Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Definitive Ranking of the Winners of RuPaul's Drag Race

A little over a week ago, I posted my rankings of the seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, which you can check out by clicking HERE. It's one of my absolute favorite shows, which of course means that I love ranking anything and everything related to it, so I'm back again to do another Drag Race related ranking. Today, I'm going to be ranking the winners of the show. Like with the season rankings, I'm including both the winners of the main show and All Stars. 

I feel like I need to set up my criteria here just a bit, since this ranking seems a bit more subjective than the season rankings. As per usual, I'm taking a lot of different things into account when comparing these queens. Obviously, the first is their performance on the show-- how consistent they were, how many times they were in the bottom, their Dusted or Busted score, etc. But, another important factor is how they were as a character on the show. Were they one of the more entertaining queens? Were they likable? Were they so unlikable that they were entertaining? Stuff like that. And, of course, personal preference. Even if we can agree on paper which queens were stronger, pretty much everyone is going to vary when considering which queens they gravitate toward, like more, and generally rooted for. Given that criteria, this list is going to be pretty subjective. As always, I have my opinions & you have yours. I respect your opinion, so please respect mine in return by not yelling at me in the comments. I promise, we can disagree without getting in a huge argument. Now, on to the list!

11) BeBe Zahara Benet- Season 1
This should come as very little surprise given my opinion on S1. Overall, I didn't find much about the season compelling, and that includes most of the cast. BeBe was certainly one of the stronger competitors and one of the bigger personalities, but I definitely preferred some of the other contestants like Shannel, Ongina, and Nina. I certainly don't dislike her, but I just don't really have a strong opinion of her. I think that she was up against a cast that was clearly the weakest cast across the board. While she was a strong competitor, she certainly didn't completely dominate everyone, while some other winners did completely annihilate seasons with much stronger casts. My apathetic feelings toward her, the strength of the other queens on this list, and the weak field in her season all combine to land her down at the bottom despite the fact that she's a fierce queen overall.

10) Tyra Sanchez- Season 2
If this list were made after my first watch of Season 2, Tyra might've been all the way at the bottom. The first time I watched season 2, I really, really disliked her. After re-watching the season in May, my opinion turned around on her a bit. Some of the things I said about BeBe still stand for Tyra. Her competition was certainly weaker than modern seasons. The drag was more ready-to-wear. However, I think that Tyra did better in her respective season than she got credit for. Yes, she was a bit unlikable, and yes, she doesn't have as strong of an aesthetic as some other queens, but she was very polished, especially relative to the queens around her. She had a really strong track record-- 3 wins, plus several appearances in the top and only one in the bottom 3. Ultimately, she winds up here mostly because she's not a queen I like very much, and that despite doing rather well in her season, the level of drag that season was still rather ready-to-wear. 

9) Violet Chachki- Season 7
Violet is another queen that I liked more upon a re-watch of her season. Although she was really unlikable at the beginning of the season, by the second half, she'd really gotten a bit of a redemption arc. So upon a re-watch, I saw her in a bit of a different like. I'd never totally hated her, but upon first watch, I'd certainly been rooting for anyone but Violet in the finale. On re-watch, I still preferred a few of the other queens, but I found her to be a much more rootable character and felt like I understood her a bit more. That being said, Violet has some really clear flaws that I think makes her weaker than the queens above her on this list. Violet's big weakness is her ability to perform. She did alright in the lip sync performances, but the acting challenges were absolutely abysmal. That being said, she certainly does make up for it some with her fantastic fashion. So many of her looks have now become iconic, especially the one in the above gif. Like with the last two, season 7 has also been criticized for being a weak cast of queens. While I like the cast quite a bit, I can definitely see that argument, and I think that's a bit of a knock on Violet as a winner. Overall, I like her and think that her fashion is fantastic, but I also think that she has several weak points in her abilities. 

8) Chad Michaels- All Stars 1
I went back and forth on these next two queens, but I eventually ended up with this order because although I think Chad had a stronger showing on her season(s), I prefer the queen that I put in 7th place. That being said, I do really like Chad. Once again, it took a re-watch for me to really appreciate Chad. I've always respected her and her talent and how incredibly polished she is, but it wasn't until a re-watch of season 4 that I began to really grow to like her and root for her. Her personality is much quieter than many other queens, and I think that definitely contributes to the reason that I really had to warm up to her. Chad is one of those people who seems to be almost too perfect. She's so put-together, so polished, and just so perfect that she almost doesn't even seem human. Chad killed it not only in the All Stars Season that she won (in which she basically just demolished everyone), but also in her original season 4. Overall, I really enjoy Chad and I think that she's incredibly polished and amazing, but she's not a personal favorite for me. 

7) Raja Gemini- Season 3
I really like Raja. We're to the point in the list where I fell in love with these people my first time through, and even if they weren't my favorite in the season, I still cheered them on as they won. However, Raja was definitely my favorite in her season, and I really love her outside of the show as well. Of course, I watch Raja and Raven on Fashion Photo RuView, and I usually really like her opinions on things. And on her own season, I think she was also really great. While she was definitely firmly in the "fashion queen" department, she proved that she was incredibly capable in other areas and extremely well-rounded. She proved that she was funny and a competent performer, on top of her amazing fashion sense. While there was certainly a bit of a mean girl vibe to her throughout her season, she was also really fun and snarky and gave interesting confessionals. Like I said, at this point we've gotten to some of my all-time favorite queens and the only knock I really have on Raja is that she was a bit of a mean girl sometimes and that I like some of these queens better than her and think that some of them are even more well-rounded than her and have made bigger impacts on both the show and on drag in general. 

6) Sharon Needles- Season 4
This might be my most controversial placement of a queen, given that Sharon was such a monumental winner and because she's become such an icon for the show. Once again, I see Sharon as mostly tied with the next queen on the list, but for one reason or another, Sharon ended up just slightly lower. Like I mentioned already, Sharon was an incredibly strong competitor, who really made everyone think about drag in an entirely new way. When she walked into the workroom, she was seen as a joke, but she quickly proved that her uniqueness wasn't the only thing that she had. She won an unprecedented 4 challenges throughout the season and did well in many of the other challenges as well. She quickly became not only a strong competitor, but also a rootable, lovable character. She wasn't even really an underdog, but definitely took on that role because of how much people didn't respect her drag aesthetic. Overall, Sharon was just an incredible competitor, a phenomenal winner, and a lovable character. Like I mentioned with Raja, we've gotten to the point where I love all of these queens and the largest difference is just who I like more.

5) Jinkx Monsoon- Season 5
As I mentioned with Sharon, she and Jinkx are mostly tied in my mind. Jinkx edges her out just slightly, for a couple of reasons. When making this ranking, I went back and looked through the Dusted or Busted score cards just to see how they technically compared to each other on paper. That really shed light on how impressive Jinkx was, because she was in the top for nearly every challenge. There were literally only 2 challenges where she wasn't in the top. There's only one other queen who's ever done that, and that queen is also the only person to have a better Dusted or Busted score than Jinkx... but we'll get to her in a bit.

So, given Jinkx's impressive track record, you're probably questioning why she's all the way at #5. If she's that good, she should be all the way up at #2, right? My main reasoning for her being a bit lower (and I think I'm sounding like a broken record here) is just personal preference. There are just some other winners that I gravitate toward a bit more than Jinkx. That being said though, I still absolutely love her. The other slight knock on Jinkx is that she's not the most polished when it comes to her runway. She definitely has a clear aesthetic, and she turned out some amazing looks, but she also turned out some looks along the way that weren't quite up to par. But her performances in the challenges, her personality, and her humor were amazing enough to get her consistently in the top despite some of the lackluster looks. Overall, Jinkx is an incredibly strong queen, a deserving winner, and definitely one of my favorite Drag Race contestants. 

4) Sasha Velour- Season 9
Going into the finale of S9, I felt like Sasha was the underdog. Sure, she had the fan support by A LOT, but Trinity and Shea both had more wins under their belts and were generally seen as the obvious top 2. So, when she turned out those fantastic lip sync performances, I was so excited, just hoping that she would take home the crown. And she did! A look back at her track record proves that she certainly deserved the crown. She was never in the bottom 2 (and hardly deserved her one appearance in the bottom 3), was in the top 7 times (same # as Shea), and probably should've won at least one more challenge than she actually did. But that last one's just my opinion. 

Either way, Sasha was one of those queens who just spoke to me immediately upon the cast announcement. The second she marketed herself as the brainy, intellectual queen, I was sold. And she continued to impress me throughout the entire competition with how well-spoken and witty she was. She certainly wasn't one of the most out-there personalities on the show, but I kinda loved that. I loved that she became the go-to for an intelligent comment on the more serious discussions. I was a bit worried about her versatility at the very beginning, but she quickly proved to be well-rounded, turning out interesting looks, killing the challenges, bringing the humor, and ultimately bringing home the crown with her impressive lip sync skills. Overall, Sasha was absolutely fantastic and I was legitimately cheering when she finally won.  

3) Bob The Drag Queen- Season 8
Let's be honest, S8 should just be re-named "Bob's season." Bob was the front-runner from the very beginning and dominated the competition for pretty much the entire way through. While she doesn't have the same flawless track record as some other queens that got a bit lower than her, Bob completely dominated the entire season in pretty much every single way. She was the clear stand-out personality, dominating screentime both in the workroom and in confessionals. She also got the most wins under her belt, beating out Kim Chi. For me, S8 is a season full of interesting, fun, and likable queens, so it should be difficult for one queen to completely steal the show, but Bob did it with ease. Any comedy challenge probably should've just been handed directly to Bob, because she didn't falter in the slightest. Her performance in the RuCo's Empire challenge is possibly the best single-challenge performance in the history of the show. It was masterful, over-the-top acting and comedy at its finest. Her Snatch Game performance was also top-tier. Pandora Boxx's Carol Channing has always been a favorite Snatch Game performance for me, and Bob did just as good a job, if not better. Overall, Bob was just an absolutely phenomenal performer and character, and while her march to the end was predictable, she was clearly the best in her season. 

2) Alaska- All Stars 2
Honestly, Alaska's All Stars win is the majority of the reason that I wanted to include All Stars winners & seasons on these lists. She's always been one of my favorite queens from Drag Race, and she was also probably my favorite to win All Stars 2. While her tantrum in the second-to-last challenge is still extremely off-putting, she's still definitely one of my long-standing favorites and she absolutely demolished the season. She was in the top for nearly every challenge, and she essentially won half of the challenges. She definitely came to win this season, and she proved it pretty much every single episode with how hard she was trying.

And while Alaska wasn't the most likable in her All Stars appearance, she was definitely my favorite on S5 by a long-shot. Don't get me wrong, I loved Jinkx, but Alaska's personality was so hilarious and so endearing, despite the fact that she had attached herself to relatively unlikable people like Roxxxy and Detox. Although Jinkx clearly had the best showing in the season, if not for the public outcry for her as the winner (due mostly to Roxxxy's bullying), I think Alaska could honestly have taken it. She was such a stand-out queen and character, and so many people just absolutely fell in love with her that season. While I'm a bit lower on her post-All Stars, she's still definitely up there as both one of my favorite queens and one of the best queens that's ever been on the show. 

1) Bianca Del Rio- Season 6
This is pretty much a given, right? Bianca Del Rio is far and away not just the best winner in the history of the show, but the best queen who's ever competed on the show. PERIOD. Not to rely on Dusted or Busted scores too much, but Bianca is the reigning champ on there, due to her 3 wins, 5 times in the top, and 0 trips to even the bottom 3, let alone the bottom 2. Not only did she show her skill in the challenges, but she was definitely the stand-out personality of the season. Sure, Adore was also right up there with her, but the development of their friendship was one of the prevailing storylines throughout the show. Although she markets herself as being hateful, Bianca was never afraid to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it, simply because she knew she could still beat them. 

Sure, she delivered different versions of the same look over and over throughout the competition. But, do you know who else does that? RUPAUL CHARLES. If the looks are put together and polished, who cares if they look similar? Bianca knows what works for her, and she knows the aspects of her drag persona that are important. AKA- her humor, her wit, and her scathing rolodex of hate. Bianca is truly the whole package. She's entertaining, funny, intelligent, well-spoken, and despite being so snarky, she's inherently lovable. Bianca is, unquestionably, both the best contestant and the best winner in the history of RuPaul's Drag Race. 

So, those are my rankings of the winners of RuPaul's Drag Race! Sometime in the near future, I'm hoping to do a ranking of all of the queens in the history of the show, so if that's something you're interested in, let me know!

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Definitive Ranking of the Seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race

Over the past few years, I've watched and enjoyed many new shows, but there are few shows that have impacted me the way that RuPaul's Drag Race has. I started watching about 4 years ago, and quickly fell in love with it and went back and watched every single episode of every single season. It's a show that I find myself going back and re-watching all the time, and it found itself super high up on my list of favorite TV shows when I ranked them back in May (which you can check out HERE).

So, as with everything that I really love, I've decided to do a ranking of all of the seasons of Drag Race! I've decided that this list is going to include both the regular seasons AND the All Star seasons. I went back and forth several times, but eventually settled on including them because when I do my winner rankings (coming soon!) I want to include the All Stars winners in my rankings. So, these are my rankings of all 11 seasons. Per usual, I'd like to remind everyone that these are just my opinions. We all have differing opinions. I respect yours, so I hope you'll respect mine by not yelling at me in the comments if you disagree with a season's placement. With that being said, let's go ahead and jump into the rankings!

11) Season 1
I feel like season 1 just has to be the worst by default. It's also been dubbed the "Lost Season"... and for a pretty good reason. Fans always joke about the horrible "blurry filter" but I feel like the video quality is even worse than the jokes lead on. In my opinion, this is by far the least compelling cast. As the show has gone on, it's gotten much more high fashion, while this first season was very ready to wear-- some queens even walked into the workroom in a t-shirt and jeans. Seriously. Like many first seasons, Drag Race hadn't quite figured out their formula yet. The timeline within the episodes was incredibly wonky, jumping back and forth between segments in a way that was hard to follow, and including things that they would later realize simply weren't important. There are definitely some good aspects to the season-- Tammie is such an interesting character, Ongina's story is always inspiring, and we get some really great queens like Shannel and Nina. But overall, this season is the clear weak link when compared to the other seasons. 

10) All Stars 1
To be perfectly honest, I struggled to get through this season. Sure, there were some queens brought back that I really loved, but the twist that RuPaul threw into the mix just made it so little fun to watch. Fan-favorite Pandora Boxx was cut episode one because she was forced to team up with Mimi Imfurst. Still not sure why anyone decided to bring her back. It had lots of great queens, the same judges, and the same studio, but the pairs twist just made it feel very foreign-- almost as if it wasn't Drag Race at all. I'm glad that Chad won, because Chad was definitely one of the most deserving losers of the main show, but overall this season was just a struggle all the way through.

9) Season 3
OK, so we've gotten out of the "bottom of the barrel" section of the ranking and into my next tier, AKA the next 2 seasons. The seasons placing at #8 & #9 are mostly tied and are a definite step up from the ones below. Overall, I really enjoy season 3. There are certainly aspects of it that I like more than the season that placed just above it, but there are also some definite detractors. I think the major knock on season 3 for me is that I have yet to re-watch the second half of the season. Might be a bit petty, but for a show that I go back and re-watch regularly, the fact that I've never re-watched half of this season is a definite knock on it. I feel like there were also a lot of queens that I didn't really love. Raja and Manila are fantastic, and I love Shangela, but other than that there weren't many queens who I really gravitated toward. I do think that the level of drag and the quality of the challenges was definitely upped from S2, but overall this one just comes off as a bit less memorable and often overly catty/mean. 

8) Season 2
Like I said, Seasons 2 & 3 are mostly tied for me, but I originally had them flipped. And that was mostly because the level of drag in season 2. It was kinda walking the border between S1 & S3. Not quite as ready-to-wear as S1, but not quite upped to the level that someone like Raja brought in S3. But what really stands out to me this season are the characters and the storylines. Raven and JuJu are still some of the most memorable queens in the history of the show. Pandora was lovable and hilarious. Tati was sassy and snarky but in the most fun way possible. And Tyra was... Tyra. I didn't like her the first time, but upon a re-watch my mind definitely was changed just a little bit. Still not my favorite winner, but she was more likable the second time around. And even some earlier eliminees like Nicole Paige Brooks and Mystique Summers Madison were really memorable. Also, who green-lighted the "Chicken or what?" competition? Because that's still a head-scratcher 7 years later. Overall, it's a really fun, drama-filled season that's just a bit rough at the edges. 

7) Season 9
I really enjoyed this season of Drag Race, so after finishing up my ranking, I was actually a bit surprised to see that I put it all the way down at number 7. I think that on its own speaks to the overall strength of this show and how much I love it. Like with Season 2 & Season 3, this one and the next one are mostly tied, but this one got edged out by just a little bit. Overall, Season 9's biggest strength for me was the quality of the queens. There were certainly some weak points in the cast, but once we got up to the top 7, everyone was so talented. I honestly kinda liked how nice the cast was to each other, especially since we got all of the fighting out in the reunion episode. I also absolutely loved that even by the final 4, I had no idea who was going to win. Yes, Shea won the most challenges. Yes, Sasha had the fans' support. Yes, Pepper probably had the worst track record. But all 4 of them brought it so hard all season long and proved over and over that they deserved to be there. There were just so many really strong contestants this season.

We also got some really gag-worthy moments, like the cringey lip syncs and Sasha's finale lip syncs that made up for all of the bad ones. I think the weakest point for me was some of the challenges. They were fine, and nearly all of them fit into one of the typical challenge molds for Drag Race, but it just always seemed like something was missing, whether it was the contestants' ability to impress, the writing, or just the challenge as a whole. While I'm mostly very #GurlBye on Lucian Piane being gone, I do think that his musical talents were pretty sorely missed.

6) Season 8
This season was really solid across the board. The challenges were really great. The a cappella lip sync is probably my favorite lip sync challenge that we've had across the board and the RuCo Empire challenge was absolutely hilarious. The queens were really awesome across the board. I liked almost every single one of them, and they were all really strong queens. The few weak links got cut fairly early, leaving us with an overall really strong cast. The biggest down side to the season is that it was pretty clear from the beginning that Bob was going to do well, if not win. Bob was the front-runner from the very beginning and it was a pretty easy march to the end with maybe one little tiny slip-up near the end. Overall, it was definitely a really fun season and really strong all-around but not quite as great as the next 5 seasons. 

5) Season 4
I feel like this might be a bit controversial, but I'm alright with that, because this is just how I feel. I know that Season 4 is the season that really got people into the show and was really the first of the "modern" Drag Race seasons, but for me there are a few seasons that are better. I feel like this cast is the perfect case of amazing highs and incredibly low lows. Sharon, Chad, Latrice, Willam, and even PhiPhi were really strong, while there were some absolutely disastrous people like Alisa, Madame LaQueer, Milan, and Kenya Michaels. There were, however, some really fun challenges. Honestly, pretty much every single one of them is really memorable to me. The prison acting challenge is probably the biggest stand-out, though. Plus, we get some really iconic moments like the "go back to Party City" fight, Willam's disqualification, and Sharon's apocalyptic look. Speaking of Sharon, she's probably one of the most memorable queens in the entire history of the show. I have yet to do winner rankings, but she's definitely a queen that I've really loved and appreciated, and both her presence on the show and the fact that she won had such a huge affect on drag. Sharon was the weirdo that broke the rules and it was so great to watch her win.

4) Season 7
I'm pretty sure this is the most taboo of all of my rankings, because Season 7 doesn't have such a great reputation. But I loved it, and I love going back and re-watching it. Admittedly, a lot of the reason that I love watching it is because I love watching the train wreck over and over again, but it makes it such entertaining TV. Season 7 gave us one of the biggest stand-outs in recent years- KATYA. I'm also a pretty big Pearl fan (her personality just speaks right to my overly-chill heart), and I really liked Max as well. Apart from them, there were a few other strong queens, many weak queens, and a few really unlikable queens. I actually don't mind Violet, and I generally like Ginger, but Kennedy and Jasmine were nearly unbearable. But the challenges this season were really great. Shakesqueer was fantastic despite being a mess, the parody music video was hilarious, and I re-watch videos from the Divine challenge and Glamazonian airways on the reg. Yes, I think that the cast could've been a bit stronger in the talent department, but I think that they made up for it with the entertainment that they brought to the show.

3) All Stars 2
I feel like everything this season was either absolutely amazing or just really messy. The cast of queens was amazing. I've never been a big Coco fan, so I thought she was a bit unnecessary in the cast, but everyone else clearly belonged on the season and was great to watch for their own unique reasons. Even including Coco, the entire cast were all people who were incredibly memorable and made huge impacts on their respective seasons. On top of this, the challenges this season were fantastic. The All Stars Snatch Game was great, and my personal favorite was probably the Herstory of the World lip sync performance. To be honest, I don't think there was a single challenge that I thought was a dud. They were all really interesting and gave us some really great moments. Even the makeover challenge, which is usually a bit of a snooze for me, was really great because it was their own family members. We also got the now-classic Shut Up and Drive lip sync between Alyssa and Tati, which was just absolutely phenomenal and probably the best (or at least, most competitive) lip sync in the history of the show. 

Now, here comes the slight negative. I feel like this season definitely tainted my opinion on a few queens that I absolutely love. Going into All Stars, my top 3 favorite Drag Race queens of all time were Adore, Bianca, and Alaska-- probably in that order as well. Now... let's just say that Bianca is firmly in first place. I still love Alaska and Adore, and they're probably still both in my personal top 3. But, for some people, this season completely tanked their reputations. I have no qualms with Alaska winning the show- she killed it almost the whole season and clearly deserved the crown. But, that hissy fit that she threw in the second-to-last episode was just a mess, and I think we all know that Katya deserved the money on at least one of the challenges that she narrowly lost to Alaska. Despite those couple of hiccups, I really enjoyed this season and despite some pretty low moments, I thought it was a really entertaining season.

2) Season 5
These top 2 seasons have consistently been my top 2 over the years, and I really don't see them going anywhere any time soon. Both of these seasons are just so awesome, and I find myself gravitating toward re-watches of them constantly. However, season 5 is the clear #2 for me. I think the cast this season was pretty awesome. I mean, if you look at the All Stars 2 cast, the entirety of the top 6 this season (sans our winner, Jinkx) was brought back. That's literally half the All Stars cast. Season 5 really had everything that you could want in a season of Drag Race- a great cast, great challenges, and oh. so. much. drama. This cast is especially interesting to me, because I feel like it was very top-heavy (AKA, the best were super strong, not that they were all tops haha) but the rest of the cast was kinda weak. However, we got a ton of really memorable personalities. We got introduced to Serena ChaCha, who chachaed onto our screen for a hot second to fight with everyone and then shashayed away. With Jinkx, we found another really quirky queen who helped to try and change the overall perception of quirky queens. We got our first on-show trans confession with Monica Beverly Hillz. And, of course, we got our first double-elimination and Roxxxy's wig reveal lip sync. So, even though some of the queens were a bit weaker, they still gave us great moments. 

On top of that, the challenges this season were fantastic. We got the perfume challenge, which gave us the now-classic Alyssa's Secret. The RuPaul Roast was not only a fantastic challenge overall, but the lip sync that episode was the one where we got Roxxxy's wig reveal. We also got the great telanovela challenge and the candy couture challenge as well. Plus, the kids Barnyard Buddies TV show challenge. There were just so many really, really great ones this season. And of course, the drama. Alyssa and Coco were constantly at each other's throats, giving us the amazing "Backrolls?" line (technically, that was Jade's doing, but let's just forget about her), Roxxxy was coming for Jinkx constantly, and the aforementioned Serena ChaCha totally brought the drama for the 2 episodes she was on. This whole season was just so entertaining from beginning to end, and I can't help but re-watch over and over and over.

1) Season 6
And finally, we're at my favorite season of Drag Race. To be honest, it's not even close. Ever since the first time I watched this season, it has been my favorite. I've re-watched this season probably more than I've watched any other season put together. Everything about it is absolutely fantastic. The best part about the season for me is the cast. Every single queen brings something to the season-- even Magnolia Crawford. Joslyn Fox is completely precious, Gia Gunn is so oblivious, Milk is crazy-unique, De La is so rootable, Adore is a perfect mess, and Bianca is just actual perfection. Even Trinity K Bonet is fantastic. I just absolutely love this entire cast. They're so awesome and such a great mix of personalities, all of whom made a huge impact on the season. Personally, Gia Gunn annoys me to death, but it's so much fun to watch her on the show. Overall, the cast is just absolutely fantastic. 

The challenges this season are also amazing. Honestly, I think every single challenge this season is memorable. Every time I re-watch, I have trouble stopping because I see the next week's preview and think "ooh, I love that challenge." For me, this season's Snatch Game is unquestionably the best in the history of the show. Even the people who landed in the middle were overall fantastic, on top of the fact that Bianca, Adore, and De La's performances were elite. The Scream Queens challenge was really great, Oh No She Betta Don't was hilariously perfect, and Shade the Rusical is in contention for my favorite challenge in the history of the show. It's amazing. Like I said, I don't think there's a single challenge this season I don't like. Every single one is so good. Plus, in addition to these challenges, Laganja gives us a great amount of drama. It's so much fun to also watch the Adore/Bianca friendship develop from strangers, to slightly antagonistic, to actual besties. Plus, the development of Trinity K Bonet as a character is really fantastic. Overall, this season just has everything I could ever want and I re-watch it over and over and over. It's amazing.

So, those are my rankings of the seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race! I'm planning on ranking the winners very soon, so watch out for that very soon! Let me know down in the comments what you think of my rankings, and which season of Drag Race is your favorite!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Casting Big Brother with Harry Potter Characters

On this blog, I've made it no secret that I love Harry Potter. I've gone on for hours and hours about how it's one of my absolute favorite things on the planet. However, as summer begins to roll around, another thing that I get really excited about is Big Brother. I'm a fairly recent fan (I started watching during BB17) but I've become super invested. I've gotten really into Rob Has a Podcast & listen to all of their BB coverage. I've gone back and watched a lot of older seasons. I even have the live feeds on in the background fairly regularly. It's something that I've gotten really invested in over the summer. 

While listening to some RHAP coverage and getting really pumped for the new season, I stumbled across a podcast that Jordan Parhar (of the RHAP Rhappy Hour) guested on that got me so excited. He appeared on a podcast called The Real Weird Sisters, a Harry Potter podcast. I was so excited about this idea that I have yet to listen to any of their other podcasts, but I definitely intend to. They appear to be going through the Harry Potter series, talking about it chapter by chapter (much like I do on my other blog, Specialis Revelio). I'm super excited to listen to their coverage, but first, I wanted to throw in my two cents on this great idea that they had. 

As you can tell from the title, on that podcast, they used the typical Big Brother casting stereotypes to cast a season of BB using characters from within the Harry Potter universe. I thought they did a great job and you can check out their podcast here, but I found myself creating my own cast, which didn't always match up with theirs. I'll be using the same casting types as theirs (potentially with one of my own thrown in), and I'll explain each type as I go along, as well as my reasoning for choosing each person. Also, after the official cast, there are some predictions as to how everyone will do, which I'll also get into. I've rambled long enough here. Let's jump into the list!

Sorority girl with nerd glasses

The "nerdy superfan" is a tried and true casting stereotype that we see every season. It's usually a guy, but if it does happen to be a girl, it's usually a girl who's pretty and not actually very nerdy; she just happens to wear glasses. A good example is Nicole from BB16 & 18. Not a knock on the players who fall under this category-- more a knock on the way that casting apparently refuses to cast legitimate female nerds. (Sorry Hermione...)

Anyway, the person who I thought was definitely the clear choice for this category is the one and only Cho Chang. 

They chose Cho on the podcast as well, and I wholeheartedly agree. She may not literally have glasses, but she fits the stereotype. She's clearly smart, because she's a Ravenclaw, but the only reason we're really aware of her intelligence is because we're essentially told "Hey, she's smart!" rather than due to any of her actions. Plus, she's definitely the "pretty girl" in school, which is along the lines of a sorority girl. It just fits really well. Important note: I considered Ginny Weasley and Romilda Vane here, because they were Harry Potter superfans, so they would fit in that sense, but I thought that Cho fit a bit better. Also, we'll see one of those two again later...

Male Nerdy Superfan
Like I mentioned, we get this type every single season, especially since we saw Ian in season 14. These guys are always incredibly awkward and huge fans of the show. Think about a stereotypical nerd, and you've got the guy that they usually stick into this spot. And once again, I thought that they absolutely killed it on the podcast: Colin Creevey

I mean, is there any better person to cast here? He's a total Harry Potter fanboy, on top of the fact that he's incredibly over-enthusiastic and over the top. He would make some really interesting TV, because he'd be bouncing around and being silly the entire time. However, I do think he'd be a bit different than the "typical" superfan, because most superfans are very shy and self-conscious, but he's really outgoing and loud. I think it would be a really cool twist on the typical stereotype, but would rub people the wrong way just as much as the typical superfan.  

The Old Guy
I found this one incredibly difficult, because literally the only indicators are an age and gender. We've seen so many different iterations of the old guy over the years that it's hard to zone in on just one person. We've had the BB16 Donny type, who's just super sweet and lovable, but we've also had people like BB10's Jerry who was super loud and antagonistic. In the end, I went with someone a little off the beaten path: Kingsley Shacklebolt. 

I think pretty much every older guy that they cast for Big Brother has some sort of interesting backstory. Donny was this groundskeeper, but everyone thought he was in the army. Glenn, our most recent old guy, was a police officer and a dog groomer. I went through several different options (Remus Lupin- not old enough? Mad Eye- Interesting, but not my fave. Xenophilius- quirky but probably a bit too quirky for this role). But eventually, I landed on Kingsley. I think that he would be a really interesting, strong strategic player. I think that he fits the mold of the older man really well, but with a slight twist. Most "older guys" are not strong strategic forces. I think Kingsley would be.

Sassy Narrator
For this one, I went back and forth between a couple people, but eventually decided to go with Lee Jordan.

I mean, this was basically his job at Hogwarts. He was the commentator at the quidditch games, and he was fantastic at it. He was unabashedly biased and hilariously sassy. His commentary on the games was one of the best aspects of the first book. The quidditch matches were already pretty fun, but he made them even more exciting . He would give some hilariously snarky DRs and the viewers would absolutely love him. Plus, Big Brother likes to get diversity in their cast, and Lee Jordan would be a really interesting player that would also check that box. 

Religious Fanatic
There were a lot of options of directions I could go for this one. Obviously, there's not really "religion" in Harry Potter, but there are things like Death Eaters and their near-religious following of Voldemort. However, it's still difficult to choose something like this, because these people would have to pass psychological examination, and I don't think many Death Eaters would pass that. Instead, I ended up going with Percy Weasley.

I was going to choose a girl for this spot to even out the guy/girl ratio, but I'll deal with that when we get to the recruits. When Percy popped into my mind, it was too good to pass up. He might not be a literal religious fanatic, but he fits the mold very well. He's definitely the "goody two-shoes" type, and is quick to try to tell other people that they're not doing what they're supposed to. I mean, he basically separates himself from his entire family because, in his eyes, they're not following the ministry as they should. We also see him give servant-esque respect toward his superiors. He fits this role to a T, and I think that he would certainly be really interesting as the antagonistic, holier than thou version of this stereotype (as opposed to someone like Jocasta).

The Meathead
This stereotype was the impetus for deciding to create this list, because this person immediately came to mind, and they didn't talk about him. They made a really great choice, but I thought it would be an absolute shame not to have this guy in the house, because he is the epitome of the type of bros you get in the BB house every single summer: Cormac McLaggen.

If you don't quite remember him, he first pops up in HBP, pining after Hermione in the most douche-bro way possible. Not only does he have the personality of the typical meathead, but he's super athletic as well. I feel like there are so many guys every single season that are very much like McLaggen, and since I've lost a recruit spot (due to putting guys in both of the gender non-specific casting spots), I think that he fits in very nicely here. 

The "Offbeat" Girl
Admittedly, there's only one acceptable option for me here. On the podcast, they chose Tonks, and I definitely get it. But I just can't choose her. I don't hate her or anything, but I'm not a fan. And I think that these days, even the "offbeat" girl looks pretty much just like any of the other girls. So I had to go with Luna Lovegood.

I'm trying to avoid the most prominent characters in the series unless they fit really, really well, but this is definitely the only one that fits for me. When I thought of this stereotype, the first person who really came to mind was Christine from BB16. She might've had some piercings and tattoos, but she did look pretty geeky and didn't look too out-there. And I think that'll be Luna's place. She won't look really wacky, but she has a very offbeat personality and would definitely be a very quirky character, maybe along the lines of a Bronte. Plus, Big Brother tends to cast younger people, so I think Luna would be cast before Tonks. 

The "Single Mom" Type
I tried to pick someone that they didn't pick on the podcast, but she was the only person who fit: Lavender Brown.

Obviously, she doesn't actually have a kid. But her personality definitely fits the mold of the single mom that they would cast. Even if they aren't in a showmance, they still definitely want a showmance, and get a little bit too invested in having one. That's Lavender to a T. We see her a lot throughout the series, but we don't really get any inkling of her having a crush on Ron until they're suddenly together 24/7 when they start dating in HBP. She was seemingly pretty down for romance regardless of any other factors, and that's kinda the stereotype with the "single mom." I also considered Ginny for this spot, because she's constantly going from relationship to relationship within the series, but I think that she's much stronger than the typical "single mom" types, who are pretty bland. Movie Ginny, on the other hand...

Token Old Lady
Usually, the Token old lady is pretty quirky. Like Renny from BB10. I thought about a few options, but I just couldn't say no to Minerva McGonagall.

Look, Minerva would be BOMB in the DR. Yeah, she's quite a bit older than people that they generally cast now, but think back to how great Jerry was back in BB10. She would be a likable version of Jerry. She would be smart, sassy, and snarky. I thought about going with a less mainstream character, but then I pictured Minerva in the DR and I couldn't help myself. I'm not sure she would necessarily want to go on Big Brother, but hey, I don't have the luxury of asking for her opinion. So, into the BB house she goes.

"Offbeat" Guy
I feel like this could go in many different directions. Someone like Johnny Mac from BB17 fits this really well, but I would also say that someone like Zach Rance from BB16 would also fit, because he was the "loose cannon" of that season. Other guys who would fit this are Paul from BB18, McCrae from BB15 and Frank from BB14. They're all completely different people and are considered "offbeat" for a variety of reasons. However, in the end, I couldn't help but throw in my favorite characters of all time: Fred and George Weasley.

I almost put these two as the sassy narrator. In fact, I did put them there, and then moved them. They fit both roles, but I think that they're best suited here, and I'll explain why. First off, there aren't too many people who would fit this role from the series. And those who would fit are on the older end of the spectrum-- people who would only be cast in "old people" roles. And the "offbeat" guy is often the one giving funny DRs or just generally being silly or weird. And that's definitely Fred and George. They would give amazing DRs, and they would be actually funny rather than just jumping out at people in the dark and playing other "pranks" that no one likes. They're so likable, but on top of that, they're really clever. They're smart. They could pull off a twin twist much better than the most recent twins on Big Brother, and they would do it while being legitimately likable. There isn't really anyone who dislikes Fred and George. Even Hermione, who gets sick of confiscating their items, still really likes them. I could definitely see them being people who are well-liked both inside and outside of the house.

The "Obvious Recruits" (2-3 apiece)
I'm going to be going with 4 female recruits and 2 male recruits to even out the players a bit here.

Fleur Delacour. Fleur is basically the obvious first choice when picking recruits. The female recruits are always really pretty, and that was definitely Fleur's thing. However, I think her personality also really fits. She clearly has a bit of a fame-bug, because she decided to enter the Tri-Wizard Tournament. And if not, then she certainly did it for the competition, and if she's competitive, that's also a plus on Big Brother. She could definitely use her veela charms to make people do what she wants, and I think that she would be pretty decent at manipulating people. She'd also probably be really underestimated. I think she'd be a really interesting player.

Angelina Johnson. Although it's not a solid "type," it's really common for there to be at least one female recruit who's the sporty one. And that's definitely Angelina. She's not an incredibly prominent character throughout the Harry Potter series, but she's a constant presence and has shown herself to be a capable and intelligent leader, while also being athletic. I think that she could definitely be a really interesting recruit who picks up on the game quickly and could potentially do really well. 

Romilda Vane. Look, I hate the girl. But it's so much fun to have a hateable character. And given that she fawns over Harry just because he's famous, she's clearly a bit of an attention-seeker, so she would be down to be on Big Brother. Plus, she's shown that she can be manipulative. I think that she would be a super interesting villain for the season. I get more and more excited about the idea just talking about it.

Pansy Parkinson. I think I'm using these recruit spots to get some sort of antagonists into this cast. I feel like a lot of the people who fit into the defined "types" are pretty rootable characters, but without some obnoxious people in the mix, it wouldn't be a very fun season. So throw in a couple good antagonists and you've got yourself a good show. I think Pansy could've possibly fit into the sassy narrator role, except she's completely unlikable. So she finds herself here, among the recruits, and I'd hope for a really snarky few weeks before everyone gets sick of her and evicts her.

Cedric Diggory. I mean, he's the epitome of a Big Brother recruit, right? He's good-looking, athletic, and probably not the sharpest tool in the shed. And like with typical good-looking recruits, he seems like a decent guy and has a pretty vanilla personality. He's not necessarily an alpha bro, but he could definitely fall in with the brolliance.

Draco Malfoy. I originally had Oliver Wood in this spot, but I couldn't help but put Draco Malfoy here. While we certainly have some unlikable people in this cast so far, we don't have any true villains, and Draco would fit that spot perfectly. First of all, he's a young, good-looking guy. Those get cast a lot. Plus, he's just unabashedly willing to sneer at people, call them out, and just generally berate people. If you take the Death Eater/Voldemort aspect out, he's such a great antagonist for a season of Big Brother.

Our cast is now complete, so here's a quick recap of the players before we jump into my predictions.

Females: Cho Chang, Luna Lovegood, Lavender Brown, Minerva McGonagall, Fleur Delacour, Angelina Johnson, Romilda Vane, & Pansy Parkinson.

Males: Colin Creevy, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Lee Jordan, Percy Weasley, Cormac McLaggen, Fred & George Weasley, Draco Malfoy, & Cedric Diggory.

Most likely to be first out
Trying to logic this out is a bit difficult, because I'm trying to figure out which of these players would be at the crossroads of "doesn't fit in with the other players" and "most likely to annoy everyone." While people like Kingsley and McGonagall are clear outliers, I think that they would be able to be likable and personable enough to at least make it to week 2. So I think that in this spot, I have to go with Luna Lovegood.

Honestly, I think people would just be a bit weirded out by her. Looking through the cast, I struggle to find a good landing spot for her. She could potentially work with Colin, but other than that, I think that no one else would be down to be in an alliance with her. Percy Weasley would also be at risk for this position, but he has Fred & George there. While they would probably not want to work with him, I think they would recognize the inherent leg up they would have on the competition in that case. So I think Luna would have to be the first boot. 

Person who tries to hide their profession

I mean, that has to be Kingsley Shacklebolt, right? He's an auror, which is one of the most highly regarded positions in the wizarding world. We know from Harry's schooling that the classes are difficult and it's hard to even get into the classes you need, so clearly Kingsley is very smart, and he also clearly seems to be very skilled at his job. Telling everyone he's an auror right off the bat would be like Derrick telling everyone he's an undercover cop-- not a good idea. He'd certainly be a game player in BB and he would definitely have the instinct to cover up his true profession. 

Most likely to go on a POV streak

POV comps can be so varied, so you typically have to be both a mental and physical force to be able to go on a POV streak. I think the best fit for that would have to be Angelina Johnson. She's certainly a physical threat because she is one of the more athletic players, but I think she's also proven to be someone with a cool head who's intelligent and can think under pressure. I see her definitely being capable of going on a POV run. 


Well, we have a few already set pairs in the house: Pansy & Draco, Fred/George & Angelina (because if you remember, George marries her but Fred was the one who dated her at Hogwarts so that could be interesting to watch), and Cho & Cedric. I think Pansy & Draco would be the dramatic one- Draco would probably stab her in the back pretty early. The twins and Angelina would probably be the "actually skilled" showmance, potentially downplaying that aspect and being able to use it to their advantage. And then Cho & Cedric would be the cute showmance who end up throwing away their games for each other. 

However, I think that people like Lavender Brown and Romilda Vane will absolutely be looking to showmance, and I could see them just honestly bouncing around and picking up whoever they can. I don't think they really have any choices left, but I could see either one of them trying to vie for Cedric or Cormac at the beginning. I could easily see Cormac playing one of them like a fiddle and ousting them quickly. 

Biggest blindside?

Definitely one of the twins, most likely Fred. I think that the twins will be super likable in the house. Yes, they're really goofy and play pranks, but unlike a certain BB17&18 player, they're clever and would know if they were getting annoying. But, given that they're twins and potentially have a showmance, I think that they would be on everyone's radar as someone to split up. So I could see it getting down to the second double eviction of the season & someone taking that opportunity to knock out one of the twins. And it would probably be Fred, because he's usually the dominant one of the pair.

Screwed by a twist

It would probably have to be a strategic player whose game gets completely derailed by something dumb. I'm beginning to realize that I don't have a ton of strategic powerhouses in this, so I think someone like Kingsley Shacklebolt will have to fit here. He's likely to be one of the most strategic players in the house, but I think that he's also likely to be one of the more obvious strategic players in the house. And I'm not sure how good he would be at adapting to a twist thrown his way. So I have to think that he would be the one screwed over in that situation. 

Villain of the season

I mean, it has to be the Pansy/Draco showmance, right? With Draco as the clear villain of the two? I mean, viewers will hate them because we'll have another Aaryn/Gina Marie moment with them calling everyone derogatory slurs. But on top of that, if Draco cuts Pansy at some point, I think he would be seen as even more of a villain.

Biggest meltdown/freak out

I think the person who's clearly the most likely to have some sort of freak out is Lavender Brown. She'd get turned down by a guy that she wanted to showmance and it would be so upsetting to her that she would lose it and either end up yelling at someone or sobbing to one of her alliance partners. 

Make jury and have mean jury speech

I think the person who's clearly the most likely to have some sort of freak out is Lavender Brown. She'd get turned down by a guy that she wanted to showmance and it would be so upsetting to her that she would lose it and either end up yelling at someone or sobbing to one of her alliance partners. 

Final 2- winner & goat or potential ally next to them

I'm probably a bit biased here, but I really see George making his way to the final 2. Like I said earlier, I really think that Fred, as the dominant twin, would be the one targeted and potentially taken out in a double eviction near the end of the season. But I think that George would be able to make his way to the F2 even without Fred. However, I think the clearest path for him to make it to F2 is with Angelina because I think that she's the one who's best at comps. I can't really see him being able to make it there with a goat. Yes, it's a showmance and I have a lot of reservations saying that a showmance could make it to the end, but I think that George will be likable but clever, while Angelina is the comp threat of the two, which will push them to the end. Because of this, I think the vote will be really close but I have to think that George would be the eventual winner because likability usually wins out when it's close. 

America's Favorite Player

This usually goes to the sassy narrator, so I think that Lee Jordan has a real shot at this, but I could also see viewers really loving someone like McGonagall. Also, given that I think Cho and Cedric will be the cute showmance of the season, I could see one of them getting it. IDK, I'm a bit torn on this one. I think the top 3 will be Cedric, Lee Jordan, and McGonagall, with Lee Jordan pulling out a win. I think he'll have really funny DRs, and I can't really see anyone being very put off by him. 

So, that's it for my Big Brother cast made up of Harry Potter characters! Let me know down in the comments if there's anyone you thought should have been included on this list and what Harry Potter character you think would have a good shot at winning a season of Big Brother.

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