RuPaul must be dragging on the celebrations today, because not only did the TV Academy nominate him for best host again, but his series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” landed its first-ever major Emmy nomination in the coveted outstanding reality competition category.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” Emmy success comes on the heels of the series’ most-watched and buzziest season yet — a true victory for a show heading into its tenth season. The drag queen competition had more visibility than ever in Season 9 because of the network shift from Logo to VH1, and made headlines for A-list guest stars such as Lady Gaga, Kesha, and Lisa Kudrow. However, the political divide may be what truly boosted “Drag Race” into Emmy-voters’ minds, with Hollywood championing diverse and inclusive storytelling now more than ever.
“This season, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ has proven to be the perfect antidote for ‘Trump-itis,'”said Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, co-founders of World of Wonder, the production company behind “RPDR.” “Today, we’re so grateful that one of its side effects is an Emmy nomination.”
“I want to thank the academy for honoring the entire cast and crew of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ my family at World of Wonder, and our champions at VH1. It takes a village, people! Their creativity and dedication to telling the stories of our brave and talented queens never ceases to amaze, amuse and inspire,” RuPaul said in a statement after Emmy noms were unveiled.
“Drag Race” will go up against reality veterans “The Amazing Race,” “Project Runway,” “Top Chef,” last year’s winner “The Voice,” and “American Ninja Warrior,” which was the sole newbie in 2016. Before that, no changes in the stale reality category came until “The Voice” shook up the mix in 2012.
However, this year’s shake-up is the most surprising of all. With “RuPaul” strutting into the category, “Dancing With the Stars” has been snubbed — for the first time in over a decade. ABC’s reality dance competition, which still brings in large audiences each season, has been nominated every single year since its debut back in 2005. The show’s host Tom Bergeron was also snubbed in the host category.
RuPaul is the reigning champ of the reality show host category, and though he was the fresh face when he walked away with the golden statue in his hot pink polka-dot suit at last year’s Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, this year, he’s one of the two only returning nominees, alongside “Project Runway’s” Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Also nominated for host are Alec Baldwin for “Match Game,” Gordon Ramsay for “MasterChef Junior,” W. Kamau Bell for his CNN series, and reality TV’s favorite odd couple, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, for their VH1 potluck dinner party series.
“Drag Race” earned seven nominations overall. In addition to RuPaul’s nod for host and the show’s major category honor, the series was nominated for outstanding casting, costumes, hair-styling, makeup, and picture editing, plus an outstanding unstructured reality program nom for “Untucked,” the digital behind-the-scenes sister series to “Drag Race.”
Earlier this summer, RuPaul spoke to Variety about the show’s growing success, attributing it to the political climate. “There’s a great divide in our country and around the world,” he said. “The 20th century sensibility is clashing with the 21st century forward thinking, and I think our show epitomizes 21st century forward thinking.”
Well, today there is certainly no divide among “Drag Race” fans, who have been blowing up Twitter ever since the nomination news broke. As they say, con-drag-ulations, Ru.