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RuPaul’s Drag Race, S7E4 Recap: Spoof!

RPDRS7Gentlemen, start your engines! If you want to play along at home, grab a season pass!

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Jasmine hated everything but could not put her talent where her mouth was and Kennedy just barely sent her home.

After The Elimination

Kennedy saunters into the room looking wiped out with the rest of the girls following. Ginger interviews about Jasmine giving “all that energy,” which makes me immediately distrust her opinion since 2/3 of everyone hated Jasmine. Fame has it right when she interviews, “Jasmine was just the bad seed in the bunch,”

Kandy asked Kennedy how she felt from off-camera so we can maintain our complete ignorance of her as a person. Kennedy interviews that sending Jasmine home was “bittersweet, cuz me and Jasmine are so close.” I don’t believe that for a second. Jasmine was the weird girl who was fawning all over Kennedy three weeks ago, which in production schedule time is just a few days.

Trixie (still looking drop-dead gorgeous in her bearded runway look) asks Pearl if her life flashed before her eyes just before she escaped the bottom two. As she answers “usually I have a blast when I’m in drag,” you can see a certain light in her eyes that has yet to appear. Maybe Ru’s message got through? “It was all about me walking with my eyes half closed – I thought I had bedroom eyes!” Or, at least as close to an explanation point as Pearl can muster. They do this lame bit in the interview where they throw water in her face, as if she really fell asleep interview. She’s not Seattle’s Premiere Jewish Narcoleptic Drag Queen, y’all. (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E3

With three weeks of drag behind us, how are the ladies of RuPaul’s School For Girls stacking up? Not too differently, as it turns out – just one big drop and one minor rise. We’ve now seen dancing and acting – will we see a more fashionable challenge next, or an intellectual one?

#1 Violet Chachki (avg 1, was #1, 1)
Yes, I still have Violet in the top spot. Why not? I don’t agree with the judge’s tepid reaction to her acting, nor do I blame her for it after Kennedy’s failed leadership. Her fashion is still impeccable (even when I’m not loving her prints), she can dance, she’s not afraid to learn lines, but nobody likes her. That combo worked fine for Jinx, but she was also a very different queen who was well-liked by the audience – which makes a difference once you arrive in the final three.

#2 Ginger Minj (avg 3, was #3, 4)
Though this runway fashion being not her best ever, Ginger is emerging as the funniest cast member and one of the most solid performers. What matters most is how self-aware she is. It is going to take a lot for her to go wrong in a challenge – it will have the be the case of the judges just not loving her concept, rather than her failing in some way. I don’t love some of her cattiness in this episode, but that just means if Violet missteps for a second she’ll be on her.

#3 Max (avg 5, was #4, 9)
Max continues to shatter the old lady mold each week while still being an old lady, if that makes any sense. And, she turns out to be a professional-caliber performer. I get the sense she has a college degree from her well-trained response to the theatre challenge, which is going to bode well in the intellectual hurdles. I worry slightly about her runways, which so far have been composed of disparate pieces. At some point she will need to deliver straight-up glam.

#4 Trixie Mattel (avg 6, was #5, 8)
Trixie has been a fashion winner twice in a row for me despite my original distaste for her schtick. While she’s not the star player that Max is, she’s not going to get fouled up by any singing and dancing and can hold her own in fashion. Will her creativity in the challenges be as strong? She’ll either need to make a wide miss or get read to pieces on the runway to drop into the bottom half of the rankings for me.

#5 Katya (avg 6, was #6, 6)
Katya bounced back from her lip sync this week and showed she isn’t going to choke in every performance, but the manic energy of her interview segments isn’t coming through when she’s around the other girls. She needs to break into the top group in one of the coming weeks to be a true threat to the crown, and I don’t have the highest hopes after she didn’t nail two performance challenges in a row.

#6 Kennedy Davenport (avg 4, was #2, 2)
This week was a wreck from Kennedy. It said some bad things about her attitude and work ethic, plus her fashion ain’t flawless anymore in the eyes of the judges (though I dug it). The scariest thing, though, was the non-event of her lip sync. Any number of girls can turn it out against her. She’s not going to survive multiple trips to the bottom.

#7 Mrs. Kasha Davis (avg 10, was #10, 12.)
Kasha clearly has performance chops and smarts, plus some kindness and common sense. That’s a good mix, but it still feels like a pale echo of Bianca at this point. Her runways are very safe. She’s going to have to win something eventually if she wants to avoid being cannon fodder, and this week may have been her best chance.

#8 Ms. Fame (avg 6, was #8, 3)
Fame slightly redeemed herself this week with a willing and credible performance in the Fakespeare, but on the runway we got another reminder that she’s not the fashion-plate that Violet is. All of her peers are quickly outpacing her, but we’ve still yet to see her club-style lip sync.

#9 Pearl (avg 7, was #7, 6)
Did Pearl get the scare she needed this week from Ru, or is she going to keep walking in Milk’s footsteps and do some sort of wrongheaded glam peppiness next week to signal her departure? She’s growing on me and a big turnaround could indicate she has what it takes to be America’s Next Drag Superstar, but she needs to show some spark.

#10 Kandy Ho (avg 9, was #11, 7)
Kandy finally racheted her face up to pretty, her fashion was high drama, and the judges didn’t hate her performance. I might have disliked it, but she showed some self-awareness in acting nerdy and staying out of the way of the rest of the mess in the challenge. Yet, she’s still a weak link from what we’ve seen and I don’t think she’s going to survive a solo challenge.

(I’d have Jasmine here with her departing average of 10. I think she’s likely a better lip sync artist than Jaidynn, and her fashion isn’t as busted.)

#11 Jaidynn Diore Fierce (avg 11, was #12, 10)
While Jaidynn overcame her fears this week and remains mega-likeable, we’re still not seeing a competitive queen with drop-dead fashions that can win this thing. In past seasons these “same look every week” queens start getting pegged pretty hard in weeks four and five. She’s going to have a hard time making to Snatch Game given the strength of this field, but never doubt the Lip Sync effect – she could easily knock off half this list if her first sync is a stunner.

RuPaul’s Drag Race, S7E3 Recap: ShakesQueer

RPDRS7Gentlemen, start your engines! If you want to play along at home, grab a season pass!

Last time on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Lots of lip-syncing, with the entertaining Katya defeating Sasha Belle in lip sync.

After the elimination

The ladies return to the workroom to see that Sasha’s message to them is “Love you, mean it” and then “Ging for the win.” The other queens are NOT pleased with this overt show of support, especially Kennedy. It’s been a long day, and everyone is looking pretty mannish at this point with their five-o’clock shadow. Violet’s cinching via corset is terrifying, she looks like Jessica Rabbit. I don’t understand where she keeps her kidneys and intestines.

I might have to transcribe all further Katya comments because she is so entertaining. “This week I survived by the skin of my fucking fingernails. It was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m gonna fucking murder that next challenge, whatever it is.”


Ranking Madonna’s Rebel Heart, track-by-track

madonna-rebel-heartAny week that includes the release of a new Madonna album is a national holiday for me, and this past week’s release of Rebel Heart was the most-exciting Madonna holiday of all time.

In its Super Deluxe format, Rebel Heart is a 23-track album – Madge’s longest-yet. By itself, that’s cause for celebration – especially given that her early 00s LPs were just 10-tracks a piece! Plus, due to various pre-release leaks, there are another 16 songs from this album cycle in various stages of completeness floating around the internet.

I’m typically not too interested in leaked albums – whether the LP is finished or not, I know I’ll buy it when it comes out, anyway. However, in this case the first leaked tune was the title track, a curious acoustic and strings composition that really piqued my interest for the album as a whole.

With the album in-hand and digested, I realized the final version of “Rebel Heart” was pretty distinctly different than the outstanding leak, and I sought out all the other demos. That’s what brings me to this best-holiday-ever. Not only does that yield 39 total songs – a triple-album bounty – but it’s a rare chance to appreciate Madonna’s songwriting and production process by comparing demos to the final tracks. And, even more amazing – there’s nothing truly bad out of the 39!

(Before you ask: No, I do not have the demos to share with you. Just Google each track name and “Madonna Rebel Heart Demo” and you will find some means of hearing them.)

You should know a three things about me:

  1. I have been a Madonna fan for as long as I can remember, which happens to be around the time of Like a Virgin’s release.
  2. I have been a musician for considerably less time than I’ve been a Madonna fan, but each influences the other.
  3. I have been known to like some of the odder songs in Madonna’s catalogue. I love I’m Breathless and American Life. I love Love Song and Bedtime Story.

Now that you know what you’re getting into, let’s begin.


RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E2

Do two episodes offer enough points to triangulate a potential top three? Last year, Adore was still a train-wreck at this point… well, I mean, she never stopped, but later the train wreck started being the whole point of her.

Which queen might still surprise us by coming from behind? Let’s take a look.

#1 Violet Chachki (avg 1, was #1)
Another week in the top spot? Why not? Despite my dislike of her french fry dress, the judges clearly dig her more outré fashions. Add to that her ability to deliver as a performer and to stay cute even when she’s being a bit annoying in the workroom. It’s her game to lose, but her downfall might be her Visage Venom. Being contrary to Michele never works in the long run. If she eventually takes a Michele suggestion to heart (a la Jinx), she’ll be set.

#2 Kennedy Davenport (avg 2, was #2)
She quietly delivered this week with only a minor fashion misstep. We have still yet to see all she has to offer, and even on her low-intensity setting she’s easy defeating the majority of the other queens. Plus, she seems to have a pretty positive attitude. I have a hard time picturing what’s going to trip her up.

#3 Ginger Minj (avg 3, was #4)
A rightful win, fantastic strategy and leadership, and fashion strong enough to not only survive being off-theme but WIN for it. That’s a fierce queen. If she can deal with her minor shading issues and keep up the comedy this could be our first big-girl winner – and you KNOW Ru was listening to “All About That Bass” when she was shooting this season. (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race, S7E2 Recap: Glamazonian Airways

RPDRS7Gentlemen, start your engines! If you want to play along at home, grab a season pass!

Last time on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Violet rightfully won, Tempest was unjustly sent home.

After the elimination

Max is inexplicably still using her braces to walk around – can we ditch the disabled-face and just keep the old-face, darling? Katya is eating her own hair and being the one to freak out about “someone’s got to go home” in her interview segment. Kandy Ho says she wasn’t nervous about the lip sync against Tempest, but she should have been nervous about that face.

The girls congratulate Violet on her win and ask how how she feels, and she quickly fires back with “I hate Michele Visage … what she said rubbed me the wrong way. To be honest, she probably has a bigger man body than I do without her implants” Sasha Belle and Mrs. Whatshername are shocked, and non-coincidentally will probably be the next two queens to be sent home. Fame calls Violet’s win “valid” which is a terrific way to show she’s “not mad about it” (riiiiiight).

I am loving Violet’s non-villainous shade, let me tell you. It’s so boring when every mean girl has to be a villain, and I think Bianca disabused us of that idea by being the mean hero last year. Some of the other girls are over Violet’s healthy ego already (Ginger and, surprisingly, Max). Violet gives a bummed lip trill in her interview to show us how she really feels about it.  (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E1

Can you effectively read a queen after one episode? I’m not so sure, since the only season I got to watch without knowing the winner first was last season – but, eventual winners do have a way of standing out in their first appearances either in look or personality.

How do these ladies rank after a single engagement? Let’s take a look.

#1 Violet Chachki
This queen’s fashion ranged from simply pretty to avant garde, she’s fishy (i.e., like an actual girl), she dishes great commentary, and she won the first challenge. Welcome to a world with a target on your back, girl. Now we need to see that personality – she could be one who wilts under the lights of the theatrical challenges. If not? Major danger, and a suitable follow-up win for a younger queen after Adore didn’t quite make it.

#2 Kennedy Davenport
This is the experience of a Coco Chanel without the constant self-sabotage, and her fashion sense is impeccable so far. Plus, she’s apparently a dancer? She’s going to be a polished force to be reckoned with (although I have to wonder about her sewing after that circus tent resort wear). Also, clearly there’s a good story to be had in a more-experienced, black, southern, curvy winner. No way she misses the final three if she can stay consistent.

#3 Ms. Fame
So very fishy, but we’ll see if she has the performance chops for the more personality-driven challenges. While I suspect she’s a fierce competitor, I could see her pulling a Trinity Bonet and feeling she’s above one of the challenges or a Courtney Act where she just doesn’t realize she’s not the best. Without Tempest in the ix I get the sense she is going to be the remaining seamstress to reckon with. However, that ridiculous first outfit shows she’s capable of the occasional misstep and bad paint job, which could be her undoing.

(Here’s where I’d have Tempest. So sad.) (Continued)