This weekend at the largest drag performance in history, Naomi Smalls revealed herself to be the professional performer we knew her to be.
Touring drag shows have a bit of a long history. In the 1960s, Miss Flawless Sabrina held a national drag pageant, and as a part of it, she personally put on feeder events all across the continental U.S. with a staff that was rumored to, at one point, include almost 100 people. But with RuPaul’s Drag Race, tours have only grown in size and scale.
This weekend, one of the popular post-Drag Race tours, Werq the World, put on what was, according to show judge Michelle Visage, the largest drag show in history.
“OMG! I am so excited to be hosting the biggest, most attended drag show in herstory of drag shows as it makes its debut in London at Wembley Arena TOMORROW NIGHT,” Visage wrote to Instagram. “SEE YOU THERE LONDON TAAAAHN! Prepare to be blown away!” The event was hosted at The SSE Arena, Wembley, formerly known as the Wembley Arena. It boasts some 12,500 seats and is the second largest indoor arena in London. And now, after hosting the likes of Prince, Tina Turner, ABBA, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Madonna, and the Spice Girls, Ru’s girls were center stage.
This particular leg of the tour included Violet Chachki, Monet X Change, Detox, Eureka O’Hara, Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Sharon Needles, and Naomi Smalls. And while all of them certainly put on a hell of a show, it was a clip of Miss Smalls that has begun to pick up traction online.
With her backup dancer seemingly wearing a Smalls look from All Stars 4, inspired by John Galliano’s designs at Christian Dior, the lip sync assassin began a number to Nao’s “Curiosity.” But, during the performance, just as Smalls raised her hand into the air, the music cut out completely. So she froze. Just did not move. She and her dancer became immobile statues for almost two minutes. Standing in time until the music came back. What was going through her head?
Sure a few seconds would be pretty easy, but somewhere after the 45 second mark you know the thought has to cross your mind of, “Is the music going to come back?” What if the speakers stopped working? Did the music file get corrupted? Should I do a backbend to gag the girls? Did Gia Gunn find a way to sabotage the biggest show in history? How does my hair look?
Well, no matter the questions, Smalls committed to the pose, committed to the break in the show. And some engineer or producer, scrambling in the back finally figured it out, sent Gunn home, and got the track back on. And Smalls, went right back into it as if nothing had happened. As if it were all orchestrated. A PROFESSIONAL! And for those who might have thought it was all choreographed, Smalls later tweeted about the incident. ""My music stopped ... at Wembley," she wrote. "Gag."
We stan our performance queen.