Yes, “Finales,” plural. Since season one, I have had mixed feelings about the final result of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since casting has begun for season four next year, I am still wondering why this year’s finale and choice for “America’s Next Drag Superstar” has bothered me.
Don’t get me wrong. I thought Raja “Gemini” would make a fine Drag Superstar. In fact, this year’s top three (Alexis Mateo, Raja and Manila Luzon) I felt each one of them would have worn the crown proud and with dignity.
My question is: Why does Ru even bother to have a final “lip sync for your LIFE” if she has already figured out who has won?
Each season, you knew out of the top three who she would pick. It was predictable. And especially since I still cry foul over season two (Yes, I know I need to get over the fact that my girl Pandora Boxx was sent home unceremoniously early), I realized that I always knew who RuPaul would choose at the end, whether that particular queen deserved it or not.
Let’s go back to Season One. Season One winner, Bebe Zahara Benet, was a classy, dignified and very beautiful drag artist. First runner up, Nina Flowers, however, demonstrated in every single challenge that she certainly has the four qualities — Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent — that was supposed to the be-all end-all for the next drag superstar. Heck, Nina never even had to lip sync for her life that whole season! Yet, in the final lip sync, while Bebe and Nina (who became good friends through the competition) played off one another and neither one of them really stood out, it was clear that it was just for show and that RuPaul has already made up her mind who had won.
It was then I realized that Ru doesn’t like to choose a queen who may potentially steal her thunder. Choosing Nina meant another more over-the-top queen may have taken her “Supermodel of the World” crown, although she had been hand-selected by the master (mistress?) herself.
We even discussed in the RuPaul fan forums at Facebook about how in the crucial competition (The Girl Fighter challenge) where Bebe’s lip sync performance sent home fan favorite Ongina, that it was Ongina who had the better lip sync and that Bebe was just doing the theatrics.
It seems like after that, in subsequent seasons, that Ru realized this and made up for that oversight (most notably in the lip sync between Morgan McMichaels and Sonique in Season Two).
Moving right along, in Season Two, I felt the queens who were in the top three were all wrong. Except for Raven, who had won two crucial lip syncs for your life and was a phoenix who rose from the ashes and deserved to be in the top three, I can say that Juju and Tyra Sanchez were questionable for the top three. Barring all of that, after it was clear Juju wasn’t cut out (she never won a challenge and had to lip sync for her life several times), who DIDN’T know that Tyra wouldn’t be chosen? No, the judges loved her and the drama that surrounded her character. It was like she was rewarded for bad behavior. Of course, like I said, I was disappointed Pandora was sent home, when it was evident she was MUCH stronger than Tatianna and Jujubee.
Then in Season Three, like I said, I wouldn’t and didn’t have a problem with whoever was chosen out of those top three because they were all well-deserved. However, again, I ask, why even bother to have the final lip sync, we all knew Raja was going to win.
So for Season Four, I feel like RuPaul and the judges need to up the proverbial ante here. Have the final lip sync. But make the last challenge more interesting. Each of the final challenges have surrounded the making of a video for a new RuPaul single. That’s fine, I get that Ru needs to promote her own stuff on the show. But instead of just having the girls prance around when you know who she has chosen already, make the competition more of a competition. Say, “Based on the performance in the final challenge, So-and-So will stay.” Have the two queens who didn’t win immunity do a mini-lip sync, and send the “loser” of that one home.
The queen who gets immunity now lip syncs against whoever won the final lip sync off. See? I think I just made the final challenge a lot more interesting.
I wondered why I always felt the final episode was anti-climactic, and I finally figured it out. Not only do I already know who RuPaul will choose, but the final competition isn’t even interesting! I like watching the taping and making of the music video, but the final two aren’t even chosen based on their final challenge. It’s more of an accumulation of what they’ve done in the past. I can understand that, but by that reasoning, other queens should not have been sent home because they had great competitions. In order for me to be truly behind next season, I think that something needs to change in the voting process.
It’s beyond stupid that I am still thinking about a reality show that has no bearing on me, personally, but it’s bothered me for three weeks, and I wanted to write about it.