Dallas’ Shangela is 1st returning contestant

RELATED STORY: RuPaul on the new season

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  |  Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Despite appearing on Viacom’s closeted stepbrother of a network (Logo) and featuring flamboyant men in dresses as the main contestants, RuPaul’s Drag Race has somehow managed to become the truly unmissable reality show on TV. The guest judges on this season are more A-list than American Idol (or, for that matter, The A-List). Dancing with the Stars once bragged it had three Oscar winners compete over all the years; well, there were two last season on the Race.

Vanessa Williams and Bruce Vilanch kick off the season 3 premiere (others will include Lily Tomlin and Johnny Weir), a 90-minute “extravaganza eleganza” that features more plus-sized queens, two more from Puerto Rico (following the saucy hit Jessica Wild) and even some Texas ties.

The big surprise (not all that big, really) is that Shangela, the Dallas-bred newbie who was kicked off in the opener last season, gets a reprieve as the first-ever returning candidate; and one of the contestants, Manila Luzon, is the boyfriend of last season’s finalist, Sahara Davenport.

But what really drives the show is its fearless gay attitude: It’s campy without being silly. “Is that mistletoe or camel toe?” one judge wonders about a get-up. “Look at the size of that muff! Both hands fit!” exclaims another. These girls may not be classy, but they can work it out.

Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premieres Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. on Logo.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2011.