RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE: Two Queens, One Joke

Posted on March 12, 2023

A return to form! A return to … greatness? Well, maybe not in all areas, but with Drag Race back to a 90-minute format, the show suddenly feels like the show again and the remaining queens were given the time and the space to be themselves, show off a little, and get the kind of critiques and attention they’ve deserved from the start of the season.

When “She already done had herses” rung out, we actually blurted out that we’d forgotten about this segment. Not that it’s essential for every show. It’s pretty much the definition of padding, since all Ru does recite clues as to what the next challenge is, but what’s a drag show without a little padding, right?


The dolls were tasked with getting into quick drag (yay!) and once again, they were surprisingly good in their results. The mini-challenge, like all of the best mini-challenges, merely asked the queens to dive in, cut up, and let loose. In other words, vogue, bitches.

Sasha’s real-hair tease was fucking hilarious and pretty much the essence of ballroom “Look what I’ve got that you bitches don’t have” attitude. Mistress and Anetra were both frontrunners in this challenge, but Sasha bodied even them. Also:



We just thought you’d like to know. An addendum to our previous announcement:


There. You’re all caught up.


The queens utilized the ancient drag technique of product placement to determine which 2-person teams they were on, and got to work writing standup comedy routines. We braced ourselves for a good 20 minutes of seat-squirming since we tend not to love standup even when the best practitioners are doing it. After getting some coaching advice (also nice to see again) from Michelle and a very on-point and on fire Ali Wong, the girls were set loose on an audience of probably crew member friends and families.


All things considered, Marcia wasn’t that bad. And by “all things considered” we mean the fact that she was handed a blatant disadvantage from the jump. We always say that it’s never a good idea to treat Drag Race like a real, viable, no-shenanigans competition on the up and up. The fact that the bottom two consisted of the one they handed a major disadvantage to and the one that had a minor health crisis that tremendously limited their ability to create and perform is a major indication that the show just doesn’t care about things like consistency or fairness. No concessions were made. That’s rough and even we don’t think it’s very fair, but Drag Race was ever thus. Anyway, her look here did NOT help her chances at all. Nothing about it says comedy and the level of drag hovers somewhere around “first timer on Halloween.”


Loosey may be deeply annoying in the Werk Room (although we’ve been doing this long enough to know when a lot of editing trickery is being applied to one person), but there really is no denying the level of polish and professionalism in her drag. We’d never call her a hilarious queen, but she’s a queen who knows how to fake just about anything when asked to do it. Her timing is very good. Luxx probably benefited from being paired with Loosey, because she had to work to get herself up to the same level and she was pissed off enough at her that she willed herself to do it. The best comedy acts are often polar opposites playing off each other, so they fell into their roles rather easily.


Like the stoners they opted to play onstage, Sasha and Anetra’s whole act kinda wandered around without a point. We were a little shocked, because in so many other ways, these two could be seen as the major threats of the season. Even with Anetra’s migraine, we assumed they were going to pull it together somehow. This is a minor nitpick, but their looks don’t even feel like they relate to each other all that much. Luxx and Loosey both had tight minidresses and big blonde wigs, Salina and Mistress were serving big-haired big girl realness, but these two look like strangers waiting for a bus.


This is one of those challenges where the best effort and the worst effort aren’t really all that far apart from each other, which leaves everyone else serving micro-variations in quality. Salina and Mistress weren’t terrible – their act had a point to it and they saw it all the way through to completion – but we can’t say they were all that funny either. Mistress looked great, though. Of all the queens, she served the most look during this challenge. We agreed with Michelle that Salina’s dress was distractingly ugly.


The category was “Rip Her to Shreds” and pretty much all of the queens stepped up, as you would expect at this point in the competition. More importantly, we got the first real judges’ critique of any length or value and we were kinda glad to see Ts Madison and Ali Wong filling the other two seats, because they were great with their comments and suggestions.


While the judges had a point that Loosey had already done a crying pageant queen on the runway this season, that doesn’t really strike us as a mark against Marcia’s look. She clearly didn’t steal the idea from Loosey and it’s not as if pageant queen drag – both real and parodic –  isn’t an entire genre of drag unto itself. What’s interesting to us was how it came off when they briefly showed both looks side to side. Loosey’s was much draggier in the way the judges want to see from Marcia – sparkly, cinched, even bigger hair – but Marcia’s version was the much more interesting one to our eyes. More character-based, with a more theatrical sort of presentation. But Mama Ru does not want her girls to come here and use their theater training. She’s very clear that she thinks such queens need to work harder to actually overcome their sense of polish and be a little more extreme, messy and tacky.


Loosey’s costume is gorgeous, but we didn’t love the gloves or the makeup job. The latter reads more “clown” than “dead.” We’d have liked a more contoured, cadaverous look to her face. Luxx was kissing Ru’s ass with this homage to her earliest days of drag and we salute the open nature of it. It’s a great look and it really was a great tribute.


Both of these looks are gorgeous, but Sasha’s is so amazing that it probably kept her out of the bottom this week.


Salina’s costume had a lovely thought behind it, but the design was too restrained. We don’t know if we agree with Ali Wong’s idea to have made the whole gown out of the blanket, but we loved seeing a judge really get in there with critiques and suggestions instead of “You weren’t brave enough” or whatever nonsense Ross and Ru tend to serve. Mistress’s look is absolutely fabulous, witty, and well-rendered… but it’s not ripped so much as burnt.


If any lip sync this year was likely to get Ru to hand out a double shantay, we think this should have been the one. While it was practically a given that Anetra was going to win this one, we were genuinely shocked at how hard Marcia worked for it and how close she came to actually slaying it. Even so, Anetra is a lip syncing GODDESS at this point.


We have to say, she really proved herself to us as an entertainer and a queen with a lot of potential. While not every queen needs to heed the kind of advice Ru and Michelle give them, we do think Marcia would benefit tremendously from a more glamorous, sparkly, high-fashion sort of drag. She’s got a lot of poise and talent. She needs a look that sells them both.


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 The Year by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold! 

It’s also available in Italian and Spanish language editions, darlings! Because we’re fabulous on an INTERNATIONAL level.




[Photo Credit: MTV via Tom and Lorenzo]

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