We made it to the end. After a season of shocking lip syncs, ambitious fashion, and questionable choices, we've whittled it down to our top four drag queens: Shea, Sasha, Trinity and
Valentina Peppermint. Now, it's not a shocker to anyone; this top four was practically a given after Valentina's elimination. Shea and Sasha are obvious shoo-ins, and so is Trinity, but the editors try to make viewers think she's somehow getting the boot this week because (out of her many talents) she's not a live singer. Vocal pipes aside, Trinity still manages to slay viewers with her sassy attitude and doctor-approved booty. Peppermint is an all-star performer, too, although not enough to guarantee her a spot in the top three. But more on that later. First, I need to return to some of last week's drama...
"It was a fucking Village People challenge. Calm down. If you're in the market for being offended by everything, then you are not in a position to genuinely appreciate what drag represents."
Things I was offended by: Ru's concept of "queertastic" meaning the Village People, unicorns, and rainbows; cultural appropriation; the fact Alexis Michelle was still in the competition. Things I wasn't offended by but should have been offended by: Michelle Visage's forced cackling. Things I definitely wasn't offended by: Like, lots of stuff? So, was I "offended by everything"? Uh, no bro.
More gripe-on-gripe action:
"You really have an amazing lack of knowledge about queer and drag history, Chase. Drag ALWAYS pushes boundaries, makes light of peoples' outrages, and exists as a safe space where, yes, we can fully support cultures (hello! It's people dressing up in costumes) while at the same time not taking life so seriously (cause, again, it's people dressing up in costumes). What sort of drag show do you want? Something where everyone is solemn and cries over DAPL?"
Yeah, a drag show where everyone is solemn and cries over DAPL sounds rad. How many drag shows do you go to, ma'am? Because I go to two or three or more a week and LET ME TELL YA that a standard tuck and lip sync gets mighty boring. Give me a drag show where queens cry over DAPL any day.
Okay, now that we've waded through that hot griping action, on to Todrick Hall.
This isn't America's Next Top Drag Queen, it's RuPaul's Drag Race. Why is that distinction important? Because the queens aren't really competing to be the best drag queen in all of the land (although viewers often forget this), they're competing to be the next RuPaul. That's why the final challenge is some corny music video about branding and not something artful or bold or forward-thinking. While Ru may make money off her trashy pop, most drag queens (minus Alaska and Adore and Courtney and those who can really sing) should avoid this misstep (*ahem* Sharon Needles). Nevertheless, here we are, watching the queens try to create pop/rap with Todrick Hall. It's okay. Nothing special. Fine. We're supposed to think Trinity should go home because she's so-so.
Of the entire midsection of the episode, the thing that really gets me going is the Squatty Potty tie-in. Ru, the queen of branding, has one final gift for her top four: easy bowel movements. As any bottom knows, regularity is important. Squatty Potty has swooped in to remind viewers of this, and a good chunk of minutes of this episode are spent reminding us about poop practices. While it's the most corporate thing to happen this episode, it's also pretty gay. I'm into it.
Then we get the challenge. Shea, Sasha, Peppermint, and Trinity all perform their songs in one final number, and it's... great! Dressed in their queenly best, all four of them kill it. It's a reminder that this season has been filled with talented live performers, but I'm not sure if the performances on this episode are enough to justify having a top four instead of a top three.
Oh yeah, that's right. I said top four because Ru has decided no one deserves to be sent home. Peppermint was just so perfect. Um... Nah. This season has been filled with gimmicks, and here we have another one. Contemplating this final four, I'm reminded how produced this season has felt. After the Native American debacle, my enthusiasm really starting waning. Now, with a top four, it feels like RuPaul is grasping at straws in an attempt to spike interest. Well, at least we know we can look forward to the return of... Eureka?
Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe this has been the best season ever? Yell at me in the comments.
I wanted to check in with a real drag queen and snag their thoughts on who should win the crown, so I got in touch with Americano, who hosts weekly viewings at Little Maria's Pizza. (JK. I'm a drag queen, too. In fact, I beat Americano last week in a drag pageant where we pretended to be babies. Proof: A pic of me getting crowned.)
Americano: "My top three is and has been Sasha, Shea, and Trinity, but I think I want Shea to win. I feel like she's the full package."
"Shea is funny and can slay a performance. She seems super genuine and down to earth. Her style is so versatile and amazing."
"I also LOVE Sasha and definitely think she would do a lot of really amazing things if she won, and Trinity's great and definitely a good contender, but I feel as far as a winning queen to reign goes... Trinity's maybe not quite progressive enough?"
"So, final choice: Shea."
While Americano says Shea, y'all had different things to say in our Slog poll last week (results below). According to Slog readers, Sasha is our next drag superstar, with 238 votes compared to Shea's 233 votes.