Seasons of love?

Valentina’s casting in the live version of ‘Rent’ has divided the musical’s fans

Valentina, Rent

On Jan. 27, 2019, Fox will broadcast a live performance of Rent, an adapted TV version of Jonathan Larson’s 1996 stage musical about scrappy, HIV-positive bohemians trying to make it in New York’s gentrified East Village.

Its cast will include Valentina, the Latinx competitor from Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race who started strong and then went down wordlessly in one of the most shocking lip-sync eliminations of all time. But this casting has some Rent fans feeling divided.

Related: Oops: Fox drops major ‘Drag Race’ spoiler

Foremost, there’s the question of whether Valentina (birth name, James Leyva) can sing and dance well enough to pull off Angel’s energetic opening number, “Today 4 U,” or has the acting chops needed to die tragically in the musical’s second act.

Actor Wilson Jermaine Heredia played Angel Dumott Schunard in the original Broadway production of Rent and the musical’s 2005 film adaptation. His self-righteously upbeat depiction won him a Tony Award.

To see what Valentina has to live up to, let’s re-live Schunard’s performance of “Today 4 U” in the 2005 film Rent.

But beyond the physicality required for the role, some Rent fans just don’t think Valentina is the best choice (and not just because of her infamous reputation after she left Drag Race).

Rather, Rent fans have long argued about whether the character of Angel is a drag queen, gender-fluid or a trans woman. Even though Angel uses both male and female pronouns, in light of the tiresome trend of cisgender actors playing trans roles, some fans would rather a trans or gender-fluid actor play Angel.

Let’s see how some Rent and Valentina fans are reacting on Twitter:

In addition to Valentina, the Rent live cast will include R&B and pop star Mario as Benjamin the yuppie, Vanessa Hudgens as the bisexual upstart Maureen and Jordan Fisher playing the musical’s narrative filmmaker Mark.

But don’t worry. Even if Valentina bombs in Rent live, she may still slay when she appears in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4.