It turns out reading isn’t the only thing that’s fundamental; correct pronunciation is, too. RuPaul gave everyone an unexpected diction lesson on a recent episode of Drag Race, causing scores of viewers to come to the realization they’ve been pronouncing a certain pop star’s name wrong for years. While tons of fans were already in the know, Tove Lo’s Drag Race appearance finally taught so many of her non-Swedish fans how to correctly pronounce her name.
While Tove Lo has been a mainstay on the radio and pop charts in America for a decade, chances are most American fans are saying her name totally wrong. Be honest — when “Habits (Stay High)” first came out back in 2013, you totally thought Tove Lo was pronounced with two long “o”s, right? (Like, Tōve Lō.) Well, that’s actually way off, and many people didn’t realize it until RuPaul used a totally different pronunciation on the June 17 episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7. When introducing her as the week’s special quest judge, Ru said her name like “Too-vay Lu.”
Canada’s Drag Race Season 2 contestant Eve 6000 posted the clip in bewilderment, which prompted Tove Lo herself to confirm Ru’s pronunciation was correct.
In fact, Ru actually over-pronounced the first part of her name, putting too much emphasis on the “To-VAY.” In Tove’s music video for her 2017 hit “Disco Tits,” the pop star breaks down the pronunciation for a skeezy muppet talk-show host, affirming that it’s said like “Tu-vah Lu.”
This isn’t the first time Drag Race has schooled viewers on commonly mispronounced celebrity names. Back when All Stars 2 premiered in 2016, Ru famously introduced guest judge Raven-Symoné by emphasizing the accent mark in her last name, saying it like “Sim-own-YAY.” He was clearly aware most people didn’t say her name that way, because wight afterwards he exclaimed, “That’s how you say it!” And Raven confirmed it from the judges’ panel, responding “It’s true.”
So the next time you stumble across a celebrity name that you’re not sure how to say, just hold out hope that they’ll be a Drag Race guest judge, because clearly Mama Ru knows her syllables.