Welcome to my review of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 Grande Finale! Plus, a retrospective on each queen and their performances this season.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 has a thrilling winner and many standout performances, but when it comes to the full season it felt a bit dull.
Some people might suggest that’s down to Sasha Colby’s dominance of the season, but I’d say it due to the entire Top 4. At no point after the first episode was anyone edited as serious competition for the crown outside of those four queens – even Loosey Laduca and her many mini-challenge wins never felt like a realistic contender.
Was that down to the editing being squeezed by the 60-minute on-air runtime, or was this season actually stacked with mostly weak queens too early in their development as sacrifices to the alter of Goddess Colby?
Similarly, the finale never felt like a real competition between the three non-Sasha queens as to who would attempt to take her down in the final lip sync. The lip sync performances and clip packages were all for naught, since it’s clear Anetra was pre-ordained for the spot.
I’m happy that the new Lalaparuza mid-season showcase has removed the somewhat arbitrary lip sync for the crown tournaments from the finale. However, I still think the show can do better than writing a 90-second song for each of its contestants. Especially on a season like this one full of dancers, songwriters, and martial artists, it feels like the finale ought to be a redux of the Talent Show – where the queens can show off anything they want.
Of course, the secret of this finale format is that you can show off anything you want during the lip sync, but only Sasha Colby with her 20 years of drag experience seemed to fully understand that assignment.
There is a lot to be said about the significance of having a trans woman win Drag Race at the peak of its popularity and pop cultural exposure at this moment in time. Right now, conservatives and trans-exclusionary feminists all around the world want to hate people like Sasha right out of existence.
I don’t think winning Drag Race means a queen must become a political activist. Being seen in drag is inherently political. Yet, it also feels like Sasha Colby is the right queen at the right time who is ready to be political in her words and her actions in addition to her drag. There are people in the world right now who know they want to love someone they aren’t supposed to love or be someone who they aren’t supposed to be. The world can feel like a small and dangerous place for them, and that’s literal in some places like Texas and Florida.
Sasha has the opportunity be a voice for those queer people who are under attack across America right now, but also to remind everyone that trans people are our siblings, our colleagues, our friends, and our loved ones. They are us and they deserve all the same rights and love that everyone does.
This is the end of Season 15 but not the end of my Drag Race coverage! There are still two more episodes of Drag Race Sverige to cover before their first winner is crowned, next week starts my Drag Race España Season 3 power rankings (did you read my pre-season post?), and we’ll have an announcement of our All Stars Season 8 contestants before the week is up!
Before we can enjoy all of that drag, it’s time to talk about our entire cast of Season 15 queens one last time, to compare their final placements and performance to my original pre-season rankings. Which prediction was my biggest miss? Which queens left exactly when I said they would? And, why do I think I should have been the winner of “Fantasy Drag Race” across everyone writing about the show on the entire internet?!
Readers, start your engines. And, may the best drag queen win!