Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard.com Pop Shop Podcast, Billboard’s weekly audio breakdown of the Billboard charts, hottest music news and year’s biggest musical events. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard.com senior editor Katie Atkinson every Tuesday on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes (click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
On the latest show, we welcome special guest RuPaul! The Emmy Award-winning host of RuPaul’s Drag Race called in to talk about the finale of the ninth season of his reality competition series, which airs Friday on VH1. In the finale, the season’s final four competitors (Shea Couleé, Peppermint, Trinity Taylor and Sasha Velour) will vie for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar and a cash prize of $100,000.
“The fans should know, especially the young ones, that we do this as a labor of love,” RuPaul tells Billboard. “We are celebrating the art of drag, which is to be celebrated, because it means much more than just putting on sparkly clothes and wigs and dancing around. It really does exemplify what we as humans are really doing on this planet, which is experiencing life and using all the colors and crayons.”
The Billboard chart-topping diva/singer/actor says the show serves as a reminder that “you can be the architect of your life.”
“It’s not about changing your costume,” RuPaul says, “but also understanding your own limitations and pushing yourself and breaking down those walls that, a lot of times, we put up ourselves — not just society. We’ve upheld these walls that really don’t need to be there. So I’m proud of that, with our show, and hopefully we’ll get to do a lot more of that throughout the years.”
The mogul also teases the “streamlined” finale and talks about the season’s drama-filled reunion episode (which aired June 16). “We got the real dirt, the real tea, from the queens — without an audience present,” RuPaul says of the reunion, “so they were able to rehash and come to terms with what happened over the season with one another.”
During the reunion, there was a heated discussion focusing on an eliminated contestant, Valentina, and how her passionate fans attacked the other contestants online following her dismissal from the show.
“This season, Valentina was very, very popular,” RuPaul says, “but when she was eliminated from the competition, her fans became really vicious. It’s like, ‘No, no, no, hon,’ we’re doing this out of love and we love all the other girls. There’s no need to get nasty.’”
In addition to our chat with RuPaul, we discuss news about JAY-Z’s upcoming new album 4:44, Selena Gomez’s new video for “Bad Liar,” Katy Perry’s third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Witness, Justin Bieber’s 34th (!) top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and how Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie return to the Billboard 200’s top 40 with their new collaborative album.
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