Hello. Do you have a moment to talk about my Lordt and savior, RuPaul? Wait, this is a sports site? Wait a moment now, put down the pitchforks, this homo is here to explain why RuPaul’s Drag Race is, in fact, a sporting event. And tonight was the finale. The Super Bowl of Drag, if you will. Fair warning, this will contain several many spoilers, so if you haven’t watched, consider yourself warned, henny.
For those uninitiated, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality competition show in which 9-15 drag queens compete to become America’s Next Drag Superstar™. Along the way, there are acting challenges, musical challenges, improv challenges and design challenges. One by one (and sometimes two at a time – looking at you Honey Mahogany and Vivienne Pinay), queens lip sync for their lives and one queen is eventually crowned the winner. It’s very Julian Edelman being named MVP – if Jules had to hot glue together his football uniform using material provided by mood Fabrics while lip syncing to the latest Carly Rae Jepsen bop.
The race for the crown begins
In tonight’s finale, Yvie Oddly was crowned as America’s Next Drag Superstar. Several screams of YES later, and what feels like hours of clapping, my scratchy throat and sore hands are ready to break down exactly what happened here. And how it all could have come to pass in a much different way. How often are you sitting and watching a game, watching your team miss goal after goal and think “What if that last puck didn’t hit the goal post and went in?” How does one goal effect a whole game? That’s where we’re headed tonight folks. So, good luck and don’t F&$% it up.
In the first bout, by a random spin of a wheel, underdog and – based on Stan Twitter – local mob villain Silky Nutmeg Ganache was selected to lip sync for the crown first. She is allowed to choose her competitor and here’s where the roads split. On air, she chose Canadian treasure Brooke Lynn Hytes and was summarily and politely asked to sashay away after what I can only describe as a performance that reminded me of a runaway log pile rolling downhill to Destiny’s Child’s seminal classic “Bootyliscious”. Did she sabotage herself here folks?
If you were talking a whole level of smack about how great of a lip syncer you are, wouldn’t you try and take out one of the best performers of the top 4? In an alternate universe, Silky picks A’Keria C. Davenport and they lip sync to the song that took A’Keria out against Yvie, which was “SOS” by Rihanna. Coincidentally, A’Keria needed to shout out for an SOS because she did not. know. the. words. A Drag Race sin. Pretend James Harden just forgot how to dribble. You’re with me again.
Fate has Yvie and Brooke lip sync to “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga and it’s too much for my little gay heart to handle. With one entire costume reveal and Yvie using her elastic body to bend herself nearly 180 degrees with one of the most gagworthy outfits ever. Seriously, look at this mirrored collar with a Juno-esque humanimal mask on the back. You’ll get a glimpse of what I see in the corner of my room when the sleep paralysis kicks in. I digress. Yvie is crowned the winner. But is this the only way this ends?
What didn’t happen.
We looked at an alternate scenario where Silky demolishes A’Keria, thus sending Silky to the final lipsync. In that scenario, Brooke Lynn and Yvie lip sync for the top spot to Destiny’s Child. Based on their outfits and general performances, I can only estimate that Brooke Lynn still takes the win here. Yvie was a touch underwhelming in her lip sync against A’Keria, but again, A’Keria did not know the words. 13 year old me was very upset as 13 year old me not only knew the words, but also the choreography. You’re just gonna have to trust me on that one. So now we have a top two of Brooke Lynn and Silky, and there’s no way Silky wins. There’s no world in which her general floppery and unpolishedness pushes her ahead of Brooke’s athleticism. She is a ballet dancer after all, and the hill I die on is how athletic dancers are and that should be its own sport. That’s another lukewarm take for another day.
Surely there are other scenarios – but most shake out to a Brooke or Yvie win. You put four really good teams in a round robin and the eventualities shake themselves out to only a few outcomes. So why am I covering Drag Race on a sports site? Put it this way, drag queens put themselves through as much physical strain as most athletes. Remember, it’s (mostly) men in those dresses and an athletic cup isn’t quite going to give you the illusion you need. But it’s more than that.
The queens’ uniforms – the frocks, the wigs, the SHOES – give you the sense of the team they’re playing for: pageant queens, comedy queens, look queens, etc. They all have a style and a way in which they will present themselves. When you see a Bruin, you know what you’re going to get, and as such, when you see a Silky or an Yvie or a Brooke, you know what you’re going to get.
The competition is as grueling as a playoff, and isn’t that what the race to the crown is? The playoffs, eliminating queens until one is left standing, holding her Fierce Drag Jewels crown and scepter like it’s the Stanley Cup? The only real difference here is that no queen is getting a bucket of Gatorade dumped over her head. That wig was too damn expensive for buffoonery of that sort. RuPaul may have famously said “Drag is not a contact sport”, but a sport it damn well is. And that’s why I love this game.