Anyone with even remote knowledge of RuPaul’s Drag Race knows who Alaska Thunderf*ck 5000 is. She’s one of the most prominent drag queens on the show, having competed in the fifth season and making it to the top three, and winning the second season of All-Stars. Throughout her run, she became known for her humor, her voice, and her signature greeting: hiyeeeeeee!
She returned to Manila for An Evening with Alaska, a variety show brought here by LA Comedy Live. The performance showcased her talents during her run on Drag Race and her musical career outside the show. For those who are not familiar, the queen has released three albums since competing, with Anus and Poundcake appearing on several charts by Billboard. A lot of Drag Racers have released songs and/or albums with varying success, but it’s clear that Alaska is one of the consistently good musicians in the bunch.
Each drag queen has a specific shtick in their live performances. Bianca del Rio does standup, Shangela electrifies with Beyonce-style routines, and Alaska does a greatest hits concert of her songs. She performed numbers like “Your Makeup is Terrible,” “Nails,” “Pussy,” “Leopard Print,” and more. One of the best moments of the evening was when she sang “Walk into the Club,” which she admitted was about… walking into the club. The chorus is literally that. And that’s where Alaska’s genius lies.
While other singers create depth and imbue their music with symbolism and meaning, Alaska isn’t afraid to embrace the shallowness of her lyrics. For example, the chorus of “Nails” is that word sung repeatedly. What makes it special, along with her entire Manila performance, is the catchy beat and how she interacted with the crowd by screaming “nails” at them.
A highlight of the show was the megamix section, when Alaska asked the audience to shout out song titles for her to sing. The catch? She would have to sing them as one song. In case anyone doubted her musical ability and just wanted to release songs for added clout, this proved that she has the talent.
Alaska may look intimidating but she’s actually very accommodating. During the Can I Ask You A Question segment, she gave lucky audience members the chance to, you guessed it, ask her a question. Ever the sweetheart, she walked around the venue to approach those who had a query. One lucky fan requested a selfie, but even if those are charged during the meet and greet, Alaska slyly said something along the lines of “If I were you, I would just do it.”
At the end of the evening, Alaska took a more serious turn by thanking everyone for showing up, and reminding them that drag queens have strong careers because of fans. It’s a sweet and touching finale that reminds us that beneath the wigs, layers of makeup, and amazing performances, drag is a culture, a family, where everyone is welcome, regardless of size, color, look, sexual orientation, and even gender identity and expression. It’s a reminder that we are all beautiful, loved, and accepted, even if our makeup is terrible.