After months of heats at 19 venues around the country with tiaras, tantrums and tears (and that was just the judges), Drag Idol UK 2018 is racing to its climax this Friday (29 Jun) with the Grand Final at the Two Brewers, hosted by organisers Crystal D’Canter and Kelly Mild.
The winner gets a paid gig in each of the 19 venues, will perform at Pride in London and enjoy the best start possible to their career on the LGBT+ cabaret scene. Dave Cross spoke to the four finalists and to CK to find out more. Boyz and girls, meet your finalists…
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
How would you describe Zayn?
Zayn is a more extreme version of myself – if I was allowed to wander the streets wearing a thong on a regular basis. He’s a proper 90s kid who loves pop culture and is always over enthusiastic. He does stand up and lip sync, which is my favourite part.
Have you enjoyed Drag Idol?
I’ve only been performing for a year and competitions are always nerve wracking, but this has been a really good experience. The atmosphere backstage with the other performers has been amazing.
And you’re only the second drag king to make a Drag Idol Final…
Yes, and the first one was LoUis CYfer, who won, so no pressure!
What does it mean to represent the Royal Vauxhall Tavern?
I’m over the moon to be representing The RVT. I perform at Bar Wotever on a Tuesday, and all of them and Catia and the whole team have been so supportive.
What can you tell us about Vivienne?
Vivienne is a classic, vintage style beauty who started at drama school and performs modern songs, but in a 1940’s swing style. Over the past year it’s all kind of come together, the look and the sound, and now I’ve been working with a live band in Manchester and working out my own arrangements.
What has Drag Idol been like for you?
I entered because I wanted to get some exposure and experience outside of Manchester, and I’ve ended up in the Final, which I seriously never expected. It’s given me a real boost and has been a great experience.
And you are representing Eden Bar…
I’m thrilled to be representing Eden; they have been great to work with and have shown real faith in me. Plus it’s a fantastic venue with a great reputation for cabaret.
Who is Victoria Scone?
She’s an unhinged West End diva. She’s desperate for success and appears confident, but is full of doubts, and and I think everyone can see a bit of Victoria in themselves.
How has Drag Idol been for you?
It’s really been incredible. I don’t want to get emotional, but it really does feel like I’ve come into a brilliant family, and I’ve learnt so much in a short space of time. My first heat was at the Brewers so it feels special to be coming back there for the Final.
Are you pleased to be representing Central Station?
I’m so happy to be their act. They are a lovely venue and they have been so supportive, especially Paul, aka Victoria Sponge – I know it’s funny re. the name! They’ve all been brilliant and I’m proud to represent them.
Felix Le Freak
Halfway II Heaven
Can you describe Felix Le Freak for us?
Felix is a conduit for all the things I want to say through different sorts of performance, a way to tell stories and connect with queer history and community. I use different types of performance, lip sync, stand up and songs to tell stories that I hope queer audiences can relate to.
You won the Wild Card heat; how has the Drag Idol experience been for you?
It’s definitely been a rollercoaster experience. I entered last year and I think I’ve done 15 Drag Idol events, including technically qualifying as a semi finalist three times, so to now make it to the Final I couldn’t be happier. I have met some amazing people, had some bad luck, but had some great boosts as well and I’m very grateful no matter what happens.
What does it mean to represent Halfway II Heaven?
Halfway is an amazing place. I’d been led to believe that it was very old school and that they might not like new types of drag, but honestly all my experiences have been the complete opposite. They are a rowdy, enthusiastic audience, but the second you are on they get really focused and want to hear your stories. I’ve never had anything but respect and love from the audience, and from Heather and the team. I am so happy to represent Halfway.
“What a year it’s been… Honestly, this year there have been heats that could have been finals, the talent is truly outstanding and I can see a lot of the acts being around for a long time. It’s great to be a part of something this special and I can’t wait for the Final.”
“From the first heat we hosted we knew it would be a strong year. Heats were becoming like finals because they were so strongly contested. There are so many people out there just dying you get in on the circuit and this year has shown their power and strength. I always say that if you do well in Drag Idol you can do well in drag for life. The prize is work, which is amazing!”