RuPaul’s Drag Race: She’s a Super Tease

Posted on January 29, 2022

Okay, so here’s the framework for this week’s recap: You have an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race that’s mildly entertaining and checks off all the boxes for what constitutes a good episode, which are, in no particular order: conflict, shade, teamwork, poignant makeup mirror conversations, a couple of star turns, some laughs, killer looks, and one or two minor disappointments. BUT the challenges were kindergarten-level and it doesn’t feel like these queens were really put through their paces all that much. Does that make it a good episode? Walk with us.

 

The Jasmine/Kornbread conflict started off entertaining, but started getting a little tiresome. Maybe it was just us, but we could feel our sympathies shifting as it went on. Kornbread had a good point about Jasmine’s problem letting other people speak, but then it turned into Kornbread not letting Jasmine so much as breath without responding to her. By the end of the episode, Kornbread was in tears and opening up about how the competition has brought up a lot of feelings and memories she hasn’t quite worked through. It was a pretty good reality character arc told over one episode. Without being too grandiose about it, drag queens are dramatic and they’re natural storytellers in a lot of ways. It’s one of the reasons why this show wins Emmys so routinely over its competitors.

 

J Lo sent an email reminding all of the queens to catch her new movie and they all had to stop what they were doing and act like she was talking directly to them. In surprising news: J Lo can’t wink, although she gave it her best efforts a half dozen times.

 

The girls were split off into teams, with Willow Pill leading one and Maddy leading another. We thought it was weird that the queen in the bottom two the week before was leading a team against the queen who won the week before, but let’s face it: this show was never on the up and up. Anyway, the challenge was for everyone to play heightened versions of themselves on the very set they’ve been working on for weeks already. As acting challenges go, it had to be one of the least challenging in Drag Race herstory.

 

While it gave queens like Willow and Angeria the opportunity to really show what they could do (Willow’s “I WANT LOVE” and Angeria’s dead-serious “Get off me, girl” had us roaring), most of the rest just limped their way through the challenge, neither standing out nor derailing; just kind of coasting their way through. Deja did surprise us a little. She was good and has pretty great timing. We might have underestimated her. On the flipside, we may have over-estimated Kornbread. We would have thought doing a riff on Silky an easy task for her, but the jokes never really landed. Loni giving her dead-serious comic-to-comic, woman-to-woman advice that she doesn’t have to do fat jokes was a pretty great moment, though.

The main stage category was Night of a Thousand J Los and the results were similar to the acting challenge: a couple of standouts, but it felt like a lot of queens were coasting.

We loved that Willow said she picked this one because it’s so ugly. We also love how her drag seems to be focused on a late ’90s to mid-aughts aesthetic. It’s very particular to her and she interprets it really well.

 

We liked this if for no other reason than it’s more difficult to pull off than a lot of the other looks chosen. She interpreted it really well for drag.

 

It’s cute. It’s not a standout look, though.

 

Ditto – although J Lo tweeted her approval of this one. We think, in general, they all would have been better off sticking to her stagewear (which is pretty much drag anyway) than her red carpet wear, because a lot of them wind up looking like cheap knockoffs, we’re sorry to say.

 

Not miss Kerri, however. No, she had to go and snag herself the real thing. Can’t say it isn’t working for her, but it doesn’t feel so much like a drag homage as just someone having the money at hand to buy the real thing.

 

 

Hunh. Maybe our point about sticking to stagewear wasn’t such great advice.

 

Cute. Not jawdropping or sickening. Feels a little too easy.

 

Maddy will never skip a chance to do drag in pants, but we’ve got to give her credit. This is well done and stands out from the others.

 

The judges really loved how she interepreted the original, but we kinda felt like it got a little too far away from it to be an homage. It looks great on her, though. We thought her makeup looked weird.

 

Not bad.

 

Absolutely the best of the lot, hands down.

 

This one’s also pretty great.

 

Meh. Credit for an unexpected choice, but it looked kinda dreary up on the stage.

 

We might have found the challenges a little too low-key and unchallenging to be all that interesting or illuminating this week, but there’s no denying Angeria was funny and absolutely slayed the runway. She earned this win. The challenges may not have been hard, but for someone who never acted before and had no idea if she could do it, the results were impressive.

 

It was kind of hard to get a read on this lip sync. Kerri clearly didn’t want to ruin the expensive gown she was wearing so she barely moved through the whole thing. She stuck to looking stunning and doing a lot of hand choreography. Alyssa was all over the stage, but there were times her routine felt a little desperate and ill-suited to the song.

 

We thought her story about her gay daddy and pageant mommy was really cute and her runway look was one of the best of the week. It’s not that we feel like her elimination is some great injustice or anything, but when you have weak challenges, it doesn’t always feel like we can tell if the elimination or win was fully deserved.

 

 

Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold!

 

 

[Photo Credit: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]

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