I love drag shows almost as much as I love Broadway musicals. Except for the number of cocktails involved, they’re not that different. Costumed performers dance, sing (or lip-sync), and otherwise entertain a live audience.
From the first season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been must-see TV for me. Like live drag shows, it’s cheesy, a little raunchy, and often hilarious. Some seasons have been better than others. Season 10 is the best yet.
Experience helps. The challenges gets better with each season. Thanks to the success of the show, production values have steadily improved too. But what makes the show, of course, is the cast.
Keeping up with who’s who in and out of drag the first few episodes is always a challenge. My vision issues are partially to blame — I have trouble reading captions and onscreen text. Looking dramatically different out of drag and from one look to the next further complicate things.
Some never manage to distinguish themselves — especially when sent home early in the season. Others make an impression right away. Vanessa Mateo, the first to sashay away, became a superstar when her “Miss Vanjie” exit from the stage went viral.
Blair St. Clair‘s penchant for Broadway caught my eye early in the season. The breathtakingly beautiful drag queen looks like she’s maybe 15 out of drag. Her heartbreaking secret about being raped had me sobbing.
The Vixen‘s unresolved anger issues made her an early standout and an odds-on favorite to be sent home for fighting. She wasn’t. Never threw a punch, but raised hell all season.
Four contestants made it to the finale. Among the rest, Miz Cracker and Monet X Change stood out — in part because they were the last two queens to be eliminated. Monet has a great sense of humor and was voted Miss Congeniality by the other contestants.
The reunion that aired the week before the finale is perhaps the best reality show reunion ever. RuPaul’s response to Vixen walking off the set is must-see TV. Yes, she’s beautiful and talented, but the most successful drag queen in the world is also intelligent, compassionate, and incredibly insightful.
The finale was incredible too. Queens onstage and in the audience served gorgeous looks for the occasion. I especially enjoyed the Season 1 and Season 10 casts pairing up to lip-sync a medley of RuPaul’s hit songs.
Asia O’Hara was the first of the final four to be eliminated. If you ask me, her gimmicky costume did her in. I hated to see her go. Her always positive attitude made her my favorite to win.
At the only returning contestant, Eureka O’Hara stood out from the start. She was hilarious as Honey Boo Boo in the Snatch Game episode. I was happy to see her in the final four. She lip-synced her way to a tie, leading to a battle between three finalists.
Despite being in the bottom two more than any competitor in Drag Race history, Kameron Michaels lip-synced her way into the final three. She kept to herself throughout the season and, other than when she performed, never showed much personality. Her undefeated lip-syncing record kept me from ruling her out.
Week after week, Aquaria served up stunning avant-garde looks. As the only finalist to never be in the bottom two, her lip-syncing ability was a mystery going into the finale. Thanks to RuPaul’s insightful mentoring, she morphed from an obnoxious, self-centered brat into a caring and likable person.
The three-way lip-sync battle had me on the edge of my seat. Kameron looked great, but was edged out by Eureka in my opinion. Both outperformed Aquaria, who I thought had blown it with her worst looks of the season.
Shows how much I know. Blame my age and a preference for good old-fashioned drag queens — like Eureka. I’m not at all disappointed. Aquaria represents the future of drag. Sooner or later, I’ll catch up.