The finale of All Stars 4 was some f-ckery, with a helping of bulls-t on the side. Instead of crowning one queen as the winner of the crown, Ru decided that for the first time in Drag Race herstory, there would be two winners. Understandably, people were upset with the result, feeling that it both “cheapened the crown” and that it was unfair to all the queens in the past who would have benefitted from a tie, and to the winning queens themselves because it undervalued their hard work, effort, time, and money put into this competition. People had a lot to say about it, including our fav pot stirrer Gia Gunn, and even Lady Bunny. There has also been severe fan backlash, towards the show and towards the queens too. Many claimed that Trinity was the real winner and sent hate towards Monet, complete with racial insults. This is obviously reprehensible.
Personally, while I’m happy that we had the opportunity to recognize both queens, a tie is an anticlimactic way to end such a hotly contested season. It felt as though Ru copped out, which does a disservice to the quality of the show. The queens that come on the show work incredibly hard and give their all to be crowned in the Drag Race Hall of Fame. I don’t think it “cheapens” the crown, because we still get a chance to appreciate two great contestants, but it does make the prize and the honour feel a little less special, doesn’t it?
The race was close this season, and all four queens were phenomenal to watch. Trinity was especially strong this season, and Monet performed the best in the last episode. While I haven’t hidden my bias towards Manila, both Monet and Trinity are talented queens who have more than proven their worth, and do deserve to be recognized for their work, even if it was with the dumbest twist in Drag Race history. Plus, I’m seeing both queens live tonight and I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say about it.
However, the ending of the episode doesn’t quite add up, which means that it’s time for another episode of RuPaul’s Conspiracy Race:
If you look at the edit of the final announcement, it’s odd and rushed. In order to preserve the secrecy of the decision, for every finale, RuPaul’s Drag Race actually films alternate endings with both queens, one with Trinity winning and one with Monet winning. They then air the final decision live which means that while the Top 4 know who they are, they don’t know who amongst them has won until the episode airs.
In some cases, ties are filmed just in case, but that wasn’t done for this finale. Instead, RuPaul announced the tie with a voiceover and Trinity and Monet are never shown together. Their individual winning reactions are merely cut together meaning that the decision to crown two winners was definitely last minute.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The prize money isn’t split between the two queens, but rather each queen gets a prize of $100,000. I haven’t worked on TV, but I’m guessing that sort of money would needed to have been approved and obtained well before the season even started. (Maybe they just redirected funds from the Season 11 RuVeal which would explain A LOT). If the funding was approved before, then does this mean they planned to have a tie no matter what? Why then didn’t they film that possibility during shooting?
The best theory I’ve read on this so far is that production planned a glorious Latrila joint crowning moment. They planned all along that Manila and Latrice would make it to the top 4, and that they could be crowned together as redemption for AS1. Unfortunately, because Latrice underperformed this season and Manila was shock eliminated, they were forced to figure out a way to make it work. When Latrila didn’t seem like they were going to win, perhaps production had to resort to just crowning one of the other queens. That was, at least, until the fans watched and reacted to the season.
As I said before, although Trinity was the strongest competitor after Manila, her whiteness might have affected the decision making process. In fact, Ru is almost in a Catch 22. If he crowns anyone but Trinity, people would have been mad and called out the show for being rigged. If Trinity was chosen, Ru would have faced criticism for crowning another white queen. The solution? Crown both! It’s like Hannah Montana, you get the best of both worlds.
At the end of the day, while I love to read and participate in conversations about RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s still a reality TV show. Storylines are crafted and produced, scenes are edited so we don’t always have the full picture, and most importantly, it’s not that serious! I’ve really enjoyed most of this season and the competition was so close because everyone was that talented. We have the first queen of colour in the All Stars Hall of Fame! Let’s just appreciate that! I think Farrah Moan summarizes it best:
I feel it’s worth noting that any of the top 4 could have won and I’d have been happy, ima big fan of them all. I just feel either trinity or Monét deserved more of their own moment regardless of who it would’ve been, especially after how much money, sweat and tears went into it— 👑 Farrah Moan (@farrahrized) February 16, 2019