Then and Now: The Ups and Downs of Rupaul’s Drag Race.


Since 2009, Rupaul’s Drag Race has propelled the art form of drag(clothing more conventionally worn by the opposite sex, especially women’s clothes worn by a man; usually accompanied by performances) in the mainstream. The program has grown to be one of the most popular reality TV shows, and constantly draws good ratings.

That being said , the show has had a very turbulent relationship with its viewers for a variety of reasons. Said reasons were proven to be polarizing, with fans and contestants alike criticizing certain practices.

Season 1: Lights, Camera, OH GOD MY EYES!

Day 1 Press Conference - 2012 Sundance Film Festival
PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 19: Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford speaks at the opening day press conference held at the Egyptian Theatre during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2012 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Whenever a show first airs, there is always something off about the first season. Maybe it’s the plot, maybe it’s the characters. Drag Race had it’s own problems with season 1. That main problem was its lighting.

The lighting is reminiscent of something from a 70’s game show. To be even more specific, it looks like someone rubbed vaseline all over the camera lens before filming started. Compare that to other shows at the time, and you see a program who’s presentation is all together unappealing. Luckily, season 1 had small amount of Queens, with only 9 contestants in total. Season 2 premiered with a bigger budget and a better production team.

Rupaul All Stars Drag Race: Together They Faulter


The first real blunder the show ever had was during its mid-season spin off. This was an all star season that took place between seasons 4 and 5. This time around, the contestants were previous Queens that were one of three things: a member of a previous seasons Top 3, A Miss Congeniality (a Queen who was voted as a fan favorite), or one that was “unforgettable”. It was billed to be an unforgettable season, and it was. For all of the wrong reasons.

Despite there being 12 contestants in total,the episode count 6 episodes. In an attempt to shake up the formula, The show put them together in teams of two. The Queens won together, but if one of the failed then they both were sent home. This led to fan favorites like Nina Flowers, Pandora Boxx and Latrice Royale being eliminated in the first 3 episodes. Add that with challenges that were less than entertaining, and what the audience got was a lackluster season that could have been so much better. If they had ket the same formula of previous seasons and just stuck with the familiar faces, the fans would not have claimed this season to be the worst. That is, until Season 7.

Season 7: The Unlucky Number


Where to begin with this one? I guess before we discuss this now infamous season of Drag Race, we should look at the winners of the previous  seasons:


You see, there seemed to be a great divide between the queens of Rupaul’s Drag Race. The  first three winners were known for many things, ranging from their grace, beauty, and fashion sense. The winners of seasons 4-6 were different. They were towards the campy sides with their own brand of spooky, vaudevillian, and “glamour clown”, respectively. It had been nearly four years since a queen a fashion background had won the crown. At the same time though, fans had claimed that seasons 4-6 stood out from the rest due to having queens with entertaining drag personalities. So, the show added an even amount of Fashion Queens, Comedy Queens, and Pageant Queens. In theory, this idea should work out.

It didn’t.

For one thing, when you have a cast of diverse contestants, you need diverse challenges to show off the various skills of the cast. season 7 had a total of 7 acting challenges, 2 singing, 2 dancing, and 3 sewing. The actin challenges happening one right after the other, with all them being either hit or miss. The Fashion Queens that were so sought after were left in the dust with minimal times to shine.


Speaking of time to shine, the editing was atrocious this time around. Previous season evened out screen time amongst the Queens. Throughout the season, there were a handful of contestants that absolutely dominated the cameras and confessionals. What about the other queens? They got their screen time. However, there was a trend this season. The minute one of the secondary queens got any screen time, that was the episode that they got eliminated. They were victims of death in the limelight. And which Queens went home the one’s with the most personality! Mostly because they did not fit the mold of a “Fashion Winner”.


Season 7’s lack of showing led to one producer being fired from his position and someone else taking over for Season 8 and All Stars 2. Those two programs have been much better received than this one. The editing problems have been fixed and the diversified cast all have a variety of challenges in which they can shine. This season is more of a transition if anything.


Rupaul’s Drag Race has had many flaws in it’s nearly 8 year run. However, what it does is learn from its mistakes and rectifies them. Whether it is an issue of funding or in house personal, it rectifies it in order to improve. However, we can’t forget. It is too jarring to forget


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