Well, here we are again. Seven queens remain.
And we are faced with some celebrities, moments of infamy, and “something very over the top – very CAHstumed” (thanks Bebe for that utterly fabulous and versatile quote – “How was that movie?” “It was something very over the top – very CAHstumed.” “What do you feel like for dinner?” “Something very over the top – very CAHstumed.”).
This is going to be short and sweet as there are a lot of images to go with this one…
This week’s challenge was for each queen to channel their inner Oprah Winfrey by recreating her career in three ways; reporting the news from a teleprompter, pitching a product a la “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” and then interviewing a celebrity (which in this case was the very fun and quite into it Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott). The next day, the girls are asked to show up in their best drag for Ru, Merle, Santino, and guest judges PR guru Howard Bragman and Mad T.V.‘s Debra Wilson.
Let’s get to it then…
Ongina did considerably well in the challenge. See, the secret to challenges like these isn’t necessarily how well the girls do them but how much they invest their personality into it. And Ongina showed she has personality in spades. She also has a sense of humor about herself (as she ended her teleprompter section with a dead-on Connie Chung impersonation). As for the runway, this is a quintessential Ongina look (girly dress, no hair, some kind of headpiece), and one of her most polished ones to boot.
For all of her language difficulties and not really knowing who Oprah is, Nina did pretty damn well in the challenge. Even with her gaffes (“This is ‘Your Name’. Good Night.” “Tell me about your HIV, I mean your Hit TV show…”) she kept going and came across as slightly zany but entertaining as all hell. Even Tori and Dean were dazzled by her. The other thing about Nina, and this is even more apparent as the show goes on, is that the range of her looks are so varied and wide; more so than all of the other queens.
And let’s hear it for the (former) local girl who did damn good in this challenge! Having known her in real life, it was a given that Bebe’s natural poise would carry her through the entire challenge. Her Oprah challenge look was really the only one that looked appropriate for Oprah, and her natural charisma helped her to nail the interview. As for the runway look, it is flawless. (Remember in Season 5 when Coco Montrese attempted something similar and flopped?)
Rebecca wasn’t bad at all in this challenge; she handled herself extremely well in the Oprah challenge, and looked great on the runway. There were just two problems that I could see. The first is the physicality; everything from the neck up looked great but she hasn’t figured out how to physicalize her character in her body which makes her come across as stiff. It’s a shame because these are two of her most polished looks in the entire competition. The other issue is that there’s no personality there; as competent as she came across on camera, there was no je ne sais quois behind it, and that’s what kept her out of the top three.
Speaking of no je ne sais quois, poor Jade was lacking it totally. She was stiff and hesitant on camera throughout the challenge and came off as meek. As for the runway look (which, to her credit, is stunning), I was less offended by the slight slip in her tuck (which was only noticeable when the camera did an extreme close up) than by the fact that her tights came up and over the waist band of her G string. It’s a details thing that separates the good from the great.
Let’s start with the good; the runway look is over the top, it is costumed, but it is so well done – easily one of her all time best looks. No one in Drag Race
history herstory has every really been able to deliver on the showgirl aesthetic as well as Shanel can. The problem is that sometimes she doesn’t know when to say when and can veer from over the top into tacky. The other problem is that her on-camera performance was a mess. The outfit was nothing even within Oprah’s wheelhouse. Ru nailed it when she said that it looked like an Ashford and Simpson costume. The other issue is that she came off so pompous on camera that it was off-putting.
And speaking of off-putting, this is the first episode where Ru talks about wanting to see more vulnerability from a queen, which is a bullshit thing to ask for a queen. Most queens deal from a position of strength; after all drag is often a form of empowerment.
Neither look is bad, in fact they’re both pretty good (and it’s refreshing to see her step it up on the runway) but as Howard said “Let’s be clear about this: she fell on her ass on the runway, and she fell on her ass even harder during the interview.” And that’s all that needed to be said about that.
So it came down to Shanell and Akashia for the lip synch and well, we all know how that turned out. As soon as her headpiece “fell off” (notice the little hop she did? I did!), it was all over. And so it’s a slightly sad sashay away for Akashia.
Score Board Time!