RuPaul's Drag Race: Who The Top 3 Should Be
With Monday's shocking — and still baffling — departure of "rule breaker" Willam Belli, RuPaul's Drag Race saved itself from having to eliminate either two of its most entertaining contestants, Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara, who had lip-sync'd for their lives. The goth-glam Sharon and pageant-ready Phi Phi have emerged as polar opposites on the show, so it should come as little surprise that they were paired together for the sh*t-stirring "Frenemies" challenge — nor should anyone be shocked that they lost. As Sharon confessed to the camera, "I wouldn't consider Phi Phi a frenemy … I'd consider her an enemy." So much for teamwork.
Sharon's not alone, especially after the episode in which Jiggly Caliente was eliminated, largely due to some bad advice Jiggly took from a scheming, shade-throwing Phi Phi. Regardless of how you feel about Phi Phi's bag of lackluster drag accessories (though quite young, she's often compared to an old lady when dressed up for the runway), you have to admit that what she did to Jiggly was unnecessarily cunty, even if it did little more than spur along the inevitable. But you also have to hand it to Phi Phi for turning up the dials on one of television's most addictive shows; if every queen played nice, viewers at home would be yawning through Drag Race's fourth season.
Phi Phi hopefully knows she made a trade-off. RuPaul, judging from earlier seasons, is ambivalent about acrimonious queens. On the one hand, she wants fierceness and re-Tweet-able soundbites. On the other, America's next drag superstar needs to win the crown fairly and with an iota of class. Who really believes that, had Willam not been disqualified, RuPaul would have picked Sharon to go home after that lip sync? Phi Phi's days are numbered, but can she make it to Top 3?
Probably not. Next to Sharon, who won the first challenge this season and scores highest in the uniqueness column (one of the four tenets of drag superstardom, along with charisma, nerve and talent), the regal Latrice Royale seems well-positioned to go all the way. It would be momentous for an underappreciated faction of contestants, known affectionately as "plus-size queens," if Latrice won the title. She's mature, elegant, funny and — a characteristic so essential to the art of drag — larger than life. Latrice, who won the "Frenemies" episode along with the ill-fated Willam, is a convincing contender for the top prize.
Besides Phi Phi, only Dida Ritz and Chad Michaels are left to compete for the third spot. Something tells me that Chad's chances are much higher, given the frequent — and mostly deserved — contempt that Dida receives from the judges each week. There is a perilousness to the practice of drag of which Dida seems either oblivious or afraid, so she masks it with a demeanor that is too peppy, clothes that are too pedestrian and accentuated assets (those legs!) that please the eye but leave one's attention wandering….
Over to Chad, a kind-hearted Cher impersonator who has coasted through the competition with solid challenge performances (she carried "The Snatch Game") and eye-popping drag that displays a knack for spectacle. But Chad's reluctance to ruffle any feathers is hurting her, episode by episode. She does things correctly — safely — and that strategy only works as long as there are other queens eager to crash and burn.
RuPaul began this season by turning her nose up at "safe" — a word that applies, in different ways, to all the remaining queens, including Sharon and Latrice. Let's hope they all take advantage of their few remaining chances to impress us.