Oh, Thank God!
You know, in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the queens from the Twin Cities have proven to be fierce (in all senses of the word) competitors; with the two previous ladies from our region either coming in second place (Season 3’s Manilla Luzon) or winning the whole damn thing (Season 1’s Bebe Zahara Benet). So it is with excitement and relief that I am happy to report that our own Max has finally won a challenge. Even better, it was a deserved win!
But I am getting ahead of myself, let us return to the work room where Katya is in a Ru-flective mood following her taste of being in the bottom two…
(Side Note: Katya’s video recaps where she reflects on the week before are essential viewing! They are as hilariously demented as you would expect.)
Meanwhile, Ru enters in a typically subtle and tasteful manner…
… and makes the girls do a Soul Train dance line like they did in Season 5. This time, however, instead of shaking it in big afros, the remaining twelve girls must get done up as old women.
(Side Note: On an episode last fall of RuPaul and Michelle’s podcast What’s The Tee? – which I cannot recommend enough – acclaimed porn director, DJ and former Twin Cities queen made good Chi Chi LaRue suggested the girls do an old age challenge. While I don’t know if the timing is right, it’s still a happy coincidence.)
I have to say that on the whole all of the girls nailed the challenge and delivered in terms of the look and the humor. But Max and Kennedy Davenport rightfully won the mini challenge: in the case of the former, with some on point old age makeup, and in the case of the later looking like she emerged from a Tyler Perry film.
Then Ru reveals the main challenge to the girls; in two teams, the girls must act in a Shakespearean parody. Max’s team (consisting of Ginger, Trixie, Miss Fame, Kasha, and Jaidynn) will tackle that grand romance Romy and Juliet, while Kennedy and her team (Kandy, Katya, Jasmine, Pearl, and Violet) will tackle that august tragedy MacBitch. And then, for the the runway, the girls must serve bearded lady eleganza for Ru, Michelle, Carson, and guest judges Kat Dennings of 2 Broke Girls and Spice Girl (and America’s Got Talent judge) Mel B.
(Side Note: While it was very much in the tradition in Elizabethan theatre for young boys to play the women’s roles, the actual origin of the term “drag” in reference to dressed resembling a girl is still lost in the sands of time.)
(Side Note: I do have to take Ru to task for not punching out the historical references to drag history this season as she has in the past. Last week she all but avoided mentioning Lypsinka, and this week no one made a reference to Austrian singer Conchita Wurst, the most glamorous bearded lady out there. And why “Rise Like a Phoenix” wasn’t this week’s lip sync was beyond me.)
As I said at the top Max deservedly won the main challenge. Not only did she show off her performance chops, not only did she lead her team well, not only did she serve a fantastic look on the runway…
… but her kindness towards Jaidynn when her anxiety kicked in was touching to see. In fact, it’s Max’s refreshingly snark-free take on the competition that has made her so compelling in this show, and I hope that it keeps her in the game longer.
Even better, her team across the board was on point. As she said in this week’s Untucked, Max picked her team strategically and everyone delivered in the performance; including non-actors like Jaidynn and Miss Fame. As for the runway, they were okay but the beard appliqués were tricky for all of the girls. That said, special props to Trixie for a truly fantastic look. If I was judging solely on the runway, she would come second to Max for her Botticelli-esque bearded angel ensemble, while Kasha and Ginger came in second for their funny performances.
As for the cast of MacBitch, I think it was best said by last season standout Trinity K. Bonet:
Yes, it was a fiasco across the board. While I give her credit for correcting her casting mistake at the beginning, Kennedy should have seen it sooner then given her team time to run through everything. That said, as I was watching, I was pulling an Amy Winehouse (“What kind of fuckery is this?!”). Kandy did her best to have fun in her role, and Katya tried her damndest to make her shtick work, but the others were a mess. Kennedy had no life, Pearl was dead on arrival, Violet was stilted in her delivery, and while I appreciated her homage to Sheneneh Jenkins, Jasmine was a mess. As for the runway, Kandy looked good, Katya’s runway was an inspired look, Violet looked cute, Kennedy looked like she had pubes on her face, Pearl’s was interesting, and Jasmine had a great dress but the beard did not read at all.
And Ru. Let. Those. Bitches. HAVE. IT. Given how naturally congenial she is, it’s always unnerving to watch Ru go off on someone. And unlike her yelling at Shanel and Tammie Brown at the end of Season 1 (which was more of an intervention), Ru was genuinely furious with these girls. And deservedly so!
(Side Note: On the Reddit forum for RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was whispered by a few of the queens that during the filming of the challenge, Ru asked the producers to turn the camera off after the MacBitch cast was done to read the bitches for filth. Harsh to be sure, but they sadly earned it.)
In the end Jasmine and Kennedy were Lip Syncing for Their Lives to Kylie Minogue’s “I Was Gonna Cancel” and it was… rather tame. While not the best of Kylie’s songs, it’s still a fun number that was rendered rather flatly by Jasmine and Kennedy, which is surprising given that both ladies are supposed to be fantastic performers (Kennedy in particular). Unsurprisingly, Jasmine is told to sashay away, which given her crusty nature was not a shock.
– Max looks so good in a turban that I demand she do a pastiche of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.
– Ginger’s story about her drag troupe hauling everything to perform for a regular who was in hospice is damn near inspiring.
– Read of the night goes to Miss Trixie Mattel: “Some of these girls look like their Shakespeare is going to be shaky, dear.” And on that note, props to her for showing us how “I Was Gonna Cancel” should be done.
But enough side bars (and side eye), it’s time for…
THE DRAG RACE SCOREBOARD is a highly sophisticated piece of technology… I mean, mathematics… that awards points to the girls based on how they did. So for this week, 1 point for the mini challenge win, 4 points for the main challenge win, 2 points for all of the members of the winning team, 1 point for the safe pair (Kandy and Katya), 0 for the bottom four (Violet and Pearl), -1 for Lip Syncing For Your Life, and -2 for “Sashay. Away.”
And just like that Max vaults into second place, behind Ginger. Violet is still hanging on in spite of her poor performance showings. And Katya, devotchka, please step it up! I will cry bitter tears into my blinis if you get eliminated too soon!
NEXT WEEK: The girls need to make parody music videos, and Ariana Grande shows everyone how to whip a pony tail.
AND FINALLY, Let us all celebrate Max’s first win by partying with her on Thursday night. As was previously announced, Max will be the special guest at Flip Phone’s new dance night BASIC this Thursday at Loring Pasta Bar. Let’s all have cocktails and see what tee we can get her to spill, shall we?
Photo Credits: Logo / World Of Wonder, ChadSellComics.com