People often ask us, “T Lo,” they ask, “Why are you always going on and on about how RuPaul’s Drag Race is the absolute gayest show in the history of television?”
Confession: People don’t really ask us that all the time. It’s true, though. The mini-challenges are basically the “Life inside a gay bar” challenges. And for that, we are truly grateful – especially since we, old and married, don’t exactly head out on the weekends to check out the local go-go boys anymore.
This wasn’t necessarily the most exciting or interesting episode/challenge, but it did remind us of something we wrote in OUR RECENTLY COMPLETED MASTERPIECE ABOUT DRAG RACE AND QUEER HISTORY.
Were we too subtle there?
Anyway, our point: We wrote that if there’s a thing that can be done on stage – from dramatic readings to interpretive dance to sword swallowing – then a drag queen has done it. In retrospect, it almost seems unbelievable that Drag Race hasn’t done a “magic show” challenge before now.
We were so happy Nina got a chance to shine and more importantly, got some recognition for it. We think it’s a bit easy to see her drag as kind of rough, based on her physicality and the rather old-school quality her day tends to have, but she really is a quite polished performer who understands that drag is a way of creating characters for her to perform. Her look here was great and she was hilarious throughout the bit.
We don’t want to take anything away from Brook Lynne, but we have to admit, we’re sometimes a little confused about the judges’ insistence that she’s some sort of major star. She serves up fantastic looks on the runway and her dance skills have served her really well. She acquits herself fairly well in about half the challenges, but she’s had trouble loosening up. We don’t know. She’s a good drag queen. She deserves to be where she is in the competition. We’d even go so far as to say she’s one of the front-runners this season. But we’re just not feeling the same excitement towards her that the judges seem to. Maybe whatever star quality she has doesn’t translate well through television.
Shuga tried – and we’d even say she did okay for herself – but she was clearly overshadowed here. Still, we think it would have been better for the judges to pick the bottom two from the team that was clearly struggling all the way through.
We give Team Black Magic some credit for trying their damnedest. They were sucking it up and doing their best to make a show out of their material. But the SUPER-strained quality of their performances made their set kind of stressful to watch. For all of Silky’s talk about how their team had the best performers and the most personality, what they served up felt stilted, anxious, and unfunny.
THANK GOD Michelle said something about Silky’s shitty drag and Ru backed her up. Honestly, we don’t get it. There have been PLENTY of big-girl queens and plenty of DIY queens in the history of Drag Race and the show never seemed to condescend to them the way the judges have been doing to Silky. She’s got a big personality, sure. She even manages to turn out some ballsy-funny performances. But she is consistently a damn MESS on that main stage and Drag Race has always expected world-class polish from its queens. They’ve hammered Vanjie every single week for her bodysuits – and rightly so. But they should’ve been doing the same to Silky for the sloppy half-assedness of her drag. Last night’s back-and-forth makes it seem like they’re going to continue to make a point of this in her judging. Good. We have yet to see her work a look that even comes close to Latrice Royale’s polished pageantry.
Go with the flow! 🌬 #CategoryIs: Caftan Realness ✨
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) May 3, 2019
A caftan runway challenge was a really fun idea and we were happy to see how these queens translated it to their personae.
Silky looked good. We’ll give her that. It’s basically a table runner over a mini-dress, but at least it was a polished look, even if her makeup once again looked weirdly applied. Yvie’s look was fabulous. A’Keria had no idea what a caftan is and while the judges pointed that out to her, it felt like more should have been made of that fact. LOVED Vanjie’s “white woman on vacation” drag.
We say this without shade, but once again, Brook Lynne took a fairly basic, if dramatic garment and made it feel like world-class drag couture through her ability to walk and werk a runway. She looks great, no doubt. But that’s not really a caftan. Shuga gave us more of her gimmicky drag and while the caftan look was pretty great, the multiple reveals kept lessening that initial impact. Nina nailed this challenge to the wall. And it’s amazing how differently she comes across when her proportions are evened out. That big hair does a lot to complete the look.
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) May 3, 2019
Mary J. Blige is a diva supreme and every drag queen should have a decent lip sync of one of her songs in their repertoire, but we’re not convinced No More Drama makes the best choice for a competitive lip sync. Vanjie worked like hell to give it some power and was clearly the superior queen standing by the end, but it made for a fairly low-energy lip sync. We’re glad Vanjie’s still in the game, but we really hope she steps her pussy up soon. She’s been on the chopping block too many times.
Shuga is a charmer and a sweetheart and we suspect she’s going to do very well on the Drag Circuit now that she’s made a name for herself. We can’t wait to see her come back for an All-Star season, which you know she’ll do because she’s a Drag Race superfan underneath all that Drag.
[Photo Credit: Tom and Lorenzo via VH1]