The problem with the new winner of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

06.02.15 2 years ago

The tepid seventh season of “RuPaul's Drag Race” came to a close last night in decadent fashion. The three finalists, Ginger Minj, Pearl, and Violet Chachki sashayed for Ru's final blessing. Who won? Check below. We'll tell you why it's annoying. 

Though Ginger Minj was the favorite going into the finale thanks to her wild showmanship and electrifying impersonation of Adele, the crown went to Violet Chachki. Take a look at her season highlight reel.

In seasons past, contestants won “RuPaul's Drag Race” for exhibiting a range of charismatic traits. Season six winner Bianca Del Rio was snide, ferocious, and whip-smart. Season five winner Jinkx Monsoon was kooky, kitschy, and slyly carnal. Violet Chachki, meanwhile, is certainly a glamorous and compelling stage-walker, but she's exhibited none of the comic verve that has made so many other notable contestants (Sharon Needles, Alaska, Adore Delano, Willam) such indelible characters.

In fact, Violet vaulted to the finale based on a combination of eye-popping costume choices and penchant for Barbara Stanwyck hairdos. Are her teeny-tiny waist and Latisse-drenched lashes glorious? Yes. But it's also fair to say that Violet's appeal is based on what she has acquired, not the naturally occurring chutzpah that propels people like Ginger Minj, RuPaul herself, and folks like Madonna and Cher. Violet's victory is the show's first to date that celebrates material possessions over self-possession.

You'd think because “RuPaul's Drag Race” values “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent” that it would ultimately honor that creed in a candidate like Ginger Minj, whose stage presence is both booming and delicate — but instead we have a winner who clearly values picturesque, traditional glamor above all else. I concur that Violet's fashion sense and litheness are rad, but where's the wit? The defiance? That critical iota of balladeer soul? 

Violet is fun to look at, but ultimately not thrilling to experience. It's easy to understand why Ru would favor a young, stylish queen when the past two winners were old-school dames, but that's where our appreciation ends. Like any good fashion editorial, Violet's victory is best understood on paper, not in actual practice. 

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