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Four writers go head-to-head on who should win RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10

Kameron Michaels, Asia O’Hara, Eureka, and Aquaria are the livewire drag queens competing for the crown

Tonight (June 28), the tenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race culminates in a sparkling finale. After weeks of deadly lip-syncs, tears and ragers, love-ins and major lewks, the drag queen with the most charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent will take the hallowed crown (and the $100k). Either Asia O’Hara, Eureka, Aquaria or Kameron Michaels will succeed last season’s winner and current reigning queen Sasha Velour. 

Below, we go head-to-head on who we think is the top queen, pulling no punches. Is it muscle gender-fucking fantasy babe Kameron Michaels, or the big lovable loaf head with an even bigger heart, Eureka? Or maybe the powerful, ambitious fashion gal Aquaria or the polished, golden-tongued Asia O’Hara? Serve. It. Up.

ASIA O’HARA

Text Dominic Cadogan

It should go without saying, but Asia O’Hara is the clear winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season ten. Yes, her naysayers will be quick to dismiss her as “just a pageant queen” (what’s wrong with being polished?) but she’s proven throughout the season that she’s so much more than that.

She’s got lewks for days – see: the giant dandelion for Hats Incredible, and Moschino-worthy Tweety Bird look. She’s got humour – seen via the Buttrface app challenge and her evil twin with the ultimate read: “She better stop the smiles and glitter crap and start being the self-indulged, pot-belly ho that everyone knows that she is.” Most importantly, she’s got heart. Who helped everyone with their outfits in the Ball challenge, to the detriment of their own look? Who broke through to the Vixen and stood up to Mother Ru at the reunion (moving anyone with a heart to tears)? The answer is always Asia.

When it comes to her competitors (if you can call them that – Asia is in another league) they don’t stand a chance. Aquaria might have the looks, but she couldn’t be any less personable, Kameron might be the underdog but doesn’t use her voice as a platform, and LBR, Eureka is just annoying AF. Asia’s not just one thing, she’s all-encompassing. Smart enough to recognise the nuance around race on the Race, and honest enough to call out Monet’s sponge dress. She was even ballsy enough to (try) and redeem Beyoncé on the Snatch Game. Okay, she failed, but her black Parah Salin character was fucking genius. Plus, there’s the fact she actually got punched in the face by Ru.

Undeterred by personal trauma – she lost her parents at a young age – or the racist fans who bullied her and threatened to set her alight, Asia’s journey through the season has been a pleasure to watch. When it comes to a well-rounded, outspoken, fashion-forward queen, Asia’s our girl.

KAMERON MICHAELS

Text Anna Cafolla

“Who is she!?” Monique Heart and the other queens demanded of Kameron Michaels in the Reunion episode. Kameron’s competition trajectory has been pretty different than most other queens that sashay in and out of RPDR – she’s kept to herself, choosing to get ready at her own mirror, and in some episodes barely gets a word in. To the other queens – outgoing, loud and proud acts – she’s read as shady, keeping bad and dark opinions to herself to cultivate a careful image.

To misquote Chris Crocker: Leave Kameron alone! Painting her as a villain – or this season’s Valentina – is boring and unfair. Kameron represents a significant faction of the LGBTQ+ community that is, or was once, not confident in their identity. She’s coming into the competition as a hairdresser from Tennessee, up against full-time queens from queer epicentres like NYC. Introversion is a powerful, powerful trait, and seeing the bodybuilder Barbie babe queen crowned the Drag Race champion would be truly visionary.

From the get-go, she’s fucked with the gender binary as a muscle queen, pulling fervently at the fabrics of what is masculine and feminine. And whether she’s a 70s disco diva or an Edgar Allen Poe gothic raven queen, cosplaying as a fantastical Crystal Maiden from Dota 2, or playing an anime princess with a core of steel, Kameron has endless poise and quiet charisma while turning out looks you’ll always toot. She’s got rapid comedic wit in her too when she’s given a chance – shown in the reading challenge, Snatch Game, and in her Trade advertisement. Kameron is this season’s lip-sync assassin for sure, never missing a lyric ,and obliterating the competition with her muscle-powered moves. And, she was the one queen who used her “American” verse to shout out the queer fight for acceptance.

Ultimately, Kameron is my winner: shout out to all the quiet girls!

AQUARIA

Text Ted Stansfield

You know that terrible sinking feeling you had when you found out we were going to leave the EU? And, several months later, when you found out Donald Trump was going to be President of the US? Well, that’s how I’m going to feel if Aquaria doesn’t win RPDR. It’ll be a mistake. A fucking travesty.

Aquaria is the only worthy winner of season ten, and you know it. Eureka is too annoying, Asia is too pagaenty, and Kameron is too meh (literally, how she’s still there and Miz Cracker isn’t is beyond me). As RuPaul always says, the winner of RPDR is supposed to embody the future of drag, and Aquaria is hands down the only finalist who truly does that.

At the beginning of the season, I’ll admit I had doubts about Aquaria. I thought she was a classic case of the Instagram generation: style over substance. But episode after episode, she’s succeeded in not only bringing outstanding looks to the mainstage (Ru herself said that she’s one of the top five fashion queens of all time, on par with Raja, Detox, Violet, and Miss Vanjie – LOL), but in being brilliant in many other ways, too. She’s funny (that Melania Trump impersonation was iconic), she can dance (see: the music video for “American”) and can paint for the gawds. All this, at the age of 22 at time of filming.

In April, after the second or third episode had aired, I actually interviewed Aquaria for Another Man (casual plug for the website I work on – very RuPaul). I rang her up and we chatted for an hour or so. Bear in mind that at this point, I still thought she was a bit style over substance. But as she spoke – telling me about growing up, her entry into drag and her love of fashion – I realised that I had been completely wrong about her. She is smart, ambitious, highly driven, surprisingly grounded and passionate about her craft. I was utterly sold.

So Ru, if you’re reading, which you’re definitely not, do the right thing: crown Aquaria. 

EUREKA 

Text Vanessa Hsieh

If Eureka wins tonight, it will be a huge first win for the big girls, given the show’s fanbase historically favouring skinny, white queens – and it wouldn’t be undeserved. Eureka is funny, and her drag is good. Her, dressed as a big baby, will go down as one of the most hilarious highlights of this season (and reminds me of her equally funny John Waters challenge in the previous season).

Remember, Eureka bounced back from a pretty traumatic exit from the last season – giving it her all in a challenge, and eventually needing to leave to get extensive knee surgery. To come back so soon, and to do so well after an experience like that, is a testament to her personal strength and the power of her drag skills. If we’re basing the decision of who should win on the full narrative of their time on Drag Race, then her time on season nine should factor in too.

Yes, her unfilted personality has caused her problems, but she’s in a competition that’s become increasingly about pageantry, with queens so conscious of how they will be perceived on social media that they don’t really say what they mean anymore – so it should be seen as a positive. We are all flawed human beings, and winners of Drag Race are still human too. Most importantly, we should be looking at the huge merit of what Eureka has achieved – and what her win would represent to bigger queens everywhere.