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‘It should be a Eurovision entry’ – Drag Race UK fans and songwriters on the earworm appeal of ‘UK Hun’

Song looks set to make the UK Top 40 singles chart this week

Roisin O'Connor
Music correspondent
Thursday 18 February 2021 16:10
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Trailer for RuPaul's Drag Race UK

“Bing Bang Bong.” The three seemingly innocuous words heralding one of the biggest new songs of the year: “UK Hun?” by the United Kingdolls.

The song came about during an episode of series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, where the queens were split into two teams for the “RuRuVision Song Contest” (a play on the Eurovision) and asked to write and perform their own version of the song.

The United Kingdolls – made up of Tayce, Bimini Bon-Boulash, Lawrence Chaney and A’Whora – received douze points from the judges for their take on the song, beating rivals Bananadrama (Tia Kofi, Ellie Diamond, Sister Sister, and Joe Black).

The United Kingdolls version has proved hugely popular, and is currently on track to make the UK Top 40 Singles chart.

Speaking to The Independent, Drag Race fan Martha Cleary, a 25-year-old campaign manager, says the United Kingdolls have “girl band energy”.

“I think what made the United Kingdolls performance instantly amazing was first and foremost the combination of queens,” she explains. “It’s a winning combo of fantastic regional accents, distinctive characters, personalities and witty lyrics… but you also get the sense they're working together rather than competing.”

Martha thinks the song’s success is that it taps into the sing-song style of classic Nineties children’s television, whose audiences are now tuned into Drag Race: “It sounds like a pop song of the Dick and Dom era of kid’s TV.”

Charlotte Claber, a 23-year-old publicist, says the song represents “everything the UK adores: cheesiness and pop culture.”

“It’s catchy and fun and the tempo has you thinking about times when you’d blast Clubland Classic Compilations in your bedroom,” she says. “It’s our very own version of Europop.”

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She believes the UK version of Drag Race is “a touch friendlier” than the US, but still manages to parody “our best and worst moments as a country”.

Music publicist Jasleen Dhindsa agrees that a big part of the song’s appeal is its lack of inhibitions: “I think it captures all the best elements of OTT queer music and British humour,” she says. “US Drag Race would have never have done something as ridiculous as ‘UK Hun’ because they’re not as satirical.”

The UK certainly seems to have a penchant for novelty songs – including hits from actual kids’ TV shows. Songs credited to Bob the Builder and the Teletubbies have made the UK charts, along with Crazy Frog’s “Axel F” and “The Ketchup Song”.

Event director and Drag Race UK fan Rob Nolen says: “One of the things I love about the song is that it doesn’t try to pretend it isn’t ridiculous. I love the personalised verses that show off the dolls’ individual personalities and the chorus is nonsensical and fun.”

Rob, who lives in the US, says he’s been watching Drag Race UK “religiously” each week.

“It’s amazing that songs coming out of the show are charting and I think it speaks to just how much the drag audience is growing and evolving,” he says. “It’s a big tent and has something for everyone.”

Many fans are struggling to get the song out of their heads. “I've had to stop playing it after 11PM because my housemates are sick of going to bed singing it,” Martha says. “It should 100 per cent be a Eurovision entry.”

“The reaction to ‘UK, Hun?’ has been bing, bang, bonkers,” says Drag Race UK queen A’Whora. “The fans, the nans, the aunts and cousins have all been tuning in and singing along, and we love to see it! To think four drag queens are in the official charts is mental, from RuRuVision to EUROVISION! It’s the United King-domination.”

Bimini Bon Boulash says: “Hearing my lyrics about gender and self-expression being played on Radio 1 has been a dream come true. The song is about positivity and having a good time, which is exactly what we need right now. It's three minutes where it's okay for you to be silly, laugh and have fun. I’m so excited people are loving it the way they are!”

“Until recently, writing songs for Drag Race and songs for pop stars felt like working in two different worlds,” says US songwriter Leland, who co-wrote the track with Freddy Scott. “With the success of ‘Break Up (Bye Bye)’ and now ‘UK Hun?’, it’s impossible to stop these worlds from colliding and I couldn’t be happier. I’m counting down the days till I can experience ‘UK Hun?’ in a bar or club while having a drink, or two, or three.”

Leland adds: “Working for RuPaul’s Drag Race has brought me so much joy, and I think it’s that message of joy that is causing the fanbase to grow exponentially. These queens are superstars, and I’m thrilled that this song and show are giving them a massive platform.”

The Official Singles chart results will be unveiled tomorrow (Friday 18 February).

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK continues tonight (18 Feb) at 7pm on BBC iPlayer.

“UK, Hun?” is available to download and stream now on all music streaming platforms, from World of Wonder records. Download the track on iTunes here.

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