UGH. She’s so beautiful.
But can we all agree—no one expects A’Keria to win?
First off, that Brooke Lynn Hytes vs. Yvie Oddly lip sync rocked the stadium, and we are all expecting it to come down to those two. Also, Silky is a force of nature who squeaked by for so long that some people are convinced her staying power means the rigor morris has set in and she’s already been set up to win the crown.
But A’Keria? Her run on the show hasn’t had the dramatic impact of the other three, and while her performance has been impressive, I wouldn’t say it makes a strong case for the crown. No, if she’s going to win, A’Keria’s biggest advantage is going to be the format.
But let’s back it up.
A’Keria Chanel Davenport popped into the workroom looking like she came straight off the set of Real Dragwives of Dallas. She looked put together and pretty, but as happens with many pageant queens on the show, my brain relegated her to the backburner.
Pageant aesthetics are, by design, somewhat generic and don’t typically reveal much about the person behind the look. And true to form, with 15 queens running around, I kept losing track of who she was.
She first raised my eyebrow with her shockingly beautiful fringe look, and like many of her looks, it’s one she made herself. But it wasn’t true love until Yanis Marshall was drilling Miss Ra’jah about her “danse experiance” in episode 4. We immediately cut to A’Keria’s confessional where she is channeling The Color Purple in a quiet prayer for Yanis’s survival. It was so funny and so accurate with such good delivery. Even with Vanjie’s adorable foolishness, A’Keria still had the best commentary moments all season
And that’s the aspect of RuPaul’s Drag Race where A’Keria thrives - in the more lowkey moments. Of course her “Twerking is a Blessing” schtick is hilarious and her gowns are beautiful (if not sometimes boring), but I think her real power is a shady combo of Charisma and Nerve - because A’Keria is the best shit stirrer the show’s had in a while. Somehow she’s the quickest to reach for the spoon, usually announcing to the room that she’s about to stir the pot, yet she never seems to suffer any repercussions. The karma just lands somewhere else. Even at that reunion when they all tried to pin her down about fucking with Plastique’s head, homegurl managed to avoid blame and repeat herself until basically Ru and the audience got lost in the fog and just wanted to move on. That’s some genius level deflection.
Which is to say that A’Keria Chanel Davenport is a true pageant thoroughbred and has used her experience well and to her advantage. She’s an expert at the mental side of competition and has smartly played to her strengths all season. Problem is, the fans don’t care much for traditional pageant styles, especially not in their winners (or their All Stars, Latrice). Drag Race is shifting away from that incarnation of drag to the point that I doubt a conventional pageant queen would a shot in hell of ever taking that crown.
That’s why the Lip Sync for the Crown is such an interesting gimmick - it’s the great equalizer. Now we have a selection process where it doesn’t matter how you got to the top or if you “deserve” to win. Instead the winner is decided on how well you deliver two high pressure stage performances. Sasha Velour’s inaugural win proved the finale is an even playing field. Any queen in the top 4 has every chance to win, and whichever queen can outperform the others truly does deserve to win. And A’Keria’s pageant experience under that kind of pressure could well be the advantage snatches her that crown.