‘Legendary’ MC Dashaun Wesley on Bigger, Bolder Season 2

Not even a worldwide pandemic may cease the Legendary ball from rolling. HBO Max’s dazzling vogue competitors is again for Season 2, and it’s larger than ever. There’s no viewers this time round attributable to COVID security protocols, however that one limitation hasn’t stopped the present from utterly leveling up. The stage is grander, the lights are brighter, the productions are bolder—and all of those homes rise to each epic class.

At the middle of the proceedings is emcee extraordinaire Dashaun Wesley, who now acts because the present’s sole guiding power. And that’s a tall order, what with so many personalities in impact between the performers and the judges. Wesley’s a voguing legend in his personal proper, so he is aware of all ballroom tradition in and out. When Wesley speaks, everybody listens.

With Legendary’s second season presently unfolding week-to-week on HBO Max, Wesley checked in with Decider and spilled on the present’s sophomore season, filming and not using a crowd, and the evolution of his very important position on this fierce collection.

Decider: Legendary Season 2 was filmed with out an viewers attributable to COVID. Can you are feeling that change on set, and the way has it impacted the present?

Dashaun Wesley: Well, it did take away the dynamic of what we’re used to with regards to ballroom, as a result of a crowd is like our 5 hour power, as a result of for those who’re doing one thing good, they will hype you up and also you get actually excited. I’m actually not too turned off by not having an viewers this season, solely as a result of it will get slightly intimate now. You now get to see the homes head on and get to see and really feel how they’re transferring. Yes, it takes away a number of the vibe of it, however nonetheless, you concentrate slightly bit extra when the gang will not be there.

Legendary - 7 Deadly Sins ball
Photo: HBO Max

The present additionally moved out to Los Angeles.

Yes, sure we did.

The new set is so big. I can’t even inform that there’s no viewers more often than not as a result of the brand new set is so grand, so spectacular. What’s it like being on that new set?

The Season 1 to Season 2—when seasons preserve going, all the time the subsequent one’s gotta be nice. But child, I believe the lighting crew, the manufacturing, govt producers simply knew what this crew was able to. And since we didn’t haven’t any viewers, why not kick up the lights and kick up the stage and make it larger and are available to California? Because that is what [ballroom culture is] recognized for doing. We go from state to state and have these occasions. So California was good—and the lights are so fabulous.

Legendary Season 2 - Hollywood ball
Photo: HBO Max

Not solely the lights, however the huge video wall and the best way it interacts with lights and the costumes and props. Every efficiency feels prefer it’s happening in a very totally different house, time, actuality, all that. When you’re filming, does the scope of all of it ever hit you? Like, “I cannot believe we’re doing this.”

It hits me as quickly as I dress and go on the stage, and I’m on the brink of begin every little thing for the judges and about to begin the ball. You obtained the lights, then I’m in my outfits, and there’s so many cameras in every single place and the homes are getting ready and prepared. So it’s slightly little bit of a cool, cute adrenaline rush. But it feels so fabulous. You really feel good, look good, sound good, so why not be good?

Your position has developed since Season 1, too. Last yr, Jameela Jamil was sort of a co-host/decide. Now in Season 2, she’s strictly a decide and you’ve got management.

One factor with regards to Season 1, that was our trial run. That was our time to determine how we will convey our group out to an area [on television]. I had the nice alternative to have Jameela assist me out and educate me on this course of, as I stepped up as a whole, full host on a tv present—after which I’m representing my group as properly. So, having a possibility to share with Jameela to start with was wonderful. She taught me a lot. She went out of her means to ensure I knew so much and he or she helped me within the course of. Now, for Season 2, now that the position has been good and I did my work and my apply? Oh yeah, it’s time for me to sit down and do the Dashaun-isms to ensure all of it seems fabulous.

Legendary Season 2, Dashaun Wesley emceeing
Photo: HBO Max

The format of the present has additionally developed. For occasion, the judges now rating every group publicly and you need to preserve monitor of which home has the very best ranking. How has that modified the present?

We now have the chance to make a number of issues seen. Scores wasn’t a factor we have been doing visibly final season, however this season is nice as a result of now, people who find themselves again at residence who don’t perceive perceive the scoring course of, or didn’t perceive why an individual obtained that rating, now you get to see it publicly. Now the judges are telling you what they’re giving them. This implementation is one thing that works out so properly as a result of individuals have questions. I really feel like everybody again at house is their very own particular person decide, since you discover issues that you simply do like. And for those who’re watching this present with individuals, somebody could have a special liking to one thing that you could be like, or possibly you didn’t like one thing that another person does. So it places it in full debate mode.

In Season 1, the judges had a crowd to cope with. If they threw shade at a home, the gang would allow them to know the way they felt. Without a crowd round, do you assume that emboldens the judges to both be extra constructive and even harsher now that they know they don’t should take care of boos?

If the gang was round, such as you mentioned, you’re right. When one thing didn’t go proper, then we knew the gang would boo. But now the judges are doing all of the work for the gang. The judges like to go at it with each other. It’s so enjoyable, as a result of you’ve got the chance to see that camaraderie backwards and forwards with one different. The judges—I’m unsure what kind of 5 hour power they’re on, however they’re on one thing.

Legendary Season 2 judges
John P. Johnson/HBO Max

With lots of actuality competitors exhibits, you see lots of turnover with the judges and hosts, particularly within the early seasons. That’s not the case with Legendary. The total band is again collectively, constructing on the strong basis of Season 1. How has that continuity helped Season 2?

Sometimes what we’ve got to do with the intention to make this group so acquainted [to audiences] is ensure that individuals have an thought of who’s doing what, as a result of [the ballroom] group is full of 1000’s and 1000’s of individuals. So how will we make that work? It’s placing personalities in there. You have an icon like a Leiomy [Maldonado], and you’ve got a Grammy winner like Megan [Thee Stallion], you’ve got a Top Sylist of the Year like Law [Roach], and you’ve got wonderful Jameela. You can’t change that. And I believe even on this season, they educated themselves much more to the purpose the place they’re mentioning sure conditions that I’m even gagged and shocked about once they point out.

And you’re an skilled! This is your world!

It’s lovely and stunning once you hear Megan say like, “I didn’t like that catwalk because the hands wasn’t clean.” And I’m like, “Oh, wow. Okay! All right. That’s what’s up. Tell him, tell him.”

Legendary Season 2, Dashaun Wesley on stage
John P. Johnson/HBO Max

As the emcee, you don’t actually get to chime in along with your sizzling takes on the homes. Do you ever really feel the urge to drop the mic and be like, “I give that a 10. Let me set y’all straight”? 

Well, I’m what I name the ringleader of all of it. I obtained my high hat, my large whip—and if I obtained to drag the whip and unravel it and simply crack it within the air a number of occasions, I don’t thoughts doing that. But I nonetheless have to ensure every little thing is working as a result of not solely am I being attentive to the judges, I be certain that the digital camera angles is sweet, ensuring I’m saying the proper phrases, that the opponents are going on key and issues are transferring in an accord. This is why you need to have a persona as an emcee. You simply can’t go in and assume you’ll be able to simply do it.

You’re additionally a voguing legend. How robust is the urge to get within the combine and carry out with these homes when you’re on the mic?

Oh, my gosh—all through the entire night time, each episode when the homes go on that stage, and if the home does a great efficiency, you’ll be able to see how excited me and Leiomy get typically. Because we’re like, oh my god, I really feel myself being in that efficiency simply now. I want I may drop the mic and simply soar with you guys. These homes put together a lot, and I believe due to the pandemic and we filmed throughout throughout COVID and the conditions, this introduced the homes nearer collectively to work more durable with each other. So because of this the execution of this season is so stern, however so good.

Legendary Season 2, Dashaun Wesley voguing
Photo: HBO Max

It actually is a testomony to the ability and athleticism and creativity of all these performers, as a result of a few of these homes shaped throughout quarantine!

Yes, sure.

That is simply completely outstanding.

I’ll let you know this: one factor about us, about our tradition, our group, you can not cease the scene from transferring. Even throughout COVID, we have been nonetheless on tv having a ball. We discovered methods to have digital balls as properly. So there was no stopping us as a group. We discovered artistic methods like we all the time do.

New episodes of Legendary Season 2 premiere on HBO Max on Thursdays.


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