Well, well, well. How the turn tables, kittens. After weeks of mild mannered politeness, the Canadian claws came out this week as the competition heated up.
Bobo was pissed going into this episode as a holdover from last episode, as well as a season-long disappointment with her standing. Lemon knew everyone was jealous of her and tried to wave it off. Priyanka’s self esteem was tanking. Ilona seemed restless and a little defensive – possibly because Bobo kept attacking her, and the only ones who skated into the episode with no real issues on the table were Rita and Jimbo, which made it extra-surprising that they wound up having the second-biggest (and probably number-one shadiest) confrontation. Ilona and Bobo’s throwdown was arguably a bigger blowup but mostly pointless bickering over nothing. Rita picked a really dumb time to offer her opinion on another queen’s look and Jimbo really went after her for it, fueled by his frustration with the judges’ comments to him. Certainly none of it was shocking in the context of Drag Race herstory and we don’t really think any of the confrontations this episode would make any fan’s top ten list, but it was definitely notable how suddenly the mood shifted with this episode and we think it’s pretty clear that the screwed-up takes and priorities of the judges, as well as the unnecessarily nasty tone of their critiques, are the main driver of everyone’s anger and shadyness.
Not that it was a nasty episode. Most of the drama seemed to erupt in the last half of the hour, but it felt like the challenge had everyone excited and it mostly felt like every girl came into it fairly confident about what she was doing.
We’ve said many a time that we’re just not the guys to be critiquing an improv session because we tend to find them unbearable even in the best situations. Having said that, Lemon and Jimbo were head and shoulders above the rest of them. The judges loved Scarlett Bobo for some reason but the best we could say about her work was that was very committed to it and unlike Priyanka and Ilona, wasn’t painful to watch. Jimbo and Lemon had fully prepared characters that they understood down to their bones. Neither was going to win an acting prize for their work, but we thought it was pretty obvious they were on a different level than the rest.
Some of these queens really stepped their pussies up for this runway, which is what we would expect for a pageant-based challenge. Some of them took risks and the judges completely contradicted themselves in dealing with those risks.
As harsh as we think the judges can be and as off-base as most of their opinions tend to be, we did like how focused they were on aspects of presentation, giving notes and advice that we honestly didn’t have any problem with – except for one extremely notable and, in retrospect kind of suspicious case.
Ilona’s wig does look a bit too George Washington and the proportions surrounding the neckline and earrings really are off, as Brooke Lynn noted. Otherwise, it’s a really strong look from her.
Lemon took a risk, knowing that the judges would expect her to come out sickening, she went for something campy, cute and comedy-based. They ate it up with a spoon.
Rita came out in something that looks like it belongs to Brooke Lynn (which is why she swooned so hard), but Jimbo wasn’t wrong when he pointed out how bad her wig looked. Then again, there has been an epidemic of bad wiggery and janky lace lines all season.
This really is a stunning look from Pri but they were right to note how defeated she’s coming across.
We honestly think Bobo Scarlett had the hands-down best look of the week. Brooke Lynn’s note about looking like a rock star at the Oscars was so on-point that we realized her real contribution to the judging panel is her ability to critique a look. She’s bad at performance critiques and Jeffrey’s just plain bad at all of it. Anyway,we feel for her that she’s not getting the wins like she’d hoped, but we disagreed when she said she was being ignored. The judges raved about her this week and it’s not the first time her work or her look got complimented.
Jimbo took a risk by bringing a camp sensibility to the runway, but the judges hated it, unlike Lemon’s Jonbenet drag. That was unfortunate to say the least. This is an old-school pageant look that could have come straight our of a scene from the first real documentary about drag pageants, 1968’s The Queen, which we told you all about in our book as well as in this post and this one. She should have told them she was paying homage to Mother Flawless Sabrina, although we’re not sure they would have appreciated it any more. The only critique we’d apply to this look as that the dress looks cheap and not particularly well made, but that really wasn’t what the judges focused on. They really didn’t seem to get or appreciate the idea of approaching this with camp in mind rather than glamour and that’s pretty sad.
Having said that, we do think the bottom two were the right choices; not only because their improv work was the worst of the week, but because Ilona and Priyanka served up a pretty sickening lip sync. It remains one of the best parts of CDR and the one way it’s distinguishing itself from its sister shows. These girls are all hungry and know what to do with their back against the wall.
But Priyanka edged Ilona out ever so slightly, so unlike the win (which should have gone to Jimbo over Lemon, in case we weren’t clear), sending Ilona home was the right choice. She seemed to understand it on some level because she left graciously and apparently in good spirits about it. She repped for Non-Binary people and she got her message across, so she has every right and reason to be happy.
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[Photo Credit: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]
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