RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE: Teacher Makeovers & Blame It on the Edit

Posted on April 02, 2023


Darlings we’re back from a very lovely and much-needed vacation, but that means we’re behind on our Drag Race recapping, for which we offer vaguely heartfelt, non-committal apologies. Did we mention it was a much-needed vacation? Anyway, we could have just skipped last week’s episode and plunged right into this week’s, but we’d like to maintain our “recapped every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race on blog or podcast from the beginning of the show” record, since so few people can claim it. Yes, that was a not-so humblebrag. Now let’s get into it. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

The episode kicked off with a rather cute, rather telling mini-challenge that shows two things: the queens are all well aware of how they come across and they are, for the most part, fine with being called out for it. Loosey won the challenge because she knew the girls would have some unflattering things to say about her and she went along with it in order to secure the advantage a win would grant her. It was really smart gameplay, slightly passive-aggressive on her part, and ultimately didn’t wind up helping her even though it should have.


The makeover challenge involved a bunch of teachers and for a second, we thought maybe they were going to allow the show to get political once again and talk about how teachers are under fire or how drag is being attacked as something children should never see, but it never really went there. Having won the mini-challenge, Loosey was granted the right to choose which teacher to pair with which queen and her choices were a little baffling. She rightly chose for herself the one woman who could have passed for her own mother.


But she paired Mistress with someone who could’ve passed for her sister (and did the same for Anetra, to a lesser extent).


And she gave Sasha the one woman best suited to her brand of glamour drag…


… but took her revenge out on Luxx by pairing her with the woman least like her physically or in personality. It was such a half-assed way of strategizing. She essentially gave everyone but Luxx some sort of advantage. We would have thought, if she was only going to get her revenge on one queen, that she’d have picked Mistress to fuck with. Say what you will about Loosey – she’s annoying, she’s two-faced, she’s attention-seeking – but she’s actually not all that devious a player when it gets down to it. Not because she’s nice, but because she’s not very good at being a bitch.


Anyway, the results were surprisingly just okay. For the most part.


Sasha benefitted from a partner who was game for just about anything and who really took to the theatricality of drag well. Having said that, we didn’t like the costumes at all, although the padding was a brilliant choice. Loosey’s partner was a little more restrained in her approach, which may or may not have been a result of Loosey being a tightly wound spring in a wig at this point. While the judges weren’t wrong to criticize the weird tension in their performance, for us, the real problem was how cheap and unstylish their looks were. Her drag is aging and, as Luxx said, somewhat generic.


Mistress benefitted from having a twin for a partner, but she was smart to not complicate any of it, from the dress to the rather cliched Mae West vamping. It was easy drag for a novice to pick up and the level of polish is what elevated it.


Honestly? This was a total mess from top to bottom. Luxx liked to claim that Loosey’s strategy backfired for her, but this pairing was the one choice that nearly paid off. Luxx couldn’t connect with her partner and she couldn’t bridge the divide in their looks. The hair and makeup might have worked if the costumes had anything at all to do with each other.


Anetra’s effort was the best because her partner really didn’t resemble her all that much, but Anetra found ways to highlight their similarities. The costumes were great and the makeup looked fantastic. We like that the wigs are so different.


Loosey and Luxx faced off in a showdown the producers simply couldn’t resist, but to be fair, they really did belong in the bottom together. Loosey essentially gave up halfway through the lip sync, but then again, Luxx barely gave her any room to move or breathe. She dominated that stage from the first note.


Just look at that completely insincere smile. Loosey’s got all the technical parts of drag down cold and her level of polish is among the highest of the season, but her personality never truly fit in with the whole Drag Race ethos of being free and open with your drag. Drag is innately artificial, but Ru believes that the best drag punches through the artifice to produce something real and true. You just never get that sense from Loosey’s drag.



Next up: the semi-finals! And of course any Drag Race fan knows exactly what that entails.


Weepy exit interviews — which were, to be fair, somewhat more sincere and heartfelt this time because the queens are all interesting people with stories to tell about themselves. You could argue that Drag Race over-emphasizes the painful parts of queer lives, but we still think the value these storytelling sessions have for young queer people watching simply can’t be measured. Ru often seems a little checked out but Michelle has become a fairly adept interviewer over the years.


The final challenge was a music video for one of Ru’s utterly forgettable talk-sung singles. When the choreographer told them to be inspired by Michael and Janet’s “Scream” video, we didn’t realize they were going to wind up doing such a blatant ripoff of it.


It was a perfectly serviceable effort and everyone acquitted themselves well. That sounds more backhanded than we mean it to, but if we’re feeling any boredom, it was with the format, not the queens’ performances. As you would expect, Anetra, Luxx and Sasha all did amazing jobs with the choreography, but Luxx practically unhinged her jaw and ate the rest of them up. She was on fire and her hunger to get that crown is palpable. Sasha’s Pamela Anderson drag was pure stunning. It was a risk doing impersonation drag for a challenge like this one but she looked so gorgeous that we can understand why she did it. She’s got insane amounts of charisma and knows how to work a camera like she’s fucking it. Anetra was great, but she was ever so slightly below Luxx’s and Sasha’s level. Mistress was powerful in her lip sync moments but she was clearly the worst at the choreography.


And as expected, the runway challenge was to show off your best drag.


It was great to see Anetra get out of the showgirl/bodysuit drag (although she ditched that skirt in a hot second for the lip synch). Hers was our favorite of the looks; fierce, draggy, fantasy-based and heritage-based.


In a way, Luxx was delivering quite the confident flex by going relatively low-key for her final look. it worked for her, because it’s a gorgeous look and because she knows how to sell it on the runway.


We’re going to be the blasphemers here and admit that we didn’t love Sasha’s final look. The headpiece and makeup are stunning, but the dress design is a little clunky and awkward, made worse by those space bracelets. We might have been more into it if the color had some impact to it.


Absolutely stunning. The best she’s ever looked on the show – and she’s had a long string of great looks.


The path to the crown just lit up in front of her.


We honestly think Anetra was the clear winner of that lip sync. Mistress put up a hell of a fight, but the difference seemed pretty clear to us. We weren’t remotely surprised that Ru double-shantay’d them, but if we had any sort of expectation of a fair and above-board competition (we don’t, but still), then Mistress should’ve been sent home for her performance this week.


Our book 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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