Because it finally (FINALLY) has a winner.
13. Alisa Summers (13th place)
Came, wore a breastplate, went home. Even by RuPaul’s Drag Race first boot standing, Alisa was kind of anonymous. She almost wins points for thinking that “I got caught drunk-driving” was a functional reality tv sob-story. Not even on X Factor Alisa, not even on X Factor.
12. The Princess (11th place)
Came, was bald, went home. To be honest, I was going to place her one spot higher, but then she turned up to the reunion(/clips show redux) and was really bitter, and not even in a fun way like Alexis Matteo or Pandora Boxx were, which just turned me off given that her whole gimmick was how Zen she was. I doubt Lord Buddha would have turned up at RuPaul’s Drag Race Reunion spitting bland invective all “oh, well maybe if I were a big character like fucking SHIVA I might have made it a bit further.” She was also the biggest magnet from this series for “oooh, I really wish such-and-such had gone further, because she had SO MUCH MORE TO SHOW” people, who are the worst. Apart from Delta Work fans.
11. Phi Phi O’Hara (3rd place)
To be honest, Phi Phi is this low, not because of the crappiness of her behaviour, but because of the crappiness of the behaviour that she inspired in others. Sure she was hyper-defensive, pointlessly manipulative, back-stabbing, not particularly exciting or innovative in her drag, and was dragged beyond her abilities by a passively accepting RuPaul. But my goodness how the audience rose to it. Magazine lists declaring her the worst reality tv villain ever (REALLY?), earnest use of that bloody Niemoller “first they came for” quote to describe her behaviour (REALLY?), whole cackling Internet messageboard frots about how much fun it would be if her abusive violent father turned up for the reunion (REALLY?). All for the most obvious “bitch who sucks and comes third” since Rebecca Glasscock. Such a waste of effort. “Go back to Party City, WHERE YOU BELONG!” was kind of epic, but nothing else Phi Phi did was ever really of that much attention, and it saddens me that so much of the series will now forever revolve around her. Ah well.
10. Kenya Michaels (9th place)
That’s right, 9th place, deal with it Drag Race. To be honest, I was about to bump her up a place with the revelation that she is apparently the inspiration for Yara Sofia’s psychotic sex-mad shitting dwarf character from the stand-up challenge last season (and also for facilitating CHARO MADNESS), but really at heart Kenya now just exists to define the pointlessness of the “returning contestant” twist. If she’d left in 9th place, like she was supposed to, and as I will pretend forever, she’d be well regarded so far as early boots go. She was fishy, a high-energy performer, had a fierce bout of the clap (*LIKE A-HIGH-SCHOOL-GYM-CLASS*), and her loss to Jiggly was closely fought. But then Santino and Michelle got it into their heads we wanted more, so back she came, to grab some guy’s dick and get SQUASHED by Latrice. And that was it. I think if you summed up her contribution to that Top 5 episode it’d add up to less than an Alisa Summers. In a series of pointless twists (JUST ANNOUNCE THAT SHARON WON ALREADY), that was the worst. At least Carmen had that weird kai-kai lip-sync with Raja. Also she had a worse Beyonce impression than even Tyra Sanchez, and that’s unforgivable.
9. Madame LaQueer (10th place)
In a series where what it meant to be a plus-sized queen was REDEFINED, I’m not sure I really needed another bout of wailing about sore knees and always being picked last for sports teams. To be fair she’s only this high because Kenya spouting about how he “BROUGHT SHAME TO PUERTO RICO” was hilarious to me to the degree that I wanted to rank her one place higher. On the plus size, Madame was never afraid to be Over The Top, which any series of RuPaul’s Drag Race could always do with more of, especially with space being taken up by The Princess complaining about how other people are daring to be interesting and stuff, the cheats.
8. Lashauwn Beyond (12th place)
I will always love that my lasting memory of a queen who was eliminated for being “too reserved” will be her yelling “BITCH, THIS IS NOT RUPAUL’S BEST FRIEND’S RACE!” in Jiggly’s face.
7. Jiggly Caliente (7th place)
Speaking of which, here’s Jiggly herself. She gets this high, mostly as she did in the series itself, by being an incredibly raw and real force of INCOHERENT EMOTION. Crying, wailing, screaming and crying some more, Jiggly was very much the baby of the group this year, which made it all the more hilarious when I idly checked the wikipedia page for the season and found out that she is thirty years old when I had presumed she was twenty-one at most. (Although the hairline probably should have been a clue). Which fact should make her less sympathetic but which somehow only makes her more amazing. Mostly because at the core of the adolescent wailing was a real desire to grow and apologise for screwing up Snatch Game and learn about Stonewall and to reconcile with her past and to be a serious human being. All at the same time being the same old Jiggly, collapsing into incoherent sobbing on the reunion show about how she thought Phi Phi was her dog man, SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS HER DOG.
6. Chad Michaels (2nd place)
SHOCK BOOT! Mostly because I know that there’s a real wave of warmth towards Chad pre-dating the final, mostly on the back of the whole “Anyone But Phi Phi” vibe of the fanbase, but also on the back of things like professionalism, classiness, and diplomacy. None of which I really have any time for, myself. Don’t get me wrong, I loved almost all of Chad’s outfits, and her wrestler and her infomercial character and her CHER (<3), but I don’t watch the show for people sitting around blowing smoke up everyone’s arse because it’s the easiest way to get through the show and keep themselves sane. It’s kind of boring. Chad was, sadly, to me, kind of boring, as is perhaps exemplified by her having the least draggy name in the history of the show. She’s so classy and professional that absolutely nobody connected with the show, or the drag world, or anywhere is capable of even beginning to think of talking about her negatively, which I should find fascinating in a mafiosi “omerta” kind of way, but which only serves to make her more…slightly boring to me. Still, she’s a Drag Power-Broker, and you have to respect that. And her CHER (<3).
5. Dida Ritz (5th place)
Dida Ritz learning that her mother did love and support her “alternative lifestyle” after all was the second most inspiration moment of the entire series (the most inspirational moment being Latrice’s Kate Walsh realness face in the background the whole time), and really exemplified the upbeat positive fabulousness of Dida Ritz, who made it to 5th place despite looking more like Wesley Snipes in To Wong Foo than any queen on the show has done before. It was an upbeat positive fabulousness in response to never ever ever ever being called in the top group either, which just makes it all the more inspirational. Really, has there ever been a more joyous lip-sync in this show’s history than Dida doing Natalie Cole? No, no there has not.
4. Milan (8th place)
Whilst reeling off my distaste for the prominence of Phi Phi in this series, the most prominent motivation in my mind was a burning sense of injustice. Because there were two far greater villains lurking in the cast who were deprived of deserved attention and notoriety by the Phi-Phi Hate Tsunami. And first of these on the list is Milan, who embodied one of my favourite Drag Race villainy characteristics – sheer naked desperation. Then again, it was a desperation that was even more lovable for being forever on the periphery of the show, hurling out every trick in the book to get itself into the forefront and failing at every turn. Mugging, wig-tossing, cartwheeling, “I AM AN AC-TOR!” delusions of grandeur, Ru-Paul poking (“COLOURED GIRL! WHY YO BASE LOOK LIKE CHALK?” ❤ ❤ <3), indulging in pointless genderfuck so amazing I thought she WAS Janelle Monae, emerging for the Inspirational LGBT Float challenge in a bright yellow cardboard box with “THE MILAN INVASION!” scrawled all over it making “toot toot!” arms, and best of all, the infamous swiffering of the floor with her taint. (I can’t believe people got huffy over that incidentally, given that she was lip-sync’ing to “Trouble” aka the most desperate song in the history of P!nk, which is saying something) (I mean seriously, it’s 3 minutes of her yelling “I’M TROUBLE! I’M TROUBLE! I’M TROUBLE Y’ALL! I’VE GOT TROUBLE! I’M TROUBLE! I MEAN IT! GRRR! TROUBLEY TROUBLE!”) Every series there is a queen I remember with affection(/at all) more than most other people, and Milan can officially join the sadly neglected ranks of Akashia, Sahara Davenport and SLAM with pride (/three death-drops in a row for no earthly reason).
3. Sharon Needles (Winner)
It says a lot that the show produced my favourite of its winners this year, by some distance, and she’s still only my third favourite queen of the whole run. Mostly it says that there were some amazing characters this series and it only makes me more annoyed that it got overrun by Phi Phi. But that’s by the by, because this entry is about recognising the weary spooky brilliance of Sharon Needles, who embodied the whole “when in doubt, freak em out” message far better than Raja did last year when she bolted it on the in the last episode to seem sympathetic. Sharon was by far the most outre and daring dresser of the series and whilst it did sometimes border on the costumey…what amazing costumes. Witch, devil, goth, post-apocalyptic mutant, political consultant, plastic surgery victim, Michelle Visage, Little Edie, drag Elvis, zombie Italian Vogue model, ouija board, Medusa-fingered…thing, Sharon always had something new and bizarre to show. Coupled with a razor-sharp sense of humour and relatable personality, she won the series easily, and will probably go on to dominate All-Stars, if they even let her on. Sure she had her weaknesses (I could have done with one fewer interview about Poor Alaska Back Home, and the less said about her showing in the “final episode” the better) but the series couldn’t have had a more uplifting ending than Sharon winning and proving that Absolut BASTARD WHO ELIMINATED JESSICA WILD (NEVA 4GET) WRONG.
2. Latrice Royale (4th place)
Latrice The Beast. Latrice Motherfucking Royale. Latrice Royale With Cheese. Miss Congeniality. Large and in charge, chunky yet funky, LATRICE Royale. A prison survivor. High Priestess of the church of Jesus Is A Biscuit. Marge The Prison Guard. Ursula The Sea Witch. The show’s greatest ever Fiercely Real queen. A Being In Total Charge of Herself. This. This. However you want to announce her, Latrice was a force to be reckoned with, and an unforgettable presence. Never has a queen been more robbed of her rightful place in the final. Can you imagine her stomping around in that “Glamazon” video, squishing Wynona Judd? What was missed, what was missed.
1. Willam (6th place)
That other villain? It could only be Willam. A fun annoyance rather than an abrasive one, Willam was a vainglorious, name-dropping, fake-crying, famewhoring, rude, constantly stripping, drunken, doped-up, vomiting, horny, kleptomaniac pretty girl (with a beard) who pissed off the entirety of the rest of the cast at one point or another. But she redeemed herself with one of the funniest and most original senses of comic timing I’ve seen in a reality show contestant, as well as the ability to stir up the greatest Drag Race controversy of all time – WHAT DID WILLAM DO? – coupled with the natural wits to keep it going every single time the audience thought they’d got it figured out. Of all this year’s Drag Racers, Willam is easily the most translatable into other reality show scenarios, which is really what I’m all about here, and so she’s an easy number one for the list. In a fairer, less Phi-Phi-Philled world, she would have finished 3rd and thrown up all over Michelle Visage’s dress, or something.