See it as a sort of combined finale recap and re-evaluation of this season’s batch of queens.
15. The Shade Tree (????)
Has any contestant on this show ever failed quite so much to live up to their early promise? I think not.
14. Dax! (12th place)
I’m taking Dax! emerging first at the reunion as an official sign that yes, she was 12th place, and so should you. If nothing else it makes a pleasing sort of symmetry that this year, the mother of the winner of the worst season (Series 7) went out first and the daughter of the winner of the best season (Series 6) won. Just like the symmetry in the fact that Violet was known for her slender waist and Dax! was known, if for anything, for her enormous arse. At any rate, Dax! barely appeared this season except to look absolutely shocked that Ru pulled a double-elimination on her and Laila, so I can’t really put her any higher than people who, you know…did things.
13. Naysha Lopez (9th place)
After a full season I can confidently say that Naysha is in fact the hottest out of drag and probably in drag as well, which must be a first. Otherwise Miss Tropical here really just served to fill that most pointless niche – the queen who was eliminated and then came back and then got eliminated again more or less immediately. Why are we still doing that incidentally? I specifically asked last season that we stop doing that. Naysha was a sweetheart on Untucked, an utter non-entity on the show, with her one moment of triumph being that she looked convincingly like Thorgy was actually beating her up during RuCo’s Empire. Which isn’t really a drag skill you can translate to multiple venues. Still…BE DIFFERENT, LOVE YOURSELF, GET SILICONE INJECTED INTO YOUR REAR END IF THAT HELPS.
12. Laila McQueen (11th place)
I don’t think I’ve seen anyone so obviously overmatched by the show in all 8 years it’s been on, not even in the first series where nobody knew what they were getting into one one of the contestants was AKASHIA. I don’t think she delivered one sentence in the workroom where she wasn’t palpably vibrating in fear and her record of incoherence continued during the finale (girl what was that interview about, come on). Still .she wasn’t terrible in either challenge she competed in, and I feel bad for her that the show’s so determined to make her SUCKING at lip-sync’ing her legacy along with Dax!, when she was pretty decent in Week 1 against Naysha. Clearly though, this is one queen who should have been left to cook for a couple more years before acting like she really has a voice.
11. Purse Purse
Would be higher, but that single is terrible.
10. Kim Chi (2nd place)
I’ll tell you now there’s nothing that makes me more comfortable and excited than 500,000 or so people all talking smack about some woman without her knowledge, so LET’S TALK ABOUT KIM CHI’S MOTHER SOME MORE. For better or worse, from episode 1 to the finale she has defined Kim Chi’s Drag Race story, with the opinion apparently now widely held that Kim only lost because she couldn’t deliver the heartwarming ending that RuPaul wanted by coming out to her as a drag queen via video link. On which score three points
- Kim Chi seems very savvy about how to present her own story and manage her own business so let’s take on trust that Kim knows best and he and Mama Kim having the conversation on national tv wouldn’t have ended well
- Jinkx and her mother…well whatever happened there it wasn’t exactly a Hollywood ending and it didn’t stop her winning, let’s put it down to the horrific editing of Series 5 and never bring it up again
- If Kim didn’t win having crushed the fan vote by a greater margin than any queen in its history, then nothing could have carried her there, not even if her mother had turned up at the finale with a hot piece (WHO’S ALSO A LAWYER) to break her in sexually in tow
ANYWAY, Kim’s relationship with her mother aside, I think I’m on record enough that I liked her looks but they never really hit home for me outside of two or three occasions (how her fans are still claiming she’s the greatest look queen ever in the history of the show as Violet attends the reunion LOOKING LIKE THAT I don’t know) and her performance skills were often laughably poor. She was cute enough, and I liked her, but I’m struggling to think of a 2nd placer I clicked with less. Yes, even Pearl. Still, when she started flailing wildly during the closing stages of “Fat, Femme & Asian” it felt like the closest we’ve ever come to that element of the finale having a point. The closest, but not quite.
9. Derrick Barry (5th place)
As much as the even-handed storytelling this year means that really, if I’m honest, the queens between 3 and 10 could really fall in any order here, Derrick is the contestant who I have the most mixed emotions about this year. On the one hand, she was a hilariously delusional monster on Untucked, picking fights left and right and bragging about her Vegas residency, put out a genuinely great performance in the political ad challenge, and her truly TRAGIC trio of Great British Sewing Bee First Boot looks at the ball will stay with me forever. On the other, as much as she was occasionally hilariously aggro she was otherwise often…just aggro, and I don’t think there was anything that bored me more this season than everyone trying to weigh up just how good Derrick was at being Britney/not being Britney, and whether as a result she should be more/less Britney. It resulted in some truly bland performances of hers being praised up the wazoo (her Christmas bush/Snatch Game) and rarely made even a cursory amount of narrative sense. I don’t think I’ll really know what I think of Derrick’s legacy as a contestant on this show until next year rolls around and the messier stuff gets trimmed, but for now, here feels about right.
8. Naomi Smalls (3rd place)
Congratulations to Naomi for being the only reality show finalist in the history of this blog to have 0% of the readership predict her victory. Even Lisa Snowdon got some votes. It’s sad that Naomi was such a pointless finalist (and to be honest, for most of the finale/reunion, she felt like one – when the best they could drag up for celebrity support was “her from Game Of Thrones” my heart sank for her) because really she was the anti-Laila, a young queen who came on the show, genuinely found her voice, and elevated herself. And without even a Bianca to give her a boost up (although the moment when Robbie finally broke it down for Naomi on Untucked that she’d just come out in her pants every week and needed to stop it was HANDS DOWN my favourite interpersonal moment of the season). It was lovely to see Naomi meet her hip hop idols, get Naomi Campbell’s endorsement, and giddily feel her oats as a finalist of her favourite show. I’m…just not really sure she has any sort of Drag Race legacy that’s going to endure beyond this moment.
7. Robbie Turner (7th place)
EXCUSE MONSTER UNDERPERFORMING SET-WRECKING GODDESS ❤
6. Acid Betty (8th place)
The true best Look Queen of the season, Acid Betty never really delivered much off the runway beyond being a generally surly Workroom presence (turning her back on Ru as she tried to force all the queens to clapback another tired catchphrase ❤ snapping “I hate everyone, just give me the money, what a bunch of assholes” like an Aldi Bianca Del Rio ❤ hurling abuse at Trixie Mattell via videolink <3) but what a bunch of absolutely bizarre, exotic and terrifying outfits she stomped down the runway in. Even better for the fact that every look I’ve seen her in outside of the show is garbage. Still, I would have killed to see her political attack ad, and Wizard Of Oz makeover, and as much as I would have loved to have seen Chi Chi in the final 3, Betty’s was the roughest cut of the season for me in retrospect. TEAM NYC 4 LYFE ❤
5. Cynthia Lee Fontaine (10th place)
I feel like of all the queens this season, Cynthia is the one where truly we got the best iteration that we were going to get. Staying for only 3 episodes, and therefore getting out before her…outsized personality became too grating, delivering a handful of memorable catchphraseS (“MAH COOCOO”, “SEXY AS A GODDESSESS AND FUNNY AS A CLAM!”, “STROOOOONG, GAYYYYYYYYY, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!”), then being reborn at the reunion as a Stage 1 liver cancer survivor, Miss Congenality, and redeemer of Acid Betty. On an odd evening (The Kinsey Six anyone?) Cynthia’s impersonation of Betty at her bedside was the oddest thing to happen all reunion, and made the occasion all the better for it. Cynthia’s never going to be Drag Race royalty, but if All Stars 3 ever happens, she’d be the perfect Random Returnee.
4. Chief Justice CuCu Freedom
Go on Obama. You’ve still got 4 months left. Nominate her.
3. Thorgy Thor (6th place)
What a story arc! Relentlessly positive and upbeat and high-kicking Thorgy Thor puts in solid performance after solid performance until people see her as a guarantee to win either the crown or the Miss Congeniality title…and then suddenly the pressure of never quite finishing top in anything, which has gradually built up as she watches even obvious also-rans like Robbie pick up the odd victory, explodes everywhere, she puts in one of the worst challenge performances in the show’s history, all but quits mid lip-sync and spends her entire media tour, where she could be campaigning to be Miss C, blasting Chi Chi and Derrick as talentless and complaining Bob never calls her no more. AND THEN SHE TURNS UP AT THE REUNION LOOKING LIKE THAT. I can’t think of another queen whose time on the show turned to shit so suddenly and so irrevocably. Still, I’ll always love, just slightly, only slightly less than I used to.
2. Bob The Drag Queen (Winner)
So despite my last minute heart flutter caused by the semi-final edit of Kim, Bob was in fact the obvious winner he appeared to be all along. To be fair, over the two week gap between episodes I gained perspective and as I turned on for the finale (/lurched to my smartphone at 7am for spoilers) I was fairly confident that Bob was actually going to triumph, mostly because of just how much he carried himself like a winner. Ru recognises regality when she sees it, even if it does “showboat” occasionally. Funny without even trying, slightly less funny with even trying, politically engaged, a born spotlight seeker (lol at that reunion story that his brother told about throwing a tanty over other people being allowed to have birthdays, what an arsehole <3), and a champion we can all get behind to hold the crown once it can be ripped out of Violet’s scalp. We’ve now had three winners in a row with impenetrable, unshakeable self-confidence, so get ready for more “water off a duck’s back” or similar in 2017.
1. Chi Chi DeVayne (4th place)
The raw beating country heart of Season 8, Chi Chi came as a filler queen but left, eventually, as her fingernails were prised off the doorframe, as a staunch queen, and a queen to remember. Chi Chi wasn’t really an innovator – making a trash bag dress, topping out narratively in a Dreamgirls lip sync that could almost have been handpicked for you, yearning for fried country food and finishing every confessional with a fingerclick all feel very Drag Race 101 – but she made you feel every moment of her struggles against Michelle Visage, stereotyping, and worst of all, being a RECTANGLE GIRL OF THE WORLD. This really, truly, was what Season 7 was missing the whole time : a Kennedy Davenport who gave a shit (except when there was Chipotle to be had, because come on).