What the Hell Happened on RuPaul's Drag Race?


RuPaul crowned his Season 7 winner Monday night. What the hell happened?

Though Violet Chachki was a fan favorite and undeniably gorgeous in her Dita Von Teese-style burlesque fashion, the last two episodes made no sense. As a winner, she brought confidence and sickening couture, but that was just about it, barring a fairly flat personality, condescending attitude and unwavering belief in her own superiority. Don’t get me wrong, I love that bish—but even Pearl, who seemed to be combining zan with her lean the entire season, was more interesting on the personality front. Also, Pearl has an album.

Ginger Minj was robbed.

Of course each season winner has been a bit different from the last, and as a comedy queen, Minj may have been too categorically similar to the Joan Riversesque style of Season 6 winner Bianca del Rio. But not even by a sliver. I spoke to Minj just before the crowning at a Hell’s Kitchen club last night, certain she was a shoo-in. She said her dream was to follow in the footsteps of “not just RuPaul, but Divine and Harvey Fierstein,” similarly translating her style of theater to a more mainstream audience without compromising it. The show has never had a plus-size winner, and Ginger Minj’s winning combination of beauty, personality, hilarity, and charisma-uniqueness-nerve-and-talent seemed exactly the formula the judges have always sought out. Sure, her style of drag is arguably more traditional than Violet’s—though mimicking a 1950s pin-up is hardly new—but Drag Race has had a good run of boundary-pushing, forward-thinking weirdo queens, including Sharon Needles and my beloved Jinkx Monsoon. Besides, minor similarities are hardly a reason to eliminate the most deserving contestant, who fought through the challenges with such vigor even John Waters was rooting for her.

Here is a video of Violet Chachki accepting her crown in New York last night, shot by my colleague Ellie Shechet. The charm is negligible.

I suppose this crowning should not have been much of a shock after the utterly baffling, befuddling elimination of Kennedy Davenport in the penultimate episode. Though she’d stumbled through some of the acting challenges, she’d really stepped up her game, particularly with her lip sync to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” which was an utter wig snatch and undeniably one of the best lip syncs in the history of the show. I love Miss Congeniality winner Katya as much as the next person, but Kennedy earned this. Coupled with her performance in RuPaul’s “Born Naked” video during the second-to-last episode, she should have remained in the top three over Pearl or, yes, Violet.

So what the hell happened this season? This is the first time I’ve felt disappointed in a winner. Violet is, I’m sure, a perfectly excellent queen, but why did she emerge triumphant over other queens who possessed a diversity of talent? Fiercer queens have been chopped for relying on their looks (Carmen Carrera, I’m looking at you) (and your butt). And what does Violet’s selection over Ginger Minj say to the big girls of the world, no disrespect to Violet’s 23-inch waist? How in the hell did this happen?

While we’re contemplating that, here are some photographs of last night’s crowning event in New York City.

Lady Bunny, Bianca del Rio, Jinkx Monsoon. Bianca: “I’m just waiting for Shangela to pop out somewhere.” Jinkx: “I already checked my dress twice.”

(Thirty minutes later) Bianca del Rio, Shangela

Miss Fame, Violet Chachki

Trixie Mattel navigating rollerblades on the red carpet

Jinkx Monsoon and Katya sharing a Stephen Dorff e-cig

Our fallen warrior-goddesses, Kennedy Davenport and Ginger Minj.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Photos via Julianne Escobedo Shepherd’s iPhone.

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