Long ago, and far away. Where the lighting was always hard, and the focus was alway soft…
And we’re back with Episode 2, which has many pleasure for us all; the first mini-challenge with a winner, the first group challenge, and the first time a Lip Sync For Your Life was used to show what it can do.
One of the big pleasures of this first season is that Ru relates to the queens more than she does in the later seasons. By that I mean that she actually tries to mentor the girls and gives them strong advice. “When people look at you, if they can connect with what’s going on behind the eyes, they won’t care what’s going on between the eyes.” This lead to the mini challenge; armed with nothing but a digital camera, the queens are asked to give face in several scenarios.
Ongina and Akashia won for serving expressive faces. And for winning the challenge, their prize was that each was a team leader for the main challenge. In teams of four, the girls were to create and perform a group number to a Destiny’s Child song. Each member of the team is responsible for the staging, the hair, the makeup, and the costumes. And joining the judges panel along with Ru, Merle, and Santino are choreographer Frank Gatson, and Destiny’s Child’s own Michelle Williams. (And how adorable was it watching the queens freak out when she came into the work room. And how adorable was she in the presence of the queens.)
But enough prelude, let’s see how the groups did….
SERVING FISH (Ongina, Nina, Rebecca, Shanel) were pretty much a perfect team. Every piece of the their version of “Say My Name” was on point. While Nina’s lip sync was out of sync, it wasn’t a detriment at all to the performance as a whole. Everyone was on point and everyone looked great. If anything, Ongina stood out in the right way with the intensity of the lip sync. And while Rebecca’s read of Shanel was a bridge to far, it didn’t derail the group. A deserved win for them and for Ongina winning the challenge.
3D (Akashia, Bebe, Jade, Tammie) was, in the words of Santino, “a broken group.” Akashia didn’t really lead her group and wasn’t able to connect on stage with her colleagues (Michelle Williams was spot on in her comment that as the lead singer, she should be able to fall back into the choreography). Jade and Bebe were the strongest of this group; the former’s choreography and mediation skills and the latter’s performance skills held the group together. Tammie alas was lost at sea in the performance, even before her nip slip. You could tell this was not her scene, but as Ru rightfully said, “That’s why it’s a challenge!”
To no one’s surprise Akashia and Tammie were in the bottom two, and had to lip sync to Michelle Williams’s “We Break The Dawn.” On the one hand, it was disappointing as hell to watch Tammie just give up and not perform the song. On the other hand, after getting the beating she got from the judges, it was inspiring to watch Akashia rally and sell the song! This is something that Ru always looks for in the LSFYL; when a queen is backed into the corner will she lie down or come roaring back spewing fierceness and fabulousity. (Another great example was Dida Ritz’s brilliant version of “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” in Season 4 – read here for my recap of that episode.) Plus when you have a woman crying tears of joy when a queen is performing her song, that means you’ve done well.
And now THE DRAG RACE SCOREBOARD. So this week, both Akashia and Ongina get 1 point each for the mini challenge. As for the main challenge: 4 points for the winner, 2 for each other member of the winning team, 1 point for the losing team members not up for elimination, -1 for lip syncing, -2 for the Sashay Away.
NEXT WEEK: It’s Oprah Time!