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RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S8E05

Last week Thorgy Thor was consolidating her lead after a minor meltdown from Bob and a strong weak finish from Chi Chi. Did that top three get shaken up this week?

Even after this crash and burn of a dull Snatch Game and repetitive runway there is barely any daylight separating the top and the bottom girls in this week’s power ranking.

It might not have been the tightest Snatch Game in history, but this feels a lot like Seasons Four and Five with a larger, well-rounded cast with many potentially winners. The best few queens have all shown weak spots, and the bottom few are just one or two hot weeks away from snatching the crown.

Also, there was some strange editing contributing to the doughy episode this week. RuPaul was clearly having some weird energy on Snatch Game, and I suspect we lost some very funny answers from the queens to moments Ru simply didn’t want shown. That probably detracted from a few queens who the judges loved, and also didn’t make Acid Betty’s performance out to be quite as bad as it played on stage.

1. Bob the Drag Queen (Average 1; was: 2, 2, 1, 1)

bob-the-drag-queen-03Yes, she’s back in the top spot, showboating and all. Bob’s Snatch Game was magnificent – a solid Uzo Aduba as Crazy Eyes (her poem answer was a scream) plus a Carol Channing that completely erases the memory of Pandora’s strong version.

As for the runway. Bob’s Madonna may not have been as iconic as the rest, but it was FLAWLESS. Sure, we all would have rather seen her rock early-80s punk Madonna, but that’s way too close to her actual look and probably would have gotten read by the judges. She found the right offbeat (and political) outfit from Madge’s oeuvre.

I can imagine several situations where Bob is bested by this confidence and fails to make the top three. We’ve seen her be able to sew a garment, but she’s not the makeup pro that some of the other girls are. That said, I know she’s a strategic player, and I’m willing to bet he’s got a few fashion stunners tucked away for the late game when he’s not so darn safe all the time. (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S8E04

Last week Bob won the acting challenge but Thorgy walked out with the Power Rankings Emmy for her performance. How will the girls stack up after a live singing challenge? I’ll tell you, it’s my tightest ranking yet – despite being hard on these contestants, I can seriously see all of them reaching the final three.

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we begin that should clarify a lot of my rankings: I think Team NYC crushed the other two teams with their Street Meatz performance, even if “Rectangle Girls” was weirdly the most memorable of the three songs. The NYC girls looks, lyrics, and performance tics were so perfectly of the B-52s era that it’s shocking they weren’t awarded the win – but, more on that below.

1. Thorgy Thor (Average 4, was 1, 6, 7)

thorgy-thor-02Thorgy owns the top spot for a second week in a row. She was on-point in her singing and stage presentation and she was one of the few queens who seriously read as neon, even if some of her styling ruined the impact.

This is a queen whose main weak spot (other than Ru not awarding her a win) is in her ability to edit – but even that has been shown to be within reason and based on a solid taste level. Maybe Snatch Game will change that streak.

2. Bob the Drag Queen (Average 2; was: 2, 1, 1)

Bob was predictably great in this challenge – both in her vocal performance and her onstage presence. As for her runway – eh, I could have lived without its pastel-not-neon-realness. However, the big show tonight was her inability to stop herself from arguing with coach and guest judge Lucian Piane. Yes, his advice was awful, but Bob just kept on arguing with him past the point of no return. You could even see in her eyes how bad an idea she thought it was!

The combination of Bob’s over-the-top, charm-laden performances and this slightly uncontrollable streak represents real risk of missing the top three. She’s still stronger than the rest of the field, but I’m a bit nervous for her.

(Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S8E03

Last week I kept Bob The Drag Queen in the top spot despite Chi Chi taking home dance captain honors. This week Bob strutted her stuff on the Empire parody – so, do I still have her leading the pack? And, where will returning queen Naysha Lopez wind up?

thorgy-thor-011. Thorgy Thor (Average 5, was 6, 7)

The lovable Thorgy hoscotches to the top spot this week with impeccable acting (maybe the best ever on Drag Race?) and a perfectly on-theme and girly runway. She truly should have won the episode over Bob’s ad-libbing spectacle; more on that in a moment.

This lady has all the chops this show requires – including being a classical musician, which means she’ll likely be decently equipped for musical challenges. Aside from the willfully silly streak we saw last week I don’t think she will commit any unforced errors. Also, it seems like the plastic showgirl opening look was an example of how hard she commits to each look rather than a fashion faux pas, which is a good sign for future runways.

Altogether, my initial read of, “She’ll never be the next drag SUPERSTAR” has evaporated completely. She’s quickly becoming the star of the show, and she doesn’t have the confidence gap of Katya.

2. Bob the Drag Queen (Average 1; was: 1, 1)

How did Bob descend in the rankings while winning a challenge? Because this episode exposed just how reliant she is on her charisma and comedy to get her through other, weaker spots. She bested the challenge by constantly going off-script – a lot – which wasn’t really the assignment. Then, on the runway, she was in a busted Halloween costume look with flaking makeup, a bit of a belly, and an inability to roller skate, all of which she sold through comedy.

Bob remains my personal favorite, but I’d like to see a decisive win from her while playing the game, rather than deconstructing it. Right now I feel she’s at risk of that awful top four cut.

(Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S8E02

Last week I had Bob on top of the weekly winner, Kim Chi. Where did they land after an all-dancing challenge? It turns out, the only shake-up came from one of the two of them.

1. Bob the Drag Queen (Avg 1; was: 1)

bob-the-drag-queen-02Bob was safe for a second week in a row, so why does she have the top spot? Because she is pretty great at everything, and when she isn’t she’s doing so with great intent.

I was annoyed by her oddball take on the cha cha dancing challenge, but did she really want to be a team captain a singing or dancing challenge, which is what always happens in this spot? Maybe it was better not to win. Similarly, her runway fashion was unassailable, but not a week-winning standout – but why blow a major closet piece (as Kim Chi did) on an early week when your performance had you near the top of the pack?

Bottom line: she has flaws, but none of them are as troubling as the weak spots of the other queens. Add to that the fact that Untucked is effectively the Bob The Drag Queen Comedy Revue (and for that reason is the best it has recently been) and heading into an acting challenge, and Bob remains the queen to beat.

2. Acid Betty (Average 3, was 3)

On this show, attitude is everything – and for Acid Betty that cuts both ways. This week she slayed in the challenge and in the runway, but her acid test personality took its toll on all the other girls on her team (even if it helped them in the end).

If Betty could balance the Ph of her personality she’d be a surefire winner this season, but right now she’s destined to be stuck as a villain. After seeing the edited episodes and social media reaction, Ru will never crown such a heel. Maybe Betty doesn’t want the win… but if she does, let’s hope she found a kinder, gentler side at some point in the competition.

(Also, just so someone says it: Betty is a dead ringer for Amanda Palmer when she is in drag)

(Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S8E01

Earlier this week, I ranked the Ru Paul’s Drag Race queens based on their brief Meet The Queens interviews. Now we’ve seen a whole hour of them interacting and strutting their stuff. Who came out on top?

BOB-drag-IS1. Bob The Drag Queen

Bob seems to be the queen to beat this season. Everything about her in this episode was perfection.

I think her potential stumbling block is that her fashion might be a little too obvious and off-the-rack based on her Meet The Queens and entrance look. Yet, we saw her construct a stylish garment for the challenge – and, it was one of the most from-a-pattern garments of all the looks. Clearly she has a sense of her fashion and fashion history. Whether that comes across in her suitcase remains to be seen.

There’s also the risk of her sarcastic humor. Bob’s style of comedy does not yet feel like something she can perform all season without ever backtracking or apologizing the way Bianca did.

I don’t think either issue is going to seriously hamstring Bob – she comes off as one of the smartest contestants of all time and I don’t think she would have auditioned without a plan. In the shorter term, I doubt she’s in any danger from next week’s acapella challenge.

2. Kim Chi

Despite my instant obsession with Bob, last year I had Violet in first place largely because she swept the first week of challenges. Who nailed that this year? Kim Chi. She was excellent on everything from entrance look to runway, with some hilarious interviews between.

Kim Chi seems to have the ingredients to make a deep run in this competition except for one thing – her meekness. We saw her be meek in the photo shoot and, to a degree, in some of the runway discussion. She was also a non-factor on Untucked. Wallflowers are not generally winners here, and despite Kim Chi being bomb dot com at everything this week, I have serious concerns about her making it through team challenges or anything theatrical. There’s a certain shyness about her that puts her at risk. We need to see her overcome that ASAP.  (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race, S8E01 Recap: Keeping It 100!

Twelve queens makes for a lot of men in wigs to wrangle, so rather than do a straight recap of this episode I’m going to describe the general structure, then break things down queen by queen through the judges comments, and finally handle the lip sync at the end.

The intro of the show counts up the most memorable moments from the first 99 episodes from the premiere of Season 1 right through Violet’s queening “Come Through!” at the end of Season 7. You certainly can’t accuse this show for not knowing its own viral moments.

After the 12 girls enter the room and introduce themselves. They aren’t too demographically unique from prior seasons with the exception that there is not a single big queen – Kim Chi is the curviest one, and she’s tiny!

Ru appears to the girls via a video that hits tons of the major catchphrases of the show, though no one quite catches on to the theme of guest stars from seasons past even when boy Ru comes into the room to say hello.

As for the past champions and their Mathu Anderson photo shoot? Bebe Zahara Benet is in high drag – a full-length purple gown, spectacular glittering make-up that draws attention to her eyes, and massive buns of silver costume jewelry and a big loop of hair atop her head. Tyra Sanchez is in basic Beyonce cosplay of black lace over a leather bikini with a ratty blonde wig, and at this point she really just ought to retroactively cede the crown to Raven. Raja is wearing some sort of Hannibal Lector as a Drag Queen in Space facial mask of jewelry that is perfectly weird over a sedate black ensemble. Sharon Needles is in a high-collared full-length velvet dress with big pairs of buttons, slightly masculine features, and bubble-gum pink bouffant. Chad Michaels is the vision of Cher in her 80s leather phase. Jinkx Monsoon is in peach old-film glamour with a stunning head of firey red-orange hair. Violet Chachki looks perhaps better than she ever did on the show as an all-pink Vegas showgirl with gray-lavender hair (I just had that look!)

Oh, and they brought a circus clown to stand in for Bianca! The ladies don’t do or say much during the shoot, although Sharon – ever the queen of comebacks – answers an “OMG” with, “Not really a god, but… close enough.” (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, Season 8 Meet The Queens

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that definitely doesn’t apply to drag queens. In anticipation of my new season of Drag Race recaps and power rankings, here are my hot take rankings solely from watching the Meet The Queens intro videos that were served up before tonight’s premiere.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.10.59 PM

Bob The Drag Queen

1. Bob The Drag Queen

Fuck yes. I just love her. All she is 100% IT Factor and nothing else. In this look she has barely transformed her face and yet such handsome, masculine features make for a beautiful drag canvas because of the way she presents herself.

Her humor is on point, but she also seems incredibly smart (“I can’t – I shan’t”). Intelligence (and, past that, introspection) something many girls on the show have been missing in the past yet all of the winners from Raja on have had in spades. (Yes, even Violet. Do not come for my girl.)

I wonder if a lot of her looks are going to be as deglammed as the one in her intro. That could be her weak spot.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.16.33 PM

Cynthia Lee Fontaine

2. Cynthia Lee Fontaine

I am a little obsessed with Cynthia. She has that Ben De La Creme throwback older-lady realness without being just a vintage pastiche. She’s bringing something new to the housewife glamour look, and I do not think for a second she will hesitate with drop-dead modern fashion when it comes to slay the runaway.

I always think it’s important that you pick up what their key words are before they ever say them, and “elegant, sophisticated, and funny” completely tracks to the character she presents. Plus, she’s also got the Puerto Rico Queen uniqueness, which is is always compelling – and, isn’t it time we finally had a PR queen win? (Continued)