Side Note Before We Begin: Dear Friends, as you may or may not realize, this episode’s recap is out late. And I do apologize for it, as it was due to some real world stuff (a planned appendectomy that resulted in me staying in the hospital longer than planned – I’m doing just fine, thank you) interfering with our continuing coverage of the most glamorous show on television. I do apologize and thank you all for your patience and support. And now, on to the recap…
Dearly Beloved: We are gathered here in the presence of YAYUS GAWD to celebrate marriage equality…
…by celebrating heterosexual marriages on a drag competition show.
Yes, you read that correctly.
On the one hand, it’s the return of the makeover challenge, which has always been the most volatile challenge of every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. In it the queens must make over someone (professional female or male athletes, current and former gay servicemen, elderly gay men, etc.) into their drag mothers/daughters/sisters/etc. It serves several functions: (a) allowing for some magical transformations (recall last season when Roxxxy Andrews transformed a boxy former Marine into a near clone of herself), and (b) allowing for cross-pollination between this group and our queens which can yield some spectacular moments (like Season 3 when Manilla Luzon bonded with her subject, who was a straight male athlete) and a few moments of odd tension.
So it was a slight surprise when the ladies came into the room and were assigned by Bianca (as a result of the mini challenge) and then the full challenge was revealed: the ladies were going to be wearing tuxes, their male fiancées were the ones being made over into blushing brides, and the queens had to be put together as the mother of the bride in question. And Ru himself, was going to be officiating (she is an ordained minister, don’t you know).
On that other hand, while I applaud all the heterosexual couples for playing with gender and societal norms, and being game for whatever the show threw at them (with one notable exception) at the end of the day it is just that – playing. While the tide of LGBTQ marriage in this country is turning (and I am thankful that I happen to be based in one of the 17 states where Love Is The Law and it is legally recognized and protected), the fact of the matter is that it’s still an issue across the country that hasn’t completely been resolved for a lot of people. Frankly this left more of a bad taste in my mouth than the dreaded “Female or She-Male” challenge.
Now that I’ve gotten off of my soap box, let’s continue…
Comes the dawn and RuPaul is ready to get some couples married, with the special wedding guests of Michelle, Santino, and actors (and gay power couple) Neil Patrick Harris and David Burka. On a shocking note, even though they are self-proclaimed fans of the show, they were rather lousy guest judges; waffling between boring, blasé, and outright mean at times to our girls (which is odd considering Mr. Harris’s current project in New York, to which I say “I saw John Cameron Mitchell. I knew John Cameron Mitchell. I am a fan of of John Cameron Mitchell. And Mr. Harris, you are no John Cameron Mitchell.”). (Thanks Lloyd Bentsen.)
And now, I get to do something every wedding planner has secretly longed to do: read a wedding to filth!
Bianca and her daughter were the clear winners of the challenge. Part of this challenge is the look, but the other part is how the queen interacts with her makeover subject. It was her luck that she got a guy from Holland who has no hangups about gay people, drag queens, etc. Now a valid complaint could be made (and was made by Courtney) in that Bianca’s style is quiet repetitive. And yes, Bianca’s glam aesthetic with an exaggerated face is a pretty easy drag style to replicate. But every detail of the look – from the exquisite dress in Bianca’s signature boat neckline, to the Bianca-esque wig, to the identical makeup job, to the yellow trim on the dress matching Bianca’s gown – was dead on in accuracy and executed flawlessly. An easy win, maybe, but a deserved win nonetheless.
BenDeLaCreme actually had a pretty strong showing herself this week. Luckily for her she found a “bride” that was on the same wavelength as her. The only thing that was wrong was that she found herself up against Bianca who made the family resemblance stand out more deliberately than DeLa did.
Courtney Act found herself safe and frankly, I was shocked. It’s not that the dress wasn’t a mess (it was) but Ru and the judges rightfully called her on making the focus be on her and not her “daughter.” To her credit, her outfit was spectacular, just completely wrong for the challenge at hand. Not only that, compared to Courtney’s shear dress it made her read younger than her bride daughter.
Darienne Lake, in my mind, should have been safe instead of being in the bottom three. The fact that her bride wanted a goth wedding was an inspired stroke of luck. Unfortunately, dear Miss Lake did not take the opportunity and run with it. While the dress and face on the bride was okay, Darienne’s look was not goth enough. In my mind, if she has instead of going goth modified her Paula Dean drag to look like a bible thumper ashamed at what’s happening, it would have been edgier, funnier, and may have been able to steal the win from Bianca.
Adore Delano was a mess all around. The idea of a punk bride was great and within Adore’s wheelhouse, but it fell apart due to Adore’s lack of skills at construction and transformation. And it has to be said that her daughter looked cheap and had Adore’s famous “hog body.” To no one’s surprise, she’s in the bottom two.
Alas, Joslyn Fox is the one that had to go home. In fact, you could see from the start of the episode that she was doomed from the word go. I found it rather odd that Ru would let on a groom who had obvious discomfort about being in drag on national television. But even if he wasn’t puking off the stage, this was a clear misfire for Joslyn. The face, as Michelle claimed, was metallic, the outfit was a horrid mish mosh that really wasn’t flattering, and combined with her model’s reticence sent her into the bottom two.
As soon as I heard the music for Aretha Franklin’s iconic song “Think,” I knew that Joslyn was doomed. Not that she didn’t turn out a good performance (she did), not because Adore turned in a great performance (it was a little lackluster), but because as I pointed out when Trinity went against her last week, Adore is Ru’s project of the season and anyone in her pet’s way is going to go home. So it’s a sad sashay away for Miss Joslyn who did surprisingly well for herself in this competition, and should be proud of what she accomplished.
On to THE DRAG RACE SCOREBOARD:
– Adore Delano: 13
– Ben DeLaCreme: 19
– Bianca Del Rio: 23
– Courtney Act: 16
– Darienne Lake: 9
– Joslyn Fox: 6
A few random bits to close:
– While I appreciate Mr. Charles as an officiant, if I’m going to have a drag queen marry me, I want the good Rev. Dr. Latrice Royale (and yes, I would insist on the congregation doing a rousing chorus of “Jesus Is A Biscuit”).
– Of all the couples, I loved the goth couple the most, especially as they were (a) super fans of the show, and (b) pulled in a few legendary quotes for their wedding vows. Halleloo!
– The mini challenge was a big nothing but it allowed the chance for Ru to be funny, and watch the queens make fools of themselves as they get into body painting.
– One day, I would love Ru to go all in, bring in a group of gay teens, and have the queens turn them into their drag children. You could even play it up by staging it like a children’s pageant. Of course, Lil’ Pound Cake would be the ideal guest judge!
– Before I forget, let’s check in with our good friend the LSD:
NEXT WEEK: Remember how I mentioned that Khloé Kardashian should return as a guest judge? She is next week! Not only that, it’s the annual drag ball challenge, the return of the puppets challenge, and the return of one of the best guest judges in the show’s history.
Photo Credits: Logo TV / World Of Wonder