Drag ‘Queen’ docuseries never less than fascinating
The series “Dancing Queen” isn’t really Netflix’s version of the rousing screen musicals based on Abba’s hit songs. But, don’t be surprised if you end up “hearing” the tunes of the popular Swedish quartet getting lip-synched by some of the show’s “multicolored” characters.
This “Queen” is a sight to behold. It is sometimes fun, sometimes frivolous, but is never less than fascinating, as it introduces idiosyncratic characters that are just as entertaining, albeit in gender-bending fashion.
The show, which began airing on the streaming network last weekend, is a docuseries set in the dancing and prancing, rainbow-sprinkled world of 38-year-old Justin Dwayne Johnson—no relation to the muscular movie star who was once known as The Rock.
When the sun sets, this Johnson is more known as drag superstar Alyssa Edwards.
As Alyssa, Justin has won a string of titles from numerous gay beauty pageants, including Miss Gay America and All American Goddess, both in 2010. (Unfortunately, that same year, he was stripped of both titles for having business dealings in conflict with his obligations to the organizations behind those beauty tilts.)
But, Alyssa truly rose to the occasion (and international prominence) when he took part in the fifth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” where he became an instant fan favorite.
The Netflix docu proves there’s more to him behind all that swishy, bitchy, glitzy kitsch.
When Alyssa isn’t busy “lip-synching” the songs of Gloria Gaynor, Lady Gaga and Madonna, he runs his own award-winning dance studio, called Beyond Belief Dance Company, in Mesquite, Texas, where he juggles his drag life and romantic persuasions with his various endeavors as a teacher, businessman and choreographer.
The film follows him as he prepares a young class of talented dancers—and their scene-stealing, trash-talking stage moms—for an intensely competitive season that would see them performing in shows and competing in dance contests on the West Coast and elsewhere.
But, the excitement in Alyssa’s life doesn’t dissipate when the classes end.
Sometimes, he officiates his friends’ same-sex marriages. Then, at sundown, he either prepares to get all glammed up for his late-night gigs, or go on a date with macho-looking bisexual men—who don’t look so thrilled to see him without his makeup on!
His drag persona often outshines Justin, but he doesn’t mind hurdling “awkward romantic mishaps” because, as his Q&A-honed “other self” would say, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”
Yes, spoken like a true Queen.
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