A frontrunner falls! A lagging queen gets another chance! Shade! Whining! International tensions! Yes, we’re making the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World sound a whole lot more dramatic than it actually was.
There was a minor bit of tension regarding Jimbo picking Jujubee for the elimination last week even though they kinda-sorta formed an alliance. Jimbo tried to wave it off, but there are some lines that fall outside the kind of normal gamesmanship the queens might accept and there was a distinct sense that he fucked up on this one. You don’t announce this early in the game that you can’t be trusted.
As an aside, some of these bitches are wearing too much makeup and getting a little too dressed up for the Werk Room. As various gender and orientation ceilings get crashed and the competition becomes more diverse, we really wish they’d lock in a rule that says no makeup on the queens until it’s showtime. That sense of transformation is key to the enjoyment of the show and sometimes these queens are showing up for rehearsals sporting a full beat or costume ready for the stage. It’s a minor complaint, but we’ve kind of made our careers on minor complaints, so.
In other news, the Library doors were opened and an American queen pretty much lapped every other girl there. To be fair, while Jujubee crushed it once again, Mo’s attempts were shockingly bad. She’s so good at being shady in the confessionals, but she choked. Most of the other queens made the mistake of going up there with prepared bits, most of which fell flat. A good read should sound completely effortless and spontaneous, not like a tight five minute set.
Jujubee got to assign the roles for this week’s Ru-sical, all based on iconic musical theater characters or actresses. Baga got bent out of shape because he wanted Liza, which Jujubee took for herself. She was kind of annoying for the rest of the episode and it’s to her credit that she owned up to her brattiness and apologized to the other girls. Aside from that, there was little else to report about the preparations this week.
We got the usual choreo rehearsal scenes, which are fine, but never really all that illuminating since they’re so rote now. Jimbo tried to talk about a mysterious neck injury, but it was telling how little everyone believed him. This was the point at which he should have started getting scared, because the setup for this competition doesn’t necessarily eliminate the worst queen of the week AND a bottom queen has no recourse to save herself except to throw herself at the mercy of the top queens. When no one trusts you, you’re in danger, girl.
The number was cute, but the performances were surprisingly low-key except for a couple of standouts. We would have thought that all of these queens understood the Number One Rule of the Rusical: You go all out or you don’t bother. Too much timidity and step-counting in this lot.
Pangina remains a true threat. We didn’t love her song (not her fault) and didn’t love her makeup, but she truly went for it and tried to create and maintain a character the whole time.
Baga was timid and it seemed to us, going by her drag here, that she didn’t appreciate getting the fat girl role handed to her. Unfortunately, if you’re not willing to pad yourself and bring your hair higher to heaven, there’s almost no point in doing a Tracy Turnblad take.
Jujubee was fine. We think some of the critiques were a little harsh, but then again, she’s defending a long reputation and a lot of high expectations. She needed to be more than fine here.
Blu really went for it, but her drag was kind of awful.
Mo’s another one who was probably hurt by high expectations. Like Jujubee, she was fine, but needed to be way more than that.
Why was everyone’s drag so terrible this week? We realize most of them didn’t come with costumes prepared for these characters, and we guess this flimsy pair of overalls is kind of like Meryl Streep’s Mamma Mia costume, but it looked pretty chintzy to us. Fortunately, Janey made up for it in her performance, which was fun and on point, with lots of little Meryl touches to it.
Jimbo’s performance was confusing to us. First, he doesn’t look like a dog at all. That’s some sort of cat/rabbit drag hybrid thing he’s doing. Then he spent the first ten seconds of the number covering his face. We don’t know that he was the worst of the lot this week, but he sure wasn’t among the best.
The runway category was dot-based and most of these queens impressed with their interpretations.
Jimbo’s was one of our favorite look of the night, so it was pretty disappointing to see him in the bottom. Jujubee continues to serve surprisingly half-assed drag. You take away the snakes or tentacles or whatever and everything here – including the wig – looks off the rack. Blu is simply not approaching any challenge with anything less than a 200 percent effort. This costume is insane – and kind of ugly – but impressive as hell. Janey’s is very pretty, but she needs to serve something other than Pretty Lady drag or the judges are going to get tired of her.
Mo’s Monsters Inc.-inspired drag was pure fabulousness. Pangina’s design was spectacular, especially when the lantern was closed, but we thought her textile looked a little cheap. And speaking of cheap, Baga Chipz, ladies and gentlemen. Sorry to be mean, but that’s some dowdy-ass camp drag and he’s got to know there are times when the judges want more than that. We’d have put him and Jujubee in the bottom, for giving mediocre performances and serving terrible looks.
But we can’t imagine the producers didn’t see the value of putting the beloved but untrusted queen in the bottom, just to see if the other queens would turn on him.
Going into the lip sync, we were pretty sure of two things: That Pangina would swallow Janey whole and that she’d have Jujubee’s back. We’ll give Janey credit for working her ass off, but Pangina’s just on a whole different level.
So yeah. That happened and we could see it coming from a mile away.
What a shame. We’ll be very interested to see if Janey picked Jimbo’s lipstick too. He didn’t deserve to go, but he really fucked himself with that weird Jujubee move.
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: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]
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