The great thing about the singing challenges on Drag Race is that it’s the one challenge that tends to fluster the very queens most suited to winning it. In other words, the queens who can sing are often the queens who have the hardest time with the singing challenge because they automatically feel the pressure to do better than anyone else. Meanwhile, the queens who can’t sing wind up struggling with a different problem: how to make the low expectations of them work in their favor.
For the queens who can sing, a singing challenge is expected to be answered with flawless technical work. For the queens who can’t sing, the expectation is for them to be brave and bold enough to sell it without nailing it. But first …
The Library is open. We wondered if the British version would differ from the American, since the latter is “in the grand tradition of Paris is Burning.” The teacup was a perfect addition, but the shade itself wasn’t any meaner or kinder than the American version.
If anything, the reads and burns had a slightly more acid, stinging tone to them, but for the most part, it was the same draggy, mean-spirited fun it always is. And as always, the editing makes it impossible to tell who really gave the best reads.
Ru, we love you, but that dress is hideous.
— Logo 🏳️🌈 (@LogoTV) November 9, 2019
We can’t really add anything to the judges’ criticisms, which were all on point. Cheryl gave it her all and acquitted herself well, The Viv uncharacteristically got into her own head and Crystal is what we always thought she was, more looks than performance. She simply couldn’t deliver on this one.
— Logo 🏳️🌈 (@LogoTV) November 9, 2019
Again, not much we can add to the judges’ spot-on critiques. Baga can sing, Divina can command a stage with a range of talents, not least of which include her whistle tone and her heretofore unexpected ability to rap, and Blu gets by on sheer boldness and an unflagging willingness to give every challenge her all, talent be damned.
We really like Divina, partially because she wears her heart on her sleeve, but her tendency to overplay her own boldness as a fuck-you to her competitors is starting to wear thin. Even when she has a triumph, she tends to get defensive about it.
Category is: Day At The Races 🐎✨
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) November 9, 2019
We’re not gonna lie, we found this week’s runway to be a big raggedy-ass, despite being this far into the competition, when the queens would have presumably stepped their respective pussies up to meet the expectations of the judges.
Viv’s ensemble was too plain, had little character to it, and looked way too home-sewn. Cheryl’s fine, but aside from the wig color change, this looks like every other character/lewk he’s paraded out. We kindasorta get where Crystal’s coming from with this, but in a week when she was barely holding on due to shit performance in the main challenge, this was not the time to get interpretive about the category. It was just a bit too out-there.
We loved Baga’s, but like all her lewks, it tends to add about 25 years to her actual age. Blu’s horse head was great but we have no idea why she’s wearing a blue jumpsuit. The judges loved Divina’s look, but we didn’t. It’s kind of creative, but the end product is a bit cheap, rendered in a bad color story. They deserved the win for the performance, but they didn’t help themselves much with their runway offerings.
Anyway, it wasn’t hard to see how this one was going to shake out. Honestly, even if Crystal nailed it to the wall, we kinda doubt the judges would’ve let her stay over The Viv.
Crystal’s an interesting queen with lots of charisma and nerve, and we don’t doubt she puts on a great show when she gets to what she wants (which apparently involves grinding metal on her crotch), but she didn’t really have the sort of conventional entertainment chops Drag Race requires.
For more of our thoughts on this episode, you can check out the back half of this week’s POP STYLE OPINIONFEST podcast.
And as always, a reminder that our upcoming book Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life is available for pre-order (in print, digital and a T Lo-performed audio version) NOW. GO HERE. NOW.
[Stills: World of Wonder via Tom and Lorenzo]
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Bill and Cathy Cambridge at the Shout Crisis Volunteer Event