Welcome to my review, recap, and power rankings of the eighth episode of Drag Race Sverige Season 1 – the Drag Race Sweden Grand Finale!
Drag Race Sverige Season 1 was a unique season with many high points but several unavoidable lows – including a last-minute lack of nerve in the finale.
Let’s start with the highest of highs: Sverige crowned not only the most-deserving queen, but a queen with one of the most entertaining personalities in the history of Drag Race.
If this season was being viewed by as many fans as an American franchise, Admira Thunderpussy would’ve coined more memes than Alyssa Edward herself. She never wasted a single second of camera time, either on stage or in her confessionals.
The second high point of the season was host Robert Fux. Everything about Fux was entertaining and heartfelt, from his too-earnest rhyming video messages to his audacious runway package.
Fux had perhaps the best season of runways we’ve seen on a host since Mathu Andersen used to do RuPaul’s styling. Even then, Ru was never as avant garde as Fux.
The high point of Fux as a host was highlighted in this Sweden Grand Finale episode, which repurposed the standard “tic tac lunch” with the host into a full-on out-of-drag meeting with the judges panel in the workroom. Though brief, the segment felt surprisingly revealing and personal compared to the curated version of final out-of-drag interviews we get from Ru-hosted seasons.
The third high point of the season was the quality of the challenges. From an absurd opening mini-challenge photo-shot to a pair of slickly-produced songs to an acting challenge with an actual script, Sverige always gave its queens solid material to work with (which I’m sure was in no small part due to Fux himself and his experience as a playwright and producer).
The final high point is that the show never played it safe with bottom placements. If a queen was obviously the worst in the challenge or the runway, she was headed for a lip sync even if her narrative would suggest she was due a questionable safe placement.
That led to a number of shocking eliminations and improbable survivals. As much as we’ll likely always complain about Antonina Nutshell outlasting Imaa Queen and Santana Sexmachine, that same ruthless fairmindedness gave us Fontana in the Sweden Grand Finale, where she proved she really had been one of the top queens all season long.
However, the biggest low point could sometimes eclipse the many positives: it didn’t feel like most of this cast was ready for the global primetime the way we’ve seen from other new franchises like Belgique, France, and Philippines. There were several queens who simply weren’t at the level of polish and experience that Drag Race demands, not to mention one queen drag who seemed to be opposed the show’s entire concept.
In retrospect, it feels as though producers they weren’t even able to fill out a full cast of 10 from Sweden’s drag scene for their episode order, which is why they had nine queens that included a pair of “bedroom queens” and an early comeback challenge when none of the eliminated queens deserved to come back.
As a result, sometimes the lines felt blurred between the race being fixed for our winner versus her being the the only queens who arrived ready to compete at RuPaul’s Drag Race standards (even when she was handily beaten in the finale).
My takeaway from this season is that Sweden’s drag has a very different aesthetic than we’ve seen on any other country. Other than Admira Thunderpussy (and occasionally Fontana), none of them delivered looks that were anything like American drag race looks all season.
For Imaa, that meant repurposed recycled materials into signature couture unlike anything else we’ve ever seen from the show. For Santana that meant a blend of sex, camp, and a dash of danger. Elecktra delivered a small, surprisingly unglitzy version of “showgirl” that felt like it could’ve traveled in time from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2. Similarly, Vanity basically did bar drag in a way we haven’t seen on Drag Race for over a decade.
All of their aesthetics would have looked out of place on any other Drag Race franchise, but even with the wild differences between the four of them they all fit together in an odd way here on Sverige. I got the impression that Sweden’s drag has no pageant influence on it whatsoever, nor does it obsess over high fashion. That meant the queen didn’t automatically lean into wearing ballgowns, nor did they feel the need to stone every inch of their outfits.
That led to some looks that seemed deglammed compared to other franchises, but it also felt like a level playing field in a way that no Drag Race season has felt in a long time.
I started this season of Power Rankings at a significant deficit – there were no Meet The Queens interviews with this cast! Not even a promo video! All we had to go by were single photos and the queens’ social media presence. Yet, I still managed to predict 3 out of the top 4 queens correctly as well as the first two outs in my Pre-Season ranking, including our winner! (I also got all of the final three Sweden Grand Finale placements right in my final Power Ranking, last week.)
Keep reading for a quick retrospective on each queen of Sverige. Then, come back later this week for my recap of the second episode of Drag Race España Season 3! That will be our only franchise for another week while we await the kickoff of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 8 on May 12.
(Want to watch Drag Race Sverige outside of Sweden? For most of the world, it’s available as part with a Wow Presents Plus subscription as soon as the episode is done airing.)
Läsare, start your engines. Och må den bästa Drag Queen vinna!
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