I love has always been a bit questionable—Rebecca Glasscock did not beat Jade in that lip sync in season 1—but this is largely a symptom of reality TV that, no matter how much I plead, will not change. (But just once, can we have a season based on pure talent and not storylines? No? At least I tried.) There is, however, an opportunity to shake up the judging panel to freshen things up, which we desperately need.
RuPaul is RuPaul, and she will always be there, until she’s replaced by a hologram of herself. Her right-hand man is Michelle Visage, who looks so incredibly stunning every week that I would rather BenDeLaCreme myself than get rid of her.
That leaves us with Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews. I think Carson brings a lot to the show, frequently wears great fashions, and offers genuinely helpful critiques, even if his references are comically dated. But Carson does seem to be in fewer episodes as the years go on, as if he’s phasing himself out.
Then there’s Ross. Look, I like Ross Matthews. He’s adorable, and I like his shiny jumpsuits. But it feels like he checked out of the show years ago. He’s been on a downhill climb since he called Shea Couleé “crafty” on All Stars. He also goes on these outrageous tangents that lead nowhere, offering queens no real opportunities to grow and get better, which is what the critiques are all about.
Here’s how to fix it: replace Ross and Carson with TS Madison and Nicole Byer. They’ve judged a number of times, and they’re heartfelt, funny, and helpful. I’d also suggest a former competitors/superfans like Alaska and Bob the Drag Queen, but I don’t think Ru would ever risk being upstaged on her own show.
C’mon, Drag Race: Let’s get some diversity!
Credit where it’s due: RuPaul’s Drag Race has amped up the diversity over the years, and it’s all the better for it. Casts are now ethnically diverse, and multiple openly trans contestants have stormed the stage, including this year’s sensational Sasha Colby, who is absolutely going to win.
But for Drag Race to stay relevant in the coming years, it has to take things up a notch. Drag is so much more than people creating female illusions. It’s time for drag kings. Kings are typically cis women who transform into men. There’s never been one on Drag Race, but the excellent alternative competition series Dragula brought on Landon Cider, who ended up winning the whole thing.
Drag truly is for everyone. Let’s bring bearded queens, bio-queens, and everyone else into the mix. We’re ready for it.