Now entering at Number 117 on the LGBTQ Dance Underground Heatseeker Drag Queens Top 100! IT’S THE REALNESS BY RUPAUL!
The Aftermath : With Derrick the closest thing this series had to an overall villain, he can probably take comfort, in his Vegas residency, lying on a pit of fake money, snakes and his two boyfriends, in Bob and Kim Chi’s combined tribute to him as “not as bad as they thought he was going to be, like, he could have been worse”. When I get round to doing my post series ranking…yeah, pretty much copy & paste that thought. Otherwise it was the usual round of pre-finals jitters. Bob was worried because he was in the bottom 2 for not embracing the material. Kim Chi was determined not to be complacent because it’s happened before that someone’s won a challenge and gone home the week afterwards (Ongina, Jessica Wild, and SLAM, if you’re wondering (also Laganja and Derrick if you include joint wins but let’s face it, nobody does)), Naomi because the judges had asked her to get ugly, and when she tries to be ugly, it comes out a little
J J J J J J Jessie J, and Chi Chi…well actually Chi Chi didn’t really get her perspective shown going into this final proper episode of the series. Hmmm.
The Challenge : Without further ado, it was right into the Main Challenge, which is the same as it ever was. Nothing says the very PEAK of competition to represent the face of the future of drag queenery than
being approached by these two guys and being asked if you’d like to make a music video. You’ll get $20 each, now just get into this van, we’re going on location (to the parking lot at a Denny’s). The track being recorded this year was “The Realness”, which you may recognise from being heard every runway this season as the queens walked/roller-bladed/whatever the fuck it is Kim Chi thinks she’s doing down its glamorous length. Personally I miss whatever runway track it was that always began with Ru intoning “COMMENCE! SHAKE! DOWN!”. My boyfriend does not. That guy stood next to Ru is the director, who has previously made strong connections with a plethora of drag race runner-ups, filming music videos with Adore and Alaska, and sucking Pearl off in the johns at The Abbey, WeHo. Probably. I presume Mathu was busy. (I’ve missed you Mathu, as has RuPaul’s face looking at her makeup for the final judging. COME BACK SOON!).
Now in previous years, the composition of the final video challenge has tipped the wink as to who the judges want to win. So in Series 3 you had a video themed around statuesque Roman statues for the statuesque model winner Raja. In Series 4, genre trash queen Sharon just so happened to land a sci fi themed shoot. Series 5 saw lengthy pastiche noir courtroom scenes for theatrical grand dame Jinkx, Season 7’s video saw a surly teen runaway for Millennial snotball Violet, and as the judges prevaricated between comedy clown Bianca and The Intoxicated Chanteuse Adore, we got lots of scenes of boozy comedy. These things are never subtle. So this series?
Wafting chiffon around and staring in the mirror. Suddenly the “Team Talent” queens are looking shit out of look huh? No acting, dancing limited entirely to jigging on the spot in avant garde fashions…and I mean I don’t want to labour a point that’s been driven into the ground elsewhere in this recap but I just imagined Kim Chi on a treadmill good lawd she got lucky.
The Drama The challenge was split into three broad segments, which I will cover here rather than in “The Performance” because…let’s face it, there was no “performance” none of this actually mattered, Chi Chi got cut for having the fewest Instagram followers, this is just all for the joy of hanging out with the most congenial top 4 in the history of Drag Race.
Lying On Your Arse Looking Fierce Whilst The Other Queens Played Parachute Games With The Fabric
This really was Chi Chi’s segment with no contenders to steal her sunshine. The spotlight firing directly into Bob’s face, with his make-up
applied with the thickest brush Microsoft Paint had to offer did nobody any favours, Kim Chi
fell off the box, in a giffable moment for the ages, and whilst Naomi’s supermodel training might lead you to believe that she could lounge around looking fierce for days, her core strength and feeble abs let her down. Chi Chi on the other hand, is built like a brick outhouse and as such was free to
bottom like a top. She could keep those legs up forever if she wanted to, I guarantee it. (Incidentally, Director McBeartrade seemed really confused as to why Kim Chi didn’t want to lie flat on her back and stare at a camera positioned 8ft above her stomach, and instead kept on trying to serve chin or cheek. Director McBeartrade obviously has no empathy for those of us who don’t have 0% chinfat)
Avant Garde Jigging On The Spot
Now my understanding of avant garge comes solely from Project Runway, where it means “glue some shit to your shoulder”, so I might be wrong, but I feel there was some Sasha Belle level misunderstanding of the assignment here from all concerned. Bob turned up
as the kids maze from the back of a Burger King playmat, Naomi
as a spa worker and GOOP saleswoman, Chi Chi as
the extra from a Missy Elliot video circa Mel B, and Kim Chi
just stuck a bunch of feathers to herself as per usual (CONCEPTUAL! ART! Reemember when Duschamp stuck a load of goose feathers to a urinal?). Some very very very minor drama was to be had here from the fact that Chi Chi had problems dancing in a floor length gown, and Naomi stumbled a bit, once, but it was all very minor stuff. At this point I wonder more than ever why they don’t just ditch this challenge once and for all and just have each queen perform a 3-5 minute set like they would in an actual club/on tour. Ru could still do a live performance of his song to pimp it o….ha ha ha ha Ru doing a live drag performance, just kidding, I’d never put her through that. Or us.
Look In A Mirror A Bit
Seriously. Something else next year please.
Yes, Bianca was here, to make up for the fact that she was too busy at the start of the season to bother with the all-winners photoshoot. Her schedule though was still too full to allow her to do anything more than walk in with shades on, get Bob “confused” for Tyra Sanchez because they’re a bit black, then walk off again when she “realised” these were just some scrub contestants and not champions like herself. A lot of people appear to have read this as some sort of deep level elite megaread because people seem to think that every time Bianca opens her mouth. And if you didn’t get enough of Bianca, apparently they’re airing her comedy special next week instead of the usual recap episode. Which…I still have fond memories of Bianca so I’m probably going to skip it.
Oooh look, Robbie Turner’s back. And friendly. Regardless, the show at this point faced a quandry. Lots of time to fill with a top 4 of young fresh unjaded queens (Fun Fact : if you ignore Laila McQueen, and let’s face it, we’re all gonna, these were the four youngest queens of the season) who all get on and nothing left on the line because nothing they did this episode mattered in the slightest. The answer? Everyone yelling non-stop for four minutes or so about chicken butthole. No, Santino’s not back, the conversation just naturally turned to food, and Kim Chi’s love-love-love-love-love relationship with it. This presumably was all an angle as part of her quest to be the first plus sized queen ever to win the show. Plus Sized being used in the usual fashion world sense of “average sized”. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re not talking about Darienne Lake here, if you can’t make your own titties by pushing your pecfat rolls together, I’m not counting you as plus-sized, not on this show. Oh and everyone also talked about their newfound relentless positivity about loving yourself and your body no matter what in the self-help cult of RuPaul and the Hypnotoad that lives under his cowboy hat. What a drag.
OOOH, OOH, NAOMI CALLED KIM CHI A PANDA, CAN WE GET SOMEONE TO BE OFFENDED ABOUT THAT? THAT WOULD LIVEN THINGS UP FOR SURE! RACCCCCISM SCANDAL! ANYTHING TO JAZZ THIS EPISODE UP SOME.
The Runway : The festivities continued onto the main stage, with all contestants asked to present their “Best Drag” – the best version of themselves they could be on the final runway. Of course again you have to bear in mind that they probably used all their best outfits for weeks where they actually counted for something, so what was left was always going to be a little third tier. Which is still no excuse for Bob coming out in
actual mall leggings what the fuck Bob? The jacket is pure Debbie McGee 1989 just appeared from behind a magical shower curtain, the wig looks like one of Cher’s cast-offs, and the make-up…
Denzel couldn’t have worn it better in To Wong Foo. Kim Chi meanwhile came out
having confused the theme for “Best Of” as she presented literally every idea she’s ever had, in her life, ever, in one outfit. Feathers everywhere, long nails, overdone eye-make up, gold chains, horns, a frigging MASK… The list went on. And on. And on. If Kim Chi does win, and has to present this sort of thing regularly, can we all agree to chip in and get her an editor? With a chainsaw? Meanwhile Naomi wore a baby pink jumpsuit so tragic I don’t even want to discuss it other than to say that it brought to mind Chi Chi asking two weeks ago if we really wanted a Drag President with a fupa (YES, IT GAVE NAOMI SMALL A FUPA. NAOMI SMALLS) so I have to give my Raven & Raja esqque final Top Toot Of The Week to Chi Chi
who didn’t overthink things, and just looked fabulous. Kudos to you Chi Chi, and the many many pageant hairbuns on your head.
The Little Matthew This being an award I just made up to award to the queen who cried the most at the segment where Ru asked all the finalists to send a message back in time to their younger selves to guide them through their journey to adulthood, making them well adjusted, and therefore probably not a drag queen, let’s be honest, because NICE BOYS DON’T WEAR CHA CHA HEELS. I’m kind of furious that they got rid of the Tic Tac lunch for this to be honest, but I guess Ru needs to change the ratio of time spent on set to time spent in his cryogenic regeneration pyramid as he gets older. This year’s inaugural winner of The Little Matthew is
Kim Chi, for weeping everywhere and telling his younger self not to self-harm. Words we can all live by there. In other news, young Bob was apparently one of the
RECTANGLE GIRLS OF THE WORLD and
that picture of Naomi was clearly taken 5 minutes ago, don’t try and fob me off, I’m not an idiot. (ALSO COME BACK SOON MATHU AND SORT RUPAUL’S FACE OUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD)
The Elimination : With Kim’s strong showing at the Book Ball, this week’s elimination was always going to come down to Naomi and Chi Chi, and the judges hemed, hawed, considered, and pored over the contestant’s records, and then Ross Matthews said that he thought that Chi Chi lacked the uniqueness of the other three queens, and then the others said “yeah sure that’ll do it, let’s call this a night and get a Deliveroo in” and so Chi Chi left us in fourth. It’s a shame, because whilst I never harboured any illusions that Chi Chi could win, she was (SPOILERS) my favourite queen of the season and I had at least hoped she’d get to strut her stuff at the finale, rather than hoping she might scrape past Thorgy for Miss Congeniality (she won’t). It also meant that I found myself agreeing with CARSON KRESSLEY, as he sat there and argued that Chi Chi should stay because, for all Naomi’s claims of ambitions to be the only truly versatile queen there, she still had a few more years to cook. And I never want to agree with Carson. Ever.
Look. Look at Chi Chi’s sad disappointed little face. Was it worth getting to see Naomi in bra and knickers one more time to sit through that? It wasn’t was it? Yet again, the final 4 cut is a disappointment to me. (For the record : Shannel over Rebecca, Tati over Tyra, Yara over Alexis Potato, Latrice over Phi Phi, Darienne over Courtney, Kennedy over…well just put Kennedy in the finale, I don’t really care how)
The Untuckening : OK, I swear I’m not deliberately moving straight to this after doubting Naomi’s place in the Top 3, but the clear highlight of Untucked this week was Naomi proudly declaring that her favourite decade stylewise was the 70s, and then listing her inspirations as Vintage Cher, Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner.
(It is a bit much for Bob to face-crack at anything when it looks like her jaw is attached like Slappy The Goosebumps Ventriloquist’s Dummy though let’s be honest). I guess this truly is the era of the Instagram queens. Other than that, this was the Untucked where the final battle lines shook out a little bit, with Bob and Chi Chi proving to be more of a unit, and the remnants of Team Best Friends/Chicken Wings sticking together a little bit more clearly as well. Possibly with honey mustard sauce. My favourite moment though was when Chi Chi said that he’d made friends for life on the show. Three friends. The three currently in the room. All the rest can bite him. Oh and it was cute when they all watched one another do their own individual runway walks as well. Still, a little bit of edge wouldn’t have gone amiss.
The Endorsement : So here we are. Somehow this season has contrived to end up with what is clearly (no offence Naomi) a face off for the crown between my pre-series favourite, and my pre-series least favourite. And whilst my opinion has shifted a little (SEE MY END OF SERIES RANKING IN TWO WEEKS TIME FOR MORE DETAILS) I am, as a charter member of Team Comedy and Team Personality and Team Not Doing The Entire Final Lip Sync Of The Series Welded To The Spot, coming out for Bob The Drag Queen to win this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Kim might have the better sob story, and the more avant garde style, but whilst I was comfortable with Violet’s win last year, it was on the grounds that this show clearly needed to get the whole Visual Arts thing out of its system. I did not sit through that victory to have the show crown someone with exactly the same portfolio of skills as the winner the year afterwards when we were supposedly throwing Series 7 and all its works on a bonfire and never speaking about it again. (And whilst we’re here, Violet’s aesthetic was more interesting than Kim’s, and she was a better performer as well). When the judges recapped each queen’s highlights, all of Bob’s came from the challenges, and all of Kim’s (and Naomi’s for that matter) came from the runway, and we all know by now which side of that line I fall. (Chi Chi was the only highlight reel to feature both meaning she is the TRUE queen for all seasons, know that).
As for who will win? After spending since Snatch Game thinking Bob had this in the bag…I’m switching to Kim Chi, solely because Ross said she was the future of drag in this episode, who would push it to new places (stereotypical representations of Asians I could have seen in an episode of The Biz circa 1998 apparently, although I guess the character probably would have been a girl there so that’s something I guess), and that’s basically made her an immortal lock. That and Bob deciding to turn up for Best Drag in LEGGINGS AND MAKE-UP THAT LOOKED LIKE IT HAD BEEN APPLIED USING TOAST TRIANGLES.
We’ll find out in two weeks I guess.