After a truly gag-worthy season, Naomi Smalls, Monét X Change, Monique Heart and Trinity the Tuck enter the RuPaul’s Drag Race thunderdome, competing for the crown in tonight’s (Feb. 15) All Stars 4 season finale. Heading into the episode, Trinity is on top with four challenge wins, while Monét and Monique are right behind her with three apiece. Naomi has one sole win, but has provided several of the season’s most memorable moments: not only did she send home the season frontrunner Manila Luzon, but she executed a backbend that inspired hundreds of memes.
As we prepare for what will surely be a nail-biting finale, Billboard’s staff (plus a couple staffers from our sister publications The Hollywood Reporter and Vibe) weighed in on who they’d like to see placed in the hall of fame alongside Chad Michaels, Alaska and Trixie Mattel. Check out their choices below.
“I went into AS4 rooting hard for Manila, but thanks to a snake-like elimination that left me hsssssterical, that ship has sailed. As it stands, there are two queens I see as deserving of the crown based on consistency in bringing it to you every ball – Monique Heart and Trinity Taylor. Of those two, the Brown Cow Stunning Queen has my vote – she’s an unflappable paragon of class, wit and innovation with every runway look and turn of phrase. And out of drag, all Monique has to do is flash one look at the camera and you feel completely read to shreds. Yes, I have a Heart on for Monique.” — Joe Lynch, deputy editor, digital
“My vote for All Stars 4 is Monét X Change. She has been consistently fierce the entire season and her presence is such a joy. Also, anyone Cardi B-approved should get an automatic crown! –– Jennifer Arnow, associate photo editor
“I’ve always been an advocate for all things Ms. Trinity the Tuck! Since season 9, she’s been exceeding expectations of how we think she’ll perform, and she is a true competitor who didn’t come to play. She’s proven time and time again that she is, in fact, a comedy queen, and she continues to absolutely SLAY the runway and these challenges with ease.” — J’na Jefferson, staff writer for Vibe.com
“Listen, America, facts are facts. Monique Heart is the queen who will give you that ooh-ah-ah sensation, and she deserves to be the newest addition to the Drag Race Hall of Fame. Her track record is better than the show is letting on — she’s been in the top two three times, won the Lip Sync for Your Legacy once, and has only wound up in the bottom once for poor performance (technically she’s been there twice, but her second time was when literally everyone who didn’t win was in the bottom). Monique is the voice of the people — every episode, she dominates the confessionals, giving America the narrator we deserve. She’s the queen who manages to keep the show endlessly entertaining without resorting to petty drama or emotional manipulation. She’s endlessly charismatic, extremely talented, and possesses the much-needed melanin currently missing from the Hall of Fame. Monique’s return has been as stunning as her favorite cocoa-colored farm animal, so let’s stop sleeping on this quotable queen and give her the crown that she deserves.” — Stephen Daw, contributor
“Truth be told, I’m hoping that in a final outRugeous twist, Manila Luzon re-enters the competition so that she can still claim the crown that is rightfully hers. There’s no question that she had the most impressive scorecard across this entire season of All Stars and, in my mind, she will always be a winner, baby (along with Shangela, of course). That being said, I am now rooting for the queen who (unforgivably) sent Manila home, Naomi Smalls, to win. Honestly, I’d ultimately be happy with any of the four final queens winning at this point since they have all proven themselves in various ways throughout the season, but Naomi has truly and pleasantly surprised me. Despite having a relatively unremarkable start, she has shown that she is a fierce competitor, and she officially won me over with that mind (and back)-bending lip sync to “Adrenaline” against Gia Gunn in episode six. Plus, she co-generated one of this season’s most iconic catchphrases that we’ll all be whispering for the ages: “Club 96.” — Rebecca Schiller, video content manager
“Monique Heart is definitely my pick to win. She has shown an insane amount of growth since season 10. She can slay a lip-sync, she continuously serves fire lewks on the runway and is hilarious. Also, she’s become a master marketer and I cannot stop saying ‘brown-cow stunning’ or describing things as the ‘ooh-ah-ah sensation’ because of her. She is the total package.” — Evan Real, Associate Editor, The Hollywood Reporter
“My heart totally belongs to Monét X Change! After a pretty rocky run on season ten, Monét has really stepped her game up on All Stars and has shown a more refined version of herself that’s totally slaying the competition. I might be little biased because I knew Monét before Drag Race, so I feel this automatic desire to cheer her on all the way. Regardless of the outcome, it’s just so amazing to see how much Monét has grown in such a short time period. She’s one of the most encouraging, funniest, and warmest queens I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and I’m looking forward to seeing her snatch the crown henny.” — Xavier Piedra, editorial intern
“Hey, sweets. Let me introduce you to my friend…her name is FASHION.” The earth shook when Naomi Smalls almost did a full on bridge pose during her lip sync versus Gia Gunn in episode 6. I have not been the same since. Naomi is the silent threat of the competition, shrouded in a couture veil of safety. I’ve viewed her “safeness” as a mystery, and week after week she has brought out truly iconic fashions. Does she have the best track record? No. Is she perfect? No. Is she sickening? Yes. Does she have legs for days? Hell yes. Naomi represents everything I want from a drag queen, because she’s relatable with a dash of wit and style. She picks up where Aquaria left off. I want to hang out with her and Kim Chi and read Vogue together. She’s fascinating. I want her to win. And she’s smoking hot out of drag.” — Antonio Cruz Teixeira, senior video producer
“It has been an absolute joy to watch both Monique Heart and Monét X Change return to the workroom so quickly and turn it out after not making the top four on season 10. That growth is absurd! In an ideal word, they’d be Drag Race’s first double win. Monique excudes the kind of star power we’ve seen in queens like Katya, Willam and Alyssa Edwards — and she deserves the same level of reverence. But if I had to choose, the edge goes to Monét. I fell in love with her when I first caught her alongside NYC legends like Pixie Adventura and Bootise Lefaris at Industry’s legendary Queen showcase (Thursdays, after midnight), and my fascination with her has only grown.” — Patrick Crowley, senior director, Billboard Pride