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RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 Episode 12: Basically a Long Promo for the Finale

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 Episode 12
Photo Credit: vh1

A warning: it is impossible to review this week’s episode of Drag Race without spoiling the results of the competition. Proceed with caution.

And just like that the final four became the… final four? Yes, Ru recycled last year’s “gag” and had all four of the remaining contestants stay in the leading into the season finale, set to air in just about two weeks. But, to be frank, this twist was anything but surprising – not because the queens all deserved to stay, as was the case last year. Instead, this whole episode felt like an extended promo for the finale, emphasizing some of the season’s worst qualities.

As was the case with All Stars 3, this season of Drag Race is hyper-focused on narratives, even if it means recycling the same narratives until the audience has grown sick of them. So, in this week’s main challenge – which asked the Top 4 Queens with creating their own verses to RuPaul’s song, “American”– the queens brought their all, but were left with more of the same criticisms. Kameron, once again, was labeled “shy” and criticized during rehearsal for holding back. Eureka, meanwhile, reemphasized her stage fright while dancing and performing. Much was made about how young Eureka is, as well as how seasoned and professional Asia was week-to-week. This has just has gotten a bit tiresome, and really feels like beating a dead horse at this point. Especially when these narratives were thrown out the window during the final performance.

Things started to seem a bit suspicious after the performance and runway, when the judges were expected to dole out their critiques. Everyone was shockingly nice, giving rave reviews to every queen, and praising them for getting to where they are. And, to be fair, all of the queens did deliver – the musical performance was stellar, and Kameron, Aquaria, and Asia served superlative looks on the runway (Eureka’s was clever but a bit underwhelming compared to her competition). But there wasn’t a single negative thing said on the runway, and that just doesn’t feel realistic. By the time the queens engaged in an embarrassingly underwhelming lip sync to a different RuPaul song, it was clear: no one was going home this week, and this whole challenge was basically a bump on the road towards the finale.

There were, however, some nice moments: similar to last year’s finale, the four queens sat down with Ru and Michelle for a taping of the duo’s podcast, which led to some enlightening interviews. This was a particularly wonderful week for Aquaria and Kameron, both of whom saw some growth and became more likable competitors.

This also proved to be a political episode, which is always when RuPaul shines brightest; Kameron and Ross shared a very emotional moment talking about the hardships LGBTQ+ youths face and, in a lighter scene, Ru and the hosts acted out a cute PSA about how important to registering to vote is. But, the best moment actually aired during Untucked, when Asia received a surprise video message from a friend that is bound to bring tears to the eyes of sensitive viewers.

After Season 9’s top four exceeded all expectations and brought their true A-games to the stage, Season 10 can’t help but feel a little inferior. At this rate, it seems almost impossible for anyone to Aquaria to win, which makes for a boring competition. But, truthfully, no one else deserves the crown, so even if there is a surprise, it will feel unearned. That can’t be helped, of course, but it can make for a somewhat boring finale. Hopefully Ru will be able to liven things up in the final episode of the season.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 Episode 12 Overall rating: 5 out of 10

Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor is the TV editor at The Pop Break, along with being one of the site's awards show experts. When he's not at the nearest movie theater, he can be found bingeing the latest Netflix series, listening to synth pop, or updating his Oscar predictions. A Rutgers grad, he also works in academic publishing. Follow him on Twitter @MattNotMatthew1.

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