RuPaul can't really sing, he's merely an adequate dancer, and his songs are generic dance music at best. What the pop world's most famous cross-dresser does have in abundance is sheer chutzpah, but not even that could save his lackluster set at Billboard Live on Wednesday.
For an artist who revels in the trappings of glitz and glamour--just check out his outrageously over-the-top videos--RuPaul's stage show is shockingly short on pomp. It was an odd sight, indeed, to see RuPaul in all his finery sauntering across a completely barren stage, with only backing tapes to accompany him.
But music was beside the point anyway. After opening the show with a couple of innocuous dance numbers, Ru started working his shtick in a sort of stream-of-consciousness rant that was equal parts soft-porn confession, sermon and infomercial. He shamelessly plugged all manner of RuPaul-related products, and delivered trite homilies along the lines of "Hold on to your dreams." A requisite costume change followed, and Ru returned dressed like a Vegas elf to sing a few uninspiring songs from his new Christmas CD, "Ho, Ho, Ho."
Things took a tawdry turn for the worse when RuPaul invited audience members onstage during his signature song "You Gotta Work" to strut their stuff. If this is all RuPaul has to offer as a live performer, it's time to start thinking about a radical make-over.