It’s been a week since the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 3 was announced, and everyone’s been making predictions about who will go home first, who will make it to the final three, and who could be the villain of the season. But my big question is who is the surprise tenth queen?
Yes, there are supposed to be 10 all-star queens, not just nine. While the cast is full of heavy-hitters like Trixie Mattel, Shangela, Morgan McMichaels, Chi-Chi DeVayne and Kennedy Davenport, the mystery tenth queen must be someone that even tops them in terms of popularity.
I have two choices for the tenth queen.
Choice 1: Valentina
Of course, I’ve got to say Valentina. Rumor has it that she turned down a spot on this season because of her image (i.e. how she’s trying to rehabilitate her image somewhat since the end of last season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race), her work schedule, whatever. But if there’s any place to try to rehabilitate your image, an all-stars season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has to be it. Just see what happened to Roxxxy Andrews, who was the out-and-out villain of her season, but became the fan favorite during All Stars 2. She went back with the goal of fixing her image with the fans, and she more than succeeded. In that respect, she was the true winner of the season; even though Alaska won, she still came away with the fan-made title “Queen of Snakes” for being too focused on winning.
Valentina could certainly have this makeover moment on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 3. Not only did has have an ugly time on her season’s reunion episode, but she left the season in such a shocking way. She probably felt like she let tons of fans down, and being on All-Stars could certainly be a way she could try to redeem herself in her own mind. Chances are good we could be seeing her face as the big reveal. Also, my gut feels like they’re setting Aja up for a Coco Montrese/Alyssa Edwards reunion a la All Stars 2.
Choice 2: Nina Bo’nina Brown
Nina doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar. But she totally should be! Regardless of what some obsessive Valentina stans think, Nina became a fan favorite, and not solely because of her jaw-dropping makeup skills.
Nina became a huge favorite because of her vulnerability. A lot of us can identify with her struggles with depression and self-esteem, and seeing her excel despite her self-sabotage actually gives a lot of people hope. If Nina can persevere, you might think, I can too!
Also, the fact that she was met with racism—just for doing what she was supposed to do, which was win the lip-synch—is also something that has bound fans to her. There’s been a virulent strain of fans who latch on to certain queens and degrade others, and unfortunately, race is the common denominator. Nina doesn’t deserve that, and neither does Kennedy Davenport, who also had tons of racism thrown at her for literally no reason.
If Nina shows up on All-Stars 3, I can only imagine that it’s RuPaul’s way of giving Nina a second chance to have the run she was supposed to have on her original season. RuPaul really connected with Nina, and I think it’s because she could identify with Nina’s struggles with her “inner saboteur.” If Nina comes back, I think she’ll kill it.
Who do you think will come back as the surprise queen? Write your guesses in the comments section below!
Tyrant, a surprise FX hit, has been cancelled after three seasons. Tyrant started out as a rough show for me, to be honest, but it has grown into one of the most delightfully subversive and thought-provoking shows on television for me. I’ve also been able to get to know some of the cast members on a personal basis, and while it’s always cool to say “I know that person on TV,” it’s even more rewarding to be able to help them promote the show and learn more about their acting processes. In short, Tyrant has become a very important part of my life on a personal basis, so I’m truly sad to see that it’s gone.
The importance of Tyrant goes beyond just my own personal stake in the show. Tyrant provided its viewers with a much more multifaceted look at the Middle East. Granted, there were times when individual episodes or individual scripted moments of characterization could have not represented a character or characters in the most well-rounded light. But as a whole, the characters of Tyrant presented a microcosm of individuality. There are Western-aligned characters like Fauzi and Halima. There are characters who create their own space in society, like Leila. There are criminals like Ihab. There are despots like Jamal and, to be frank, his brother Bassam. There are people trying to find themselves, like Ahmed. There are idealists like Rami. Basically, just like in America, there are people who fit every mode of life. There is no one monolith of the Middle East, and I appreciate Tyrant for showing that, especially in its later seasons.
Related: Monique’s Tyrant recaps for the Entertainment Weekly Community Blog
Tyrant also provided a space for Middle Eastern actors to showcase their talents. Actors like Moran Atias, Alexander Karim, Ashraf Barhom, Cameron Gharaee, Sibylla Deen, Fares Fares and others aren’t normally on our TV screens and for no real reason. Yet, on Tyrant, we can finally see these actors portray characters that we either identify with or love to hate. Tyrant could (and should) be used as a platform for these actors. As I’ve written last year in my article, “The Next Omar Sharif: Why Finding the Next Middle Eastern Hollywood Star is Easier Than We Think”:
Tyrant has become one of the few places on television, if not the only place right now, where people can view Middle Eastern characters on a primetime show each week. The show could also act as a platform for many of its actors who are still looking for mainstream success…[T]he show’s stellar second season could be the true jumping off-point for the show’s stars and for other shows who want to follow in Tyrant‘s path.
Overall, Tyrant brought a new points of view into the homes of Americans each week, and the loss of Tyrant, a show with a predominately brown cast, will once again open up a void in media representation. Surely, TV producers and creators should be creating more shows about Middle Eastern characters and/or American characters of Middle Eastern descent. Tyrant shouldn’t be the only one holding down this responsibility. But Tyrant performed a very specific task for many Americans, which was creating a safe space to explore different experiences of Middle Eastern life.
Cameron Gharaee, who played Ahmed, spoke to me for the (sadly finished) Entertainment Weekly Community Blog about the importance of the show around this time last year. I’ll end the article with part of the exchange we had.
Seasons one and two featured a lot of references to real-life events like the Arab Spring and the fall of certain Middle Eastern regimes. There’s also the fact that this is an American show about Middle Eastern characters on an American network, which hasn’t happened in a long time, to be conservative about it. What do you think about Tyrant‘s influence in America? Do you think it’s helped open some minds about Middle Eastern people and ridding people of stereotypes?
We’re probably able to unveil some things in culture that maybe America doesn’t understand, or maybe they haven’t seen before. For me, the key to this show is just literally pulling the curtain back and saying, “This is what’s going on, this is what’s happening. You can take it in pieces … and see what it is that you like.” The great thing about a show like this, just from an actor’s standpoint, is just having these faces onscreen. You don’t see a lot of these characters. Usually it’s just a terrorist or just someone screaming into a microphone. I think what’s great about this show is that these are people too.
A lot of Americans don’t know about the Middle East, yet they have strong political views on things—but these are people too, and they have struggles. It makes it an even playing field for everyone, and it’s going to open a lot of doors, hopefully. Especially with the show doing well and people enjoying it, it can open the door for more shows. I think that’s what this is; it’s a bridge to testing the waters and saying, “Look, these shows are entertaining, these people do have an interesting culture.” It’s rich and colorful, and they have really amazing personas. The personalities of the culture are very fascinating … it’s a beautiful culture. I think this is a bridge to open that door for more stories to be told—and that’s all you can really hope for.
I have it on good authority that the Tyrant team is currently shopping the show around to other networks, and I certainly hope they succeed, because a show like this, and the messages it has given its audience, are too important to miss.
What did you love about Tyrant? What network do you hope it goes to? Give your opinions in the comments section below!
THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE, SO BE CAREFUL.
There were a LOT of deaths in just the first three episodes of Season 3 of Tyrant, right? So many that many fans are wondering if they were even necessary. The fandom has taken the death of Season 2 insta-fave Rami particularly hard, since Rami seemed like a great candidate for President, and he’s just a good guy who came from humble beginnings. I was bummed like the rest of the fans, but I’ve also talked with Keon Alexander, who played Rami, for the Entertainment Weekly community, and we discussed in-depth his process for getting into Rami’s head. It seemed he really enjoyed playing Rami, and because there was so much that could be mined from the character, I expected Rami to be around for several seasons, not just one season and two episodes of the next. SIGH.
Here’s what I wrote about Rami in this week’s Tyrant catch-up article, “‘Tyrant’ season 3 recap: Three episodes, four bombshell moments”:
“…Rami — poor, noble, kind-hearted Rami — had no one crying over him. POURQUOI??? WHY DID RAMI HAVE TO DIE?
I was still waiting on Rami to magically appear, laid up in a hospital with the outside world believing he was dead when he was only badly wounded, but such a scene never came. Instead, after Rami sacrificed himself to save Molly and Emma from the Caliphate ambush, we get one scene with the head of the military telling Bassam that Emma is kidnapped and Rami has died — and that’s it, really. No finding his body, no honorable burial, no nothing! I’m not the only one who’s upset; the Internet has been ablaze with fans and critics alike trying to figure out why Rami was killed. For what reason? What added stakes did it provide? Couldn’t Rami be a superhero and escape certain death just like Bassam? Rami’s certainly more honorable than Bassam! As Peach the starfish said in Finding Nemo, “Isn’t there another way? He’s just a boy!”
SIGH. I’ll be pouring some out for you, Rami. Rest in peace. Or better yet, maybe you’re alive in an alternate dimension, as the benevolent President of Abbudin.”
I was also particularly bummed about Nusrat. I realized after I had my latest Entertainment Weekly Community post published that I didn’t write enough on why I felt Nusrat’s death wasn’t warranted at all. First of all, Nusrat should be hailed as a hero for saving Abbudin from a despot. Rami told her the folks outside the palace did see her as such. So why kill her off, writers? Is it because she could have been Daliyah’s rival for the “Mother of the Revolution” title? Did Sibylla Deen simply want to leave, and there wasn’t a cleaner way to remove her character from the show? I want answers, and currently, I feel like Kanye West on Sway’s radio show.
Nusrat has been the most abused person on this show, starting with the very first episode. It seems especially cruel that she would be killed after everything she’s endured. Did her life mean nothing? I mean, I get a show is supposed to have tragedy, but is everything bad supposed to happen exclusively to one character? I think Nusrat should have gotten a break for once in her life. Like, after leaving the mental institution Bassam had ordered her to, she could have come out and continued to plan her revenge on the Al-Fayeed family. She would have become a great character due to her mission to avenge her family and unborn child. In a way, Nusrat’s death reminds me of Abbie’s death in that it didn’t really serve the story except to get rid of a character.
The next gut-wrenching moment for me was when dear Emma got killed. I was hoping for something to come of Emma’s character this season, because I wrote last season how she has been the most neglected character, despite being the one of the few characters who actually utilizes their common sense on a day-to-day basis. Emma’s desires are simple, but always ignored: She wants to live a normal life in California like she used to. Instead, her parents, her dad in particular, got her killed. I write in this week’s post that Emma’s death is on Bassam’s hands.
I forgot that there was another, more intimate reason as to why Bassam’s actions led to his daughter’s death. The only reason Ihab Rashid is trying to bring Bassam down right now is because Bassam killed Samira. Ihab wants to make Bassam pay. Which leads to the biggest question I have in these few episodes: WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU RELEASE A MAN WHO WANTS TO DESTROY YOU?! Look, I get Bassam’s “forgiveness commission” in theory. But seriously, Bassam, you’re ruling an unstable land with tons of people who want the title of President. You’re going to start being soft-bellied now that you’re at the top?! Don’t be foolish, Bassam. Be ruthless like you’ve been in the past.
Anyways, you can read my full thoughts on these three episodes at the Entertainment Weekly Community!
I’m so glad that Tyrant was renewed for a third season! Last season was an amazing ride, with well-written story arcs, compelling characterization, and scary action sequences. Because of what happened last season, I have some very high hopes for next season. Five of them I outlined in my Entertainment Weekly Community post, “5 Things That Must Happen in “Tyrant” Season 3.”
T-minus a couple of hours until the Sleepy Hollow Season 3 premiere! I’m so excited! And some of my theories about this season have come to pass, thanks to what executive producer Clifton Campbell told TVLine. Here are some of the things he said:
After a long summer hiatus, including a discussion with a writer/producer, analyzing Betsy Ross, and plenty of other fandom moments, counting down to the beginning of the third season of Sleepy Hollow! To celebrate, not only will I live-tweet the Thursday premiere, but I’ll also host my very first Periscope ever! You are all invited to attend.
We’re finally getting some images from the new season of Sleepy Hollow! WHOO!
This is possibly the most anticipated interview I’ve done in a while, and the excitement has been such that it scared me, to be honest. But here it is, the interview with Leigh Dana Jackson, one of the writers and producers of Sleepy Hollow.
For those of us who have watched Sleepy Hollow since the beginning, most of us are aware of how Season One is completely different from Season Two. I don’t need to go back into the specifics; you can just read my coverage to see what happened last year. However, Season Three promises to bring back much of the magic of Season One and then some, if you read the tea leaves of Jackson’s answers.
I was happy to write to Jackson via email about how he got started in television writing, the plight of POC characters in television, what happened during the writing process of this season, and his feelings about that Twitter situation that erupted over the word “patience.” I was also able to ask 10 fan questions out of the multitude of questions I received, and even though the questions are, basically, questions asking for spoilers, the one-word answers he does give are very enlightening and should (hopefully) last the fandom until October.
Sleepy Hollow comes back to Fox Oct. 1.