To celebrate Dublin’s Pride Parade this weekend, we here at Eurovision Ireland are taking a look back at some of the superstars of LGBTQ culture who have graced the Eurovision stage over the years – that’s right, it’s time to look at Eurovision drag queens!
Thanks to shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag has entered mainstream culture and has increasingly been seen at the Eurovision Song Contest – and has been part of the contest for longer than you might think!
Here are just some of the queens who have performed at the contest, along with some honourable mentions for those who’ve tried but haven’t yet made it to that Eurovision main stage. So strap on those heels henny and fix yo weave and yo mug, it’s about to get sickening!! 😉
Great Garlic Girls – Norway 1986
1986 wasn’t only the first time Norway hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, but it was also the first time ever a drag act appeared on stage! As Ketil Stokkan performed the home act “Romeo” in Bergen that year, his backing dancers were some of the Great Garlic Girls, a Norwegian troupe of drag queens dressed in 18th century gowns. While you might expect something that was (for back then) quite daring to fair badly with the juries, Norway placed 12th that night with 44 points.
Sestre – Slovenia 2002
It was 16 long years before another drag act appeared at the contest. In 2002 Miss Marlena, Emperatrizz and Daphne, better known as Sestre, went to Tallinn with their song “Samo Ljubezen”. The choice to send a drag act to represent Slovenia sparked protests at home, which even escalated as far as the Slovene and European parliaments. Despite this, the glittery trio of air-hostesses finished a joint 13th alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belgium.
Azis – Bulgaria 2006
Think Conchita was the first bearded drag queen at Eurovision? Think again! Some 8 years before the phoenix rose, Bulgarian vocalist Azis was a backing singer for Mariana Popova in Athens. The song finished 17th in a field of 23, meaning Bulgaria (not for the first time) missed out on the final. There have even been calls amongst fans for Azis to represent Bulgaria at the contest solo some day!
DQ – Denmark 2007
Although the appearance of another drag queen in Helsinki eclipsed the Danish entry somewhat that year, Danish artist DQ still marks the first-ever appearance of a solo drag act representing a country at Eurovision. Back then, the Top 10 from the previous year got an automatic spot in the final, meaning Verka didn’t have to perform in the semi final. So even if DQ finished 19th that night and missed out on the grand final, she still goes down in the history books!
Verka Serduchka – Ukraine 2007
The high drag queen of Eurovision herself, what can we say? We LOVE Verka! She may have come 2nd in Helsinki, but this tin-foil clad superstar certainly made her mark on the fandom. Returning to the contest as part of interval acts in 2017 and 2019, Verka’s non-drag alter ego Andriy Danylko is also a juror in the (oft controversial) Ukrainian national selection. Will we ever see Verka back on the Eurovision stage represeting Ukraine once more? Gosh we hope so!
Naomy – Romania 2014 Pre-Selection
Conchita almost wasn’t the only drag queen in Copenhagen! Romanian performer Naomy entered the national selection that year with “Dacă Tu Iubeşti”, which finished 10th. She tried to enter again the following year, but didn’t pass the pre-selection round reportedly a personal friend of hers was on the jury. Don’t feel too bad for Naomy though – she might not have made it to Eurovision, but she’s reportedly won a record-breaking 75 awards at music competitions across Romania!
Conchita Wurst – Austria 2014
OK, so from looking at this list you can see Conchita isn’t the first queen (bearded or otherwise!) to take to the Eurovision stage. But she is the only queen to win the whole shebag and her participation had global impact. Catapulted to international fame, Conchita’s winning speech that night in Copenhagen preaching tolerance and acceptance reverberated around the world!
Lolita Zero – Lithuania 2017 Pre-Selection
It wasn’t just her trademark huge horns that saw Lolita Zero causing a stir at the Lithuanian pre-selection in 2017. While drag queens lip-syncing isn’t exactly news, it turned out that Lolita’s falsetto vocals on “Get Frighten” were lip-synced and provided by none other than Jurij Veklenko, who went on to sing “Run With The Lions” this year in Tel Aviv! Though Lolita won the televote in the 3rd Heat of the selection, she finished 4th overall.
Kamil Show – Armenia 2018 Pre-Selection
Wacky Armenian drag queen Kamil Show became an instant fan favourite after performing the riotously catchy “Puerto Rico” in 2018 – some internet fans even speculating the song would win the whole selection event! While the jury didn’t seem so impressed and awarded Kamil just 2 points, the Armenian public clearly had other ideas and she came 2nd with the televote! Overall, Kamil finished 4th.
Courtney Act – Australia 2019 Pre-Selection
Runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race, winner of Celebrity Big Brother UK, Australian super-star Courtney Act also tried to add Eurovision contestant to her already impressive resume! Taking part in Australia’s first ever Eurovision event in 2019, Courtney’s “Fight For Love” finished – yup, you guessed it, 4th! Apparently 4 is a lucky number for Eurovision-bound drag queens!
Who is your favourite Eurovision drag queen? Are there any drag artists you’d like to see represent your home country?
Let us know what you think!
And if you’re going to Pride in Dublin, enjoy! Everyone say love!
Author: James Scanlan
Source: Eurovision Ireland
Image Source: http://www.gcn.ie