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Adore Delano thinks it’s time for a major Drag Race shake-up – and hasn’t ruled out a return

Gary Grimes February 28, 2022
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Adore Delano.

Adore Delano on music, Madonna, and of course, Drag Race.

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since everyone’s favourite party girl Adore Delano burst onto our screens on the sixth season of a then-still relatively niche show called RuPaul’s Drag Race.

On what is still widely regarded as one of the show’s greatest seasons – with perhaps its strongest ever final three in Delano, Courtney Act and eventual winner Bianca Del Rio – Adore cemented her status as a fan favourite. Since then, save for an all-too-brief appearance of All Stars 2, the queen and American Idol alum has mostly focused her energy on her original passion of music.

Later this year, Adore will return to the UK and Ireland for a 14-date tour which she says will not just support her recent Americana-influenced EP Dirty Laundry (2021) but also serve as a celebration of her entire career to date.

“We’re doing some old music, some new music, some covers, I’m just doing kind of like a human ball of laundry show. It’s gonna be a bunch of everything,” she told PinkNews. “I might have a couple surprises up my sleeve too.”

Fans of Adore will fondly remember her earlier music such as tracks like “I Adore U” and “I Look F**kin Cool”, big bombastic party anthems with a rock ‘n’ roll edge that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Ke$ha record. On Dirty Laundry, we heard the singer lean further into an alternative rock sound, with softer vocals and more organic instrumentation, whilst still maintaining her quintessential grittiness.

“I try to bust a Madonna and reinvent myself with every type of music project. I grew up in the era of Ray Of Light so I always want to bring a different perspective and a different part of my drag character,” she says.

“[On Dirty Laundry] there was definitely more of an Americana dark energy. I always want to keep the grunge aspect, but I do want to go back to pop writing, it’s something that I love to do a lot. I love coming up with catchy pop hooks – but you can’t lose the grit, or it wouldn’t be Adore Delano.”

Adore has come so far since we were first introduced to her that many fans were shocked when she revealed on an Instagram live last year that she had been in talks to appear on All Stars 6. Especially considering that in 2016, Delano made herstory as the first queen to ever voluntarily withdraw from the competition when she dropped out of All Stars 2 for personal reasons. To those who assumed she had closed the Drag Race chapter of her life forever, Delano explained that she will always adopt a never say never attitude about returning to the show she made her name on.

“The door is never going to be closed completely. It’s still very much a part of me,” she revealed. “The conversation comes up every year, we were just kind of deeper into the negotiation this time, like discussing what my talent was going to be. I kind of gave it more thought this time, let’s just put it that way.” (In the May 2021 Instagram live, Adore said the producers felt the number she wanted to do for the episode one talent show was “too risky” and they wouldn’t have been able to approve it in time.)

“I always say, ‘Don’t say no to what can happen in the future, or you end up kicking yourself in the ass’. I don’t know where I’m going to be next year so I’m never closing the door on that. I love Drag Race.”

Of course, the magic of a queen’s first run on the show can rarely be repeated. As many queens will tell you, a second or third stint on the show brings its own challenges, including the fact that the cast is made up of queens who are returning essentially as celebrities, and often with an inflated ego to boot. “That’s what happens now the show is so big, it turns these girls into celebrities. I think that’s kind of the issue I had going back on All Stars 2, it was just a different energy.

“It was fresher and cooler when it was like ‘big fish, small pond’ girls kind of going into a tub together.”

Despite her hectic schedule, Adore still somehow manages to find the time to stay up to date with the show and its various spin-offs. “I love Angeria, I love Willow Pill and Lady Camden,” she said on the current season 14 crop. “Those are probably my top.”

As for the much-talked about UK vs The World spin-off, Adore shares fans’ frustrations with the series of shock eliminations we’ve seen in recent weeks due to the All Stars-style rule format. “The elimination process needs to stop,” she said. “I can’t with the girls playing God with the lipsticks.

“I hated it for All Stars. I just don’t love the whole idea that you get the power to send your competition home. It’s like, do you know how much these girls are spending on a gown alone?” she empathised.

Speaking about last week’s particularly shocking elimination which saw Blu Hydrangea send frontrunner Pangina Heals packing, Adore felt the queens’ pain. “I wanted to hug all of them when I saw that. Blu looked so nervous, I just felt so bad for all of them.

“I hope [the fans] can be a bit more kind because that’s a lot of pressure.” In the aftermath of the elimination, both Pangina and Blu have taken to social media to push back against toxic fans sending Blu abusive messages because of her decision.

When asked why she thinks the Drag Race fandom in particular can be so vitriolic towards the show’s stars, Adore simplified it by saying: “I just think they’re very passionate children with keyboards.

“It’s like sports fans watching the Super Bowl, but for drag queens. They’re just as enthusiastic and more brutal,” she posited.

Adore also sympathised with Drag Race legend and fourth-time competitor Jujubee who has been criticised by the judges for not meeting the high bar she’s set for herself in previous seasons.

“If you think about it, Juju’s outfits are actually pretty kick ass. When you think of earlier seasons, that would be everything. I just think that the bar is so high now, people are like walking out in billboards!”

Adore Delano’s Party Your World Tour kicks off August 30, 2022 in Dublin, before travelling to 13 venues around the UK in cities including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

Tickets are on sale now from See Tickets here. Following the UK, the tour will then travel to Australia and finally to North America.

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More: Adore DeLano, RuPaul's Drag Race

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