Hold your hats and halleluiahs (and/or your halleloo’s). Ru is gonna give it to ya!
And apparently promoting a new album already, as by the time you read this her new album Born Naked will already be out on iTunes. (Insert Wink Here.)
But enough of that because she is back!
Which mean, squirrel friends, that Miss RuPaul’s Ersatz School For Wayward Girls is once again open for business!
Not only was I joyously excited for the return of RuPaul’s Drag Race to our screens, but god bless Ru and company for not only giving us a great premiere with a new crop of girls that we will love (and love to hate), but for doing something so shockingly simple, yet so revolutionary, that it instantly had us (and the contestants) on our toes.
In short, Ru is fucking with the game as we know it!
Thus, rather than having one premiere episode with fourteen queens all fighting for attention, she has given us two premieres – diving this season’s group in half so that each queen can get some attention before the whole class is brought together (and be scrutinized a lot more thoroughly by Ru and her minions).
Thus, she gives us not two pit crew members (welcome back Jason and Shawn), but has added two more (welcome to the team Simon and Miles). Of course, with all the fish being served, it’s nice to have some new men to objectify. (And if you’ve never heard of Scruff, well rather than explain it I’ll just discreetly direct you here and stay out of the way.)
And Thus, she is giving out no immunity this season. At all. None. Zip. Zilch. In short, to paraphrase my refrain from All Stars, RuPaul Is Not Fucking Around, People!
Anyway, after the de rigeur photo challenge with photographer Mike Ruiz (as they leapt into the air to land in a foam rubber pit), the first half of our fourteen girls were given boxes filled with junk that evoked different television shows and were told to use that to create a look. The next day, Ru sashayed onto the runway in a gorgeous icy blue number and joined her regular judges Michelle Visage and Santino Rice, Ruiz, and special guest Adam Lambert (who looks good after losing the baby fat, but now looks like a sanitized George Michael).
But enough pussyfooting around. Let’s get out our reeding glasses and get to work (werk?)!
Adore is kind of cute as a boy and I like that she has a slightly more punk aesthetic to go with her wit (her line about being the polish remover of the competition was cute) but she kind of fell apart in the main challenge. Getting Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was a fantastic opportunity for any drag queen to run with it, and from the neck up it looked great. It was the dress itself that was sloppy. While I can see why she was in the bottom three, I’m surprised that she was declared safe.
Gia is the fishy bitch (equal emphasis on both words, darlings). Make no mistake she looks stunning (her entrance look with the oversized Chanel circle purse was amazing) but her attitude, like so many fishy queens before her, stank. Her look (based on Keeping Up With The Kardashians) could not have been more basic, but it worked to keep her in the middle of the pack. For now. (Though I would have loved to see how next week’s guest judge would have reacted to this.)
April is our cute Puerto Rican queen, but (and this is an important but), as great as both of her outfits were (and I loved the parachuting scout look) both of the looks had touches on them that read as “boy”. In her entrance outfit, the top was too tight in that it squared off her shoulders and chest making it look more masculine. In her couture take on Duck Dynasty (which she rallied admirably), everything looked fun and futuristic and took the materials to some place unexpected, but I have to agree with Ru’s point that in using her own natural hair, it looked to faded and buzzed on the sides and back to read as anything else but boy. I think it’s that kind of detail that kept her out of the win, even though everything else was on point.
And the award for “Queen Most Likely To Get On Todd’s Nerves” goes to Laganja. I’m not going to deny that the girl doesn’t have presence on camera (it’s what helped her win the mini challenge after all). But the Dancing With The Stars look was totally Nomi Malone in Showgirls. And while she is on the level of annoying as her drag mother (last season’s Alyssa Edwards) and sister (the infamous Shangela) on their worst days, she doesn’t have the former’s sweet cluelessness and sense of humor about herself or the latter’s laser-sharp humor and strong instincts to counter-balance it.
As sweet as Kelly is, she is the one thing a drag queen (especially one who is trying to be America’s Next Drag Superstar) shouldn’t be; nondescript. To say I was underwhelmed by everything about her (her entrance, her photo, her misguided look inspired by Downton Abbey) is an understatement (even though the voice and face was serving Christine Baranski realness). I was not surprised she was in the bottom two.
And now, the two queens from this batch that I liked the most…
Miss BenDeLaCreme (DeLa for short) is everything I look for in a queen; great look, great sense of comedy, great sense of character, and just a fun presence to be around. Plus her Golden Girls look (as if Blanche Devereaux were cast in the Ascot Race scene in My Fair Lady) was on point! And it must be said, she eerily looks like Michelle Visage. While nothing in this life (and on this show) is guaranteed, this win has put her in front of the pack and made her my favorite of this group…
…with one notable exception…
“Mother. Has. Arrived!”
I leapt to my feet and cheered when Vivacious sashayed onto the screen. Why? Not only is she gorgeous and GIVING US LIFE, but she is serving something we haven’t seen on the show so far. We’ve seen genderfuck queens before (La Loca Nina Flowers, Miss Ongina), we’ve seen punk queens before (paging Miss Needles and Miss Alaska), we’ve seen edgy queens who’ve used their look in sharp and intriguing ways (Mlles. Raja and Luzon), but we have not seen any queen on this show dip so heavily into that 1980s / 1990s avant garde club scene drag school as epitomized by such icons as the legendary Leigh Bowery and (more closer to Vivacious’s time) the great Kevin Aviance. (Side Note to Mimi Imfurst and Milan: See bitches, THAT is how it’s done!) Combine that with a killer personality and a sense of maturity and she could be one to beat…
…unfortunately, this runway look was a mess. Getting Game Of Thrones should have been a no-brainer for her. But the look felt sloppy, and not even her KILLER walk (which I’m sure the legendary Pepper LaBeija was smiling down from heaven and snapping her on when she saw it) could save her from being in the bottom two. And once the crack about “Carol Channing as Weezie Jefferson” was made, it’s hard to unsee it.
After a lackluster Untucked, the girls returned and as soon as “Express Yourself” came on, I knew that Kelly Mantle was not long for the Drag Race world. Not that Vivacious was setting the entire stage on fire, but she knew what she had to do. But for the love of God, Miss V, step it the fuck up! You’re too marvelous to be tossed out by some basic bitch!
And now, because it was so popular last season, I present to you….
…. wait for it….
And once again, I am using the artwork of the lovely and talented Chad Sell for this (so do him a favor, go over to his site, gag on the art, and buy a print or 20). For those who missed it last season, basically it’s a scoreboard which allows us to (pretty damn accurately) predict the winner, here’s how it works: 1 point for the mini challenge, 4 points for winning the main challenge, 1 point for being safe, 0 points for bottom three, -1 for “Shante, You Stay!”, -2 for “Sashay Away!” As a side note, I am giving April 2 points this week as she was the one came in second to DeLa in the judges eyes
So without further ado…
– Adore Delano: 0
– April Carrión: 2
– BenDeLaCreme: 4
– Gia Gunn: 1
– Kelly Mantle: -2
– Laganja Estranja: 2
– Vivacious: -1
And as a little bonus, the indefatigable Pandora Boxx has returned to Drag Race Center to offer her video recaps, which are essential watching…
NEXT WEEK: Cake eating, shade throwing, ominous messages in mirrors, seven new queens, Khloé Kardassian, and Ru becomes a Mary Kay cosmetics representative??
And as a special side note, thanks as always to The Gay 90s for hosting the weekly viewing party. Join me and the rest of the l’étoile-ites Monday nights as we cheer and jeer the queens to success (or utter doom, depending on their mood and how much they grate on the nerves).
Photo & Video Credits: LogoTV, ChadSell.com