RuPaul’s Drag Race: America the Beautiful

Posted on March 17, 2011

A fantastic look, but we couldn’t help thinking she didn’t have a handle on the challenge. She made some vague reference to capitalism, and while we like that sort of cynical take, she needed to marry it to patriotism somehow. She looks fierce, but nothing about this really says “America” at a glance, which is obviously what Ru was looking for.

And while she might have been a little off on the runway, she was TOTALLY off with the video. This is easily the worst she’s ever looked. We get that she was trying for a trashier look, but she really can’t pull it off. We wouldn’t go as far as the judges did when they basically implied she should stick to Asian looks, but she definitely can’t pull off a trashy Daisy Duke look like this.

We weren’t offended by her comedy. Actually, that’s not true. We were offended that she tried to pass it off as funny. We’re not above fart jokes and we don’t believe drag queens should be either, but they have to be funny. We hate to say it, but she’s only gotten weaker during the competition.

Credit where it’s due: her hair and makeup have improved tremendously. But she still doesn’t seem to understand the visual part of drag and some (like us) would argue that’s the most important part. The thing with Shangela is, she never has a hook for any of her looks, with the exception of her pimp and ho outfit for the comedy challenge. Most other times, it’s just “put a dress, wig, and makeup on.” And the fact that she so routinely walks out in garments that look a hot mess tells us that she’ll never really get that part.

We’ll give her credit, as always, for bringing energy to the proceedings, but this was one time when she didn’t use her performing talents to their best effect. She didn’t seem to know what to do.

Now THAT’S a look.

We would have liked to have seen a little more femininity on display here. We get Raja’s whole genderfuck thing, but we had a hard time distinguishing this look from the guy in the Village People. It reads as glam, but it doesn’t necessarily read as drag. Still, that bitch has a walk like no other. We have no doubt this getup offended the sensibilities of Shangela LaQueefa Watson, who would never trade in racial stereotyping, but that only illustrates Shangela’s limited understanding of drag. It is perhaps the MOST politically incorrect form of expression. You take away the more biting, sarcastic, and even offensive aspects of drag, and you’re left with “Tootsie.” No, thank you.

We’d like to say this was disappointing, but Raja’s already established her weakness when it comes to performing, so this was pretty much expected. What we didn’t expect was how bad she looked. Girls, we say this with love, but very few of you have bikini bodies. The hair and makeup look good, but the outfit is half-assed.



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