“The Voice” lost all nine of its nominations at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, but that did not stop it from surging back to win Best Reality-Competition Series for the fourth time in five years. The singing competition has become an Emmy favorite, but many pundits were expecting a changing of the guard this year. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” exploded onto the Emmys scene in 2017 with eight nominations, five more than it had received in its previous eight seasons combined. Because of that shift in momentum, the search for America’s next drag superstar had leading odds at Gold Derby to win this category. (See Emmy winners list.)
The other Best Reality-Competition Program nominees at the 2017 Emmys were “The Amazing Race,” “American Ninja Warrior,” “Project Runway,” and “Top Chef.” To date just three series have won this category since they started handing out the award in 2003. “The Amazing Race” has dominated with 10 victories (2003-2009, 2011-2012, 2014), followed by “The Voice” with four (2013, 2015-2017), and a singular win for “Top Chef” (2010). Many were thinking this would be the year that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was added to the list.
The quick-witted RuPaul Charles won the first Emmy for the series last year for Best Reality Host, an honor the drag legend repeated last week at the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys. “Drag Race” also snagged wins for Best Costumes and Picture Editing, bringing its 2017 Emmy count to four overall. The program was not unbeatable in every category, however, as it was asked to “Sashay Away!” in four other categories including Best Casting (lost to “Born This Way”), Hairstyling (lost to “Hairspray Live!”), Makeup (lost to “Saturday Night Live”) and Unstructured Reality Program (lost to “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell”).
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” was a late bloomer at the Emmy Awards, not receiving its first nomination until Season 7, and losing that bid (Best Makeup) to the “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special.” Then last year the series built on that breakthrough, earning two nominations including the aforementioned win for RuPaul as host and a nomination for Best Costumes (lost to “The Wiz Live!”).