RuPaul’s Drag Race: You Don’t Know Me

Posted on March 07, 2020

Girl, the irony of this song title is almost too on-the-nose. Turns out, the producers of Drag Race really didn’t know one of the queens they cast this year. So before we dive into the bitchery and recapping, we need to take a moment to address the controversy that exploded this week surrounding the actions of contestant (and clear frontrunner, going by this episode) Sherry Pie. You can read all about it here.

One of the first questions that arose as soon as the charges against Joey Gugliemelli became public was whether or not the show was going to edit her out of the season going forward. The show’s producers announced that he would remain in the episodes but that he would not be invited to return for the finale that has yet to be shot. We think that’s about the best that can be done, and we’ll have to say why by revealing a spoiler. Skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know. Sherry Pie is said to have made it to the final four, which would make her disqualification a pretty big deal at this point. 

As for us, we’re going to do our best to respect his victims and restrict as much of our coverage of him as we can. This won’t be easy, since this episode establishes him as a camera hog, as well as a very polished and talented queen. Like the producers of the show, we can’t edit him out completely but we’ll do our best to keep him on the margins.

 

It’s almost certainly partly due to the controversy that this episode felt like quite the letdown after last week’s shockingly entertaining premiere.

 

It wasn’t helped by the fact that this group got a less exciting number than last week’s jaw-dropping “I’m a Bitch,” (which has been stuck in our heads all week) and that insecurities and power-jockeying had the group bickering their way through rehearsals.

 

To be fair, it all resolved itself with tears, soul-baring and hugs. Despite the shadow hanging over them and the hard comparison to last week’s stunningly good collection of queens, this really wasn’t a bad episode. Just a letdown in some ways.

Anyway, let’s meet the dolls. In the light of day, we’re reassessing some of our initial “Meh” reactions.

 

Rock M. Sakura’s got a great look, a fun personality, and turns out to be an extremely cute boy. We couldn’t roll our eyes hard enough at Michelle’s pretend distaste for fart jokes all of a sudden, after a decade of back door and blow job jokes from the judges’ table.

 

Dahlia is gorgeous and cute and we kind of love this look for its unexpected type of tackiness. Denim drag tends to be hokey and costumey, but this is kind of tackily gorgeous and serves to create a character.

 

 

Jan’s Fergie tribute is cute, but it was our least favorite of her various efforts this episode. Girlfriend is ambitious and talented, making her one to watch.

 

Jaida is gorgeous, but she got really turned around by the rehearsal process. As bicker sessions in Drag Race herstory go, that rehearsal wasn’t really all that shady or nasty. It just made the episode overall seem a little less fun than last week’s amazingly smooth launch.

 

 

We love Aiden’s look overall. We’d quibble with a few details, and we’d like to see if he can do any other face than that one, but every season needs a few spooky or freaky queens.

 

 

 


Love Rock M.’s fabric and the fact that he drew the design on it. Love what she’s bringing to the competition so far. Dahlia’s chartreuse and orange look was gorgeous. Jan’s didn’t quite work for us as the skirt and the top didn’t really marry all that well. Jaida’s was stunning in its polish and perfection. She’s high-level. LOVED Aiden’s, although it looked a bit crafty

Moving on to fall…

Loved that Rock M. had more up her sleeve than anime fashion, although she’ll probably never stop serving anime face (unless the judges make an issue of it). Dahlia’s fur look didn’t work for us. She looked like a teddy bear with a drag queen’s face. Didn’t really like Jan’s glittery olive look at all, but Jaida’s beret ensemble was gorgeous. Aiden’s tea cozy was a gigantic NO.

Possibly due to Sherry’s performance, which stood out quite a bit among the pack, the Drag Race social media team didn’t send out a clip of either the song number or the lip synch. As for the former, the song wasn’t great, but the choreography was cute and on point for a Fosse tribute. Aiden spoke most of his verse, but he looked great and served up a character. Dahlia served lewk but not much connection with the audience. Jaida actually served it up on a platter, looks, character, performance and connection with the audience. She even nailed the choreography after all that complaining. It’s interesting that despite Jan’s clear advantage here, she didn’t make it to the top two. She was fantastic, although her look wasn’t wowing us. Rock M. was a lot of fun, but we’re not sure the Anime face worked with that surprisingly on-point flapper look. This song played to Sherry’s talents and she gave the judges everything they were looking for.

 

 

 

LOVED this look. He might have one face in his arsenal but he’s finding some pretty fabulous ways of setting it off. The hair and gown are stunning.

 

Dahlia’s look is gorgeous. We like Jaida’s, but we didn’t love it as much as the judges did. The tear-away skirt was a bit too obvious and it never quite looked like an actual gown. Just a collection of pieces attached to each other.

 

We give Jan points for originality but that is not fabulous drag. The complaints about Rock M.’s look puzzled the hell out of us. We thought she looked like a gorgeous cotton candy drag queen. We love the subtle ways the colors are used and we think complaints about the shape are a bit too fashion-based. Sherry serves complete and cohesive looks but the rain elements looked crafty.

 

In the end, Jaida’s bickering during rehearsal turned out to be the concerns of an extremely polished and talented queen just trying to get her shit right. In the end, the lip sync was hers to win. She served up pathos and drama and beauty, which is more of what the song called for than Sherry’s schticky comedy.

 

 

“Our book Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life is on sale now!

The Los Angeles Times called it “a nuanced exploration of the gender-bending figures, insider lingo and significant milestones in queer history to which the show owes its existence.”

The Washington Post said it “arrives at just the right time … because the world needs authenticity in its stories. Fitzgerald and Marquez deliver that, giving readers an insight into the important but overlooked people who made our current moment possible.”

Paper Magazine said to “think of it as the queer education you didn’t get in public school” and The Associated Press said it was “delightful and important” and “a history well told, one that is approachable and enjoyable for all.”

 

[Stills: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]

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