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RPDR RANT: Season 7, Episode 12

Aedan Roberts

Hey there Twirl Friends! I know this is an entire week delayed, but it's been a bit hectic here. Regardless: welcome to Aedan's second-to-last RPDR Season 7 RANT! Let us continue . . . .

I'm just going to start out (before getting into the queen-by-queen breakdown) to comment on the immense void of joy this episode seemed to have. And the reason? Katya's absence. Her elimination was the wrong choice on so many levels but the most visceral was how much it affected the tone of the final four. I love me some Pearl, but the most she brings in terms of emotional resonance is calm confidence, and while Violet has evolved drastically to become a genuinely thoughtful, nice queen (though still wonderfully blunt)- she also doesn't bring enough sunshine to counter the caustic, hypocritical mass of hate that seems to radiate from Kennedy and Minj. Katya was the chirpy, odd-ball, frantic kindness and humor that acted as a salve for all the scorching douche-nozzle rapid-fire that Minj and Kennedy have been increasingly displaying as they grow ever more wary of Violet's obvious potential to take the crown. Without Katya there to release tension with a silly quip or a spot-on impression of the cowardly lion all we got was a cascade of dickery that Pearl and Violet seemed unable or unwilling to properly deal with.

With that said: on with the breakdown! (in no particular order):

• Ginger Minj: I really do hope that Minj has officially Roxxied(tm) herself into 3rd place with her "performance" in this episode (and just as much in the untucked). Needless to say she did not come off well in her and Kennedy's near-constant attacks on the "younger" queens (also bitch: 29 is barely older than either of the other girls- 7 years at most to be exact- so stop with all the sad "bitter old lady brigade" bullshit and just go with what you actually are: just bitter). There were so many times in the episode where this squat little pot was shading some kettles that I had a hard time not yelling "look whose talking!" every couple seconds. Calling Violet "unprofessional" and "temperamental" was laugh-out-loud levels of hypocritical in the face of Minj's own actions any time she's been insecure all season (which is sadly quite often). She also kept stressing how she and Kennedy deserved the crown more than the other two because of their "professionalism" but all I saw were some shady, immature bitches attacking two fairly calm and collected queens. It was just painful at times. For people as "experienced" as Kennedy and Minj claimed to be they sure were showing their asses all episode, and that "experience" even managed to backfire rather harshly in the final speech portion of the challenge.

Ultimately the point they kept stressing repeatedly here- that these two had far more experience with competitions due to their extensive pageant backgrounds- turned out to be their biggest downfall. In a normal pageant a girl can be as shady, backstabbing, insecure and rude as she wants backstage as long as she is calm, collected, witty and "kind" anytime a judge is looking. But that isn't how Drag Race works. Much to the contrary, while a girl can go far in RPDR using pageant tactics, it generally makes you look so two-faced and terrible to the viewers (who see both the on-stage persona and what goes on backstage) that you are almost guaranteed to lose the majority of viewer support- which is ultimately as important as what the judges think of you. Ru is smart and savvy. The whole reason she does finales the way she does these days is because she doesn't want another Tyra situation (or a season 3 leak situation). She films all three finalists "winning" so that she can then, over the course of the next couple of weeks, take social media into account. And ever since she's done that no queen has won without the most votes. Sharon, Jinkx and Bianca ALL had the most votes on social media and guess what? Winners. The problem with girls who have a long history of pageants is they are so used to how to play that particular game they have a hard time adjusting to this far more intrusive format. And I hope that is ultimately Ginger's downfall. After her attitude this episode she's the last person I want taking the crown.

As for her performance? She did fine. Her dancing was typical Minj (passable and saved by her comedic timing), her acting was one of the better ones, and her final look was meh-but-not-terrible. She deserved her place in the Top 3, but only because the true winner of this season- Katya- was wrongfully eliminated.

• Pearl: Pearl did fine all episode. Her final look wasn't my favorite of hers this season (I do agree with others that she needed some padding for that top), but it was fun and she looked great. Her dancing was painfully one-note (the same note she's had in any performance this season) but also just fine. Her best parts were her acting and speech portions. She also didn't rely on completely spilling and exploiting whatever massively traumatic experience she apparently endured as a child (which is extremely refreshing for this show) and she concentrated on her strengths when giving her reasons for deserving the crown (instead of concentrating solely on the "weaknesses" of her competitors *cough-ginger/kennedy-cough*. And finally her performance in the final lipsynch blessedly only saw Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing for the beginning. Halfway through the song she started giving us moves we haven't seen before and it was refreshing to see it. She also looked like she was having a blast on stage and that alone gave her a big leg up over the Bitter Ball of Sour that Kennedy seemed to be offering. Her place in the Top 3 is deserved, in my opinion, and while I don't see her snatching the crown, I'm happy she made it.

• Violet Chachki: Violet went from one of the more annoying contestants this show has ever seen to one of it's strongest competitors, and it culminated into the most over-all polished result in this episode. Her dance choreography was fine (nothing special but well done), her acting was fine, her speech was also strong (once again due to the fact that she spent most of her time listing her own strengths and didn't bother shading the other queens) and her look was great (I feel like she was purposefully channeling Raja's final look and the pants allowed for a wider range of motion for the final LSFYL). And can I be honest here? Sure I can: she had, by far, the best LSFYL out of the four. I was actually a little shocked at how good it was. She moved with the music, delivered every note, and brought a fierceness I had only heretofore seen in her runway looks to her performance. It may be that we hadn't had a chance to see any of her lipsynch tricks yet- but her LSFYL was the freshest and captured my attention far more than any of the others. At this point I'm completely‪#‎teamviolet‬.

OH! And she didn't take the bait. She met all the vitriol and shade thrown her way by Davenport and Minj with a cool calm and didn't snap back once. She came out of this episode and the untucked looking far more poised, professional and confident than Minj and Davenport combined (though she did say a couple silly things about not wanting to compete against her fellow queens ON A COMPETITION SHOW). This alone made me feel like she deserves the crown.

• Kennedy Davenport: all she did this episode was act as a constant reminder that the wrong bitch went home last episode. Can you imagine how much more interesting or suspenseful this episode would have been with Minj/Pearl/Violet/KATYA? Everything, with the exception of the dancing portion, was a mess for Kennedy this episode. Her acting was by far the worst of the three, her speech was most likely the death-blow for her chances (enough has been said about her use of "condone" instead of "conduct" that I don't want to bother going too far into it here), and her final look was just all kinds of wrong. I saw where she was going with it, but it was messy. The black bands were poorly sewn, floppy, and wrinkled and the overall effect came off like a cheap pride costume. It also ended up taking away the only thing that she had for the final LSFYL: her ability to dance. She mostly just stood there since it was all the dress allowed for- and that ended up making her the most boring performance of the four.

Also lets go back to that speech for a 'mo. In response to their "defense" of their speeches in Untucked? Ru asked "Why do you, and not your fellow competitors, deserve to win." Even if you DID see that as a request to talk about your competitors- which it didn't have to be- it had FAR more emphasis on why YOU should be there, not why the others didn't. You could mention the other's in passing (think of Alaska's final speech in Season 5)- but it should have concentrated mainly on your strengths. And no, Kennedy, being in the industry for over a decade isn't a "strength" if you can't point out what, exactly, all that time has given you other than a really bitter attitude. All Kennedy, and to a somewhat lesser extent Minj, did was come off looking like they couldn't actually think of any of their own strengths and felt they deserved the crown because they were less terrible than the others- which is not a good look. "Vote for me because these other bitches are terrible" is far less convincing than "Vote for me because I'm the best."

In the end her elimination was deserved and a long time coming. Honestly? It should have happened last episode, or better yet when she wore that tragic mess of a burnt chicken outfit on the runway after a blah performance. And thus ends Kennedy's run on the show. The most baffling run in all of RPDR Herstory (imo).

So next week is the FINALE! It will be the last rant for this season, obviously. Thank you guys for putting up with this ridiculously long series of diatribes. And finally: BRING ON SEASON 8 and (hopefully) ALL-STARS!!!!!