Hey. It’s been awhile.
I have to admit I fell into a mini depression over my wrong prediction for Season 8. I know I shouldn’t take my bizarre hobby so seriously but I guess I do, and that’s why I haven’t written in many months. I love it when people call me the “Nate Silver of RuPaul’s Drag Race.” I love it when I see thousands of views every time I wrote a post. I love redditors saying weird shit like “She is hard at work serving statistical fish for your nerves!” and “Wow seeing all these numbers makes me want to feel my oats.”
Ru would tell me to battle my inner saboteur, so here goes.
It seems fitting that, the year Nate Silver is baffled by the Presidential election, my numbers don’t predict the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Or maybe Ru is reading my blog and f***ing with me. #dreamcometrue) Kim was more popular on social media and in the hashtag campaign, and she had a (slightly) higher challenge score than Bob. Cynthia did not have a strong following due to her early elimination, she didn’t have a good edit score, but still won Miss Congeniality. So what CAN explain the wins?
On a gut level, many people felt like Bob was going to win. Even from the beginning, people drooled over her Meet the Queens video. So let’s see if there are any numbers that would have pointed to Bob’s win.
First, Redditors’ predictions. Yes, my survey results mostly come from rupaulsdragrace subreddit, and then people comment ON THE SUBREDDIT saying, “The subreddit is so BIASED,” but these fans are the ones paying the most attention. Many of them (us) watch every episode 2-3 times. They argue about the edits. They analyze RuPaul’s Drag Race like it’s a classic novel. They listen to What’s the Tee and Feast of Fun and follow Bland Canyon and dragaholic and dragofficial and whatever nincompoop imgur account with a Pearl drawing.
Right after Episode 6, 53% of the fans predicted that Bob would win. 21% predicted Kim. They were right (except for Naomi Smalls, of course).
After episode 3, I asked the fans to rate the queens’ C.U.N.T.s. Since Thorgy was eliminated, Bob was essentially in first place.
- Bob had higher Charisma, Nerve and Talent than Kim. Bob wins.
- Kim had higher Uniqueness than Bob.
Kim scored particularly low on charisma and nerve. Bob has those two traits in spades.
Total C.U.N.T. Score
Other Non-Numerical Stuff, AKA the What-Not Shelf
I have some other theories about the lineup of winners from RuPaul’s harem:
- Smart: They are all really smart. Like, strategic smart. They have an original approach to the challenges. If a challenge is in one of their weaker areas, they find a creative way to work around it.
- Different: They can’t be too similar to last year’s winner. Chad Michaels (fashion queen) couldn’t follow Raja, and Ginger Minj (comedy queen) couldn’t follow Bianca.
- Similar to Ru: The winners need to be a little bit like RuPaul.
By the way, I used to think that they need to sing, dance, act, and do comedy but then Violet proved me wrong. Violet is amazing at what she does (fashion and movement), but mostly just strategic and smart in her weakness areas (acting, comedy). (See rule #1.)
Bob vs. Kim on the What-Not Shelf
- Smart: Bob and Kim on equal footing. Bob and Kim are both smart. Bob’s performance in every challenge was professional, snappy, and quick. Kim handled every challenge with a sly and subversive sense of humor, and capitalized on her weaknesses (e.g. playing the geeky kid in the Bitch Perfect challenge).
- Different: Kim wins. Kim is like no other winner in Ru’s harem. She grew up in Korea, and her story can inspire other little boys who have immigrated from countries less supportive of drag and queers. Unlike pretty much every single queen in RPDR, she STILL doesn’t come out to her mother. The biggest ding on Kim in this category is that her fashion is her greatest strength and she couldn’t follow Violet Chachki. On the other hand, Bob feels like a hybrid of Jinkx (theatrical, multitalented) and Bianca (outspoken, bawdy). I love Bob, but in this category her persona doesn’t represent a new segment of drag.
- Similar to Ru: Bob wins. Like RuPaul, Bob is extroverted, political, and multi-talented. Her personality feels very similar to Ru’s. Kim’s fashion wowed Ru, but her personality might not be what Ru is looking for when she is sending out her representatives.
That last point, that Kim is too different from Ru, is covered beautifully in this article in The Atlantic. Kim is not going to come out to her mother as a drag queen, even though it’s the Western hero’s narrative that RuPaul’s Drag Race lauds. Refusing to come out to her mother illustrates Kim’s tenacity and individuality, and resonates with queers who know that coming out to their parents through Western rituals isn’t always the best choice.
That’s not the story Ru wants to tell. Bob wins.
While 41% of voters thought that Thorgy would be MC, and only 35% thought Cucu would get the sash, it was obvious from threads like this that Cynthia had stolen the redditors’ hearts. I wonder what percentage of MC voters are hardcore fans, aka RPDR subredditors.
Looking at the story arc, it was almost like they set up Thorgy to fail the MC competition. We loved her, we trusted her, and then she totally betrayed us when she started to fail.
It wasn’t going to be Robbie. She only got a positive edit during Les Chicken Wings.
It could have been Chi Chi, especially since it looks like the Miss Congeniality voting went up right after her elimination. However, maybe people didn’t feel like she was that congenial.
And this year, instead of being a popularity contest, it was actually about who the nicest person was, which fans remembered. I hope Cynthia has an Alyssa Edwards Story Arc over the next couple of years.
I’ll see you in Season 9. I promise. Until then, let’s enjoy the All Stars Finale!
Cameron – thanks for pushing me to post this. You’re sweet.