Despite constant political gloom, 2017 was a pretty stellar year for LGBTQ entertainment. Queer goddesses like Halsey, Miley Cyrus and Kehlani stole the spotlight and drag queens ran rampant. We even got a gay anthem about daddies courtesy of electro-pop newcomer Sakima.
So what’s in store for 2018? By the looks of it, the forecast is fierce and fabulous, with a chance of Frank Ocean. Here’s 18 things we’re excited for this year:
A Double Helping of Drag Race
Christmas has come and gone, but Gay Christmas is just around the corner. On Jan. 25, RuPaul’s Drag Race will return with its third iteration of All-Stars. With Trixie Mattel, Thorgy Thor and a possible 10th queen, we’re prepared to be gagged: “The All-Stars 3 debut delivers my most legendary queens, and they’re fired up and ready to take over the mother-tucking world,” teased RuPaul. The fun will continue with a 10th (!) season of our bedazzled addiction expected later in the spring — as well as the televised return of its sister show, ?Untucked.
High Expectations For Hayley
At this point, Hayley Kiyoko’s ascension to Billboard Hot 100 domination seems inevitable. After two stellar releases, the smoky “Sleepover” and the forthright “Feelings,” the sapphic starlet is poised to have a promising debut with her debut solo album, Expectations, due this spring. Kiyoko can already count at least one famous fan: Kehlani couldn’t control her excitement prior to the album’s title announcement.
Jesse Saint John Moves Into The Spotlight
Songwriter Jesse Saint John has worked with the likes of Britney Spears, Charli XCX and Camila Cabello, but on Feb. 7, he’ll drop his first solo single, “Move.”
“‘Move’ is the perfect kick-off for my sound as an artist. I’m inspired by danger and dancing through your pain,” Saint John told Billboard. The cowbell-heavy party jam wouldn’t be out of place on a millennium-era teen flick soundtrack and will be followed by several other singles across the year.
Ryan Murphy Strikes a Pose
Set in 1980s New York City, on the cusp of the AIDS crisis and Reagan-era culture wars, FX’s upcoming musical series Pose will contrast the rise of the Trump family’s culture of luxury with the downtown social scene with an emphasis on ball culture. The brainchild of Ryan Murphy is expected to premiere in the summer and its cast features Evan Peters, Kate Mara and James Van Der Beek and boasts the largest cast of transgender actors ever in series regular roles. Transgender writers Janet Mock and Our Lady J will both serve as producers on the series.
Kim Petras Is on the Rise
Anyone with Spotify has seen Kim Petras and her lopsided topknot featured prominently in their RISE campaign, created to highlight emerging artists. Kim’s brand of pop sounds like Gwen Stefani recorded Lady Gaga’s breakout The Fame: It’s glossy, it’s fun — it’s pure Bazooka bubblegum. With plans to release several one-off tracks as the year progresses, we’re eager to see this transgender starlet break out in a big way.
Broadway Is Determined to Make ‘Fetch’ Happen
The Great White Way will be going pink — well, at least on Wednesdays. Gretchen Weiner and her girl gang will be taking over Broadway with a musical adaptation of queer staple Mean Girls, starting previews March 12. The show has a book by Fey and music by her hubby, three-time Emmy winner Jeff Richmond. That’s so fetch!
Thunderpussy Torpedo Through Winter
Seattle rock ’n’ rollers Thunderpussy have won over at least one high-profile fan: Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready saw the all-female band at a music festival and eventually recorded with them. The veteran rocker even made a cameo in their cinematic video for last year’s “Speed Queen.” Now, the quartet is gearing up to release a pair of tracks — “Torpedo Love” and “Bad Lands” — before dropping their cheekily titled debut EP Greatest Tits in February.
Miss Caliente (If You’re Nasty)
Jiggly’s got bars — no, really. While several Drag Race alum have released albums, none are as unexpectedly fantastic as Jiggly Caliente’s upcoming Thot Process (release date TBA). With hints of Big Freedia and Lizzo, the record features an all-star list of Drag Race collaborators, including Alaska Thunderfuck, Ginger Minj and even Mama Ru herself. With standouts like the aggressive, Sharon Needles-assisted “#IDGAF” and high-energy, booty-clapping “Jiggle & Bounce,” this Filipina queen is not to be underestimated.
Gay Teens on the Big Screen
“It doesn’t seem fair that only gay people have to come out,” says Love, Simon’s titular star Nick Robinson in the trailer for the upcoming gay teen dramedy. “Why is straight the default?” Based on Becky Albertailli’s book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the film follows a gay high schooler who develops an email romance with another closeted student. The film, out March 15, also stars Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) and Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse).
Troye’s Got a Bop(tina)
Coming off high-profile collabs with Martin Garrix and Alessia Cara, Troye Sivan will be following up 2015’s Blue Neighbourhood with his untitled sophomore output. Though details are sparse, Sivan declared that at least one of the tracks is a “boptina,” and a rep confirmed that the album will be out in the first half of the year.
K.I.D.’s All Right
L.A.-based indie duo K.I.D., comprised of Kara Lane and Bobby Lo, are bringing their charming brand of lyrical oversharing into the new year with the new single “I Miss My Friends” due at the end of the month, followed by their debut full-length, Tried All the Time, later in the year. Lo describes the record as a concept album that documents different incarnations of the band’s mental unrest: “It explores everything from sexual frustration, to depression, to the feelings of alienation that stemmed from being queer in an orthodox household.”
You Betta Vote!
While 2018 will certainly produce quality entertainment, one of the biggest events of the year will be the midterm elections, most of which will take place Nov 6. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested — allowing a chance at relief from this dark political climate.
“After a year of President Trump in office, we’ve seen the LGBTQ community continuously targeted for erasure and attacks by this administration and its policies,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, told Billboard. “LGBTQ voices, and the voices of all vulnerable groups who have been targeted, must be front and center during the midterm elections to promote pro-equality candidates and call out those who plan to drive anti-LGBTQ policies forward.”
Pabllo Vittar Goes International
Brazilian drag sensation Pabllo Vittar had a massive 2017, notching collaborations with Charli XCX and Major Lazer, a campaign with Coca-Cola and a hit album, Vai Passar Mal — and it looks like 2018 will be even bigger. In an interview with Billboard, he teased film and television projects in the works — and an album that includes featured spots from international guests.
Shears Keeps Swinging
It’s shaping up to be a big year for flashy Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears. He begins his stilettoed stint in Kinky Boots on Broadway on Jan 8. Then, on Feb 20, Shears will release his memoir titled Boys Keep Swinging, which will recount his tormented teenage years in Arizona, his entry into New York City’s electrifying music scene, and the Scissor Sisters’ rise to international fame in the early 2000s. As if that’s not enough, he’s also teased a debut solo album — some of which he previewed at shows in New York City and London.
Queer Eye Gets a Makeover
Netflix is gearing up to launch its Queer Eye reboot, arriving in February. The new cast features Antoni Porowski, specializing in food and drinks; Bobby Berk, focusing on interior design; Karamo Brown, engaging the show’s subjects in important cultural conversations; Jonathan Van Ness, tackling grooming; and Tan France, the group’s wardrobe wizard.
The show’s creator David Collins explained to Billboard about how moving to a streaming platform transformed the tone of the show: “By being on Netflix we’re able to tell more unique stories and viewers will get to know both the new Fab Five and our heroes at a much deeper level. This is all reflected in the overall storytelling of the series.”
Mary Gauthier Gives a Voice to Veterans
Country music isn’t known for its queer inclusiveness, a discussion point Sarah Silverman brought up with singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier during her appearance on the comedian’s Hulu talk show, I Love You, America. But it’s not Gauthier’s sexuality that makes her upcoming Rifles & Rosary Beads, out Jan 26, unique — it’s where the songs come from.
“Four and a half years ago, I was invited to do a songwriting retreat by the founder of SongwritingWith:Soldiers and I fell in love with the work,” Gauthier told Billboard. “I’ve been writing songs with members of the military and their families through this program ever since.” She credits her work on this project for a newfound understanding of what songs do on a higher level, adding, “The process of writing songs with veterans has been deeply therapeutic for me personally, and some of the veterans feel the same way. But what we’re doing is not therapy. It is the making of art.”
Calum Scott Is Only Human
English crooner Calum Scott gained international attention for his somber rendition of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” in 2016. His version even made an appearance on the Hot 100 at No. 93, besting Robyn’s original, which astonishingly missed the chart completely. Flash-forward to the present, and Scott has released his music video for his piano-driven ballad “You Are the Reason,” out now. The rising star will follow the clip with his debut Only Human, out March 3. In addition to 11 original tracks, the album also includes a haunting acoustic version of Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet.”
Wherefore Art Thou, Frank?
Will we be getting new Frank Ocean music in 2018? It’s unconfirmed, but the enigmatic crooner took to Tumblr to tease: “I made the album before 30. I just aint put that bitch out!” Ocean turned 30 this past October, so his comment suggests he’s got a new record ready to go. Earlier this week, the “Chanel” singer followed up with another Tumblr post, this time with a photo of a person wearing a green hat that reads, “IF YOU LIKED 2017, YOU’LL LOVE 2018.” Given his four new tracks in 2017 and a guest appearance on Calvin Harris’ “Slide,” we’re hoping he’s ready to bless us with a full-length sooner than later.