The Real Winners of 'Drag Race' Season Ten
Butterfly conservation charities are sure to see an uptick in donations after the final episode.
Miss Vanjie image via VH1. Other images via Creative Commons
Yes, we all watched Aquaria take home a well-deserved crown last night after doing a pointy boob reveal in a body suit that made her look like one of the spiny koopas from Mario, then an encore where she slayed Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” with some magic sparkles and a few glitter cannons.
She earned that crown with every damn lewk this season and is the real future of drag. But is she the real winner of this season? I think not. Here are the others who might not have taken the crown but walked away from season ten as victors.
Kameron Michaels did not deserve to be in the final four. How many times can she do the splits, drag herself across the floor sexily, stand up, and then repeatedly pat her puss like a veterinarian doing a tick inspection? Apparently a million. She certainly did not belong in the final lip sync melee against Eureka and Aquaria. Even when she made it, all she did was spin out of her dress to reveal another dress underneath. Good job. But we will never be able to take being in the finals away from her. Just like we can never tell Donald Trump he wasn’t president even though he got there under the shadiest of circumstances, we’ll never be able to tell Kameron that she was not a finalist. That, ladies and gentleman, is a victory.
After seeing what Asia O’Hara did to some poor live butterflies during her first performance, organizations that look after the care and migration of assorted butterfly species should see a sharp rise in donations. During her lip sync against Kameron you could tell she was trying to pull a stunt that didn’t quite come off. Presumably, she'd planned to open her boobs and have butterflies come out, but instead they just dropped plopped to the stage, like Oogie Boogie at the end of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Then she had gross saggy boobs to lip sync with the whole time.
Indisputably no one has been made more famous this season than Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, who turned one episode on this show into an international cultural moment. She is by far the most recognizable of the queens this season, and the crowd gave her a huge standing ovation when she was introduced at the finale. She'll probably be back for season 11, but let’s see if she can turn being a meme into a career. Maybe she can call up Keyboard Cat and Damn Daniel for some advice.
Discussions About Race
Say what you want about The Vixen, but she got all of these queens talking about race, both at large and in the drag community. Last season Kennedy Davenport lamented that the lines at her meet and greets aren’t as long as the white queens, but this season The Vixen took it to the next level. When arguing with Aquaria and Eureka, right or wrong, she spotlighted how people of color are treated differently in this country, sometimes unconsciously. While RuPaul’s “we were all rooting for you” moment at the reunion was more about how to deal with anger, Ru facing off against Asia was about how black queens should deal with the added pressures they face. Thanks to The Vixen—who raised a black power fist at the finale—many people may now be a little bit more clued in as to how race affects everything in this country, even reality television competitions.
There have been a lot of super fans as judges during the ten seasons of this show, but none was more insightful, hilarious, or engaged as the Girls star. She even went back to chill with the queens during Untucked. When Christina Aguilera did it in the first episode, it was to let the queens adore her. But Lena went backstage because she wanted to meet these people and learn all about them. Give this girl a post Drag Race talk show already.
The Mini Challenges
One of the few good things about this show going to a 90-minute format is that each week we got to see a mini challenge as well as the full runway action. These were usually when the queens reminded us that this was created as a camp parody and still is. Whether the game was sitting on things to identify them, dressing up as straight dudes, or decorating pancakes (yes, even decorating pancakes) these were always a respite from a competition that some are starting to take a little bit too seriously.
I have never seen a more superior feat of structural engineering in my life.
Sasha’s roses wig lip sync is still one of the top moments of the series and, this season, no one was able to top it. Asia and Aquaria tried, but neither has the command of performance theory (or the ability to execute it) like Sasha. Then she sashayed out dressed as a glitter alien Eve complete with a ruby snake and a bedazzled apple and reminded us all why she was crowned queen in the first place.
The celebration of the ten years of Drag Race wasn’t so much about the show as it was about its host. The queens from season one and season ten lip synced to a medley of her dance songs that we all somehow know all the words to even if we never once consciously listened to any of them. The biggest reception of the night, even bigger than Miss Vanjie’s, was the one for RuPaul herself. She even got a benediction from Oprah Winfrey, the secular goddess herself. It’s just a reminder that we tuned in to crown a new queen for the season, but no one will ever be bigger than Ru.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.