Opinion: Blame it on Bianca Del Rio

Jake Basford

In case you hadn’t heard/guessed already, Bianca Del Rio was crowned winner of Season Six of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Out of the final three, she was chosen above Courtney Act and Adore Delano to be the one to front RuPaul for the next year until Season Seven brings us more drag drama – but there has been a lot of whispering about how quiet this year’s competition has been. So does that make Bianca the best of a bad bunch, or is she truly a queen to be proud of?

Alright, so before we get started, we in the UK (just in case you are reading this from abroad) don’t get the chance to have this stuff fed to us – we have to fight through our poxy proxies and idiotic content blockers to download and stream Drag Race. So we are all ready to judge, to make sure the time we spent searching for a torrent or a clean browser was worth it. This means that TV producers are put under more scrutiny by those watching from overseas than in the country of origin, and probably explains why some American shows don’t get good receptions over here, yet we continually export things like The Office and Queer as Folk, watching as they snowball and blossom.

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So while RuPaul had two big openings, there were a few viewers who noticed, amongst other things, the lack of Absolut as a sponsor this year (Reddit certainly had a thing or two to say), and so something was clearly amiss this season. You couldn’t put your finger on it, but some of the queens were not as polished, and even the favourites didn’t get as far as they should have done – look at the outcry when Ben DeLa Crème got evicted from the House of RuPaul, or Kelly Mantle’s early departure in the first round. Newcomer Adore Delano fast became one of the favourites at the end, with even a secret fourth ending being alluded to in correspondence with racers, where she shared the crown with Bianca. Even in spite of this, Bianca was still tipped to win.

Here is what you have to realise about Drag Race – every season there is a seasoned pro who usually doesn’t get very far. Victoria ‘Porkchop’ Parker left early in season one, Raven took a back seat to come second, and while Raja won hers, Chad Michaels had to fight off Sharon Needles to eventually win in All Stars.

Bianca Del Rio, who has been doing her insult comedy for roughly a decade, manages to pull huge audiences into her club nights where she usually shares the stage with big-name stars like Lady Bunny, and has been making costumes most of her life (to the point where it was her on-stage trick at the premiere party – check the video below).

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Whilst Adore made the competition more dramatic in the closing episodes by having a complete personal breakthrough and managing to surpass her previous clunkiness (fantastic wins and epic fails aplenty), Courtney seemed to rely on that gorgeous body and face too much, and even Darienne Lake’s fierce lip-synching wasn’t enough to break her into the top three. So was experience enough?

A trend that has been occurring over the last few seasons is one of personality and ability over look and style, and while earlier winners of Drag Race were gifted with stunning beauty (Raja and Tyra are two big proponents of that philosophy), more recent winners had more to give in terms of talent (Sharon and Jinkx were definitely away from the pack in terms of personality and comic timing).

Bianca Del Rio managed to infuse a ‘drag-clown’ look (not our phrase, but never mind) with such epic wit, timing and execution that even RuPaul could not turn it down, and there is a reason Lady Bunny shares a stage with her – she would rather be onstage and be her colleague, rather than off-stage and her target.

Ultimately, each of the queens of Season Six brought different things to the table, and while Trinity K Bonet needed more nudging out of her shell, and Kelly Mantle did not get to give her televisual talents the airing Willam did previously, there was more growth shown than in previous years. Those who ‘won’ most were the ones who used the experience to up their game, although Gia Gunn should be banned from using the word ‘absolutely’.

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Saying that, RuPaul has always said that Drag Race is not a finishing school for girls, so should the most experienced queen of them all win – damn shibby she should. I loved Bianca Del Rio (and am determined to get her to add a date in Cardiff if it is the last thing I do) from the get go, and when discussing potential top-three at the beginning of the season with friends on Twitter, she was always the one that stayed there. Totally a fully-rounded winner.

Bianca Del Rio is currently fundraising for her feature film ‘Hurrican Bianca’ and you can find more out about that through her IndieGoGo Page

About Jake Basford

Essex-boy living in Cardiff, Jake is a writer, PR/Media officer, and Social Media consultant. Obsessed with video games, American culture and Buffy. Can usually be found at his laptop working.