RuPaul’s Drag Race 07:10

“At its core, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a story about the tenacity of the human spirit.” – RuPaul

If I might correct Mother Ru for just a moment, at its true core RuPaul’s Drag Race is a fabulous reality competition that is also a thinly veiled parody of reality competitions. And nowhere was it more apparent than tonight with a parody of not one but two reality shows. And just like all reality television, the results were manipulated to the nth degree.

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But first, let’s look at the mini challenge. Using scotch tape, the remaining six girls had to give themselves face lifts as part of the opening sequence for The Real Housewives of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And the results are…

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…“Stunning!” (to quote Mrs. Kasha Davis as Joan Rivers). To be fair they all nailed the plastic looks, and while Violet won for her Kelly Mantle impersonation, I would have given it to Ginger who managed to make her cheeks pop and was pretty ingenious in how she used the tapes and makeup to give a strangely believable face.

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For the main challenge, the girls will have to work in pairs and perform a dance mashup (twerking and the Charleston, two stepping and the robot, and the tango and vogueing). To add to the confusion, the girls outfits will be half man and half woman. For winning, Violet sets up the pairs who then get to work with Carson and his friend (and fellow Dancing With The Stars alum) Kym Johnson on the choreography.

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Comes the dawn and the girls must work the runway and perform for Ru, Carson, Michelle, and guest judges Alyssa Milano and comedienne Rachael Harris. But first…

To which I reacted thusly:

No T, No Shade (the pink lemonade is optional), but Ru rarely shows her legs and that’s a damn shame as they look fabulous!

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Anyway, let’s look at the prancing queens…

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Pearl and Kennedy were surprisingly good but there were a few issues. Kennedy is obviously the stronger dancer, but Pearl’s stiffness was countered by her sheer enthusiasm and committing to the dancing. Where I can ding Pearl on is the woman side of her outfit and it not being the best for a Charleston.

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Oh dear. Trixie and Ginger were just off. The look was okay from both of them but their performance was lackluster. It was clear that Trixie was the better dancer of the two but Ginger failed to sell the performance which is shocking given her performance background. She should have known that when dancing the thing is that if you can sell it on the face, they won’t pay attention to the steps.

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Violet and Katya won the challenge and deservedly so. Not only did they have the best routine (which they nailed) and the best looks (which were hot) and they managed to sell both the looks and the routine, but there’s another reason why they won and I need to go on a brief tangent to explain. In mask theatre (when the actors are in specifically designed character masks), on every mask there is what is known as the pivot; a spot on the mask where it looks like one thing but viewed on the angle it looks like a different thing. This is used to convey different moods and emotions by the actor by how they hold their head and the physical energy they use. Whether or not Violet and Katya know about mask theatre and pivots is unimportant, but what is important is that they were the only two to use the pivot in their makeup to delineate the characters not only on the runway but more importantly in the dance.

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While all the performances were okay it wasn’t until Ru mentioned that they would be judged in pairs that I knew that Trixie and Ginger were the bottom two. And then when they played “Show Me Love” (by Robin S., not by Robyn – I know, even I was confused for a split second), I knew that it would be close. To her credit, Trixie sold the hell out of the song and performed, but Ginger embodied that song to the core of her being. Ginger gets to live to see another day while Trixie is told once again to Sashay Away.

RANDOM NOTES
– Hands down this was probably my favorite judging panel of the season, and probably one of my favorites for the entire series. Not only were Alyssa Milano and Rachael Harris great judges (who were clearly having a great time while offering good critiques), but it’s so refreshing to actually see the judges do a true deliberation. While I wish this was more commonplace on all reality shows, I’m happy to see it especially as we get to the end.

– Bless you Pearl for giving us the new catchphrase of the season: “Flaze-da”

– Katya’s runway commentary is still the best thing about this season: “On one side I’m giving you flamenco flapper, and on the other side I’m giving you her abusive boyfriend.”

– While the mini challenge was cute, Season 4 standouts Dida Ritz and Latrice Royale gave us real drag housewives long before this:

All right, no more fun and games of the mind! It’s time for…

Art by Chad Sell

Art by Chad Sell

For this week: 1 point for the mini challenge, 4 to the winning couple, 2 to the safe couple, -1 for “Shante! You Stay!”, and -2 for “Sashay Away!”

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A few observations about this: 1) Max has been robbed. 2) The only reason Violet is in 4th is that she has two wins and has never been in the bottom two this season. 3) Ginger may have the most wins under her belt (three) but she’s also been in the bottom twice.

NEXT WEEK: It’s the return of another favorite mini challenge and a very special guest star!

Photo & Video Credits: Logo TV / World Of Wonder, Chad Sell

Originally Published on 5 May 2015 as part of “The Idiot Box,” my television column for l’étoile

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