This Past Episode of Drag Race Reminds Me of a Past Season
This past episode of season 10 of RuPaul's Drag Race featured a shocking elimination I never would have seen coming. We watched one of the most consistent competitors and a huge fan favorite, Miz Cracker, leave the work room for the last time. As a fan of hers from before she was on the show, I was devastated and downright irritated that after weeks of her being in the top, and just winning finally in the previous week's challenge, that Miz Cracker went home instead of contestant Kameron Michaels, who had been in the bottom two for her third week in a row. I love Kameron...but those Coco Montrese/Darienne Lake stats are not impressing me. Weeks ago, I wrote an article about why I think this season feels lackluster, but this past week, someone in a YouTube comment made me realize yet another reason why this season didn't get me as excited as past seasons did.
The person's comment was "I can't believe they gave Cracker the Katya edit." That's all. But it got me on a roll thinking. By the Katya edit, they mean for someone to be loved and considered a frontrunner, doing well in many challenges, but also not winning many as the judges beat her with a stick reading "Believe in yourself," and going home while others with lower scores than her in the competition stick around. It was so true. I was feeling a loss for Cracker similar to the one I felt for Katya. Then after further assessment, I realized that the tail end of this season is feeling eerily similar to that of Season 7, which as we all know, has been considered one of the show's weakest seasons.
And each queen is being treated by the show similarly to a corresponding queen from Season 7. As if they're just trying to recycle a formula they felt worked years ago. While competition shows are considered "reality TV," we all know that they fabricate storylines and dialogue on the constant to achieve and outcome that's been curated by producers from before the cameras were rolling.
There are countless examples of tropes and standardized character combinations that have worked on us as the audience repeatedly since the beginning of show business. One of my favorite examples is that of the great FRIENDS vs. How I Met Your Mother character comparison. The success of FRIENDS laid the groundwork for How I Met Your Mother in that producers and writers could further realize which combinations of character traits could produce the best storylines and the most entertaining interactions. And many argue that each character from How I Met Your Mother has a corresponding FRIENDS character with many similarities.
However, that doesn't mean that the shows are equal. FRIENDS had a much more successful run and is more of a cultural phenomenon. But How I Met Your Mother is revolutionary in its storytelling abilities and has a more sophisticated script and style. I know a lot of people who prefer HIMYM like me, and I know countless who will stand by FRIENDS until their dying day. Why is that? What causes this split? The fact that character traits aren't everything. And that's the point I want to make with this season of Drag Race.
Just because I see similarities between the seasons and queens, doesn't mean the seasons are equal, that the queens are equal or that we should lump them all together. They're all artists, they're all passionate about what they do and they're all individuals. But that doesn't mean that VH1 or Drag Race producers are above recycling old drama and placing people into similar categories and competition standings as a past season.
Asia O'Hara is this season's Kennedy Davenport
I know what you're thinking, but there's a lot more these two have in common than the color of their skin. So let's focus on the relevant similarities.
She is a spark of high-energy, a barrel of catchphrases and a glittering representation of the Texas pageant community. She is down to be covered in rhinestones from head to toe, but she also doesn't mind going a bit eccentric with her looks, or acting kooky in a challenge. She is here to win. By that description, I'm sure you could conjure up images of both Asia O'Hara and Season 7's Kennedy Davenport.
These Texas beauties have been memorable, energetic, and unafraid to go there when it came to acting challenges, despite their poised pageant styles. When I saw both of these queens enter the workroom, and heard about their pageant backgrounds, I made the assumption that they wouldn't want to get down and dirty for the competition, but I was wrong. Kennedy has always been willing to act out an insane character whether it was a lady of the night, a crazier version of Little Richard or Dawn Davenport. And much like her, Asia has impressed me with how willing she was to look crazy during the dating app challenge, and really embraced her dark side with her saboteur look this past week. I'm excited to see what Asia does the rest of her competition and am curious to see if she surpasses Kennedy and gets to the top 3.
Kameron Michaels is this season's Pearl
Kameron Michaels does have more in common with Pearl than just being handsome out of drag. They have both brought eccentricity to the runway and gained side eyes from the judges with their more quiet personalities. Kameron has been criticized throughout her season for not talking enough and it coming across as a lack of confidence. It has made the judges and fellow competitors question her passion for the game. This is similar to Pearl being told to wake up when she was being blaze, or flazedah about things.
Also, they've been saved many a time from getting eliminated. The producers must really see something special in these two. And no I don't think it has to do with them being cute. Milk's cute and he got an early boot twice.
Miz. Cracker is this season's Katya
The dedication of Cracker's fans has really been reminding me of the passionate dedications Katya fans had for her when she got eliminated her season. Both of them seemed to be doing well statistically, doing a decent job on their runway looks and being willing to make themselves look absolutely ridiculous in pursuit of a laugh during a comedy challenge. Sure they weren't winning challenges left and right, but they were placing high each week on the main stage and making the country fall in love with them in the work room. And yet they placed fifth.
I can't explain to you why the show does this. I felt the same when Bendelacreme placed fifth on Season 6. There just seems to be something about that fifth place marker where producers like to throw in a controversial decision. Either way, I'm wondering if this means Cracker will be getting an Overstock.com gift card any time soon.
Eureka is this season's Ginger Minj
These ladies have more in common than just being large and in charge. They are campy, funny, confident and really give me all the vibes of old-school drag and 20th century entertainment references. I think they will both leave this show legends ultimately. There's just too much talent in Ginger and too much uniqueness in Eureka for us not to remember them 10 years down the line.
If you ask me, since Katya got kicked off, I truly believed that Ginger should have won that season. Violet is a talented beautiful pistol of a queen, but I thought Ginger captured the heart of the show. She had been through hell and back in her life, she knew everything about gay pop culture, she was seasoned and committed to her craft, and she seemed like the right person to hold the title of "first big girl winner."
And I think that Drag Race really felt that they struck gold with Eureka. No pun intended. In Season 9, she stuck out as an exuberant queen with an unforgettable personality, who intimidated many of the queens around her. I've been in the same room as Eureka, and I can honestly say she has a presence like no other. She is larger than life, and it has little to do with her size. She commands and holds attention. She is captivating to hear speak. And yet she is kind to each and every person around her. Seeing her in person was like seeing a legend like Divine in person. I really felt like there was a star in the room. So of course, they wanted to have her back for Season 10 after she wasn't able to finish out Season 9. And now, it feels like they really want her to win it for the big girls.
Like Ginger, she's done well in many challenges and fallen in the bottom two twice, has excelled at the Snatch Game and has been one to watch from the beginning. But also like Ginger, she hasn't exactly been fan favorite. Every message board and comment section pertaining to Eureka is filled with complaints that she's irritating, cocky or not up to par when it comes to her fashion. These are criticisms similar to what Ginger experienced. And she placed 2nd to Violet. Can't wait to see where Eureka ends up in a couple of episodes.
Aquaria is this season's Violet Chachki
And of course, the last comparison on my list is going to be Aquaria to Violet Chachki. From the beginning of Season 10, I said 1,000,000 times that they reminded me of each other. They are distinctively different in style and artform. I just saw them getting too similar of an edit to ignore.
They both came in, young, confident to a fault and ultra stylish. Aquaria has been consistently the best dressed all season much like Violet, has never let her faith in herself quiver much like Violet, has never had to lip-sync for her life much like Violet, and has been cocky enough to irritate and alienate the people around her...much like Violet. I think these people's problem is that they're too genius for their own good. They are so young, driven and creative. They have a knack for fashion and just know how to make themselves look good with little direction from judges. They understand their brand and what their goals are as individuals, and that kind of focus results in an overly confident attitude that pushes others away.
But Ru felt that those traits were perfect for a Drag Superstar, so perhaps that will take Aquaria straight to the top.
Why does it matter?
To me, these uncanny similarities and competition standings could give us a clue as to how the season will end. Perhaps history will repeat itself when it comes to stats and Aquaria will win. Or maybe Eureka will finish what Ginger has started. But I think with reality TV, it's always important to remember that their content is for profit and that these things can be contrived heavily to get the needed reaction and viewership from an audience. So we should always be on the lookout for patterns and stay on our toes. These patterns can also help better inform us for Drag Race decision making for future seasons to come. I just hope Ru and producers make the right decision. Unless of course, it's already been made...
Tell me who you want to win Season 10 and how you feel about Cracker's elimination. And follow me on Facebook for more Drag Race articles.