Purple Angel Wing Heart

man up 2022: heat eight + final thoughts

man up 2022: heat eight + final thoughts

Last Man Up! writeup now. This heat is probably the best of them, but maybe that’s because it was the most jam-packed. Twelve kings, some returning and some trying out last-minute. Me somehow able to get everything together, just because I can barely give direction.

Plus, at the end, I’m gonna give all my thoughts about who I’m rooting for, who wuz robbed I wanna run 2 u and what has happened overall. Yes, I will have final FOMO, but at least I’m gonna do Lipsync.

and a partridge in a pear tree…

(Note that all the kings who went through are on pink backgrounds, after there ended up being more winning white-background kings in Heat 7. Minnie also made it an even background-ground.)

Part One

Hosting tonight was Chiyo, who kicked things off with what must be considered their signature act, ‘My Name is Prinx’. Ever since I first saw it at the National Theatre back in ’19, it has never gotten old for me. (Plus it proves how underrated the Diamonds and Pearls era was…)

First up was wannabe popstar Hot Rod (sometimes the simplest of drag names are also the coolest). Their transformation from slightly-misogynistic chick magnet into soft, caring Rodney provided many a giggle. Plus, they’re photogenic as all hell.

Second up was King Crimson. Equipped with a strong transatlantic accent and a pair of eyes that invoke hypnosis, Crimson was the perfect Phantom of the Opera with a penchant for gold. The Isis wings did seem a bit cheap-poppy, even if they were great in motion. I blame John Sizzle for that…

Then came the Dairy King. Looking like he stepped off the set of The League of Gentlemen, this mad milkman stripped off to reveal a bunch of udders. Great use of suspense, and that oat milk joke was the cherry on top (of the whipped cream, presumably).

Hot Rod
King Crimson
… and his Isis wings

Our first returnee of the heat was Powdered Sugar. They’re well-aware of their boisterous reputation, owning it without any faff. They spoke about how movies like Love Simon straightwashed the authentic queer experience. (I wonder what they think about Heartstopper. When even Scott Bryan agrees that it’s a bit too White…) Plus, we got a glimpse of their pup gear!

Next was Norwich’s big-bazonga’d boylesquer SIr Hugh Mungus. Yes, they may have used ‘Sweet Transvestite’ in their set (at least it wasn’t ‘Pony’), but it was an above-average blend of stand-up and striptease. Hugh is the first of two acts this heat to walk with a cane due to disability, which is nice to see (and before you cry “FORCED DIVERSITY!”, we have four kings with dairy-themed acts this heat. It’s all cowinkydink).

Closing up this part was one of 2019’s finalists, Lux (aka the artist formerly known as Pan Sexual). Now entering the world of stand-up, they decided to mock the overbearing stereotype of the tenderqueer, with mushrooms, class privilege and Lex ads galore. As a tenderqueer-on-paper-but-not-in-practice (im not lyk da other autistic aspecs x), I had to vent backstage during the interval. If I was proper tenderqueer, I’d say their act was heckin’ poggers.

Dairy King
Powdered Sugar
Sir Hugh Mungus

Part Two

Six down, six to go. First up was Mr Whippy, who did the same act as last time. Goodness, if he entered in a six-king heat then they would’ve probably just slipped through. Both times, he’s been unfairly gobbled up by other, more deserving acts, probably because he’s a bit too fluffy and not complex enough. If he decides to come back for 2023, I’d welcome it, if he turned up the raunch and the mess.

Then came fellow leather-clad Irishman Jason the Smoking Area Boi. The idea was perfect, the artistry was excellent, but the execution was disappointing. He was a sweetheart though: put up with my bullshit ramblings about ciggy packets; has a thick irish accent that you can’t help fall in love with.

Up next was Lil Wank Stayne and his assistant Millie. The act was a lot to take in – fishes, wine, arguing, cat-print kaftans, an African remix of ‘Lollipop‘. It was a portal into how Nigerians tackle self-deprecating humour. As you can see, he’s the other act who uses a cane (he has fibromyalgia), which actually felt natural given his character.

Mr Whippy
Ice Cream continues to be A Feeling
Jason the Smoking Area Boi


Lil Wank Stayne

Then, we had someone with a simple proclaimation: “I. AM. DAD!” This must have been the most atmospheric Man Up! act I’ve ever seen, even more than Duke Box, Papa Parmigiano and even yer Heathstiffs of yesteryear. The fact that ‘Taps’ played in the background elevated it from great to absolutely iconic. What boosts it from iconic to legendary though? Socks with sandals. And, yep, he did that.

The penultimate act vying to get their claws into the grand final was Dilly Boy. To sum up the act: imagine if Bonnie Anderson played a ballerina James Bond. My only concern is that he lipsynced to the famous SlutWalk interview with so much vigour that it was bordering onto Sutton Foster singing ‘And I Am Telling You’ territory. Nobody who could actually speak for this seemed to bat an eyelid though, so who am I to judge.

Our final act was Aard Man, whose gimmick is that he does acts based on Aardman properties. That night, he did an act based on the studio’s signature franchise, Wallace and Gromit, with a lucky audience member feeding him cheese and crackers on stage. This made lactose-intolerant Chiyo a bit apprehensive. Eh-oh…

Dilly Boy


Aard Man

Shockingly, Chloe and co were actively expecting me that day, rather than just coping with me hanging around. Anna loved my earrings and I’ve tried to send her a link for them, but I don’t think she’s got it because of me IG troubles.

A shot of tequila that I had backstage helped with all the bonding as well. It’s very rare I drink on the job, but there was a shot left unclaimed by a king so I went YOLO.

Anyhoo, four kings went through to the final! They were: Dairy King, Lil Wank Stayne, Dilly Boy and, of course, Dad! Chiyo played with all of us and made it so that we could’ve potentially been left Dadless, but of course he made it through. In fact, when I did his portraits, I made sure only to do it on the pink background because there was no way he’d be eliminated.

Heat 8’s smorgasbord


Man Up! is vastly different to Lipsync in that it’s harder to predict the win, but maybe it’s because I felt like Bolly-Illusion’s performance had the exact same energy as Rhys’s Pieces’ performance the year before so I was not surprised at all when they won. I won’t be able to see it in person, so I want to wish everyone involved – especially the togger – all the best!

Who do I think is gonna win? Well, I’ll sort it into tiers:

Most likely Top 3: Paul Bollywood, Papa Parmigiano, Spoiler Rotten
I can see them winning: Lil Wank Stayne, Prince of Persia, Dad, Sonny Delight
Can go either way: The Vicar’s Daughter, Father JC, Daddy and Friends
Deserving of the win IMO, but it’d take some miracles: t33n Angst, Duke Box
I can see them winning but I love them so much that they’ll probably be robbed: Dairy King, Pip Dream
Too established to win, but great workhorses: Clay Taurus, Hans Off
Too weak to win compared to everyone else: Dilly Boy, Mr Mater, Brokeback Yorkshire (yup, they’re back!)

Elliot Hunter (2018) was firmly in the “it’d take some miracles” category – his win was a very welcome surprise. Louis F.U.C.K was most likely in the “I can see them winning” category – I felt like he was a bit too squishy to be a top contender in my eyes (I’d have put my life savings on Prinx Silver if betting was actually an option).

And so, my Man Up! writeups draw to a close. Lipsync is almost a week away but, in the meantime, I’ve got a bit of freelancing/job interviewing/swimming/idea generating to do. Keep your feelers peeled…

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