Photo Credit: VH1
Photo Credit: VH1

The writing's been on the wall for a while now, but this week's makeover episode of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11 has proved one thing: this 'reality' show has become far too produced.

Whilst Mama Ru claims that the final decision of who stays and who goes relies solely on what she thinks of those in the competition, it has become clear that voices in her ear now have a bigger sway than ever before. Viewers have raised their brow at a number of choices throughout this year's season, taking to social media in their droves to question exactly what is going on behind-the-scenes.

I suppose it's something that first started in the fourth season of All Stars. That double crowning was one of the sloppiest, fan-serving edits of television that I've ever witnessed, and it didn't even do the show any favours. Instead, it blew up in VH1's face and had them accused of pandering to the highest level of political correctness. It took away from both Trinity the Tuck and Monét X Change's win, and left everybody who had followed their stories for weeks on end with a sour taste in their mouths.

Now, producers are simply trying to get the most dramatic season they possibly can. Instead of judging the competition fairly, queens are being sent home simply because they don't step up to the plate when it comes to screaming across the workroom, throwing shade at their sisters. Those working on the show seem to have forgotten that this is a competition to find America's Next Drag Superstar based on their talents; not on how much screen time they can scrape together.

The first big shock of the season was when Scarlet Envy was sent packing despite giving her all in a lip sync against Ra'Jah O'Hara. Remind yourself of the moment below, which saw scissors, glitter and a quivering lip used by Scarlet to give an exciting and memorable performance, and tell me that she didn't deserve to stay for at least one more week:

This was Ra'Jah's second time in the bottom two, and Scarlet's first. Ra'Jah was subsequently sent home the following week, after being a vicious and nasty force in both the main show, and particularly in the spin-off, Untucked. To say that she wasn't kept around for another episode simply so she could unleash a verbal beatdown on her competition would be a very hard thing to believe.

But, we moved on and the queens continued to do battle. Last week saw Nina West pick up her second win of the series, as she scripted a campy, energetic magic show alongside Brook Lynn Hytes and Shuga Cain. Each of the three characters had their own unique personalities, and stood alongside each other as frontrunners of the challenge.

On the opposing team we had Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, Yvie Oddly, A'Keria C. Davenport and Silky Nutmeg Ganache. The four were asked to give their script a complete do-over the night before their performance, and the result was a sloppy mess. Any combination of these queens could have been in the bottom two, and it would have been the right result. Instead, what we got was another bashing of Miss Vanjie, and the trashing of Shuga who should have been in the top three and nowhere near the lip sync for your life.

Ultimately, Shuga was sent home. Despite being a solid competitor throughout, she's not a loud and domineering force who demands attention. Producers must have been looking for a way to kick her out of the competition for a few weeks to this point, simply because she doesn't bring the drama and could be described as "boring" TV. It didn't make sense to anybody watching, and it still doesn't make sense to Shuga herself.

With backstage shenanigans clearly taking over, I'm not entirely sure why I was surprised to see Dr. Ganache saved this week despite not knowing the simple lyrics to No Scrubs, almost falling over on a wig she threw onto the stage (and almost tripping her fellow lip syncer Nina with the wig), and attempting to climb on the back part of the stage behind the queens to no avail. Don't get me wrong, Nina didn't put on the lip sync of a lifetime, but at least she had her words down.

"This is a lip sync. What part of that don't you understand?" Perhaps the one who once asked this question should have it turned back around on them...

We've reached a point where we may be becoming too over-saturated with Drag Race. It's a real shame, because later this year we'll be treated to the very first season of RuPaul's Drag Race UK. Perhaps that'll be the kick up the butt the series needs to feel fresh and real once more, but as for the American series? It may need a year or two to find itself before returning to our screens.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11 continues Thursdays on VH1 in the US, and Fridays on Netflix in the UK.


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