Ten things I loved in this episode.
1. Michelle’s Boobs : This week’s mini-challenge involved the contestants deciding, based on a close-up of a body part, whether a celebrity was a drag queen or a woman, and has caused a minor stir on the Internet due to the fact that it involved unironic use of the word “she-male” and also involved BODY-SHAMING various female celebrities for looking a bit mannish or having their weave-line visible. Personally I shuffled awkwardly on my sofa a little when they kept in on poor mentally-ill wrestler cum porn star Chyna/Chyna Doll/Joanie Laurer even after her identity was revealed, but let’s all agree that the BEST BIT was when Darienne Lake called out a giant cheap knock-off drag queen breastplate for the obvious trash it was, and it turned out that it in fact was Michelle Visage’s plump frontage. Of course, as it was Darienne, her theatrically awkward reaction was really the highlight.
2. LUCIAN! : As this week was the Musical Theatre challenge, it was no surprise to see the show’s musical director Lucian Piane step out from the backroom to help out, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t gasp and fan myself and dribble on the carpet a bit all the same. I love that he’s ageing gracefully as well – little flecks of grey in the beard are so distinguishing, I find. And it seemed the contestants agreed, with Adore appearing particularly dyknotised and off her game in the rehearsal room as a result of Lucian’s radiant beauty. Certainly it was enough for me to forgive his transparent foray into nepotism, bringing his baby sister along to play choreographer to the queens. I presume she’s fully accredited and approved by the American Board Of Choreographers. She DID say “rull quick” quite a bit, which is a good 60% of any choreographer’s work.
3. The Promise Of Idol Tales To Come : What with both Courtney and Adore being Idol alumni, it was only a matter of time before the stories of the backstage machinations of a franchise that has brutally closeted all of its contestants until very recently started to leak out. It’s early days yet but I must admit that Danny’s confession that he’d butched it down a notch for his stint on American Idol made me giggle. I mean…really? OK. I hope the forthcoming weeks bring many more tales of American Idol Series 7 debauchery, like that time Jason Yeager totally slipped Danny the tongue or that time Paula Abdul “accidentally” walked into the men’s dressing room naked “for a joke”.
4. Gia’s “Comedy Queen” : Whilst Ben’s performance as the villain of Shade : The Rusical was a little underpowered, he was definitely the stronger team leader this week. Besides the fact that the product put out by his half of the cast was just better, his counter-casting of both Bianca (as a pageant queen) and Gia (as a comedy queen) was inspired. Particularly Gia as, as we all understand from weeks past, just DOES NOT UNDERSTAND COMEDY. Watching Lucian having to very very slowly and carefully explain a fart joke to her was amazing and I’m still convinced that even on the night she didn’t quite get why anything she was doing was supposed to be funny. And yet still somehow she performed her fellow Comedy Queen Darienne off the stage, even with that “Fran Drescher Getting Steamrollered By A Dying Duck” (thanks Darienne) voice. The ways of Gia…they are mysterious indeed.
5. Courtney’s Good Penny : It felt a little embarrassing that they were even pretending that three queens were in the running for the challenge win this week when Courtney so clearly stood out above everyone else. I might have found Courtney’s haughty bland over-confident professionalism a little alienating in past weeks but…it’s MUSICAL THEATRE week. Haughty bland over-confident professionalism is what it’s ABOUT. She both sang and acted everyone else clear off the stage as the ingenue lead and looked fabulous doing it. Sure she might have seemed a little snotty when she was correcting Lucian as to just how many notes she’d biffed in rehearsal, but frankly he had it coming for not writing any parts of Shade : The Rusical where she could show off her fabulous Mariah Carey whistletone. A brief skit where Good Penny used it to scare teenagers away from retirement homes.
6. Bianca’s Big Red Wig : Due to the long run-time of Shade : The Rusical (I mostly blame Milk’s drawn-out feeble old lady voice) we only got an abbreviated runway this week. Which wasn’t a great pity, because “Tony Awards Glamour” is kind of a snoozer of a concept (even if you don’t happen to know what a Tony is, GIA GUNN) but I’d like to give a shout-out to Bianca’s Big Red Wig, which really could have graced the heads of any of Steven Sondheim’s leading ladies circa 1983.
7. Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Advice: This week’s MVP of the judging panel was OBVIOUSLY Sheryl Lee Ralph, the original Deena from Dreamgirls. Bless Lucian, he may be pretty and talented but he’s not the most articulate of people. Sheryl on the other hand was full of wise words. PUT A CORK IN IT. LESS IS ALWAYS BEST. AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. (“That” in this instance being Trinity’s face). IT’S LIKE YOU HAVE A BEARD ON YOUR FOREHEAD. THE ILLUSION IS WORKING FOR ME. Also, like, “FABULOUS” said at a squeal that Sharon Osbourne could only dream of. If and when Andrew Lloyd Webber caves in to the crushing indifference surrounding everything new he tries to write and does another prime time BBC reality show, I can only hope she is the BARROWMAN.
8. Trinity’s Lip-Sync : Trinity’s mirroring of Tyra’s arc this week hit the part where she was a mopey cow who “missed home” and used it as an excuse to spend the entire task muttering under her breath about how much she sucked and how hard everything was and how she couldn’t even try to turn in this damn dress and she hasn’t done musical theatre since high school and she’s not a singer she just lip syncs and so on and so on and so on. In short, she acted like a complete pain in the arse, and as she was paired with Bianca (who is looking increasingly like she’s accruing potential nemeses by the hour) she got to hear how much of an arse she was being reflected back to her, creating an endless feedback loop of misery. It felt only appropriate that this misery wound up landing Trinity in the bottom 2 after flubbing her lines, and kind of cathartic that she blew the cobwebs away with a truly barnstorming lip-sync. True it was of “I’m Every Woman” – basically a gimmee for Trinity’s drag style – but she still turned things out impeccably. That fan, that cape, that Mick Jagger strut and all that pointing. April in the bottom 2 after completely missing the point of her character, and being a bit too aggressive for a bit too long now, just couldn’t compete.
9. Joslyn Fox’s Sword Of Justice : So, aside from Adore suffering the ramifications of calling someone out on the runway AGAIN, there were two major pieces of drama on Untucked this week. Firstly there was Gia Gunn, who finally lost patience with Milk’s whole deal (and to be fair, after this week’s unwieldy and cheap looking prop (a pregnancy bump) I was almost there with her) and called her out as not really being a drag queen. Of course Milk, being kind of dull and I think possibly a bit slow-witted, took the high road of “well I could verbally tear you to shreds but I’m not going to because I’m ABOVE THAT and also…erm…I’m tired yawn and I can’t be bothered yawn yawn” which is always so convincing. So it was randomly left to Joslyn Fox, dressed in full pageant gear, to swoop in and tell Gia that she was ignorant, and then have a PC panic over it and twitter that she didn’t mean that Gia IS ignorant, she means that she was BEING ignorant in that moment oh my god please don’t hate her, she wasn’t being insulting. Bless Joslyn. Even when she’s hurling herself into battle she’s such a sweetheart about it. (Oh and she was clearly the best of the three Showgirls in Shade : The Rusical. Not that that would be hard, but the fact needs to stand).
10. Laganja’s Meltdown : The superior piece of drama though was clearly Laganja finally having her break-out character moment to show us all the person behind the CONSTANTLY YELLED CATCHPHRASES AND THOSE LEGS FOR DAYS MAMMA GIRL MAMMA LET’S SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEAM. And that person is kind of insane. The whole thing was instigated by Laganja’s being the recipient of this season’s first heart-warming Family Tape. Laganja’s parents appeared on-screen, telling her that they were proud of her and that they’d got over their initial misgivings about her being a drag queen and were ready to support her to win RuPaul’s (*squints at cue-card*) Drag Race. And…that was pretty much it, and so everyone patted her on the back and said well done and went back to giggling about nothing. But THIS WAS NOT ENOUGH FOR LAGANJA ESTRANJA! SHE WAS HAVING HERRRRRRRRRR MOMMMMMMMMMMMENT. And they were RUINING IT. Particularly galling was Bianca TELLING A JOKE, HOW DARE SHE? (Gia earnestly telling Laganja not to worry about Bianca’s jokes because “she’s just being her character” <3). I have to admit, it's amazing to see such a background queen (at least so far) become such an egomaniac the second she gets any attention whatsoever. I can only imagine what'll happen the second she doesn't finish dead middle of the pack mediocre in a challenge. *rubs hands together*