Song Selection is Everything by Michael Rupured
June 14

Song Selection is Everything by Michael Rupured


The Case of the Missing Drag Queen draws upon decades of field research watching drag shows in numerous gay bars across the country. A good drag show is almost as entertaining as a live performance of a Broadway musical. Coming from a guy who knows by heart the lyrics of hundreds of show tunes, that’s saying something. 

Song selection is everything. The number needs to match the performer’s style, attitude, and drag persona. Favorites typically feature a big voice, an upbeat tempo, an element of drama, and at least a little humor or irony. With few exceptions, picking a song another queen in the area is known for is asking for trouble.

“And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls, sung by Jennifer Holiday on Broadway and Jennifer Hudson in the movie, is one of the biggest drag songs of all time. Either version will do. Most drag queens lip-sync, as in this performance featuring three drag queens:

Two I saw many years ago used their own voice. Though talented, neither compares to Ada Vox, a top-ten finalist this season on American Idol. Here’s her version (with apologies for the ad).


Ruby Dubonnet performs her unique interpretation of the song in Chapter One of The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Unfortunately, nobody videotaped her performance. The excerpt is available here.