10 things I loved in this episode.
1. The Collective Wonk-Wonk : In honour of last week’s departed queen, the first thing the remaining contestants did once they returned to the workroom (after the obligatory yelling of “FINAL FIIIIVE!” for the hard-of-counting) was to honk their boobs in unison. Because if you can’t make the Top 5, make a catchphrase (see also : Tammie Brown walking children in nature, Jessica Wild lobing dis dreenk, Mystique being from Chicago, some shit Mariah said some time probably).
2. The Puppets : After the Best Snatch Game Ever and a decent Library Challenge I was more than ready for the remaining queens to haul out the puppets and start parodying one another explicitly. And I was satisfied with the results. Even the weakest comedically (Courtney, duh) managed a decent riff on how Darienne got all her votes off the Internet. Darienne calling Courtney “the world’s oldest living twink” and Bianca mocking Adore’s vapidity were both fun, but the clear stand-outs were Adore’s absolutely dead-on imitation of Ben’s accent and demeanour, and Ben’s creation of a Bianca puppet that pushed through surreal and came out the other side at genuinely unsettling, massive teeth chomping at the air and ungainly wig flying around as Puppet-Bianca spat invective and Judge Judy catchphrases everywhere. Nothing will ever (EVER) beat Alaska’s interpretation of Roxxy Andrews from last series, but that comes a dignified distant second.
3. Ben De La Creme : Chroeographer-At-Large : Ben’s “reward” for winning the puppet challenge was two-fold : first she got to delegate the colour-schemes to the other contestants for their Main-Challenge looks, and secondly to act as choreographer for the obligatorily embarrassingly cruise-shippy opening dance-number (WHY? WHY DO THEY STILL?) that precedes every Ball Episode of the show. The way Ben approached both “gifts” was signally Ben. Firstly, she gave Adore the easiest gemstone to work around because she’s just the weakest sewer gosh bless her and darn her socks. (Obviously it would have been better if one of the gemstones had been an emerald so that a queen would automatically be designated as facing the WRATH OF VISAGE…but there again Michelle seemed weirdly fixated on the ins and outs of banjee authenticity this episode, to the point of actual mania, so she may not even have noticed). Secondly, she immediately abandoned the role of choreographer and let everyone else take the reins as he jigged around like Wired For Sound era Cliff Richard as per usual.
4. Adore’s Banjee Girl : So this week’s main challenge was the same Ball Challenge that they’ve been running since way back in Series 1. Create 3 distinct looks with only 24 hours notice. That’s it. Just as the series begins with a straight-up test of sewing skills, so the run to the final ends with the same thing, but with much less room for error. For the most part the standards from that very first challenge carried on here – Bianca was good, Courtney was mediocre and Darienne was a flaming trash-bag of garbage. But the two big stories were Ben, whose sewing skills had started strong but by the end were churning out the same old-stuff to the extent that it was boring, and Adore, who took the opposite trajectory. That she won the first Banjee round though was no surprise given her triumph in the 90s rap challenge. Basically she took that same look, booted it forward 15 years, and trotted it out again. Compared to Courtney’s grunge look, Bianca’s BET 2003 Awards look, and Ben’s ill-fitting velvet booty shorts and GIANT RUFFLE FOR NO REASON, it was a clear winner in the first run.
5. Bianca’s Real-Estate Mogul : On the other hand, whilst Adore’s backstory for her Executive realness character (“she’s a lesbian who still fucks guys on the weekends”) was captivating, it was at the end of the day still really more of a Slutty Secretary out of a Jade Jolie Production than somebody who you’d find running the company. Courtney’s Power-Bitch was fun, and Ben’s…showgirl (again) was probably the most successful look for her of the three she put out, but for me the stand-out was Bianca. Already having wasted her best CEO look on the Make-Up Advert challenge, she shifted into another realm of business entirely and stomped the runway, chewing the corner of her sunglasses and shuffling her booty round like an evil Southern female realtor straight from any number of early 21st century HBO dramas, probably to be played by Carolyn Hennessy or Julie White. Bob Mackie loved it, and if Bob Mackie loved it, then I do too.
6. Adore’s Diamond Ballerina : The final round saw the contestants creating jewel-themed “eleganza” looks based around the jewels that Ben gifted them after the mini-challenge. Bianca’s look cemented everyone’s criticism of her looks over the run of the show far – by this point, we’ve seen it all before. I know she had to haul it out again because of the presence of Bob Mackie but even then it ended up not impressing him overmuch. Courtney’s dramatic red dress won over Santino and pretty much nobody else, and Ben came out with a shoe on his head. But AGAIN, somehow, against all the odds, despite her workroom meltdown over not even knowing what “gathering” is, Adore produced the best look of the round, with a really captivating cybernetic diamond ballerina with choke chain and Darryl Hannah In Bale Runner hair. Who would have thought at the start of the series that Adore would be the one to win the most hardcore seamstress challenge of them all? Actually…who would have thought it at any point? I’m sure next week I’ll go through the episode having mind-wiped it out of my brain on the grounds that it was impossible
7. Darienne’s…Thingummy : I have avoided talking about Darienne’s runway looks, because really they deserve a category all of their own. That “banjee” jumpsuit actually creating camera-strobing with its hideousness. That “Executive Realness” look that was just her St Patrick’s Day dress with a blazer thrown over the top. Her Topaz Eleganza look that looked quite frankly prolapsed. Even that gold…thing she abandoned halfway through creation was amongst the most genuinely hideous things I’ve ever seen on this show. If you’re going to go out, then go out with a bang, and this carnival of hideousness was everything I wanted in a flame-out that I didn’t get with Joslyn last week. Except…then Darienne didn’t leave (LOL).
8. Bianca Losing It With Ben : Because we’re getting near the end, and because the natural drama has pretty much dried up at this point, Ru saw fit to toss in the old “who deserves to leave?” bomb. Given the main challenge results everyone OBVIOUSLY said “Darienne” because…come on, but Ben managed to spice things up anyway by tossing in a passive-aggressive swipe at Bianca for “sailing” through the competition. Which Bianca responded to by calling her a cunt and mocking her whiny condescending voice. Safe to say that we’re getting to the point of nervous exhaustion with MANY of these queens. (Ben fans have feigned horror at the idea that ANYBODY could interpret ANYTHING Ben ever says as remotely negative in any way, conveniently ignoring the fact that she spent the entire episode giving talking heads where she rolled her eyes and talked about how cocky and complacent Bianca was getting but then Ben De La Creme fans have gone FULL FANDORA at this point, so *shrug*)
9. Roy-Lady : Roy-Lady officially marks the point where Bianca’s edit tipped over from “bitch with a heart of gold” into full-blown soppy goo. Outside of Adore we haven’t really heard from the family or friends of any of the top five (leading to the not easily dismissible idea that if your mum/boyfriend/adorable grandma appears on the screen in Untucked you might as well start packing your bags there) but it was still a surprise that the first to crack was Bianca, receiving a letter from an adorable 8 year old that he babysits (…I think) that calls him “Roy-Lady” in drag. And then everyone cried about how it’s great that 8 year olds can love gay people and drag queens growing up and then Bianca made a Laganja joke and all was well. (Also the picture of Bianca as a teenager was the KEY to be finding him attractive as an adult but to be honest I don’t really want to think about the pathways there so let’s just move on to).
10. Ben’s Lipstick Goodbye Message : Best thing he did all season, no?