- Davide Laffe
- Bianca Del Rio was crowned queen queen.
Finales are hard, you guys—don’t worry, I’m not going to get into the minefield of series finales (HIMYM is still dead to me). I’m talking about season finales, which, depending on the type of show—sitcom, reality show, or whatever in hell The Bachelor is these days—can vary from your standard cliffhanger (think Scandal or, going way back, Dallas) to declaring the deserving winner on a talent-based competition (definitely not the last season of Top Chef). Showrunners have to lay the groundwork for new storylines while simultaneously offering up a payoff for our months-long commitment to their show. Sometimes that payoff can come across as blatant fan service—but that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s unavoidable.
Case in point: RuPaul’s Drag Race aired its season six finale on Monday and crowned Bianca Del Rio the “next drag superstar!” (That emphasis is theirs and mine.) Del Rio, a New Orleans native, quickly established herself as a frontrunner, displaying a withering wit, exceptional “reading” ability (pointing out other contestants’ flaws with hilarious results), impeccable sewing skills, and a soft spot for struggling contestants. It was, dare I say, a winning combination.
She did have stiff competition from the other finalists, Adore Delano and Courtney Act, who were American Idol and Australian Idol contestants respectively, and had charisma and looks to spare (respectively). Delano worked the “diamond in the rough” angle, while Courtney Act was all polish, a real class act. I remained confident in my choice—which, if I haven’t made myself clear, was Bianca Del Rio—but the competition this season was fiercer than it’s ever been.
In the final episode, viewers were called upon to vote for their favorites using hashtags, and RuPaul promised to consider those votes while choosing a winner. And oh, how the tweets flew (chirped?)—this season was the social media-est of them all! But, despite the panel of regular and guest judges, RuPaul made it clear that he is the ultimate arbiter, and can (and does) make the decision on his own—not just week to week, but also in the finale. (Sorry, BenDeLaCreme, but congrats on winning Miss Congeniality!)
Now, this isn’t to say that the audience’s voice falls on deaf ears or unread feeds—after all, the winners of seasons four and five were also fan favorites. Add to that the fact that the “live coronation” is really more of a delayed reaction—the last three finales were all been pretaped, with “alternate endings”—and it’s safe to assume that the Drag Race production team takes into account what the audience wants.
So as vindicated and delighted as I felt watching Del Rio win it all in the finale, I guess it did feel like a foregone conclusion. But I was happy with it because Del Rio, who’s been doing drag for 17 years, was a talented competitor and riveting presence. I guess I don’t mind an obvious ending when it also happens to be the logical one.