RuPaul’s Drag Race 8 – New Wave Queens

Can Naysha make history by being the first ever rebound queen to survive for more than two episodes?

No

The Aftermath :

It’s like she never left isn’t it? Although

I was expecting more exclamation marks. A lot more exclamation marks. I guess being eliminated takes the wind out of your sails, at least for a few minutes. Naysha mourned her Puerto Rican Miss Continental sister, in much the same way you act sad when your less attractive, slightly needy, wingman gets nausea from eating too many buffalo wings and has to leave the club early. Like, you miss the support but…it’s for the best. (Yes, I went to a club (once), fuck off). Bob also mourned Cynthia, albeit mostly via a longform read on your tragic roller-cowgirl outfit that seemed a little mean spirited. SPOILERS : Bob is going to be doing a lot this episode, and not all of it is charming. Otherwise, Robbie was haunted that he’d been bottom 2 on a challenge that matched his skillset : giving bitchy gayface confessionals whilst dressed as a sai…I mean “acting”, and Derrick pondered on what Michelle meant when she said that she didn’t have soul. In Derrick’s mind, it meant “shake your booty and use a blaccent”. Oh Derrick. (Derrick initially heard Michelle as having told him that he didn’t have a soul, which I guess would be understandable given how much her hairline mimicks Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula).

The Purse

The Main Challenge : Straight into the main challenge this week, with no time for faffing about with sideshows, and for once our inspiration was coming from somewhere other than April 2015, as Ru went into her distant past as

one of the Koopalings, as she revealed her dark past as a member of a New Wave band. Called “Wee Wee Pole”. Yes, her skill with innuendo as well as her make-up has improved over the years. The nine remaining queens were tasked with forming their own bands of three members, and tasked to write their own lyrics over the top of Rock Lobster, Rock N Roll High School, and Whip I…I mean three original pieces composed by the show’s musician in residence, Lucian Piane, before performing their songs live in front of a studio audience. Could these lyrics match the highlights of this challenge in Series 7 like “I wanna tan tan tan with you”, “album and a t shirt, album and a t shirt, album and a t shirt” and “bye bye bye bye oh oh oh oh oh”? The first step was to form teams – Kim, Robbie and Naomi all immediately coalesced on the grounds that they are best friends (???Producer Note : edit this in to other episodes later if time so this makes sense???), Betty, Bob and Thorgy all gave in to fate and gravity and formed Team NYC and

this was what was left. Already you can feel the chemistry can’t you?

The Drama : So let’s take it team by team.

Team Best Friends Apparently : OK, this is a bad one to start off with because really, there was no drama here at all. Or airtime. Having opted for the punk composition with no opposition from the other team, the biggest question was whether they could make their concept (as decided upon by Kim Chi) of “chicken wings” work with a punk aesthetic. Arbiter of all things punk Derrick Barry thought not but…have heard some of the things punk bands sang about? It’s hardly a stretch. Other than that, outside of a few Robbie Turner quotes saying that he really needed a win, this team barely featured all week, which seems a little unfair given that they’ve been under-edited thus far as a trio (no Kim Chi’s Sob Story Of The Week doesn’t count as an edit) and (SPOILERS) they won. If a team wins Ru, maybe have your show treat them right?

Team The Leftovers : The Leftovers meanwhile were a garbage fire, mostly because Chi Chi from the off refused to play nice. Faced with what was obviously the losing team from the start, he zoned out, sabotaging the team’s efforts to get the party themed track by sulking that he’d rather do synth because it had more soul, completely abandoning rehearsals to go create a new look for the runway because he used all his best neon for last week’s rollergirl theme, and generally putting in 50% effort. I’d love to pretend that all this made me like Chi Chi less, but it totally didn’t, oops. Naysha and Derrick meanwhile between them came up with a geometry theme for their electropop act, with Naysha being a circle, Chi Chi being a triangle, and Derrick being a square.

SQUARE DERRICK, A SQUARE. Let’s all thank heaven for small mercies that she wasn’t given triangle, otherwise we never would have heard the end of it. It’s just the fresh funky new way of doing sexual relationships guys, why wouldn’t she advocate for it?

Team NYC : Probably my favourite thing about this episode was Thorgy’s transition from loyal cackling Bob sidekick, as he manipulated the party track out of the hands of Team Leftovers,

to constant thorn in Bob’s side during the creative process itself. In discussion over lyrics, Thorgy displayed two of my own personal favourite working styles – constantly explaining choices that he’d suggested that the rest of the group have already agreed to, long after they’d cosigned, and nixing ideas he personally didn’t like




via the medium of faces and noises. Truly there is no greater constructive criticism than “uuuuuuuuRGGGGGGGGhck”. (In this case it was a joke about Bob’s big black cock. Between this and his rejection of miming shooting up heroin on the Bitch Perfect set, I’m liking that “prude” is increasingly a defining Thorgy characteristic). Again, I wish all of this made me like Thorgy less but, again, it doesn’t. All of this grind put Bob on edge and thus led to our second piece of Team NYC drama of the week


BOB VS LUCIAN! GET YOUR T-SHIRTS PRINTED NOW! It’s hilarious because it’s such a minor issue, but if it lets some of both the anti-Bob and the anti-Lucian sentiment that’s been bubbling under amongst the fanbase to boil up to the surface, then I’m all for it. Basically it went thus :

Lucian : That’s great, but be more cool, and less theatrical and cheesy. It doesn’t really have a cool B52s vibe?
Bob : I think the B52s were cheesy.
Lucian : OK, but they’re just one party band. I’m just trying to direct you to have your own individual cool style. Like someone like Lorde?
Bob : Lorde’s shit
Lucian : OK I just meant you should be individual and cool
Bob : I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Do you want us to be the B52s or Lorde or what?

But imagine Bob constantly looking to Betty and Thorgy for back-up on the fact that Lucian doesn’t make any sense, and Betty and Thorgy ignoring him and looking embarassed. I don’t really have a team here other than to say that I get where they’re both coming from, I think, and Lucian’s still cute. I do think Bob should watch out so openly crossing one of the show’s semi-regular judges. I mean, we all remember when Violet did that last year, and she was eliminated the next episode and never heard of ever again, right?

The Melodrama : This week’s batch of background came via the return of THE SHADE TREE

Remember this? I know right. I don’t see this gimmick coming back next series to be honest. Chi Chi was sat on the shade…branch? Shade Stump? Anyway, she was there to tell us about her poverty, and how this means that her drag look isn’t as polished as everyone else’s. Apparently when she left college she took out loan after loan to try to get some initial cash to kickstart her career, but it didn’t pay off and now she’s tens of thousands of dollars in the hole and working two jobs – washing cars and working a supermarket checkout.

This is the most incongruous reality tv/supermarket crossover since Jahmene took Nicole Scherzinger to stack shelves in ASDA. Imaging Chi Chi swiping your microwave meal for one, I’d pay extra to be sassed to be honest. Chi Chi told us that she knows that all the queens in the competition may well have struggled for cash at some point, but she doesn’t think any of them know what it’s like to be bone-poor. At this point the camera cut to

Derrick Barry, truly the face of white privelege, looking more like a potato than ever before. But a comfortably middle class potato.

Speaking of entitlement, there was some mild grizzling from Thorgy here about how they’d done three challenges (THREE!) and she hadn’t won any yet, making her the Susan Lucci of Drag Race. Of course infamously Pandora Boxx said this about herself in Season 2, making Thorgy the Susan Lucci of being the Susan Lucci at Drag Race.

This Week’s Gratuitous Shot Of The Pit Crew

Hi Miles.

The Performances : So let’s start with the obvious. The song that Team NYC got WAS Rock Lobster. Lucian made no effort to hide the fact that he was ripping it off. Honestly if I’d been in that team I would have just sung the original words over the top and dared the judges to have a problem with it. In fact Thorgy came the closest, just lifting Kate Pierson’s singing style and ad libs entirely and I don’t blame her for it because…Kate Pierson man. Also, Bob got to do his big black dick joke, so good for him. He said “beans” instead of “dick” and pulled a face. It was funny. Really in terms of performance there wasn’t a lot to separate them from Robbie’s team, but they were called as safe, mostly so Michelle Visage could continue her vendetta against Betty by claiming she got lost visually and dragged the team down.

Not seeing it myself but ok. Well done on criticising her on being too 50s influenced as she was doing B52s cosplay though ‘chelle.

Next on the bill were “Dragometry” with their ode to loving yourself “Rectangle Girls Of The World”. In practice, Naysha’s geometry gimmick was limited to

ugly hats, despite Chi Chi’s suggestion that they come out in full 3D costumes covering their entire bodies. Of all the groups they were the obvious losers, just because they were the ones who landed furthest from what their genre was about. Synthpop in the 80s was all about hard edges, inscrutability, and the suggestion of a technocratic dystopia. None of which allows Derrick to show off her pop star pipes, so she just wailed like Mariah over the top, making the whole thing feel weird. You’ve not really lived until you’ve seen Derrick Barry try to give you poptart sexy

to a frigid Miami Vice beat with a black square on her head. Naysha at least tried sprechgesang but wasn’t very good at it, with only Chi Chi bringing an authentic hard edge, with even that being offset by the fact that she looked like a

Drag U professor the whole time. Evaluate those angles, girl.

“Les Chicken Wings” were last and whilst I don’t think they were neceessarily best in show by any great distance (the way they put together their lyrics felt very mechnical and neat for punk), they were the one group where everyone brought something different and it worked, with Robbie holding the group together vocally and giving the

most interesting look, Naomi giving the sneering punk stank attitude

and Kim providing the dumb young fun factor with her usual incoherent squawking. I know I said it earlier in the recap, but I would have at least liked them to be able to discuss the choices they made on the runway, rather than being ushered to the back so that Bob could apologise to Lucian over whatever. Also every time I see Naomi’s legs I think they’re an optical illusion, I want her to be asked to provide scientific evidence that they’re real.

Seriously, that’s some Beatles Animated Film business going on there.

The Runway Also, to be honest, I would have liked Kim Chi to be asked to explain what the hell is going on here.

I’m not sure “paint an eye over your eye, paint a nose over your nose, paint a mouth over your mouth, and then scribble over half of your face with black magic marker” is really in the spirit of Picasso, but it’s her runway and she’ll do what she wants to I guess. The theme here was Neon Queen Realness, or in the case of Derrick Barry

“Willam’s Castoffs Police Auction”. Less “stained glass” more…just stained. The judges, particularly Michelle, also had it in for Chi Chi, on the grounds that his look

comprising about three different Streets Of Rage thugs combined into one bathing suit, was too cheap. After an episode of Chi Chi telling us about her financial woes, this felt slightly churlish. After Michelle doubled down and told her that lack of money was no excuse for looking bad, even more so. I guess Katie Hopkins rubbed off on her more than she’d like to admit. (OH MY GOD, THAT MENTAL IMAGE, I APOLOGISE). At the other end of the scale……..pretty much just Naomi for me

serving up Nicki Minaj meets Rich White Ladies. Robbie had a nice idea (antebellum styles in modern colours) that didn’t quite come off, and Betty had great execution

on an idea that didn’t feel like it had much to do with drag to me and everyone else? Noep.

This Week’s Most Insightful Guest Judge Critique : Chris Stein from Blondie thinks you should never wear the same boots for the main challenge and your runway presentation.

The Lip Sync : With Team Leftovers succesfully identified as this week’s weakest links, Derrick was unfortunately saved by the one thing that tanked his team the hardest, as both Chris Stein and Debbie Harry (FROM BLONDIE, YES THAT DEBBIE HARRY) liked his singing voice and felt she potentially had a future in a Debbie Harry biopic (lolokno), meaning that Naysha and Chi Chi were the bottom 2 facing off in a lip sync to “Call Me”. Really, they should have learnt from last series and just channelled Pearl wandering around with zombie arms and growling, because that’s how you channel Debbie Harry right? (I still like her in that lip sync though, don’t come for me). Instead, whilst the lip sync itself wasn’t great by any objective measure, I did love the narrative created by Naysha doing two 4/10 cartwheels to start the thing off, followed by Chi Chi clocking this then doing constant non-stop 7/10 cartwheels, walkovers and backflips for the rest of it. Also she gave good demon face and

Chi Chi giving good demon face is one of the best things about this season. It’s always fun to watch one queen absolutely wipe the floor with the other and it made the foregone conclusion of Naysha’s reboot feel justified. And now we’ve got that gimmick that’s NEVER WORKED BEFORE AND NEVER WILL out the way, we can get on with the rest of the season.

The Untuckening : If Robbie felt slightly sour at her personal victory in this challenge being mostly brushed under the rug, she at least got a nice surprise on Untucked, as some special guests popped by to wish her Happy Birthday.

That’s right! Her grandparents flew in from Seattle an…oh no wait, that’s Chris Stein and Debbie Harry (DEBBIE HARRY, FROM BLONDIE!). It was very sweet watching Robbie wig out, and Kim wig out, and Naomi…stare blankly with a grin on her face, as Debbie mingled briefly before being ushered back onto set. Apparently Robbie had a poster of Debbie on his wall as a young queen, and it meant that for a moment his parents thought he was straight. He said.

We also got to meet Chi Chi’s mother

via the magic of Blurovision, and the show pondered the question of how to make Naysha’s departure interesting given that it already happened three episodes ago. Fortunately Naysha threw them a solid by making a grand gesture to Chi Chi as she went out, leaving her some of her outfits to help pad out her wardrobe for future challenge. They were her ugliest outfits granted, but it’s the thought that counts. Although the show’s approach, making her driver

hot as blazes, worked just as well.

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4 thoughts on “RuPaul’s Drag Race 8 – New Wave Queens

  1. Patrick

    I love a good Streets of Rage reference. They already did that little rollerskate kid last week….

    After having a couple of extended epsiodes I am feeling short changed when a standard episode flies by, sad times. At least I’ve only had 1 queen i like be booted so far (boodyful as a godesses and funnee as a cleowwwn…). Always team Lucian… i’m upset he doesn’t post shirtless on instagram.

    Reply

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