On the Friday (April 17) episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the queens of season 12 did their best Gwyneth Paltrow impressions to present their very own wellness products to the faux lifestyle brand Droop. North Carolina star Heidi N. Closet wowed the judges, earning her very first challenge win.
But for New York star Jan and dancing diva Widow Von’Du, the challenge proved to be much more difficult, landing them both in the bottom two. The two were tasked with performing to Chaka Khan’s “This is My Night” in front of the Queen of Funk herself. Widow managed to prove that “Ain’t Nobody” was going to beat her in this lip sync, therefore eliminating Jan from the competition.
Just after her elimination aired, Jan tells Billboard that she’s feeling “sad but overall grateful” for her time on the show, as short-lived as it may have been. What’s been most overwhelming, she says, has been seeing the massive swell of fan support for her, especially following what viewers have deemed her snub in the Madonna Rusical.
“It was completely overwhelming,” she says of watching fans tweet #JusticeForJan after the episode aired. “I knew some people would be upset, but I didn’t think it would be to this magnitude. I was hopeful that I’d win and, to see people with the same mindset, it was very validating.”
Outside of the show, however, Jan has made sure to establish her brand as a singer: Every week that she has been on the show, the star has released her own cover of the week’s lip-sync song in a series she calls “Jan’s Jukebox,” complete with fully realized music videos, often directly mimicking the artists’ original videos themselves.
“My favorite part of my drag is when I get to share my singing voice, and this was the best way to do it week after week,” she explains. “The songs for this season were incredible, which made working on this project even more fun.”
To celebrate her time on Drag Race, Jan curated a playlist for Billboard, which she says will hopefully get people singing their hearts out, even in quarantine. “It’s inspired by the songs I listen to when I’m in a good mood and want to dance, when I’m in a bad mood and need a pick-me-up, or when I am working the stage,” she says. “The one thing you can guarantee is that you will be belting it out to these iconic pop songs.”
Check out Jan’s playlist below, and see what she has to say about each track.
Ariana Grande, “Into You”
This is the greatest song of all time: Not up for debate! This gay anthem deserved better from the entire population, but the queers have adopted this song and deemed this a pop anthem. It is my favorite song ever.
Dua Lipa, “Physical” & “Don’t Start Now”
Dua has done it again with her new album Future Nostalgia. I thought “Don’t Start Now” was the hit of the new decade until I heard “Physical,” and now they both coexist as the HBICs of pop right now. This whole album is a work of art, and I highly recommend streaming it.
“Julie” from Oscar at the Crown!
The Neon Coven is a queer-based theater company that loves to perform theater in non-traditional spaces! This song is from the show and is so intense, powerful, and genius! It’s amazing to bop, workout to, and belt along to!
The Pussycat Dolls, “React”
I have LOVED performing this number recently in my Digital Drag Shows! Nothing like whipping my hair, pretending I’m dancing on a wet, cold chair but feeling HOT as hell.
Whitney Houston, “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay (Thunderpuss Mix)”
This is one of the greats. It’s a drag staple, the ultimate post-breakup self-empowerment anthem, and overall banger.
Lady Gaga, “Judas”
Gaga is my ultimate diva, and as a gay male who went to an all-boys Christian High School, this song was my guiltiest pleasure. I won’t deny I’ve shown up late to school with this song blasting in my Honda Civic. Gaga has liberated me in so many ways and has influenced the drag artist I am today immensely, but the haunting ’80s production and imagery made for one of my favorite music videos of all time.
Rihanna, “Only Girl”
Besides being a major business mogul, fans might be shocked to find out that the creator of Fenty Beauty was also a pop star! On the real though, I love Rihanna and cannot wait for new music from her. However, in the meantime, I listen to this timeless anthem to hold me over.
Missy Elliot, “Lose Control”
I really don’t need to say much about this one. If you know, you know.