Months of heats across the UK come to a sequinned climax this Friday night (30 Jun) at the Two Brewers with the Grand Final of Drag Idol 2017. Four performers representing four venues will battle it out to be crowned as this year’s Drag Idol champion. We hear from the finalists, including the Wild Card finalist, who we are proud to exclusively reveal is Ginny Lemon. Also we talk to this year’s hosts Crystal D’Canter and Kelly Mild to find out what to expect on the big night.
Tracy Barlow from The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Who is Tracy Barlow?
Tracy is a girl with a past. She’s a very relatable character who has struggled to make the right decisions and now she’s doing everything she can to make amends.
How would you describe your performances?
I don’t really think of it as performing, it’s telling my life story to a room full of strangers. It just happens I’ve had a particularly exciting and fascinating life so far. I’m polyhumorous, I laugh at anything and that’s my aim, to make people laugh.
What are your other aims in life?
Well, when I moved down to London, the city of dreams, having been in the witness protection scheme so often I had my own membership card, I had to make some decisions. I decided that my aim was to trick a man into thinking I was pregnant, get £15,000 out of him and then marry him.
Are you pleased to be representing the RVT?
It means everything. It’s an amazing venue, and I would say it’s an honour. I don’t often get serious but I am about this. They had made me feel so welcome and I hope I do them proud.
Gingzilla from Her Upstairs
How would you describe Gingzilla?
Gingzilla is a ginger, bearded glam monster, a bearded bombshell. She’s fierce, ferocious and fearless. I like to think that I take you on a journey that is exciting and unstable, serving up surprises and curveballs all the way. I lip sync, I sing and I even talk!
Tell us a bit of your history?
I moved to London from Australia two years ago and I started doing drag just over a year ago. Coming here really opened my eyes to the incredible variety of drag in the UK. You have such a rich history of cabaret and every area of London seems to have its own pocket of drag style.
What does it mean to be representing Her Upstairs?
I’m so happy to be representing them. I started out in Meth’s Not Another Drag Competition and that’s where I got to really find Gingzilla and explore what I could do. Her Upstairs represents the new age of drag, it’s fresh, it’s cutting edge and political but it’s also huge fun. I couldn’t be happier.
Shania Pain from OMG Sheffield
How would you sum up Shania?
A wonderful time, some unexpectedly high notes and if you cross me, I’ll go for you. I do some old school classic songs plus some that you definitely wouldn’t expect a drag queen to do. There’s some totally inappropriate comedy plus my piece de resistance, which is balloon swallowing. I pride myself on having no gag reflex and you will be seeing that at the final.
How did Shania come about?
When I was 15 I did a module at school on stand up comedy and became obsessed with it. I then did cruise ships as a boy and started doing drag in-between and that’s when she first appeared.
Tell us about representing OMG Sheffield?
It’s lovely and they have been so supportive. I just want to win it for them and bring the trophy up north.
Ginny Lemon the wildcard finalist from Eden Birmingham
Can you describe Ginny Lemon for us?
She’s drunk, disgusting and fabulous. Imagine if Sue Pollard took acid with Linda La Hughes and then had a three way lesbian fling with Bjork. The look is old school Hollywood; Joan Crawford when the kids started to hit back.
How did Ginny come about?
In a previous life I used huddle away and write and record my own songs. I didn’t know how to get them out into the world so I just started doing them as Ginny and it grew from there. I used the negative energy that was in my life at that point to do something positive. I’m very inspired by people like Julie Walters with that great Black Country humour and Mrs Overall is a huge influence. Anything that’s a bit dirty, dark and hilarious.
What is it like to represent Eden in Birmingham?
I absolutely adore them. Birmingham has got such a great gay scene. It’s different, but so lovely and Eden is such a fantastic venue. The team there are great and the crowd just get it and they get me.
Crystal D’Canter and Kelly Mild Hosts of Drag Idol 2017’s Grand Final
How has the contest been this year girls and how will Friday be?
Crystal: 2017 has been our most diverse year ever. The contest has been full of variety from pageant kings and queens to alternative artists and everything in-between. We’re really proud that the competition has been embraced by so many.
Kelly: I’m expecting an explosion of talent on the stage. Speaking to the acts, they all have their eyes well and truly on the prize. The gloves are off, they all want this so badly. I think we will witness things in this final we’ve never seen before. Prepare to be amazed.