When it comes to performing the songs in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, actual vocal ability matters less than how well you can sell the material. And while we can’t fully evaluate Laverne Cox’s performance of “Sweet Transvestite” without seeing her do that Frank-N-Furter strut, we now have audio for some snap judgments on Fox’s reinterpretation of the classic, due out next week:
Cox lives in a winking vibrato throughout most of the number, and is not mimicking Tim Curry—who will show up in the reboot as The Criminologist. Case in point: the ways she delivers that drawn out “anticipation.” She hits the “—pation” hard.
It’s a little more obvious than Curry’s slinky whisper, but it’s also more bold. Most of all she’s having fun, which is what she’s going for. “I love that as an artist, I get to be involved with projects that have larger political implications. But at the end of the day, Rocky Horror is a tremendous amount of fun,” she told Vanity Fair, which debuted the track. She also defended the use of the outdated word “transvestite.”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show debuts on Fox October 20.