Breathy, sweaty, tired and hungry, they lurch forward from the darkness, shoulders dipping and swaying in an attempt to claim their territory. Red-stained snarls and cracked claws not-so-swiftly tumble and twirl toward an inevitable demise as one by one, they fall. On the way down, they clamor for support, clutching at glass and staining mirrors with an indecipherable rouge, symbolic of their end… I
In many ways, RuPaul’s Drag Race season six and its queens resemble the dusty, rotting zombies that roam the post-apocalyptic world imagined in the popular series, The Walking Dead. The season started off strong and thrillingly rushed toward viewers with a never-before-seen two-part premiere. Since then, the queens have meandered their way across screen in the same tacky dresses as judges lob similar critiques at their deteriorating mugs. One by one, the queens have sluggishly sashayed away and fallen from view without the memorable gore particular to The Walking Dead. As contrived and camp as the analogy in this article, the queens in Season six failed to inspire. Instead, their choices were often redundant. Has RuPaul’s Drag Race lost its spark after six seasons? Perhaps a gradual shift away from the fashion and design challenges of seasons three and four in favor of camp and performance has created an irreconcilable dissonance.
Earlier in the show, Queens BenDeLaCreme and Darienne Lake were both permitted to stay. When this occurred in an earlier season a double elimination later on balanced the scale so that the series could end as planned, with the final three queens filming RuPaul’s music video of choice. Season 6, however, forced four queens into the video and sacrificed both the conflict and intimacy which has enticed fans for so many years.
Logo agreed to remove the segment that read, “You’ve Got She-Mail,” after trans* activists spoke out against the transphobic slur. Originally, LogoTV and RuPaul had declined to comment on the controversy of the segment or on anger fueled by a challenge that involved queens attempting to distinguish “She-Males” from “real” women based on images of their individual body parts. Finally, the show dropped the one-liner at the intro of each episode. The backlash sparked a discussion regarding transmisogyny in the gay and drag communities and hopefully brought the LGBTQ to a better understanding of the subtle differences between gender, expression and identity.
In the May 5th episode, Sissy That Walk, the four queens, Darienne Lake, Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act, and Adore Delano, were not asked to participate in a mini-challenge. Instead, the episode consisted of two acting challenges and a lip-sync. The fan favorites of the show, which appear to be Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano, are perhaps the strongest actors but did not glaringly outshine the other two queens.
All four came to the runway in dresses that have become staples to their characters and delivered speeches that were relatively unremarkable. Bianca Del Rio’s monologue showed her more grateful, vulnerable side which is new for the sarcastic comedy queen. In essence, Courtney Act stated that since she is the ‘Queen’ B in Australia, she should be here too. No one in drag race history will remember the season 6 lip-sync for your life. There were no splits, no kicks, no desperate explosions of emotion, no pirouettes. There was no entertainment value.
At the end of the episode, Darienne Lake was eliminated. This is unsurprising as she had won only a single challenge during her time on Drag Race. The final three queens are Adore Delano from Asuza, California, Bianca Del Rio from New York City, and Courtney Act from West Hollywood, California. In previous seasons, “American’s Next Drag Superstar” is crowned during the show’s reunion along with the fan-picked Ms. Congeniality. RuPaul asks viewers to tweet their selection. The final decision, though, remains up to the true winner of all six seasons of the hit television show – RuPaul herself.
By: James Ryder