With multiple Emmy wins, a 14th season, and new international spinoffs, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is bigger than ever. While fans enjoy gripping reality dramas with always fresh content, not everything from this massively successful franchise is worth celebrating. While ‘Drag Race’ has had its fair share of controversy and disappointing seasons, one of the most frustrating trends that has plagued the series, even up until the recent ‘Drag Race UK vs the World’, dates back to the season two spin-off series, “All Stars”.
In season two of “All-Stars,” RuPaul introduced a new queen elimination process. Known as “Lip Sync for Your Legacy”, the episode’s two top performing queens sync up against each other for the challenge victory and a chance to eliminate one of the most successful queens. lows of the week.
Originally, this twist made for a great television series, as the queens deliberated among themselves weekly on who they thought should go home. However, it was not without controversy. During the second season of “All Stars”, Roxxxy Andrews repeatedly fell to the bottom and was saved every week until the last episode when RuPaul herself had to eliminate Roxxxy. While we got his iconic verse in “Read U Wrote U”, Roxxxy simply proved that the elimination format had glaring flaws.
With several seasons of ‘All Stars’ and more recently ‘UK vs the World’ following these rules, unfair eliminations are at an all time high. Whether it’s saving Roxxxy Andrews every week while sending home fan favorites like Alyssa Edwards, Naomi Smalls knocking out favorite Manila Luzon in season four after just one challenge win, or favorites Jimbo and Pangina With both Heals out after multiple wins and a single loss, it became clear this system doesn’t work.
Not only is this system not fair for strong queens who stumble once, it’s not fair for Blu, whose won crown will likely be continually challenged by “Drag Race’s” historically toxic fan base. .
While some queens say they play fair and base their decisions on judges’ criticism, other queens are very keen on making alliances and sending their biggest competitors home to give themselves a better chance. to win the crown. The most recent examples of this can be seen in “UK vs the World”, when Pangina Heals knocked out Jimbo in episode three, even though Jimbo landed in the top two for the first two episodes. Pangina claims that she eliminated Jimbo because she did the worst in this episode’s challenge, but her fellow contestants thought it was a strategy to get rid of stiff competition.
An episode later, Pangina, with two challenge wins under her belt, was eliminated by Blu Hydrangea, whose track record was not as strong as Pangina’s. In Blu’s defense, she was more honest about eliminating Pangina because she didn’t trust her fellow queen after Jimbo was eliminated. But to say the elimination was fair would be a lie.
Blu Hydrangea being crowned queen of the world is rather bittersweet. Of the last four, she had the best record – with just one win and a bottom placement. But her only win over previously eliminated queens who had better track records proves that the ‘All Stars’ and ‘UK vs the World’ elimination system is flawed. Not only is this system not fair for strong queens who stumble once, it is not fair for Blu, whose deserved crown (she has, after all, played the game) will likely be continually challenged by the Historically Toxic “Drag Race” Fanbase.
Due to queens eliminating each other in this manner, many queens have returned home far too soon or missed their chance to win the crown they rightly deserved due to their peers “playing the game”. On the other hand, many queens who have underperformed have gone much further in the competition than they really should have. Not only does this make for a questionable final four, but it also has a particularly negative impact on fans.
Watching queens excel, only to be sent home for a single misstep is nerve-wracking and frustrating. Not to mention that when the weaker queens are kept the longest, it results in a rather poor viewing experience. It’s hard to stay invested when we as viewers know that deceased queens would have had more to offer had the system been changed.
While some of RuPaul’s judgments might be a little questionable, perhaps the “Lip Sync For Your Life” format on a normal “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season could serve as a better elimination system. At the very least, it would reduce a lot of the queen vs. queen sabotage and give the two bottom queens a chance to stay in the competition – a luxury that the bottom queens on “All Stars” and “UK vs the World” didn’t. didn’t have.
It’s hard to stay invested when we as viewers know that deceased queens would have had more to offer had the system been changed.
If the producers insisted on keeping the current elimination format, perhaps a voting system would make it fairer. Each safe queen of the week can vote for the bottom queen they want to see go. That still leaves plenty of room for the drama that comes with strategy and alliances, but getting every queen to agree on eliminating someone who doesn’t deserve it will be much harder than leaving the decision up to a single person.
Seasons five and six of “All Stars” had a voting system like this, but things were still left to chance. During these seasons, the upper queen of the week would face off against a guest lip-sync assassin, and if the upper queen won, she had to eliminate a lower queen of her choice. However, if the lip-synced assassin won, the queen that the other safe girls had voted for would be sent home instead. This twist helped level the playing field a bit, as the Lip-Sync Assassin has a chance to stop a Queen from holding all the power. But, changing the whole system to a majority rules format might be the best and fairest option here. The drama is still there as the queens will do their best to stay in the competition, there are still stakes after all.
As it stands, the current elimination format is just a bit too chaotic. That’s not to say that all the queens of ‘All Stars’ or ‘UK vs the World’ weren’t fighting to stay in the competition, or that the winner of each season didn’t deserve the crown. It’s just that the outcome of these seasons would probably have been different if the queens hadn’t focused on eliminating favorites or rescuing other queens due to friendships or alliances being formed. While the gag was fun for a season, these rules would probably be best left in the past.