RuPaul’s Drag Race: WHO WILL WIN SEASON 7?
GINGER MINJ vs PEARL vs VIOLET CHACHKI
Let’s just say this right now: RuPaul’s Drag Race season seven has been rather … controversial. The beauty of Drag Race is that even when it’s not operating at its best, it’s still an immensely entertaining show. It’s the kind of zeitgeisty TV production that brings people out to bars for viewing parties, or gives you a reason to invite all your friends over for dinner and drinks. We’ll talk about what this season got right (and wrong) in a minute, but let’s start off with the most important part.
Next week is the finale. We’ve got three queens who could potentially walk away with $100,000 and the title of America’s Next Drag Super Star. So, who’s going to end up winning this thing? The final decision will be made by RuPaul, but we can at least take a look at the numbers and make an educated guess. So without further ado, let’s read these bitches.
The case for Ginger
Out of the final three, Ginger has been the most consistently well-performing. Even when she was safe, the judges were pretty receptive to her, and her reviews have been pretty stellar. She’s shown a wider array of talents, from singing to acting to lipsynching to comedy and hosting, and crowning her would make her the first big girl to take the crown.
The case against Ginger
Ginger has a pretty limited frame of reference when it comes to her looks, and it’s shown in the design challenges. But that’s not her biggest weakness. Her biggest detriment is that (and this could be 100% wrong) what she says to her competitors faces and what she says when they’re not there are very different. To paraphrase the Witch from Into The Woods, she’s not good, she’s not bad, she’s just nice, and that’s cost her a lot of fan support. Anyone can be nice, but if Ginger wants to win, she’ll have to show her kindness.
The case for Pearl
Ru loves a girl who shows growth in her season, and Pearl has shown more growth than anyone else this season. Despite a slow start, Pearl picked herself up and used her natural wit to put herself back in the running, pushing herself in situations that weren’t particularly her forte. It also doesn’t hurt that Pearl has become this season’s reigning meme queen.
The case against Pearl
While she’s shown growth, Pearl still has some more growing to do. Pearl has an incredible wit, but she still has a bit of ways to go when it comes to performance. We saw her break out of her shell in the video challenge, but she’s going to have to continue even further down that path if she wants to be called America’s Next Drag Superstar.
The case for Violet
Violet may be the single most fashionable queen to ever appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and considering Raja’s credentials, that’s saying something. Violet has impeccable taste, a protean fashion sense, and a huge pool of references. And unlike her competitors, Violet has never been in the bottom 2 once this season. And like Pearl, she’s shown growth, identifying her lack of social skills and compensating by going out of her way to be a little friendlier.
The case against Violet
While she may have never landed in the bottom two, Violet has a safety problem. Specifically, she’s spent most of the competition squarely in the middle as a safe queen. She started strong and ended strong, but most of the time, she was just safe, and her wins were in large part due to her fashion and design skills. Violet needs to learn to take more risks if she wants to rise to the top of the pack.
And now, let’s talk about S7. As a whole. Remember when RuPaul said in the teaser trailer that we had no idea what would happen this year? Well, she wasn’t kidding. Credit where it’s due, Drag Race’s seventh season kept us on our toes, and it’s the first season where a clear winner wasn’t present from the outset. But there’s something to be said about the execution.
In reality TV, the hand of the production team is always present. Reality TV is a TV show first, and a depiction of reality second. If this surprises you… well, you’re probably easily shocked. The problem this season is that we could see the hands working behind the scenes. And I understand why they made that choice: after season six, the criticism of overproduction was becoming louder, and they needed to shake things up.
Now, here’s what they did right: They got more adventurous with the runway themes. Having the queens go naked, bearded, dead, and half-dragged were clever ideas, and it forced the queens to find new and exciting ways to interpret their drag characters. The challenges had the queens pulling cultural references from everyone from John Waters to Hello Kitty to Shakespeare. When Kennedy Davenport did boy drag for the Snatch Game, she actually won the challenge instead of getting unfairly raked over the coals, like Alaska or Milk. And perhaps their biggest coup de grace was the conjoined twins challenge, which took an already fun and clever challenge and doubled the personality in it by bringing back previously eliminated queens. That episode is easily one of the single best episodes in the show’s history.
But if there’s one thing they need to work on for season eight–it’s storytelling. The editors have to somehow create storylines out of chaos, so understandably that’s never easy. But the major problem this season is that the storylines didn’t really make a lot of sense. Between Max’s faux runway meltdown, to Trixie’s constant shafting, and Katya getting cut off at the knees right before the end, it felt like great queens were being sacrificed to the storylines of other queens. An audience is okay with misdirection. They’re okay with being manipulated or lead around by a narrative, but only if the narrative makes sense.
As I said, even if this season wasn’t operating on all cylinders, it was still hugely entertaining. Because of this show, fourteen queens have been able to share their passion with the world, and they get to travel the world and show everyone what they love. Because of this show, people are gathering in bars, in homes, or anywhere else to share in a communal experience. And because of this show, people are actually going out to drag shows again and supporting their local girls. Yes, we can complain about storylines like a bunch of little assholes, but you can’t deny how much this show is opening up the community and creating ties that otherwise wouldn’t exist. The realness got realer, for better or worse.