The heartbreak of drag:
Adore Delano's "I Adore You"
by Drew rowsome
Having survived two reality shows - American Idol and RuPaul's Drag Race - with dignity somewhat intact, Adore Delano/Danny Noriega is now aiming for a mainstream popular music career. Why not? Steven Daigle turned his stint on Big Brother into a successful porn career. Delano's new single "I Adore You" is accompanied by a visually lush and clever video. "I Adore You" is a lacklustre song that cribs from "Wrecking Ball" but ignores the cathartic chorus in favour of rather flat spoken word pseudo-rap and a four note hook. The video is far more interesting. On the surface it is a story of heartbreak, underneath it deals with the tragedy of drag queens being fetish objects but not taken seriously as sex objects. A man in male drag is apparently more sexually attractive than a man in a dress. It's an intriguing dilemma that I am not qualified to dissect but I realized that the photo/gif I chose to draw attention to this piece was of the very masculine model Max Emerson, who strips in Delano's "DTF" video. I made the automatic, unconscious assumption it would be more apt to catch the eye than the very attractive and colourful Adore Delano. Seems that dragphobia is more prevalent than I imagined, lurking even in my own psyche.
Drag queens function as the court jesters of the gay community; entertaining and amusing while satirizing and commenting on sexual roles, gender roles and the foibles of glamour. But don't even clowns deserve love?
"DTF," Delano's previous single, suffers from the same problems. A fun video and a flat song. Delano can sing - Danny Noriega was a credible contestant on American Idol - but these two examples feature extended segments of spoken word that drags (no pun intended) the songs' momentum to a crawl. "DTF" is practically a PSA for acceptance of drag and various other outsiders but, as charming and crucial as that is, Delano is going to need better songs in order to get her message anywhere outside of the gay community who are already converted.
Like Conchita Wurst, who also could use a good song, Delano risks being a novelty act. Delano is more expressive and watchable than most pop divas and some drag queen dramatics would be a very welcome addition to today's music. Hopefully she'll let her voice rip and make it into the mainstream on the strength of her talent instead of the height of her wig.
Or she could always go back to her roots and compete on Survivor. Adore Delano getting down and dirty while maintaining her glamour might even make at least one reality show worth watching.