RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7 - Roviewed
Somewhere between Michelle Visage’s sense of humour bypass and whatever funding disaster befell the Untucked set, RuPaul’s Drag Race lost its way this season.
All essential elements – wigs, lip-syncs, confused Mel B cameo – were there, sure, but judging by the endless threads of Reddit griping I wasn’t the only one pining for the Raja/Sharon/Bianca glory days. Hell, by the end of that Hello Kitty ball catastrophe I’d have welcomed Boxxxy Mandrews back with open arms.
It didn’t bode well when the premiere slipped back from January and only resurfaced well into spring.
Initial, more optimistic readings of the situation (“they couldn’t possibly have it clash with Michelle’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother! In a different country!!”) gave way to darker rumblings about production problems, a theory later bolstered by some of the patchy editorial botchjobs. Multiple eyerolls reused, passing glances misappropriated… and not a single coherent contestant narrative to be found.
Forget Michelle’s lack of lols and whatever the producers were on. I’d wager it was the loss of Santino that properly pushed the show off kilter. With no attempted fashion critique from the panel, the runway segment was all but redundant; a 10 minute glittery swirl with no bearing on what was about to happen.
Week on week, a mildly amusing stint in yet another group acting challenge would forgive even the most heinous looks. Ginger’s BEAR ONESIE? Wonderful! Kennedy’s FUCKED DEAD CHICKEN THING? Polite laughter. But oh dear Max you were a bit weak in Snatch game so your sartorial A-gaming to date is rendered null and void, forever. BYE.
The finale aired in the States last night so the results are out there if you'd rather skip all the above and just get on with hashtagging #Santino4Season8 like me. But hey, now I've put you off watching any of it why don't I bore you with what I make of the final 3?
Age: 29, though from the way she talks about her old lady gang you’d think she was 65.
Number of wins: 3
Times in lip-sync: 2
Best moment: N/A
Worst moment: Her gross "let's throw Violet and Pearl under the bus but ps. love you Kennedy" speech in the ball episode.
Better than Darienne Lake: No.
Even by Ru's confused, shifting standards this season, Ginger's inclusion in the final 3 is deeply baffling. As Bianca Del Rio proved last year it's perfectly possible to bypass the need for interesting silhouettes and ever doing something new with your hair if you're fucking funny. Ginger is as unfunny as her sewing ability; the constant side-eyeing and sniping coming from a place of bitterness and insecurity rather than hilarity.
Granted she performed well during the neverending onslaught of acting challenges, but enough to merit a win? I don't think so. Anyone can be funny if you stick them in a paddling pool, bad wig and pelt them with eggs, and her unwarrantedly lauded Adele impression was the definition of safe (“I'm fat! And eating! And Enngerlishhh.”)
I don't like Ginger, can you tell?
Pre-social media backlash I'd expected a win for the Minj. Now it all comes down to how much attention Ru actually pays to Instagram.
10th, out instead of Kandy Ho for that lolworthy bear onesie. Bitch, I basically have that in my non-drag-occasional-blogger-normal-human-male wardrobe. Only it's a dinosaur. And cuter.
Number of wins: 2
Times in lip-sync: 2
Best moment: Big Ang in Snatch Game. She should have been the joint-winner alongside Kennedy.
Worst moment: Being pressured to disclose something that sounded horribly like a history of childhood abuse on the mainstage by an unblinking RuPaul.
Better than Alaska: No.
Pearl's a real sweetheart. Given that 70% of her time on screen was taken up by nonsense about her "sleeping" through the show (she has a deep voice and hooded eyes, get over it RuPaul), there's a real sense of justice to see her in the final. She paints amazingly, is on the funnier end of the admittedly bleak Season 7 spectrum, and that serpent look on some episode or another? Amazing.
As much as I fancy her out of drag, it's obvious Pearl still has a way to go yet (Exhibit A: that lip-sync technique, Exhibit B: her Hello Kitty blanket). Not my winner but a worthy finalist.
2nd. Do we even find out who comes 2nd and 3rd? I should have probably found that out before writing this, huh.
Age: 22 Number of wins: 3 Times in lip-sync: 0 Best moment: That turning-the-black-thing-inside-out-omg-it's-tartan runway. Worst moment: Having to wait until Santino's guest judge appearance to get the slightest morsel of praise from the panel. Better than Raja: No
Violet was the most obvious victim of the new, sewing-free regime chez RuPaul. After her episode 1 victory another 8 weeks went by before she got even the most begrudging of compliments out of Michelle Visage and co, despite serving up some of the show's most elaborate and jaw-dropping looks.
Producers clearly didn't know quite what to do with her either. She had the kind of edit normally reserved for mid-season departing villains; stomping around over the other queens like the joyless hatechild of Willam and Phi Phi O'Hara. Even when the redemption arc half-heartedly kicked in somewhere near the end it was by no means obvious Violet would make it this far.
I like her a lot. She's fierce, confident, and approached the acting challenges with at least some modicum of enthusiasm, which is more than can be said of Ginger and her "waaaah I can't dance", "waaaaah I can't sew" routines. On balance, I think Violet should probably win. Largely for not being Ginger.
1st, if only to make up for a bollocks season full of shitty group acting challenges. I'm guessing they were even more painful to be in than they were to watch.