We’re back and we’re ready to play catchup! Sorry about the delay but we were traveling for a family wedding last weekend and we figured we’d do a back-to-back recap this weekend in order to maintain our “recapped every episode of OG Drag Race and Drag Race All Stars” record. We’ve got a shit-ton of ground to cover, so let’s get to it, shall we?
Total Ru-quest Live
For the Girl Group challenge, the group was split into two teams – or rather, one team was formed without any input from the remaining queens, which was just a weensy bit shady. The Viv was right to call it out, just as she was right to drop it without making too much of a fuss. She’s turning out to be very good at playing the reality competition game America-style. Anyway, MSTR, the group comprising Monet, Shea, Trinity and Raja, gave a funny-cute performance, although Raja is clearly not one for singing and dancing. Trinity and Shea were the best here.
The Other Girls were meant to be composed of members cast out of other girl groups, which is a cute idea, but the judges kind of needed to have it explained to them. We think if there’d been more variation in the costumes and styles, the point might have been clearer. Everyone was really great in this one, with the Viv commanding the stage and both Jaida and Yvie delivering some killer rap verses.
Runway category was “Night of a Thousand Dollys” and once again, every queen nailed the brief – to the point that we don’t really have individual assessments of their looks because, well, they’d be really repetitive. Every queen did great:
Proving once again that Dolly Parton is the world’s premiere cis female drag queen. Think about it: No one actually knows what Dolly looks like because her public persona is as constructed as any queen’s, from wigs to makeup to face tape and cinching, she’s always been doing drag.
Raja and The Viv’s were the best, in our opinion, but it was Yvie and the Viv who wound up winning. We suppose this makes for more tension somehow because the Viv was blocked from getting a star and the formerly starless Yvie picked up two in one episode, completely altering the playing field.
The Viv won the lip sync (her Dolly mannerisms were flawless) and she took out her revenge in exactly the way the producers expected. That plunger gets a little more problematic with each week, but it has yet to truly pay off in terms of creating drama or keeping the queens on their toes.
Legendary Legend Looks
This week, the queens all had to pay homage to one of Ru’s legendary looks by making it from scratch. It was a cute enough challenge but this was the first episode where we found ourselves wishing for an elimination. Not necessarily because there were disasters on that runway (although there were one or two fairly questionable attempts), but because there really isn’t all that much tension in the competition with no one in any danger of leaving.
Like most home-sewing challenges, there were queens who really didn’t know what they were doing, but no one was particularly pressed about it because all it would mean is not getting a star.
Yvie did a pretty fantastic job reworking the iconic Supermodel look and making it her own. The pants were surprisingly chic and well made.
The Viv did a great job, but we wonder if her nearly literal recreation hurt her here. The judges seemed to respond better to those looks that reinterpreted the original, although we don’t think that was made clear when the challenge was announced.
It pains us to say this, but this was the look that made us think that the show needed to bring eliminations back. Not because we’re dying to see Shea punished for making something a little half-assed, but because this is one of the few challenges this season where there were clear tops and bottoms.
We found our old Project Runway assessing skills kick in on this one, because to our way of thinking, this isn’t really an interpretation of the original look. It’s an entirely different look done in the same color. It’s gorgeous, but as interpretations go, it struck us as weak. Again, the judges didn’t seem to mind, though.
If they were judging based entirely on skillful recreations, then we think Raja was a clear winner. If they’re judging based on interesting interpretations, we still think she should have placed in the top. She perfectly threaded the needle (pun intended, pretty much) on both approaches.
This is another look that we think might have wound up in the bottom if the show was actually interested in critiquing the queens. She turned a gown into a plain body suit and then added a bunch of foofaraw to it to distract from the fact that there was no real design here and as interpretations go, it was weak. Michelle would’ve raked her over the coals for this in a real competition.
We were pleasantly surprised by Monet’s. It may have gone a bit too far away from the original look to be considered an interpretation of it, but it was really interesting and well put-together. Loved the top hat.
Jaida’s was drop-dead stunning and quite clearly the best of the lot this week. This is what we mean when we say we’re starting to chafe under the conditions of this competition. Clear winners aren’t winning and clear bottoms aren’t getting critiqued or sent home. It’s just not working for us, even though we’ve enjoyed how much time the show has given the queens to show off.
To our way of thinking, the lip sync should’ve been Jaida and Raja pairing off against each other, but the judges really loved Trinity’s look. It was probably the best lip sync so far this season, but Trinity really did edge Jaida out slightly. She got the win, but we really don’t think she should’ve been up for it.
This may have been one of the savvier, more self-aware uses of the plunger. Yvie hasn’t been a frontrunner all season, but she picked up two stars in one episode and Trinity knows that reality shows like to produce storylines and reward trajectories. Yvie may not technically be a threat to Trinity, but she can tell when reality show producers start thinking of ways to shake up the competition and she headed Yvie’s upward trajectory off at the pass.
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: Paramount Plus via Tom and Lorenzo]
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