box, and can have a good staging concept (which we rarely do), and he is one of the UK’s biggest songwriters. My Last Breath needed a good staging to avoid last, and the BBC were going to go to town with it. Also, it is just good form for the artist denied the chance by ESC’s cancellation to either get the chance, or be given clarity if not. UK too rarely do the thing that’s moral and on form (a reference to our politics). I would like… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
8 months ago
Reply to  Leo

I nod and agree, whilst I know that we probably won’t be “on form” anyhow; it’s just a small hope.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
8 months ago

He has a great voice and can write songs; that tends to do well in the UK all by itself (cough, Ed Sheeran). But the UK has recently not been that bothered at appealing to the rest of Europe anyhow. The UK’s 2010s entries have largely been rather tone-deaf to Eurofans; this isn’t always a bad thing though.

The BBC in Eurovision 2020s could produce some very interesting stuff, or it could decline along with support for the licence fee. (Hides.)

Una
Una
8 months ago

I would be so happy if James Richard Newman the Great came back in 2021 with an amazing song. With him and his awesome powerful raspy and manly voice!!
The title too is important. We have two titles so far in the season – “Karma” and “Set Me Free”. I wish the title of his song were enticing and positive. 🙂

Leo
Leo
8 months ago
Reply to  Una

I have thought that he could do a sea shanty inspired song to latch onto the craze, given his vocals and style (although the concept could have been the work he, Iain and Ed did back in the late summer, well before the craze). MLB was short of what I wanted, but it was a product of professionalism that wasn’t just made for ESC, and the concept looked really good.

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
8 months ago
Reply to  Una

Not bring back manly men, I think you must be lost

Yannis
Yannis
8 months ago

Would love to see Euphoria as the lip sync song

xelx
xelx
8 months ago
Reply to  Yannis

I will be disappointed if they don’t use a Eurovision song for the lip sync. I think they’ll go with a UK entry, though. “Ooh Aah Just a Little Bit”, possibly.

Yannis
Yannis
8 months ago

10000 people approved a petition to send another novelty act!!!! NO NO NO NO enough! And then we are complaining why we are doing so bad always! But on the other side we all know did down that we are not sending a strong entry because BBC does not want to host the contest!!!! They know what they are doing!

Azaad
Azaad
8 months ago
Reply to  Yannis

They might not want to host the contest but getting 2nd place is still quite good.

Olivia
Olivia
8 months ago

The crossover we just need!

Leo
Leo
8 months ago

I want MNEK to write our entry in the future (and I want him to work with Athena Manoukian too, for reasons I have often stated). Hopefully we can get our 2021 entry written by Iain James and Ed Drewitt (I would like our entry to keep those writers, though James Newman doesn’t have to be our singer as long as he approves who is – I bet no one will know until the song is released), which I have wanted for many years, and than we can get Kamille, MNEK and Tayla Parx to write our next entry (as… Read more »

Yannis
Yannis
8 months ago
Reply to  Leo

Athena Manoukian need to work on her vocals and her taste levels first if she does not want to look like a second rated singer from MAD awards

Leo
Leo
8 months ago
Reply to  Yannis

I find it disappointing that her only live performance of this song (Chains on You) since ESC was cancelled was at a holiday resort (and she hasn’t done any virtual gigs) and I am worried that this will affect her, with her followers having declined since the show was cancelled, but this song belongs with the Tayla Parx stable of Ariana, Normani and Little Mix, and Athena should work with those aligned to these acts. As soon as I heard Chains On You (MV version, but still), I was immediately unable to believe what I was witnessing. I think it… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Leo
Azaad
Azaad
8 months ago

Let’s hope that the crossover between Drag Race UK and Eurovision is kept to this.

Koen
Koen
8 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

I agree and disagree.
I like the crossover for RPDR. Especially a recurring runway theme would be such a rich culture to choose from. Night of a 1000 Eurovision Stars.
Queens appearing on Eurovision, rather not. At least not as a RuPaul-product. Courtney Act I could condone since she’s more of an artist in her own right. But Frock Destroyers will always be more perceived as a RuPaulian act which, I think, is not a good way to enter the competition.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
8 months ago
Reply to  Koen

1. What is a “Ru-Paulian” act?
2. Why should it be shunned from ESC, as opposed to independent artists?

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
8 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

We don’t need your Muslim hatred here, miss Azaad… This is a non-religious contest and one of the very few mainstream shelters for the LGBTQ+ community. THE DOOR IS TO THE LEFT 😉

Cameron
Cameron
8 months ago

Frock Destroyers would be a step in the wrong direction. No, please no. They would flop, I also hope this is as far as the RPDR/Eurovision cross over goes

Paul
Paul
8 months ago

Wonder if we’ll get confirmation on Friday morning that James Newman’s been replaced….

MrBrightside
MrBrightside
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

I think there’s no need to worry. Drags usually only lipsync.

Gab
Gab
8 months ago
Reply to  MrBrightside

actually in the UK most drag queens sing / perform live

Yannis
Yannis
8 months ago
Reply to  Gab

Aka Charlie Hide! Hahah! Yes but about 99% are not on the same level with the artists on stage!

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
8 months ago
Reply to  Yannis

True. Their fabulous heels make them much taller.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
8 months ago
Reply to  MrBrightside

Have you been to “Halfway to Heaven” in London and heard the drag queens sing live? A lot of vocal practise went into that. 🙂

ian from the philippines
ian from the philippines
8 months ago

my guess is this will be where they’ll announce the song and/or singer for this year eurovision for the uk. my money’s on frock destroyers but i’m hinting it might be rupaul as she has an album and a song called ‘london’

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
8 months ago

Funny enough, I have been outlining a drag race au fanfic featuring the characters from the anime Hetalia. It’ll be called Drag Race international, and I had actually plan of doing Eurovision theme Maxi challenge myself. Of course it’s actually very different than what Drag Race UK is doing because my Eurovision challenge is a live singing challenge where the dragtestants sing live covers of classic/iconic Eurovision songs on the runway.

Last edited 8 months ago by BadWoolfGirl
Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
8 months ago

….ok