Drag queens have taken over the television world.
On HBO’s “We’re Here,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumni Bob the Drag Queen (the winner of Season 8 of “RPDR” in 2016), Shangela and Eureka O’Hara roll into small towns to perform cathartic drag shows with locals, while the lens spotlights the ever-present struggles of queer people outside metropolitan areas in America.
On TLC’s “Dragnificent,” “RPDR” alumni Jujubee, Thorgy Thor, Alexis Michelle and Bebe Zahara Benet (the winner of Season 1 of “RPDR” in 2009) help brides and others become, well, dragnificent.
Also noteworthy: “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked,” “Dancing Queen” featuring Alyssa Edwards on Netflix, “The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula” on Netflix and “Canada’s Drag Race,” following in the stilettos of “Drag Race” editions in Thailand and the U.K.
And the circle is back to the often-aforementioned “RPDR,” which, for the first time, virtually crowned Jada Essence Hall as the next drag superstar on May 29, defeating Gigi Goode and Crystal Methyd, in Season 12.
Before the powder and blush had even settled, “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5” debuted on VH1 on June 5, and, in the eight-episode arc, we have arrived at Friday’s finale after the eliminations of, from first to most recent, Derrick Barry, Ongina, Mariah Paris Balenciaga, Mayhem Miller, India Ferrah, Alexis Mateo and Blair St. Clair.
After surviving new plot twists, including voting off one another “Survivor” and “Big Brother” style and lip syncing against lip sync assassins for $10,000 each episode, the final three are Shea Coulee, Jujubee and Miz Cracker.
Here is my prediction (after being flat-out wrong about the Season 12 finale):
Who will win: Shea Coulee. The front-runner of Season 9 is looking for redemption after losing in the finale to Sasha Velour’s postseason-dominating performance. Chicago’s Coulee won challenges and lip syncs during All Stars 5 by slaying the competition. She is a deserving winner.
Who I want to win: Jujubee. The Boston queen is one of the funniest people on Earth. She’s Laotian (RuPaul once quipped, “She puts the motion in Laotian), and yours truly is part Laotian, too. And she has finished third in two previous seasons. Give Jujubee the crown already! (And it would be nice to see an Asian face in the All Stars Drag Race Hall of Fame.)
Why Miz Cracker will not win: History does not bode well for New York’s Miz Cracker, the drag daughter of Bob the Drag Queen. She won the most challenges this season (three, two of them the final two), but so did runners-up Goode in Season 12 and Coulee during her season. Plus, some of Cracker’s actions this season left a bad taste in this viewer’s mouth.
In the end, though, all three queens are fierce, and I would be fine with any of the three winning. That said … go, Jujubee! The winner joins the current All Stars Drag Race Hall of Fame of Chad Michaels (Season 1), Alaska (Season 2), Trixie Mattel (Season 3), Trinity the Tuck (Season 4) and Monet X Change (Season 4 in a first tie).
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