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man up 2022: heat one

man up 2022: heat one

cw: assault

Hi ya again!

So, as you may have noticed, I’m back shooting Man Up! When I noticed that Lipsync1000 didn’t have a photographer last year (I was working back then and wasn’t confident enough to go into the studio every Wednesday), I decided to shoot The Glory an email saying politely, “Can I go back please?”. It worked – with a (modest) payrise!

It’s been a bit of time since this first heat, so this writeup’s gonna be a bit shorter than the next few coming up.

💖 💖 💖

As you can tell below, that day was a bit of a shambles compared to the next few heats. After the pandemic, The Glory pretty much gutted the old staff and replaced it with new blood, so there was a bit of adjustment to do on both ends. Firstly, the pop-up flash on my new camera was NOT giving. Don One ended up disowning their portrait due to this. Secondly, I didn’t get the reserved seat I was promised, so I ended up having a bit of foot pain. Lastly, stage manager Gia thought I was a friend rather than Glory staff, and refused to give me any drinks tickets. All of this was resolved the next week.

As well, pink and silver were supposed to be the colours for the finale portraits, but I didn’t have enough gold glitter tape and I bought a faulty tube of blue tape as well. It’s honestly worked though.

Part One

Host Don One started the festivities with something a bit distasteful. They spoke about how they met Dizzee Rascal at a barbershop and then launched themself into ‘Bonkers’. Knowing about the allegations against Dizzee for domestic abuse, all I could feel was “yeesh…”. Just days later, he was found guilty. I didn’t have the heart to tell them via email, so we’ll get to the resolution tomorrow.  (‘Bonkers’ is still a tune though.)

First up on the bill was BGD and his Boris impersonation, complete with the actual harness that he wore when he got stuck on a zipliner during London 2012! To the tune of ‘Problematic’ by Bo Burnham, he cleverly shot down Boris’ classism, bigotry and austerity and launched the audience into a raucous applause.

Next up was Michael Riot Pride, a name that I knew from the before times. However, this was the first time that we met – and we bonded easily. Not only does he carry himself well, but we’re both autistic so this lead to a ton of rambling and me learning that his drag name is as much of a stream-of-consciousness joke as it is a moral statement about Stonewall. He did a pretty fun lipsync to a metal version of ‘Barbie Girl’.

Don One performing on stage with joke-shop spring-eye glasses
Don One


Michael Riot Pride

Then came Frank from Finance. Another autistic king (and polyamorous too – way to be a walking neuroqueer stereotype!), he covered Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ live, in the manner of a guy forced to sing karaoke at a Christmas “do” (don’t call it a party.) I’m pretty certain BGD is also autistic, so when I came out to them as an infinity-symbol, many screams were had.

Last this half was Max Dee Wolf, aka Cat Dee Wolf, formerly Catfish before she realised it was too misogynistic (how dare women not look like a Sim at all times?). His performance was very inspired – it was a story of Max becoming a werewolf before his partner Chase the Rainbow kills him after a fight that Bruce Lee would take notes from.

Frank from Finance
Chace and Max

Part Two

After Don did both parts of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ to lighters in the air, Prince of Persia just stole the show. He had his mum and sister there – they were practically a unit, especially being both very vocal supporters. Plus, not only did the crowd believe the hype, but they knew of the hype beforehand – he’s also a recognisable name from the Before Times. He did a Ghostbusters-themed performance about immigration as a transmasc of colour in the UK. Yes, the second half of the performance was a rewrite of ‘Sweet Transvestite’ (i.e. yer stock “alt queen singing live” song), but it worked.

Pip Dream was my favourite. He took the piss out of every drag act ever, set to “4 Minutes” by Madonna and Justin Timberlake (4min is the maximum time for a Man Up/Lipsync1000 performance.) This involved lipsyncing, stripping, telling a knock-knock joke, getting audience members involved, making a political statement (“DOWN WITH BAD STUFF!”) and ending with him COMING OUT ON A UNICYCLE AT THE END. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of that, but if he repeats the performance during the final, the camera is ON. This performance was just way too clever, and I love a bit of meta-humour.

Lastly was Velvet Caveat‘s drag kid Powdered Sugar, doing a performance to Lady Gaga’s ‘Plastic Doll’ about their non-binary identity. It was very touching, vulnerable (especially with the thrash-filled choreo) and clearly meaning a lot to them, but when a king comes on before you preaching “DOWN WITH BAD STUFF!”, a performance like that seemed a bit platitudinal and odious in comparison. I think they were hindered by running order – it would’ve been more effective if they swapped them and Max around. When they’re not performing, they’re a VERY LOUD audience member. Almost threateningly so. I’m pretty certain you can hear them laugh from the tube station.

Don One


Prince of Persia
Pip Dream
Powdered Sugar

The “celebrants” (why didn’t they just call them a panel?), including Frankie Sinatra and Bolly-Illusion, eventually chose Pip and Prince of Persia to go through to the final. I wasn’t expecting Pip even though most of the audience were – it was just too good to let through, and was going to be seen as such a hidden gem in my eyes. As it turns out, hidden it is not. But Prince of Persia was a given – his mum and sister came up on stage and cried with happiness about him going through, then it turned into a big celebratory dance party.


BGD and Max I felt were the most robbed that week. The only flaws were that BGD picked low-hanging fruit to critique, and Max needed just a little bit of polish.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about Heat 2, Wednesday Heat 3, Thursday a break and then either Friday or Saturday I talk about a fresh Heat 4!

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