When we last spoke, I had mentioned that RuPaul’s Drag Race on Monday night broadcast two episodes back to back (along with two episodes of Untucked back to back following). This was motivated partially by the show moving to its new time slot next week. It was also motivated as the last episode had no elimination.
Before we get into this episode, a few side notes:
1) Joining us at this extravaganza on Monday was none other than iconic local drag queen Bitch Flowers (the non de femme of stylist and designer and longtime friend of l’étoile Richard Anderson) who was plugging her annual April Showers Brings Bitch Flowers party this Friday, April 11 at The Varsity. Not only is it one of the best parties in the city, but it’s packed with more glamour than any other affair in town. And what’s more, this year, the special guest entertainer is none other than the iconic Pandora Boxx!! And I know for a fact that there are still a few tickets left, so get on it!
2) The one big downside to this stacking of the episodes is that Untucked got glossed over. As we get closer to the finish, Untucked becomes more and more essential a viewing experience, especially as the Untucked for the last episode was wonderful for (a) Season 5 standout and internet sensation Alyssa Edward’s special messages to the girls, and (b) especially watching Trinity emboldened by her experiences on the show and by her good work in the last challenge to let her empathy come out. (Plus watching her throw loving shade at everyone for getting read while she was safe was the highlight of the season.) More of this please, Miss Bonet.
3) The breakout star of RuPaul’s Drag Race has returned. Take it away Miss LD:
(Like I said last time, I want a full RuPaul’s Drag Race / Adventure Time mashup right now!)
And now… the rest of the Ru-persized episode.
The girls are in a sour mood after last week’s non-elimination, especially given Courtney’s recent case of putting her foot in her mouth about Darienne and Joslyn, whose hero-worshiping is officially over. But no time to waste as Ru and The Pit Crew arrive with supplies for the mini-challenge; the girls must paint and drag out their chins and then perform a lip sync upside down. The results are hilarious!
After Joslyn wins the mini-challenge, Ru reveals the main challenge to the girls; a good old-fashioned stand-up comedy show featuring the queens, And to make the girls lives even harder (and guarantee a more television friendly content), she managed to get a mob of senior citizens to be front and center for it. While the show has done comedy shows before (most notably in Season 3 and in the finale of All Stars), and while most of the queens are witty, stand-up comedy requirers a very specific skill set that most of the girls just don’t have. The only queen to really excel at this challenge was Season 3’s Shangela (Halleloo!!).
And so the girls had to perform for Ru, Michelle, Santino, actress Jamie Pressly, and comedic legend Bruce Vilanch (who were both fantastic guest judges with some insightful critiques).
Let’s check on the “funny” “girls” shall we, in the order they performed (which was set by Joslyn as a perk of her winning the mini challenge)…
To no one’s surprise Darienne Lake was a strong start to the show. She’s a naturally funny performer so she was more than able to deliver on the challenge. It could have won had two other people not done so well.
Courtney Act had to follow Darienne (in a very smart move by Joslyn) and she was… okay; she handled the crowd with aplomb but the jokes didn’t really work. And while the comedy song was cute and did play to her strengths, it didn’t really meet the needs of the challenge. In looking at THE DRAG RACE SCOREBOARD from last week, I realized that the only reason Courtney has done so well in the scores is that she’s had one win and is one of the three queens not to be in the bottom two this season (the other two have been Adore, who has had her share of close calls, and Bianca). It’s clear that she’s coasting, but her holier-than-thou attitude to some of the other queens (Joslyn in particular) could be her downfall.
Next up was Adore who was a mess. It’s a shame, really, as she’s naturally funny but must have felt hamstrung by the fact that the old people were there and she couldn’t swear up a storm like she normally does. Unfortunately, she relied on her charisma to save her and this time it did but it felt like a regression on all of the progress she’s made the past few challenges. And I think Adore knew it too, which caused her mini-meltdown on the runway during critiques. While I think Adore is still destined for the final three, it’s not a guarantee.
Speaking of falls from grace. BenDeLaCreme is still in free fall from last episode’s stinging challenge. And while I don’t agree with the bitch edit Darienne is getting regarding DeLa, she is right. DeLa does think highly of herself and paints herself as a meek victim more often than not. As for the comedy, Jamie Pressly was right in saying that she had some witty lines, but just powered through them that she couldn’t make them connect with the audience. Again, DeLa was spared.
Next up was Laganja Estranja and it was a disaster. Not only did the jokes fail to land, not only did she have inappropriate material (all about being a pot head) that she delivered in her obnoxious manner, but she had another meltdown on the runway. And Ru, to her credit, told her that everyone else has been telling her; cut the crap. If anything, Laganja’s “I am a star!” rant reminded me of Shanel’s meltdown in Season 1, but in Shanel’s case it was that of an experienced queen who honestly felt Ru was deliberately passing her over (and she had a point). Laganja’s diatribe on the runway and in Untucked is that of a needy attention whore. No wonder she was on the bottom two.
Thankfully, the next performer was Trinity K. Bonet, who shocked everyone by giving a truly funny performance. As soon as she entered the stage, she managed to change the energy of the room after the three performances in a row that were so boring. Her bit about her grandmother’s obsession with the lighting bill was hilarious. One of the things Ru loves is when a queen has her “By George, I Think She’s Got It” moment and shocks everyone by delivering on a challenge or a lip sync (think of Tatiana’s inspired Brittney Spears in Season 2, Dida Ritz’s iconic lip sync to “This Will Be” in Season 4, and so on). And like the proud parent she is, Ru was crying tears of joy over Trinity’s triumph. Make no mistake, this performance was damn close to winning the challenge and came a very close second. Plus there was this…
Now that is a wig reveal done right!
Joslyn Fox tried but there were several things against her. First, the jokes were all dull. As Bruce Vilanch said, if she had kept her ADHD joke in the beginning which was really funny and developed her act off of that, she would have been ok. Second, while she was in charge of the order, she did herself no favors putting herself second to last, because it forced the judges to find her lacking in comparison to the closer. Alas, she found herself in the bottom two.
And then there’s Bianca Del Rio. This was one of those “shit or get off the pot” moments for her, and she delivered in spades. As Bruce Vilanch swooned, “She’s the real deal.” It might seem unfair to stack the deck of queens with a queen who works as an insult comedienne, but Bianca brought it to the stage, like a bizarre hybrid of Kathy Griffin and Lisa Lampanelli. An easy, and impressive, win for the deranged mother hen of the season.
So Laganja and Joslyn found themselves lip syncing to Pink’s “Stupid Girl,” which gave us this iconic moment of the season…
Alas, I can’t tell from the image whether she did it by happy accident, or saw what Laganja was about to do and changed course on her own to steal her competitor’s thunder, but I have to say Bravo to Joslyn for great instincts. And while Laganja looked like Pink (especially once she removed the wig to reveal a second, short wig, Joslyn gave us the attitude of the song which gave us these happy words from Ru…
“Joslyn Fox… Shanté, You Stay!”
…which caused a happy pandemonium across the land. (At The Gay 90s weekly viewing party, everyone cheered like it was a home run in the 9th inning of the World Series!)
And so we say a sad (?) farewell to Miss Laganja Estranja, who had a lot of talent, a lot of pedigree, and a personality that made you want to give yourself a homemade lobotomy. Maybe she will grow from this experience, but only time will tell that.
On to THE DRAG RACE SCOREBOARD! 1 point for the mini challenge, 4 for the win, 3 to Trinity who came in a very close second to Bianca, 2 for third place Darienne, 1 for the safe queens, 0 for bottom three, -1 for the Shanté, -2 for the Sashay Away!
– Adore Delano: 15
– BenDeLaCreme: 13
– Bianca Del Rio: 17
– Courtney Act: 11
– Darienne Lake: 7
– Joslyn Fox: 8
– Laganja Estranja: 7
– Trinity K. Bonet: 9
NEXT TIME: An interesting game of Hangman (or in this case Hung Man), and a challenge we haven’t seen since Season 1.
Special thanks as always to The Gay 90s for hosting one of the most fun viewing parties we’ve been to in a long while. Trust and believe on this, you have not lived till you’ve heard the 90s crowd cheering and booing the girls. Join me and the rest of the l’étoile-ites there!
Photo Credits: Logo / World Of Wonder / Queerty.com / Todd O’Dowd