Drag Race UK star Ginny Lemon is a long-forgotten X Factor contestant who terrified Simon Cowell

Reiss Smith
·2-min read

Drag Race UK queen Ginny Lemon might look familiar to fans of The X Factor.

Remember The X Factor? The show that gave us Ablisa, OK.com and Cheryl and Treyc Cohen repeating the word “ready” on an endless loop until all that was left was some chestnut brown stennies and the scorched remains of the earth?

Well, there’s another piece of camp iconography you can add to that list: Drag Race UK queen Ginny Lemon’s long-lost (read: widely available on YouTube) audition.

The Worcester queen auditioned for the 2017 series of the show, long after it had lost both Cheryl and its former glory, which is perhaps why she wasn’t instantly catapulted to the top of the A-list like that year’s winner *checks notes* Rak-Su.

She was billed as “Ginny Lemon, human resources, 28”, and when asked by an incredulous Simon Cowell, “Who are you?” replied, without missing a beat, “Ginny Lemon, fancy a slice?”

Dressed in a yellow floral smock and matching beret, Ginny then launched into a haunting, heartfelt rendition of the popular hymn, “Just A Little” by Liberty X.

When it came to the judgement, Simon Cowell struggled for words. “What the hell just happened?” he asked.

Sharon Osbourne noted: “You’re a great visual performer, just need to tone it down.”

Ginny, in blue eyebrows and yellow glasses, was flabbergasted: “Really?”

Despite the judges’ less-than-enthused comments, Ginny sailed through to the next stage of the competition, but sadly didn’t make it past Boot Camp.

Who is Ginny Lemon?

Three-and-a-bit years on, and Ginny Lemon is one of 12 queens vying to become Britain’s next drag superstar in Drag Race UK season two.

The “hairiest woman in showbiz” and “the only non-binary drag queen in the UK… with a sense of humour”, she began her career as a musician going by Lewis Spelt Backwards (Ginny Lemon’s real name is Lewis).

After losing her sister suddenly aged 2016, she began doing a drag as a way of “escaping the grief and to channel that negative energy into something positive,” Ginny told BirminghamLive.

The name Ginny Lemon came because she “had a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a lush back in the day. And when I walked into a bar most people would call me Ginny because I’d always have a gin with a slice of lemon”.

When Ginny was unveiled as part of the Drag Race UK season two cast, she described her look as a “90s daytime TV presenter on acid”, bringing you a “down to earth, working class sense of humour”.

“You’ll get high energy, madness, the unplanned,” she teased.

Drag Race UK season two begins Thursday (14 January) on BBC iPlayer. Read our review here.