Asia O'Hara Has Proved That She Should Win RuPaul's Drag Race

15 June 2018, 17:12

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul's Drag Race. Picture: VH1

By Josh Lee

It's time to decide: who should take the crown?

As we say goodbye to the Werkroom for another year, this week I wanted to do something a little different with the recap. Obviously we all know none of the queens went home, and we know they all slayed in the "American" - even if Eureka's rapping was a little "I'm Roxxxy Andrews and I'm here to make it clear."

So instead of going through the highs and lows of the episode, let's take a closer look at the top 4, their Drag Race journeys, their chances at the crown and, perhaps most importantly, what they have to offer the future of drag.

Aquaria

With four wins under her belt and no lipsyncs, Aquaria is the statistician's choice for the crown. A drag protégée with a winner's attitude and attitude for miles, the 21-year-old New Yorker has stood out since day one. But while Aquaria's star has been obvious since she first stomped into the werkroom all those weeks ago, it's fair to say that the young star was somewhat undercooked at the top of the season. Throughout this year's Drag Race, my main critique of Aquaria has been that I haven't quite understood who Aquaria is outside of her outfits. Snatch Game proved she had the performance chops, and there's no point even beginning to question her fashion credentials, but I haven't always seen the unifying Aquaria-ness that brings it all together.

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What I've appreciated about Aquaria in season 10 is her ability to take critique, not just in terms of her drag, but in terms of how she comes across to people. When The Vixen called out her white privilege and how it affects how fans will receive her, Aquaria listened, learned and humbled herself. Since then she's continued to build authentic relationships with her competitors, develop her craft, and ensure it's her talent that speaks, not her privilege.

Aquaria has a very strong shot at snatching the crown. A few YouTube searches will show you that she's a lip-sync assassin, and there's no question that she'll be able to find the perfect outfit for whatever song RuPaul throws at her in the Lipsync For The Crown. Having said that, all of the girls are strong stage performers, so it really is anyone's game.

Do I think Aquaria should win RuPaul's Drag Race? Not yet. Aquaria has so much going for her, but there's something about Giovanni that doesn't quite translate into Aquaria. I see Aquaria coming back for All Stars 4, having learned how to marry her insane fashion eye with the loveable goof that she is deep down, and slay the girls Alaska-style.

Asia O'Hara

Our Texan queen may not have won as many challenges as Aquaria, but she comes with a grace, maturity and sense of self that Aquaria doesn't quite have pinned down yet - as well as beauty, comedy, style and fabulous lip-syncing skills.

Asia arrived to season 10 with an assured confidence that instantly puts viewers at ease. She knows she's going to give you a good time, and because of that we know she's going to give us a good time. She gave us one of the best runways of the season with her Tweetie Pie couture, and delivered one of the comedy highlights of the year during the dating app challenge.

Being so grounded in who she is, Asia has been able to offer council to her competitors because she hasn't been too threatened by them. And to be honest, you can see why. Her only real competition has been Aquaria, and the two exist on such different planes as far as their drag is concerned, that spending time obsessing over what Aquaria's doing would have been futile.

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In the werkroom, Asia has been everyone's aunty. At one point it was to her detriment, but that moment in the bottom two didn't stop Asia from reaching out, even if she wanted it to. But that doesn't mean she's been afraid to call out bullsh*t, and her talking head interviews have been some of the funniest and most truthful of the season. One of my favourite things about season 10 was the strong sisterhood between the black queens on the show, and I'm so glad at least one of them is still here to represent at the very end.

Does Asia have a shot at the crown? Of course! The judges know she'll make a great Drag Superstar, and with so many years of experience behind her I've no doubt that she will be able to lipsync the house down boots on the right day. But in Lipsync For The Crown, anything can happen.

Asia has a lot to offer the future of drag. She brings a contemporary edge to the much-maligned Pageant style of drag, and would be the first pageant winner since season two's Tyra Sanchez. Currently Drag Race privileges high-art and high-fashion drag, but what Asia does is equally valid and beautiful, in this humble writer's opinion. Perhaps an Asia O'Hara win would help create more opportunities for queens who aren't 100% editorial to win in future.

Asia O'Hara is my pick to win. A class act with talent and versatility pouring out of her, Asia has been consistently the most entertaining out of the four remaining queens. To me she represents something that I feel Drag Race has been losing in recent years - a commitment to yourself, rather than to the perception your fans may have of you. She speaks her mind while remaining congenial, hasn't played mind games or employed shady strategy to win, and has shown that she knows how to conduct herself like a true representation of the LGBTQ+ community.

Eureka O'Hara

Returning to Drag Race after crashing out of season 10 was a double-edged sword for Eureka. On the one hand, she had a knowledge of the show's mechanics that could put her at an advantage. On the other hand, the expectation - and thus the pressure - was sky high.

But despite the high stakes, Eureka has stormed the competition in true Eureka style. Big and brash from day one, Eureka has sought to steal the spotlight at every turn. That may have rubbed some queens up the wrong way, but in the eyes of RuPaul hunger is a very valuable quality.

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While her drive to win at all costs has endeared RuPaul and the judges, it's split audiences right down the middle. Some love her complete dedication to self love, while others find the total lack of introspection exhausting. I'll admit I err to the latter; Eureka is absolutely entertaining, but I've found her to be too much in the werkroom and in challenges.

My other criticism of Eureka is that I think in many ways she's quite an easy sell. Her comedy is rooted entirely in stereotypes and low humour, and her fashion has been fun, but not necessarily jaw-dropping in the way Aquaria's has been. Even Asia has had a few gag-worthy runway moments - something Eureka didn't quite achieve.

That said, Eureka has a lot to offer the future of Drag Race. For starters, she'd be the first big girl to win, which would be a much needed antidote to the increasingly homogenised beauty standards on Drag Race. She also has mass appeal, and is able to entertain the queerest and the most heteronormative audiences equally. What Eureka is missing, unfortunately, is edginess. Very little about Eureka's time on drag race has made me stop and think. It's all very comfy and reassuring - and in 2018 comfy and reassuring isn't necessarily what we need from Drag's Next Superstar.

Kameron Michaels

This year's Peppermint, Kameron has lipsynced her way right to the top, and, thanks to the new Lipsync For The Crown format, could continue to the crown. I feel like there's a lot to Kameron that wasn't given the opportunity to shine this season, and she's an important reminder that just because you're not the best ever at Drag Race, it doesn't mean you're a bad drag queen.

Kameron's had some stunning moments in the season, however. Her feathers look was one of the gag-worthy fashion moments of the season, her Snatch Game was quietly hilarious, and her Cher was pretty much head and shoulders above everyone else's. Aside from the challenges, Kameron has helped to dispel the stereotype of muscly gay men being mean. I've appreciated that Kameron completely leant into her feminine side for drag in a way that previous muscle queens (a.k.a Milk) haven't.

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Despite all of that, I don't see Kameron as a potential winner. It's not that I don't like her drag, and I'd certainly pay good money to go see her flip and twirl at a show. But when I think of the future of drag, I don't see Kameron bringing much to the table. Again, that's not to say she's bad; she's been super entertaining this season and has proven her stage performance chops several times. But the next Drag Superstar needs to elevate drag beyond the club. As much as I love Kameron, I just don't see it for her.

The next time we meet, we'll have a brand new Drag Superstar. But who do you want to see take the crown? Vote below and lets find out.