Twenty things I enjoyed about the premiere of Season 6.
1. The Twist : RuPaul’s Drag Race this series opened with a TWIST for the first time since Shangela burst out of that box way back in Series 3, and changed the face of Drag Race forever. The twist being that the 14 contestants would compete separately in two separate episodes, 7-a-piece, with one being eliminated each time, before merging into one large group at 12. The idea being that, with fewer ballast queens to hide behind, each contestant would be inspired to reach new heights to stay in the competition. And, whilst that obviously didn’t happen (the two eliminees were respectively absent and a flaming useless trainwreck, and neither episode winner was truly outstanding) it did mean we got to spend far more time than we usually would with the mediocre queens. And if there’s one thing I love it’s a mediocre drag queen.
2. Ornacia : Laganja may heave death-dropped, Milk may have worn toreador couture, Courtney might have passive-aggressively called everyone else ugly and April may have worked the androgynous soldier-boy look until the legs fell off, but by far the most memorable entrance to the workroom this series came from Vivacious. Or at least…the thing on her head. A cheap-ass bejewelled Hallowe’en Bobble-Head Mask on a spring, Ornacia stole the show from her host entity for the entirety of the first half of the episode, adding an extra tragic glamour to Vivacious belly-flop in the Mike Ruiz Photoshoot Mini Challenge, and covering amply when MOTHER was unable to undo MOTHER’s zip over the flap covering MOTHER’s face. And then what happened when Vivacious ditched Ornacia and went solo? She ended up lip-sync’ing for her life. Coincidence? I think not.
3. Gia Gunn’s High Pony, Sunglasses & Giant Handbag : Second most memorable entrance has to go to Gia Gunn, who stomped into the workroom sporting a giant handbag that appeared to be made out of a modified hula hoop and the highest of all ponytails, spurting out of the top of her head like a black volcano of bile. The whole ensemble was both drop-dead gorgeous and also emblematic of Gia’s pinched bitchy shallow fashionista persona. I have to give Gia credit. Many is the Drag Race bitch whose stank only unfurled slowly over the course of a three month run. Gia came in hard, and ageist, and vapid and OWNED it, sneering at all the tragic old 30 SOMETHING queens and openly rifling through their wardrobe and yelling about how tacky it was. I hope she can maintain or get crushed under the wheels of Bianca Del Rio. One or the other.
4. Mike Ruiz : Because he’s kind of hot, and also he alone truly captured the potential horror of being stuck in close quarters with Laganja Estranja’s personality for the next three months. When he wasn’t a Special Guest Judge for the second half of the premiere, I felt a little empty I don’t mind sharing.
5. Laganja Estranja’s Complete Lack Of Inside Voice :
RuPaul: Hello hello
Laganja: MMM YES MAMA WORK IT YES
RuPaul: Today’s challenge is…
Laganja: TELL ME ABOUT IT HUNTY!
RuPaul: a dancing mini-chall…
Laganja: OOOH YES MAMA! I BE WORKING THIS CHALLENGE WITH MY LEGS. FOR. DAYS!
Is how I imagine the rest of the series going. I love that Laganja is here to channel the spirit of the show’s often maligned Progressive Housewife demographic, spewing dragisms at the top of their lungs, at random intervals through their daily lives, for no real reason. In fact Laganja’s high-volume babbling actually became a Plot Point (beyond irritating the shiz out of everyone) when it got to such a volume that her besty Adore couldn’t make her subtle whisperings as to what category she wanted to be granted in the “Design A High-Fashion Outfit Based Around A TV Show” challenge heard over her yammering, ultimately resulting in the only real drama of the first half of the premiere, as April sort of thought that she maybe might have done it on purpose.
6. Joslyn Fox – Stalker of LIFE : When I said that the twist allowed us more time with the mediocre queens, it was mostly delicious ray of ass-baring giggling dumb-as-a-brick Joslyn I was talking about. I’m so glad that grabbing her fake titties and going WOMP WOMP is in fact a thing generally, not just a bit she was adopting for her Jame Gumb realness video test shoot. Joslyn just loves EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING. The Pit Crew, the entire judging panel, International Superstar Courtney Act, all the viewers at home, her parents, whoever trimmed her eyebrows (presumably Edward Scissorhands)…EVERYTHING. It’s like watching a more pleasant Nicole Paige Brooks, with the whole world as her Raven. I love best of all that she met this week’s main challenge for the second-half girls (“Design A High-Fashion Outfit Based Around A Type Of Party”) by just throwing everything on herself and trotting down the runway swishing away with a whole Sears catalogue worth of throw cushions duct-taped to her arse.
7. Adore and Courtney’s Shared Idol Franchise Delusions : Neither Adore nor Courtney made the live finals of their respective Idol franchise. Adore finished in a cluster-elimination of four people in the round before the live shows, which featured 12 people. From her RuPaul’s Drag Race appearance she fronted this out, did the maths, and decided to announce that she “finished 13th”. Courtney was rejected in the pre-finals public vote, then was brought back for the Wild Card round, then eliminated AGAIN by the judges. She decided to just flat out lie and call herself a finalist. I feel like both of these affectations say a lot about the personalities of their respective dreamers.
8. Natalie Imbruglia : If there ever was a name I didn’t expect to pop up on RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was Natalie Imbruglia. I hope against hope that Darienne was being shady by asking Courtney if that, as an Australian Superstar, was her approximate level of fame, but I imagine she probably wasn’t. Courtney’s fame at this point seems to be a larger character than Courtney, as she wields it like a cugel, bragging about how she’s a household name in Australia (really?), soaking up the adoration of her devoted fangirl Joslyn, and using it bodyslam whole conversations, shoving everyone else’s experience out of the way by tacitly saying “yes I have also done that, but I’m FAMOUS so it counts double”. Darienne Lake may fuck dudes whilst in drag. COURTNEY ACT ON THE OTHER HAND IS A GLAMOROUS STEPPING STONE BETWEEN HETEROSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY. To be honest, this makes me sound like I like Courtney less than I do, but I will end by saying that I do.not.trust.her and feel like I should go rummaging through her bins for the Margo Channing I know is lurking in her past.
9. Hot Milk : Because at this stage, he’s not bringing much else. I need more to back up “I’m creepy, unsettling and SINISTER” than a tooth-gap and a bit of cotton wool stuck to your chin.
10. Trinity K Bonet – Space Princess : Having gifted herself the pretty pink sparkly box representing the Princess Party, Trinity K Bonet took it upon herself to defy convention and pay tribute to Princess Amidala from Star Wars, wrapping everything in tin foil and giving herself a massive bizarre satellite dish collar. I like Trinity K Bonet. There’s just something about a black guy dressing like a white woman dressing like a Japanese woman that speaks to me. He feels like the second coming of Tyra but BETTER (apart from those teeth).
11. Adore Delano’s Three Outfits : I can’t wait to see how she makes those last for an entire season. I actually think her Honey Boo Boo inspired challenge outfit wasn’t that bad and was entirely in keeping with the theme and also Adore’s own slightly backwards 6 year old personality. I long for more shots of her sat mouth a-gape, tongue slightly protruding, eyes glazing over furiously, watching the world fly past her faster than she can comprehend.
12. Khloe Kardashian’s Puffy Pussy : The ongoing saga of the Kardashians thunders by over my head, with only the slightest details trickling down. I know that Kim Kardashian wants another baby with Kanye. I know that nobody really knows whether Bruce Jenner is transgender or just having a midlife crisis. And I know that Khloe Kardashian is just another one of the anonymous bodies left crushed under the wheels of the terrible trainwreck that was X Factor USA, along with Demi Lovato, Mario Lopez, and Paulina Ribena. But none of this prepared me for the joy of her announcing to anyone who would listen that she has a big ol’ vagina. She didn’t really give me anything as a judge other than that, but at least now I know that a Kardashian other than Brody Jenner has outsized genitalia (we’ve all seen that picture of him dressed as Robin right?) (I feel like I should probably stop saying I “know nothing” about the Kardashian Family as that is CLEARLY not the case)
13. The Forthcoming Lambert-Carrion nuptials : Adam Lambert’s oversharing during his stint as Special Guest Judge was of a more subtle variety, but nevertheless his boner for April Carrion was so palpable that the rest of the judging panel were clearly in awe of it. Let’s face it, it’s probably the hottest season we’ve ever had – this sort of thing is going to happen, and it is going to make Henry Rollins’ sex-dream about Pandora Boxx seem like “Your Tune” in comparison. (I’m still personally not quite sure where I stand on April Carrion. Give me a couple of episode and I’ll get back to you)
14. Michelle Visage : Good lord but I’ve missed those boobs.
15. Michelle Visage : By which I of course mean Ben De La Creme. I do love that Ben (in drag) has been gifted with Michelle’s exact face and demeanour and has proceeded to construct with them a persona which is the exact opposite of Michelle’s own 1990s Debi Mazar But From Round The Way club girl vibe. It’s a bit like all those episodes of classic superhero cartoon where The Joker dresses up as Batman and goes around ruining his reputation. But instead of mugging old ladies and robbing banks, Ben De La Creme acts like a flustered desperate 60s housewife and cracks bad jokes about devilled eggs. I’m not sure how Michelle’s going to respond to Ben’s sullying of her good face (and better boobs) but she already seems kind of ticked off.
16. Don’t Wear Bacon : I called Kelly as either a first boot or a real contender in my preview post for this series, and whilst I’m glad that I proved prescient, I’m a little sad that she just didn’t really seem to turn up for most of the episode, right through her lip sync and departure. I think there was promise there, somewhere, as mostly evidenced by her spotting the potential of the judges pointing out the resemblance of her Downton Abbey themed outfit to bacon and running with it, carving it one memorable moment in what was otherwise a sea of nothing. I will always bear her advice in mind when dressing for formal occasions.
17. Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex Of Hate : Ever since that iconic shot of her opening the library in the superteaser for the series, I’ve been waiting for Bianca to let rip and I was not disappointed, as she tore through her half of the draw with ease, dispensing acid bon-mots every 5 seconds and then following them up stingingly with “that was a joke by the way” if the target for her wit so much as skipped a beat in response. As I said in my mention of Gia Gunn 5,000 words ago, I can’t wait for both barrels and those dimples and ALL that make-up to be trained on her, because I doubt there’ll be much left afterwards other than a smear. Kimora Lee Kradashian indeed.
18. Darienne Lake’s Lip-Sync : The first lip-sync of our supersized premiere was a bit of a disappointment. Obviously Kelly’s general air of ennui was never going to translate to a vibrant performance, but I have to admit I was expecting more out of Vivacious. She’s a club kid and she was being served up prime ’89 Madonna. I mean…it’s EXPRESS YOURSELF. I know she was unaccountably done up as Fanny La Fan, but she could have turned that out far more than she did. No, it was left up to Darienne Lake, dumped into the second Bottom 2 of the series due to that perennial pitfall of the Plus-Sized Queen : poor fashion choices (that skirt girl – no) (although she was always doomed when she got the St Patrick’s Day Party box as we all know that MICHELLE VISAGE HATES GREEN), to give us the Lip Sync Of The Week, fiercely shaking her nunga-nungas to Turn The Beat Around and using her considerable bulk to block Magnolia out of the limelight at every opportunity. Speaking of which…
19. Magnolia Crawford’s Lip-Sync : In many ways Magnolia should be glad that Darienne stopped us seeing the worst of her lip-sync, because what we actually saw of it was titanically awful. Flapping, gasping, not matching any of the words, occasionally awkwardly shuffling, hysterically and painfully mumming away randomly like she was chewing on bees wrapped in peanut butter, it’s rarely ever been more transparent who was about to be told to sashay away as it was at the end of this year’s second episode. Well done on getting that exposure I guess.
20. Magnolia Crawford’s Untucked Meltdown : To be fair it’s no surprise that Magnolia’s lip-sync was so fractured, as it was revealed on Untucked that between walking off the main stage and returning for the final judgement, he had one of those protracted meltdowns that the spin-off show specialises in. In the space of 20 minutes he spiralled through so many stages of grief over his impending departure that they surely had to expand the Kubler-Ross model to fit it all in, ultimately settling on some sort of weird hybrid stage of both anger and denial (DENGER! As in “YOU IN DENGER GURL!”) where he was really bitter about going home but also not really bothered because he was only here to “get exposure”, presumably for the noble art of contouring your nose to look like a kirby grip and leaving enough of a gap between your wig and your hairline that your entire head looks a bit like it’s been the victim of an attempted carjacking. I swear, if you’d left the cameras on him for another 5 minutes he would have started claiming that he sucked on purpose for tax reasons.
Next Week : Linda Blair guest judges. I’m hoping for a tribute challenge to LA 7.