As Season 10 Sashays Away

I have thoughts about RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 finale. Don’t we all? Do we? Anyway I will get back to THAT final.

I first watched RPDR three-ish years ago, shortly after a whispered discussion about perceived gender in The Thinking Cup, a very lovely café in Belfast, with Abbye, when Abbye somehow sheepishly admitted to watching it and recommended it to me. (Coincidentally, we then went on such a funny Segway tour with a dodgy man in Craigavon, went to a near-rave that night, and I spent the next day throwing up. Different story) Reality TV is not usually my thing, I’m stubbornly refusing to watch Love Island, but season 2 onward was on Netflix, and the rest was her-story.

RuPaul’s Drag Race for those who don’t know, is similar in format to America’s Next Top Model. But RuPaul wants to crown America’s Next Drag Superstar. 12 queens are chosen from thousands, enter the work room, do mini and maxi challenges each week, ‘slay’ looks and ‘turn it out.’ Generally one Drag Queen is eliminated every week, after the bottom two queens ‘lipsync for their lives.’

But, it is the most entertaining show in the world. First of all, I am fascinated how these gay men (always gay, as far as I have seen) often manly, sometimes not, transforming themselves into the most beautiful queens. Like, they are so much more beautiful than me! And I’m a real woman. My only drag Queen connotations were of square jawed men in wigs, something comical, not REALLY giving the allusion of femininity. I think I have a real interest in gender, and society’s relationship to it. This really is a beautiful experiment with/ representation of gender.

RuPaul calls the contestants his girls, and always by their stage name even when they are dressed in their usual me’s clothes in in the work room. They call each other GURL and bitch, and refer to RuPaul as Mama Ru. Fascinating.

Also, the catchphrases are to die for, hunty.

RuPaul Andre Charles, 57 is an amazing figure. Original Supermodel of the World (1993-1997) American Drag Queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter and author. Since 2009 he has created and hosted RuPaul’s Drag Race. He’s a very smart business man. I notice things like, at the end of every episode, after the losing contestant has ‘sashayed away’ the remaining queens are invited to dance briefly to whatever Ru’s newest single is. They use the same track throughout each new season. He is like the oracle, the viewer always agrees with his critiques and decisions, and although he has fellow judges, the final decision is always his, or hers! to make.

There’s so much humanity. There’s been heartbreaking confessions onstage, but mostly heartfelt discussions in the work room, when the queens are preparing for the runway, candid admissions while pritt-sticking their eyebrows (!) and contouring their unique and colourful faces. There are tears and feelings. It’s laugh out loud funny, impressive and thoughtful. Sometimes it’s dramatic-emotional but it’s all good. It’s a celebration of being different and expressing yourself. RuPaul is really doing his part for LGBT+ inclusivity and equality.

My sister laughs at me watching, gasping at ‘the shade of it all’ the mesmerising lip syncs and the judge’s critiques. There are so many good traditions:

  • Lip sync for your life!
  • Snatch Game
  • Reading is Fundamental/The Library is Open
  • Everyone loves puppets
  • Lipstick mirror goodbyes

After watching in horror at Trump winning the election, comedian John Oliver said “I watched 5 back-to-back episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It was the version of America that I wanted to live in, rather than the one that was unfolding in history.”

Anyway, now finally for the ***SEASON 10 FINAL SPOILERS*** look away if you have avoided them so far.

Just between us squirrel friends, what do you think?

I had the feeling Aquaria was going to win. She’s very talented and very confident. She was even quite likeable in the end up. I really didn’t want Eureka to win, she’s just so different of a person to me, and I can’t relate to her. Also, although a big introvert myself, there was something about Kameron that didn’t sit right with me as we neared the end of the season. There’s introverted and there’s rude, sometimes.

But Asia O’Hara! I really liked this older, talented Queen and her kindness and standing up for weaker contestants, or misunderstood queen’s was very impressive. She almost ruined her chances early on by spending too much time helping the other contestants. She is wise and so likeable. She was really funny too. I voted for her on twitter (first time I have been able to as Netflix is uploading episodes weekly now!) but she had a huge disappointment.

From Butter face to Butterfly gate. Oh Asia! Releasing live butterflies from your huge pretend bosoms under those stage lights while dancing frantically. She said she sought expert advice for months… I don’t know how anyone thought that was a good idea. It also makes me sad that all this year’s finalists were desperately trying to match Sasha Velour’s amazing rose petal reveal from last year’s final. Eureka had 3 mad outfits one under the other. 3. Also even Aquaria maybe won because of her firework and confetti bursts. It shouldn’t be about the reveals and props. And Asia suffered. (The butterflies didn’t fly… she was panicking on stage) And she was accused of cruelty to animals/insects? I felt so sorry for her! I think Kameron and Aquaria did the best lip syncs.

Thanks for reading as I basically man-splained RuPaul’s Drag Race. I really love it and all it stands for.

And remember, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Can I get an Amen up in here?

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