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The focus is very much on charisma, but episodes can also be extremely touching, particularly when contestants, all of whom are gay or bisexual, talk about their backgrounds and what drag means to them.
As well as costume design, challenges include acting, "reading" (dramatically insulting other contestants, with wit) and Snatch Game, a parody of the 1960s game show Match Game in which the queens dress up and act like celebrities.
Drag queens from across the US compete to show their style and creativity, and each contestant is graded on their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent (work that one out for yourself).
Britain adores camp, and it doesn't get much more so than this.
Fans of America's Next Top Model will also note liberal rebrandings of that show's famous elements, although You got She Mail, Drag Race's take on Tyra Mail, was removed after campaigning by trans activists.
Ru Paul's Drag Race has elements of America's Next Top Model and The Great British Sewing Bee, but is done better – contestants are uniformly talented across all fields, especially when it comes to wit and personality.
The show is beloved for its style, catchphrases, and high glamour.
The actor, singer and bella diva Ru Paul Charles has become drag's spokesman, as both a man and a woman, thanks to decades of hard work, and the cult success of his talent show, Ru Paul's Drag Race.
It helps that he also makes a quite staggeringly beautiful woman. The rest is all drag.” Inspired by the success of the reality show America's Next Top Model and its spin-off series, Ru Paul created Ru Paul's Drag Race in 2009 aimed at finding America's next drag superstar, and empowering future generations of all sexualities.
Ru Paul's drag persona of benevolent but powerful pageant queen has helped to bring drag into the mainstream through pop culture cameos and later, his own shows.
• A list of the best TV shows on Netflix UK Ru Paul and Visage, co-hosts on radio and TV talk shows in the Nineties, started a podcast named What's The Tee? It has gained a loyal following of global listeners, and launched a litany of slang to complement that on Drag Race – the title meaning what's the scoop? After a long campaign by fans, including Jonathan Ross and the anglophile Visage, the series will finally air on British TV on Monday on the Freeview channel Tru TV UK.
The search for America's next drag superstar has grown significantly since its low budget, heavily sponsored origins, with an eighth season due next year.
" The show has run for seven seasons on the small US channel Logo TV, and has become hugely popular in the UK where it airs on Netflix.
Ru Paul's longtime friend, collaborator and Drag Race co-judge Michelle Visage, a self-professed anglophile, was a finalist in Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year, which brought Drag Race to a wider audience. A number of Drag Race contestants have made appearances at clubs in the UK, particularly over the last year.