It’s a wonder nobody thought of acapella lip-sync’ing before isn’t it?
The Aftermath : Last week saw Miss Continental Naysha Lopez sashay away to join the ranks of Alyssa Summers, Venus De-Lite and Penny Crayon as a first boot. After the obligatory round of “WOW SOMEONE GOT ELIMINATED SHIT JUST GOT REAL THIS ISN’T FUNNY ANY MORE!!!” from all three of Robbie, Laila, and Bob, we pulled back to survey the emotional landscape after the first scalping of the season. Cynthia in particular seemed upset, putting in sterling
“crying without tears” work as she mourned her poor departed Puerto Rico sister, telling us all that nAYSHA definitely had so much more to show us. In retrospect, given a certain phone call later on, these words carry slightly more weight than they would normally. Even coming from Cynthia. Elsewhere, the queens debated who was the fishiest now that Naysha has left the building (consensus courtesy of Acid Betty : Derrick thinks it’s Derrick but it’s Naomi) and after her brush with elimination Laila realised that she was no longer a “big fish in a small pond”, that she couldn’t afford to be anyone’s “entourage” any longer, and that she needed to really step up and make a strong impression.
She then resumed quietly shitting herself in a corner for the rest of the episode.
The Mini Challenge : The theme this week was dance. Specifically, latin dance, to a song called “Cha Cha Bitch” by AB Soto. If you want further evidence that Thorgy is the world’s most positive human being, then this is the queens’ collective response to the words “AB Soto”.
I know right? I’m not sure if he was being polite, or sucking up, or just genuinely excited by AB Soto (he is after all
quite the sassy little number), but any way you slice it she’s still sunshine with white girl dreads. Queens were tasked with dancing solo, with the two best movers and shakers getting to pick teams for this week’s Main Challenge. And as comitted as this show is to racial sensitivity at all time, the latin themed dance-off was a veritable smorgesbord of flowers in hair, giant hoop earrings, sombreros (SOMEONE FIND ME A SAFE SPACE), flamenco fans, chola brows,
blunt smoking, Ru constantly screaming “IMMIGRATION! TACOS!” and hairy legs. The last ones belonging to Thorgy, who we already knew from last week likes to “work furry”, and who this week went the full hog and just channelled straight up
Frida Kahlo. I bet Naysha was sat at home watching this and cursing that she never got to offensively parody her own culture on this show. You always leave right before the challenge you could own at, you know? Champions were Chi Chi, who saw Naomi’s sad attempts at a death drop
and one-upped it
with added panties (bitch), and Cynthia, who was assisted with the latin jiggle by her 93% silicon cucu. It was also in this moment that I realised that Cynthia is
a whole lot of Robin Williams characters rolled into one.
This Week’s Gratuitous Shot Of The Pit Crew
The Team Pick : Just to give you an idea of the current heirarchy, the team pick went as follows :
Team Chi Chi
Not too surprising an order there, particularly when you factor in that it was signposted to the queens that what was about to follow was a challenge with a heavy dance element, and Kim revealed in the mini challenge that she dances like she’s trying to move an invisible pair of panties (bitch) up her legs via force of thigh flapping alone. We’ve all been there. If you hadn’t got a clue by now of how Kim’s edit is going, this playground rejection was immediately followed by a confessional of Kim saying that it’s alright, she wouldn’t have picked herself either
then looking sad. Then they played the Sad Hulk music before Derrick Berry gave an eye-rolling confessional about being stuck on a team with Kim who is such a BAD DANCER! and this is a DANCE CHALLENGE! and she CAN’T DANCE! whilst Acid Betty fed a live kitten into a bacon slicer.
The Challenge : In honour of (the crappy sequel to) the hit movie Pitch Perfect being released somewhere about when this was filming, this week’s main challenge was a titanic acapella themed lip-sync off between the two teams, with Team Cynthia playing the good girls and Team Chi Chi playing the girls from the wrong side of the tracks. How I wish this challenge had been staged a decade earlier, as the Bring It On tribute it was so clearly supposed to be (yes I’m in my 30s, piss off). Teams would have to mouth along to a medley of Ru’s hits sung show choir style, whilst also wrangling choreography being provided by show regular Jamal Sims. So basically it was the Glamazonian Airways Challenge from last year, but with more interaction and also more royalties going into RuPaul’s bank account.
The Drama : Drama was apportioned out for each team actually rather appropriately given their challenge team designations. Team Cynthia semed to get on impeccably well, to the point where the show dragged out Cynthia momentarily forgetting her team name (“Lady Bitches”) to cover the RDA (Recommended Drama Allowance) of both a whole segment and a pre-ads bumper. In fact the sole real drama on their team was the entirely predictable one – Kim can’t dance. Or really lip sync. Or perform at all. But she is cute. To amp this up and hopefully paper over the cracks, she was given an Asian Nerd character to play, because lord knows the Mini Challenge wasn’t enough stereotyping for one week. Derrick meanwhile got the “Regina George” part, and all the other girls got a variety of other “stand at the back in a lavender twin set” roles. At this point you may be thinking “hmm, the bad girls team seems inherently more interesting and a better half to have been gifted”. In which case you are correct, have a biscuit. There was some talk of Laila getting a “Derrick’s Little Sister” role, but she nixed it on the grounds that she needed to stand out more and also she doesn’t think she makes the best Britney impersonator (that’s alright, neither does Derrick). I think this is where Laila made her biggest mistake of the week – as much as playing second banana to Derrick might have seemed beneath anyone, it could have been possible to make it work in a similar fashion to Trixie Mattel in last year’s Conjoined Twins challenge, and as Laila’s face told RuPaul as he did his workroom rounds
she had precious few other ideas as to how to stand out.
Team Chi Chi (aka the Shady Bitches) on the other hand? Oy. I feel sorry for Chi Chi, as she was designated to be team leader thanks to her Mini Challenge Win and actually seemed to take it seriously (Cynthia for the other team seemed quite happy to let Bob take the reins on the bossing about front). Little was she to know she was about to get a rail run on her by two thirds of this year’s New York queens. It was unsurprising that Acid Betty was a troublemaker – she’s made bitchiness her gimmick, and as per Thorgy she’s on the verge of going jobless in New York because nobody want to work with her – and her brand of bossy assholery was at least explicable, in that she was constantly pushing everyone to rehearse rehearse rehearse at a point when Kennedy Davenport’s team’s utter failure on the Shakesqueer challenge due to her…laid back leadership style must have been ringing in everyone’s ears. But it was surprising to see Thorgy pull rank as well, flat out telling Chi Chi that she was going to ignore her instructions and do the comedy she wanted to do. Because Thorgy’s ideas (pretend to punch one another out) were so much more classy and funny than Chi Chis (pretend to shoot up with heroin). Regardless, I am a Thorgy partisan so I’ve decided that I like that she stands up for herself, even though on the basis of this episode she might be more like her supposed “darksided” counterpart than she might like to admit. The tension between the three bubbled away all episode until it reached a head with Betty and Chi Chi both threatening to throw one another under the bus during a choreography session with Jamal.
Look! So unguarded! There’s a lady with a bag! It’s just like Untucked!
The Melodrama : As if last round of Sympathy For Kim Chi wasn’t enough, this week we delved even further into the life of the biggest woobie in Drag Race history.
HE USED TO BE FAT! Also
ACID BETTY USED TO BE CHUBBY! Also
DAX!…was slightly husky, but lord knows he’s hurting for ways to elbow his way onto camera so HERE ARE SOME PICTURES OF HIM AS A KID AS WELL! Poor Dax! It’s like Kandy Who 2 : Look Who’s Talking N…wait, where did he go? Mercifully Kim Chi hauled the focus back to her, lest we forget who we’re supposed to be rooting for, by announcing to the room that she’s a 27 year old virgin. Mercifully, before we all developed Type 2 diabetes from the treacle, Acid Betty cut in to cackle about the fact that she’s tried to stick it in Kim Chi three times since they arrived last episode and she hasn’t even noticed, so Kim should be aware that it’s a confidence and awareness thing and not that she’s not bangable. Bless Betty, she is an utter cock, but she has her uses on occasion.
Oh and also ChiChi used to be in a gang and had a gun and has seen corpses and has smelled brains and also
by the looks of his photo album he was also high as fuck 24/7.
The Shade Tree : New, this year, looking a bit like a chichi lounge from an episode of Frasier full of wacky misunderstandings and witty wordplay it’s
THE SHADE TREE! Ru instructed the contestants to think of The Shade Tree, located just off The Work Room as like a Big Brother confessional Diary Room, where they could go and let off steam. Here we are now
I wonder who will come in first? Chi Chi, Thorgy or Betty to vent about Betty, Chi Chi or Thorgy? Derrick or Bob to throw more shade about how the other thinks they’re the frontrunner but they’re TOTALLY NOT? Robbie Turner to come in and pull Robbie Turner face about how Cynthia just stomped on her foot? Whoever it is, I’m sure it’ll be a righteous bitchfest I can’t wait for the sparks to fl
oh. JEEZ, ENOUGH ALREADY.
The Performance And what an epic it was. Nigh on 6 minutes of lip-syncing, dancing, and
boobsforqueens.com to the greatest hits of RuPaul (and also Geronimo). And on the basis of this showing, this episode was a great advert for the merits of artistic tension, as not only were Team Shady Bitches clear stand outs as a group, it was the three queens who had spent the entire episode tusseling who stood out the most. Betty with her bad girl attitude,
Thorgy with her goofy energy
and Chi Chi with her
“doing sassy neck whilst upside down in the splits lip-syncing Sissy That Walk tighter than the Pit Crews Andrew Christians”. And also some quality twerking. And titty tapping. Basically the entire showpiece was a great frame for Chi Chi’s talents, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the peak of the season for her in terms of quality (although I hope not). Even outside of those three
Naomi still had those legs. On the other side on the other hand Team Lady Bitches got a little lost under the admirable desire to keep Kim Chi safe, as she was the only one allowed to have any real individual personality
with everyone else coming across as samey, other than maybe Bob, who got to be “The One With The Worst Wig”. And however much character work Kim Chi was given it still didn’t completely cover up the fact that she couldn’t dance worth a damn and her lip sync kept on sliding off her face. When I come back to this challenge in the off-season it’ll be the Shady Bitches I’ll be watching again for sure.
The Runway : The theme this week was Red Carpet Realness, allowing all the queens to eschew high concept and avant garde in favour of pulling out their best classic Hollywood gowns. Or at least in theory. If they wanted to. Acid Betty still came out looking like this
because Dr Who could always do with a new villain. Or two. Or three. Or even more all smooshed together. The whole thing got progressively less exciting the further you moved down the body (don’t even get me started on those grandma bloomers around her ankles) although a statement is still a statement amongst the reems of gowns, of which my favourite was probably this by Robbie Turner
although you have to think this category wasn’t just in her wheelhouse, it was in there sleeping in the queen sized bed with everyone else relegated to the couch. Other than Betty, it was Thorgy who most noticably played with the category, going for a 70s themed jumpsuit
that looked even more standout when plonked next to Dax! straying from cosplay
and probably ended up regretting it in the morning, given that her hem was raggedy, the fit made her legs look weird, and her ass was padded so lumpily it looked like the Mexican non-union euivalent of Cynthia’s ass. Nothing though, NOTHING all round was as terrifying as
Derrick’s hairline. NOTHING.
This Work’s Guest Judge Insight : Jamal Sims likes what a team player Acid Betty is
The Lip Sync : The dominance of the Shady Bitches was confirmed as the results came out, as the entirety of the Top 3 (Betty, Thorgy, Chi Chi) were drawn from their ranks, with Chi Chi winning overall both for her dance skills and for keeping the team together as Betty tried to drag it off after her through the mud. She won a weekend in New England, which she thought was overseas. Oh Chi Chi.
The Bottom 3 were Dax! (for lacklustre grooving, constant whining, getting overshadowed by the rest of her team, for her giant lumpy butt, and also for not technically existing outside of Untucked), Laila (for not standing out) and Kim (for sucking at dancing). Really they could have picked either one of Cynthia or Robbie for the same reason as Laila, but Laila already had that storyline nicely teed up for her from last week so why not? Personally I would have gone for another one of Cynthia or Robbie as well, to make a point to everyone that their coddling and foregrounding of Kim to help her compensate for her faults had left the rest of them looking pretty anaemic and forgettable, especially as it was always obvious Kim was going near the Bottom 2 because they loved her runway presentation so much (…s’alright). I’m not saying they should have let the girl drown, but at least don’t give her a luxury lifeboat complete with outboard motor and minibar.
And lo, after 8 seasons, Daxxy Who and Laila McQueen were granted the biggest gimmee in the history of Drag Race, with “I Will Survive” to lip sync to. The biggest gay anthem in the history of gay anthems. The most fruity tooty booty shaker of them all. Surely this would be a lip sync classic for the ages? Certainly Ru, Michelle and Guest Judge Lucian Piane (HI LUCIAN) thought so, and said so
many many times, before the performance started, probably three days later on a sound stage and edited in after the fact. Of course, this heavy foreshadowing in reality meant only one thing
romper-room fuckery. Dax! came out of it the best, as she only got really embarrassing at the end, as she tried to do cape work with her dress and ended up looking like she was trying to fight off a wasp cloud with a tablecloth, but this was not sterling work from either queen, and it was no surprise when Ru forewent the decision as to who was “best” and pulled the second double elimination in the show’s history. I feel sorry for Dax! and Laila both, because they seemed like nice enough queens who weren’t tv ready and weren’t…ready generally respectively, but they were both filler, and I’m fine with them being trimmed early on. Especially when it leads to DRAMATIC PHONE CALLS. It’s a double shame that Dax!s look of shock and hurt when she got cut
was the first time all series she’s been remotely compelling.
The Phone Call : The
DRAMATIC PHONE CALL in this case being from Ru to an unidentified third party, telling them that she’d just carried out a double elimination and needed them there right away. Was this a veteran queen being Shangela’d in? Was this someone who’d just missed the cut for the season who was being given another chance? Was this an excuse for drama that will ultimately end up being something like Bianca sticking her head round a door, shouting “YOU’RE ALL BALONEY!” then collecting a paycheque? WHO CAN SAY FIND OUT NEXT WEEK (/whenever it leaks on the Internet)
The Untuckening : This week’s Untucked saw Derrick continue his two episode streak of being mostly anonymous and professional in the main episode and mostly an hilarious self-parody the second they all get backstage. Part of the reason Untucked has worked better this year so far (he says tentatively) is that it feels more like we’re genuinely going backstage because a lot of the contestants clearly have a very different face for the mainstage that they have when less guarded (also people this season are far more willing to engage as an entire group rather than retreating to their corners to slag off people’s dresses or pretend to fall asleep to avoid talking to them). This week Derrick and his
ever more terrifying hair-helmet held court on his “trouple” (psst, Derrick, “two” also begins with a “t”, the word you’re looking for is “throuple”). Now I’m happy with the concept of a “throuple”. I had very good friends at University who were in a throuple. But damnit if everything Derrick said didn’t make his throuple sound like a monument to his ego. Firstly, he’d bought a whole bunch of photos with him
every one of which he was in the centre of. Secondly, he described his own relationship as “fresh and exciting” like it was a new brand of washing powder. Thirdly there was the following exchange with Betty which just got better and better :
Betty : “Is there not any jealousy?”
Derrick : “…………not any more”
Betty : “Surrrrrre, I know what guys are like…”
Derrick : “Well *I’M* not jealous of anybody…”.
Sounds amazing! Anyway, the key take home message is that one of Derrick’s boyfriends is Nebraska, the gay marine who Alaska made over in Season 5. Anyone else hoping that’s who that phone call was going to now?
Also : Cynthia’s role as team leader was investigated further (it was mostly puttering around handing out spray adhesive and sanitary wipes, which is the best kind of leaership in my book) and Bob gave me my first belly laugh and rewind of the series as he told a baffled Naomi that Greta Garbo was in The Spice Girls.