The art of seasoning the cult drag queen contest with a French sauce

“I often say we bought a burger recipe and made it with pans and foie gras,” laughs Raphaël Cioffi. It’s him, from the cult American franchise RuPaul towing race released in 2009, stewed Drag racing in France. The first series will be available on Saturday at 8 p.m. via France TV Slash and broadcast at 11:25 p.m. per France 2. The menu for this drag queen competition: “A set of Quaker culture, slapstick performances, humor and sequences that allows you to“ Solve More Serious Problems, ”sums up Nicolas Missoffe, Endemol producer.

Specifically, candidates face challenges that allow them to showcase their creativity, sense of humor, comedy and fashion, and all their other talents. In addition to entertainment, the show acts as a platform for LGBTQ + voices (lesbian, gay, bi, trance, freaks): queens take the time to trust their origins, experience and commitment …

The LGBTQ + community is portrayed as a party

Raphaël Cioffi remembers the discovery of his concept perfectly Drago race, six years ago: “I was really shocked, it was the first time I saw my community being represented as much as a party. “The one who was the author of the sketches Catherine and Liliana and Fashion freaks show Jean Paul Gaultier immediately wanted to adapt the program in France, respecting its essence: “speak creatively, without apologizing for who we are, and celebrate who we are.”

It is impossible to make concessions by smoothing rough edges. “It simply came to our notice then. When I went to Endemol and France Télévisions, I met the amplifiers, that is, instead of explaining what and how to do it, they understood perfectly well what it was about and broke down to do it. “” It’s the job of enthusiasts who come with a real glance, says Alexandra Redde-Amiel, Entertainment Director at France Télévisions. Adapting to such a powerful performance as this one required having the right teams at the right time with the right team of actors. »

“Americans liked what we offered them”

It remains to accommodate this “funny and committed” spirit with the French sauce, knowing that American manufacturers have strict specifications. It is impossible to come up with new rules or completely abolish the visual codes that create the universe Drago race recognizable at first glance. “It simply came to our notice then [la salle où les candidates se préparent] be pink, but let us know right away that we are in France, so on the side of the Palace of Versailles, illustrates Nicolas Missoffre. The Americans liked what was offered to them, they didn’t ask for any changes. Evidence of this francophilia: Drag racing in France is the only one of the ten existing international applications that has had the right to modify the logo – one of the “a” is in the form of a stylized Eiffel Tower …

The same trust was applied to the franchising of symbolic expressions of the show. “Coming from New York, I hoped to reuse the jargon that is at the heart of our towing culture. Rafe told me, “Don’t you think we’re borrowing American codes because of a lack of French towing culture? It made me wonder, beating the Frenchman Nicky Doll, who after attending season 12 RuPaul towing raceanime Drag racing in France. By giving such an opportunity to our queens, it was our duty to create a vocabulary for them and the people who discovered them. We put our heart into creating our own expressions. How was the iconic “greeting” – a summary of “greeting” and “towing” translated? Tension … We’ll only find it during the broadcast. One certainty: this will not be a “greeting”.

“Cabaret and sales culture …”

Ten candidates applaud. “We missed this lexical field in French. Its use has become almost natural, ”says Kam Hugh. “Drag culture is Anglo-Saxon, our culture comes from cabaret, Chez Michou, striptease …” Paloma recalls. Drag racing in France will not miss the opportunity to pay tribute to French popular culture. Test from lip sync – a performance during the playback, at the end of each episode, between the two queens who are in danger of being eliminated – French-language songs will take place, and Dalida or Juliet Armanet’s lyrics will be played during the challenges, etc. .

“It’s important to adapt,” says Bordelaise Elips. Copying the US version using the same pop songs that everyone knows would have less flavor. “Lady Gaga, we’ve heard enough about it elsewhere Drago race “,” Says Muse’s Soa. “We have great lyrics and great music. “I am very proud to know that we will be contributing to the export of French music,” says La Briochée, recalling that Aya Nakamura is today one of the most listened to French-speaking artists in the world. Let the whole world get ready to enjoy these sounds between two pan bagnat bites.

Hubert Gildon

"Coffee maven. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble beer expert. Explorer. Tv guru. General alcohol specialist. Gamer. Proud problem solver."

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