If Phi Phi O’Hara Wins RuPaul’s Drag Race There Is Something Wrong With America
After a finale fake-out last week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, a winner for Season 4 will finally be announced during tonight’s Reunited special. While the non-announcement of a winner during last week’s show was perfectly in line with RuPaul’s demonstrated love of drama and reality TV show tricks, it has made us more than a little worried that contestant Phi Phi O’Hara could actually win the crown.
See, this season’s winner of Drag Race will be determined by the amount of tweets that fans can drum up for their favorite final three contestant. This means that it is up to lovable goth Sharon Needles, glamorous seasoned diva Chad Michaels, and despised, self-proclaimed ingenue Phi Phi to rally up support. Based on talent alone, Chad and Sharon would — and should — be duking it out for the win. However, with the added factor of “America’s voice,” there is a hint of a possibility that Phi Phi could earn enough Twitter votes to be crowned the winner. And that would be terrible.
Not that there is a strong possibility that Phi Phi will win. Phi Phi has a little over 11,000 followers on Twitter while Chad has over 17,000 and fan-favorite Sharon has over 37,000 followers. Since the winner will be decided through social networking sites, a queen’s follower numbers matter. Sharon has also amassed a large Internet following, getting shout outs from Lady Gaga on Twitter, inspiring Facebook fan pages, and launching dozens of posts across the blogosphere.
However, America sometimes gets it wrong. Dancing With the Stars fans will remember the shock back in 2010 when singer Brandy failed to earn enough viewer votes to stay over Sarah Palin’s dolittle daughter (and terrible dancer) Bristol Palin. Sometimes controversy and trouble can scare up votes.
It isn’t that Phi Phi isn’t beautiful, it’s just that compared to the competition she is still in the minor leagues. Sharon is darkly different from any other contestant in Drag Race history, mixing in references from the drag canon like Paris Is Burning with GG Allin and crust punk. In a recent interview with Julie Klausner on "How Was Your Week," Sharon said that Phi Phi didn't even know what Paris Is Burning is, which is essentially like saying you are an aspiring writer and had never heard of Hemingway. (And something tells us that Phi Phi doesn't know who GG Allin is as well. Call it a hunch.)
On top of that, Sharon is completely charming, drawling like a drunk movie star from the Hollywood’s Golden Age and knowing how to joke without damaging anyone’s ego. Phi Phi comes off as a jealous princess in comparison, starting an imaginary feud with Sharon simply because Phi doesn’t like Sharon’s look, and intentionally giving fellow competitors bad advice to throw them off. No one likes a manipulative competitor, even in the messed up world of reality TV.
Meanwhile, Phi Phi’s other competitor Chad Michaels is a vision of class and elegance. The Cher impersonator is older than the other contestants and she’s seen it all. She never engaged in petty fights with other competitors and instead often acts as the peacemaker. While Chad may get criticized for sometimes coming off “old fashioned” in her style of drag, she is still a class act that is leagues above Phi Phi and her brand of showgirl, badly-glued eyelash drag. Nothing is ever out of place on Chad and she knows it.
However, Phi Phi’s personality fits in perfectly with Drag Race’s drama-stirring contestant. Like Season 1’s Rebecca Glasscock and Season 2’s Tatiana, Phi Phi is a pretty but inexperienced girl who likes to stamp her foot and pout when she doesn’t get her way. What’s more, Phi Phi is completely unlikable. (One writer on Gawker even called her “human cat piss.”) Even her sob story of not getting accepted by her parents seems forced when you factor in all of her manipulative tricks. During a time when Phi Phi was in desperate need of some emotional redemption, the audience couldn’t even trust her sadness. If the audience starts to doubt your tears you know you are losing.
It’s almost as if Phi Phi studied that old “I’m not here to make friends” reality cliche and decided it was the best way to win a competition. Back when reality shows were judged by producers who loved drama and judges who may have not seen how contestants acted off the stage, this was a surefire way to at least make it to the finals. However, with viewers voting, Phi Phi’s snotty attitude, less-than-perfect performance, and attacks on fan-favorites like Sharon will seal her fate as a reality show loser.
And in case you are wondering, we are totally Team Needles.