The queens are put through their paces in a classic Drag Race trash-picking challenge and the pressure of the competition is starting to get to some of them.
As episodes of Drag Race go, this was entertaining enough. It helped that the mini-challenge utilized the expanded Pit Crew for another classic Drag Race challenge, the memory briefs game.
It’s never a problem for us when the show devotes a couple minutes to cute boys pulling their pants down. For some reason.
We feel weird saying this, but we kinda feel like it bears pointing out: It’s great that the show has expanded the idea of what a Pit Crew member should look like by including a guy with a more average body, but we felt increasingly uncomfortable as Stacy kept calling more and more Pit Crew members out. If you’ve got three guys in front of you and you cast one of them according to normal body standards, great. When you’ve got ten guys and nine of them have their standard ripped-abs Pit Crew body, it feels like you set the average guy up for a comparison and maybe even a little embarrassment. If nine of those guys were white and one was BIPOC, it would come off like tokenism, wouldn’t it?
We’ve always loved the make-do, dumpster diving challenges, because we think nothing takes this show closer to the origins of street-level drag than forcing the queens to make their own lewks out of whatever scraps are handed to them. And nothing puts a high-riding queen through the wringer like taking away all of her costumes. It’s always been both a recipe for drama and a way of separating the women from the girls in this competition. Until now, that is.
Drama wise, we’re going to take a cue from Brooke Lynn and observe that this crowd may be a little too Canadian to give us the kind of go-back-to-party-city throwdowns we’ve come to expect from our queens when their backs are up against the wall. This crowd tends to save their bitchiest reads for the confessional.
Anastarzia wouldn’t even open up to the mirror, for God’s sake. These queens are probably a little less confrontational than the producers would like and we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some fuckery planned for further down the line, just to shake them up a bit.
We’re honestly not sure what to make of the judging decisions this week. While it’s true, they were told to make a “fashion line,” it felt like the criteria being applied were a bit more akin to what a panel of Project Runway judges would say to a collection of actual fashion designers. These are drag queens and you handed them trash. It’s perhaps a bit much to expect avant garde couture from them.
Which is why we found Maison Boraga’s win a bit eyeroll-inducing. This all looks way more like a first-year fashion student charity show than it does drag.
To be fair, Rita’s look is the most interesting out of the three on her team, but even then, it just doesn’t look like a winning Drag Race entry to our eyes. To be even more fair, none of these bitches brought it.
Again, no idea where the judges were coming from, praising these efforts. They had a few critiques for BOA’s gimmicks and diaper, but they gushed over Priyanka’s barely held together “dress” and they over praised Lemon for her shapeless, unimaginative frock.
We honestly think this team did the best with what they were given. Yes, the looks are gimmicky and costumey, which is why you shouldn’t be applying fashion criteria to a drag competition. THEY’RE DRAG QUEENS. Of COURSE it looks costumey. Granted, it all really does look a little too “Party City,” but we don’t think that could have been avoided given the materials. What we liked about these looks – which are nowhere near couture, let’s be clear here – is how cohesive and well thought-out they were. It was a pleasant surprise that Ilona and Tynomi opted to become drag knights rather than princesses and we think there was a decent level of creativity to be found in both outfits. Jimbo’s look was good, but he ruined it with that hair and makeup, which made absolutely no sense with the design.
If we sound like we can’t pick a winner, it’s because there probably shouldn’t have been one. We’re fine watching a Drag Race show without Ru, but this really was an instance where they needed a stern drag mother to read them all the riot act for disappointing her. Brooke Lynn’s fine, but she doesn’t have that sense of weight to her judgments.
These queens couldn’t bring themselves to fight or read each as much as they should have, which meant all that pent-up drama came spilling out in the last few minutes of the show. Even then, as annoyed as everyone clearly was with Ilona’s self-centeredness, it’s notable that they were all laughing with her within minutes. Then she went and made it all about her on the runway. Not that we think it was an act or anything. Like we said, it might do these queens some good to get these feelings out while they’re doing the work rather than at the very end, when everything’s on the line.
One thing the show’s got going for it is the lip sync. Maybe we haven’t seen an epic one yet, but every week, these hungry-ass girls BRING. IT. Again, we hope the remaining queens figure out to bring this level of energy and fierceness to the actual challenges instead of pulling it out when they’re desperate.
It’s a damn shame, because Tynomi is clearly a hellaciously talented and revered queen, but it’s not uncommon for the professionally advanced queens to come into the competition a little naive about what it was going to ask of them. Tynomi was reeling from her inability to figure out what the judges wanted from her and she never managed to pull out from that spiral. Still, this elimination felt a little arbitrary.
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[Photo Credit: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]