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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.
A New Day!
Trixie and Pearl are first in the door, and I can verify that Pearl seems to be awake. Katya interviews, “So last week we got our asses handed to us by Ru Paul and the judges, but we’re ready to step it up and kick this challenge’s ass,” and can’t even get another crazycakes word in edgewise before Ru’s message blasts into the room.
Ru wants the girls to “rock out with their schlock out – because no queen is unspoofable.” The girls are excited about singing and give Ru a warm hand on his entrance. He’s wearing a maroon suit jacket over a neon pink shirt and I HAVE THE ABILITY TO SWIPE THIS LOOK, YES! “One day you’re in on the joke, and the next day the joke’s on you,” Ru explains, and it sounds like she’s still planning to be in on the joke, because the parodies she assigns are of her own songs. Three teams have to write lyrics, record vocals, and shoot a #PunnyOrDie music video – and Ru leaves it up the girls to divide themselves into teams.
Ginger locks up the (not actually) old-ladies team with Kennedy and Sasha, and she ropes in Kandy Ho, too. That’s basically the potential lineup of villains, with Ms. Masters no longer in the mix. Trixie interviews with excitement – this is in her wheelhouse. She beelines for Katya (“she’s funny”), Fame (“she can sing”), and… Pearl (“…I love Pearl.”)
For those bad at counting painted ladies, that makes for an awkward leftovers group of Violet, Max, and Jaidynn. I’m not sure how you don’t pick Max after last week, but I think this has more to do with Ginger and Trixie’s type-A-ness than anything else. Of course, everyone still hates Violet even though she continues to crush most aspects of the competition.
Max hugs the other two to her. “Let’s do it,” she says as she squeezes them close, “Let’s just do it.” Jaidynn grins the biggest cheshire grin as she realizes her protector from last week has adopted her again. Violet smiles wanly – the anti-Mean Girls Mean Girling is wearing her down. She interviews, “I’ve already been picked last for teams twice, so who the fuck cares!”
Team Max pulls “Sissy That Walk,” one of the best Ru songs and hugely parodiable. Jaidynn seems pretty excited. “What about ‘Face like chalk,” she suggests, but Violet’s not convinced. Max doesn’t want to align with “grossness or sexuality.” Uh, she’s seen this show, right?
(Ooooooh, I forgot about how much the genial Max dislikes Violet! You can see Max clench her jaw in an uncharacteristic moment of annoyance when Violet says, “I think we can come up with better.”)
Team Trixie gets “Dance With U,” not one that I know. Max is psyched, but Trixie wants to do “I want to tan with you” and the girls are not feeling it at all. Fame says, “We could make it about raunchy, dirty sex – because that’s always funny,” which maybe proves Max’s point a little bit? She sings some terrible sample lyrics, but the singing is good. When Pearl doesn’t love it, Fame gets the knives out pretty quickly.
Fame seems to get that she and Pearl are both competing for the “lackluster pretty girl who goes far” title but she talks about “pulling her up.” Even though I’ve been unimpressed with Fame so far, I have to admit she seems like a really sweet person beneath her underachievement.
Ru reappears in what seems like only five minutes to grill the groups. Kasha offers that she does a Rhianna parody in her drag show, but her sample is incomprehensible. Max is a fan of song parodies, “If they’re clever – sometimes they get raunch and vulgar for me.” This again? Violet HILARIOUSLY interviews silently with two hands prissily clenched as if holding tiny, hamster-sized teacups. They want to replace “Sissy That Walk” with “Get Ready To Clock.”
Trixie says, “it turns out that making fun of you is a lot easier than I thought.” Famous last words, girl. But, Ru enjoys the “Tan With You” theme. Fame sews some seeds of discontent by claiming Pearl has the harshest lyric critiques. Katya keeps her mouth shut in the room, but interviews, “Pearl and Fame are butting heads – this is NOT a GOOD SIGN.”
The Maxi-Challenge: In The Studio
In the recording studio with RuPaul’s producer Lucian Piane in his silver fox phase with a gray-speckled beard.
Team Trixie is up first. Katya steps behind the mic and has the crazy wiggles like a toddler while wheezing like an old man. Lucian: “Have you ever been recorded before?” Katya: “Uh… yeah, and it was a disaster, so I’m going to go with a weird drunk skank.” She performs it pretty hilariously with slurred speech like Adore as Anna Nicole, but Lucian is rightfully worried it won’t make sense as audio-only. Fame has a pleasant voice, but does not seem to grasp the concept of intervals that are not major seconds. As she hunts for the right leap, Lucian advises, “Calm down, Mariah”
Trixie doesn’t have the notes Lucian wants in falsetto, and weakly mumbles in mixed voice. She looks defeated. Wasn’t she a theatre major with Max? What the hell? Fame interviews that Trixie has buckled in every challenge. Pearl begins to sing, and Lucian interrupts, “Let’s to to find the pitch you’re going to sing on.” Fame tries to give direction, but it sounds like how a badger would explain space flight. Lucian asks Pearl what she’s like on stage, and she replies, “I’m wild (smiling). I’m totally wild.”
Trixie apologizes for Pearl by way of interview. “Pearl and I are sisters. Pearl and I used to work together in Chicago before she moved to New York. She’s just extremely chill – the way she talks, moves, everything. But, for drag, she really does need to get herself a fresh pair of batters or they’re going to keep saying she doesn’t care.”
Team Max is next. They are literally recreating the “Sissy That Walk” video in parody, with Max as Courtney, Jaidynn as Bianca, and Violet as Adore. Jaidynn cannot sing – she just sort of growls like a dude. She seems crazily puzzled by the idea of letting the machine capture her voice. Lucian helpfully volunteers that Bianca isn’t much of a singer, so this is an opportunity to make light of that. The advice seems to help. Jaidynn frequently needs just a little push.
In addition to looking exactly like I did as a teenager, Violet also has my old-school vague, underpronounced way of singing. I think she may be my clone. Maybe this is an Orphan Black tie-in Lucian, “Are you doing it up the octave, or…” Violet: I don’t know. I don’t know all this lingo.”
Max and Jaidynn share a subtle-but-funny look while Violet snaps at Lucian that her lateness was due to his cue. Uh-oh. We get no Max vocals, guaranteeing that they’ll be amazing.
Team Ginger is last. The team has “Let the Music Play,” which Ginger wants to turn into Ru’s product placement jingle. This is going to be hilarious. Ginger is the first person to be on pitch all day, with a coo’ed vocal with wide Ethel Merman vibrato. Kennedy gives the illusion of singing but she cannot manage to stay on any given pitch for more than a millisecond. Sasha has a silly dude-in-drag voice that Lucian is not pleased with at all. Neither is Ginger, “Ethel Merman and Paul Lynn have a love child bursting forth from Kasha’s vocal chords.”
I don’t get the hate – she sounds fine and funny. We get no Kandy Ho.
The Maxi-Challenge: The Video
Fame is now freaking out, interviewing “my voice is probably the strongest of the group’s.” That should be a lament, but it’s coming off boastful. “Ain’t no bad apple gonna rot my crop!” she says with an invisible hair toss. We see the attractive stubble version of Fame leading a choreography rehearsal even though she was an avowed non-dancer in the second-week challenge. Katya and Trixie look nauseous as Fame describes how she’s creating “depth of field.”
“For someone with almost no performance experience,” Trixie opines, “Miss Fame has a lot to say when it comes to putting something together.” Pearl lays into Fame, who is continuing her Badger Goes to Space approach to directing.
Katya interviews (with bug eyes): What in the fucking hell is going on here … [someone comments via overdub from the room, “I think we have too many chiefs and not enough indians”] … it’s going to be a disaster.”
Team Max shows up decked out as the final three from last season. Violet has Adore nailed down all the way to the “party.” Michelle asks her if she cinched and she replies, “No, I have a hog body!” Ru is heartily amused by her dancing. Jaidynn FINALLY shines, giving a hilarious performance as Bianca on the lyrics, “I hope you trip, I hope you fall.” Max doesn’t really look like Courtney (Courtney would never wear that much makeup) and is singing her in a terrible fake Aussie accent. Ru and Michelle have a needle scratching off of the record moment, while Violet opines in an interview, “Max looks like himself with a wig on. That’s not great.” Michelle reminds Max how manic Courtney was in the video. “Crazy eyes,” she helpfully mimes. Can Max do manic? She’s finding the finding of Courtney to be a struggle.
Team Ginger looks hot in all black and white patterns. Michele and Ru laugh at their lackluster performance. I guess all the magic will happen in editing. OMG, Kandy is allowed to talk on camera! She says Kennedy “puts her ghetto in it,” which apparently represents as more slow-motion turning like in Kennedy’s lip sync last week. Way to go, dancing queen. Kandy is looking pretty good in makeup. Ru acts pretend-offended about the team making fun of Drag U.
Team Trixie is blonde and made up to look overly tanned, which Michelle of course appreciates. Trixie’s acting is as vague as her singing, but Katya brings all of the drunken lush we were promised in the studio with short chopped-up cougar hair. She’s delivering Wildwood Realness. Trixie wanders off stage while she’s still singing on playback. She walks away again. Michelle, “just stay in and model – if you’re not singing just ham it up.”
I think I get it – Trixie has only ever done theatre. She doesn’t understand that there’s no need to exit stage right every time she’s out of lines. She interviews, “motherfucker.” The group bickers over choreography, unsure if the should get props or roll on the ground, “like rotisserie chickens.”
(That’s more helpful Fame direction, if you couldn’t tell.)
RuPaul: Okay. Um. Let’s cue the track.
Michelle (sotto voice): And the snipers
Max (interviews): RuPaul and Michelle are going to think we’re a bunch of disorganized fucktards.
I hope every girl in the room is scared, because Violet is the only one who was decent enough in the performances AND won’t totally blow it on fashion.
The makeup mirror chat focuses on Kennedy Davenport’s friendship with former contestant Sahara Davenport, who passed away after her run on the show. They met in high school and “shared a lot of the same dreams.” Kennedy was in Dallas with no money to travel to her friend’s funeral. “That was my sister for really. If we could have come out of the same pussy, we would have.”
The theme is “All Green Eleganza Runway.”
Pearl: Looks busted in a green one-piece swimsuit with long sleeves. The crotch of the suit is super-long, which should extend the cut of her legs up into her torso, but it looks awkward. The backside is effectively a one-foot-tall thong, and it is not sexy at all. She’s got a bit of a cobra theme with a head scarf and free-standing hood. Her blending is for shit, with white cheeks stopping at a hard dark line and switching to a normal flesh tone. Her nose contour is awkward. Her walk is dull. I hate it entirely.
Miss Fame: In retro glam makeup and black pin curls. She’s wearing an irridescent green and pink knee-length dress with a plunging neckline and a floor length train (didn’t she just wear the same cut two weeks ago?) and a half-cape. It looks a little costume-y, but they won’t hate it. “I love those shoulder pads,” opines Alba, to Michelle, “Those are just her shoulders.” Her face tape is exposed AGAIN. Such a rookie move. Does she think the cameras won’t pick it up?
Trixie Mattel: An ankle-length silk gown with thigh-high side slits and a boob cutout with a Japanese fan in her hair. It’s not actually much of an Americanized Geisha look, if that’s what she was going for. It doesn’t feel pulled together at all, right down to the mix of silver, gold, and crystal in her jewelry. She looks thick around the middle without even a great backside to show for it. It’s a mess.
Katya: She looks very 80s in massive blown back blond hair and a twinkling emerald green dress with a high neck, long sleeves, and a side slit. She gives great face and walk. It’s a win.
Max: Nonsensical in a fancy Marie Antionette corset get-up with her bare chest out and nipples covered with tiny green triangle pastsies. It looks like she stapled on a ratty green striped fabric remnant to give the illusion of wide hips – it works a bit better from behind, but this was a failure.
Jaidynn Dior Fierce: She goes bold while the other queens go boring and might just win this shit. She’s in a neon green camo mini-dress with gold-plated bust, massive shoulder-pads, a bouffant that’s a long green party in the back, and crazy Mad Max jewelry. It’s certainly not eleganza, but it’s mighty memorable and one of her more interesting looks on the whole.
Violet Chacki: She’s a nude showgirl with a single green boa draped over her neck to cover her breasts and then wrap down to her crotch to create a thong. The chest shading is flat as hell and reads poorly, and she’s definitely giving boy body (funny, considering the Adore-related cinching jokes, earlier). She’s totally nude in the back and delivers impressive ass, but the legs are boy boy boy. She should have added a gauzy skirt or something.
Kandy Ho: Another potential stealth-winner this week? She’s in a stunning chartreuse bejeweled gown with a floor-length gauzy waist-cape that Violet should have stolen. She has some man-jaw, but not terrible five-o-clock shadow like she has in the past. Her hair and makeup is a little wonky, though.
Mrs. Kasha Davis: A tacky white strapped gown with dollar signs all over it, as one might buy in a costume store, with matching boas make of fake dollars. On the plus side, she does have the body of the average American middle-aged woman.
Kennedy Davenport: Comes out behind a blanket made of feathers (seriously, what was that?) and reveals a glittery green showgirl dress with a feathered bust line and completely bejeweled, flesh-toned high-neck and arms. It’s glittery as fuck. She looks like Big Bird dipped in glue and rolled in sequins. Her hair is stunning in a updo that looks like a massive loaf of challa bread.
Ginger Minj: Living up to her “glamour toad” title with a ruffly double-skirted sleevless satin dress with a wide open collar. It looks like it was made from at least two different bridesmaid dresses. This one might be a good one? I can’t decide. It’s not doing much for her body shape, but it’s yet another non-standard silhouette on her. She gives excellent illusion of being an actual woman. She’s got high pumps on.
The Maxi-Challenge: The Final Product
Team Trixie with “Dance With Me” as “Tan With Me.” Trixie isn’t exaggerated enough in her performance and cannot sing. Fame is drenched in auto-tune and ogles a Pit Crew member while chatting on the phone. Katya FINALLY lets her humor show through in a challenge, totally selling the incoherent drunk lyrics with a wide, boozy lip sync. Pearl’s voice has been constructed entirely from auto-tune without any human elements left over and her nose has the weirdest shading ever. In a group shot Pearl and Katya sell the comedy while Trixie and Fame are forgettable. The judges cackle every time Katya is on camera. Trixie gets funnier when adjacent to Katya, who is just living for this challenge. At one point she is straddling Trixie in front of green-screened rotisserie chickens on a spit. It’s glorious. Katya eats her peeling roasted skin from her own shoulders.
Team Max with “Sissy That Walk” as “Get Ready To Clock.” It’s shot-for-shot the video the final three produced last season.” Violet’s singing hasn’t been helped much in the studio, but it actually does kinda sound like Adore talks. Jaidynn just talks but sells the hell out of her dishy performance as Bianca. Max’s accent sucks, but she managed to capture the Courtney stop-action manicness from the video. Their lyrics are actually very funny: Bianca: I hope you trip, I hope you fall, Courtney: I hardly wear makeup at all, Violet: My hems don’t reach, I’m just too tall.” They keep reading the top three’s tics hard and it keeps being funny. It’s a tossup at any given moment which of them you cannot tear your eyes away from. Violet gives some ridiculous Adore moments.
Team Ginger with “Let The Music Play” as “I Got Paid.” Ginger and Kennedy are just as okay-but-actually-bad as they were in the studio. Like, bad good singing. Sasha sells her hammy vocal performance hard and it’s great, so Lucian and Ginger can shove it. Kandy is surprisingly not bad in a Britney impersonation on vocals. Sasha sounds like a sad, drunk muppet in the harmony, it’s great. This isn’t as funny as “Clock,” but the video is incredibly high-concept – they had to have given a ton of specific direction to get it to turn out as the QVC send-up they wound up with.
Predicted Winners and Lip-Synchers?
Winning Team: Max, obviously, again.
Challenge Bests: It’s hard to choose between Katya’s hamming it up on the weak team and Violet and Jaidynn nailing their impersonations. I’d go Jaidynn, just for the risk of doing Bianca.
Challenge Worsts: Everyone else? Trixie, Pearl, and Fame were so awful.
Final Runaway? Winners: This may have been the worst runway in the history of the show. Kennedy wins just for doing anything interesting, but I’d also give it to Jaidynn for utter boldness even if it wasn’t eleganza. Katya was beautiful but dull. Lip Sync Candidates are clearly Trixie, Max, and Pearl, who looked like hell, which probably saves Kasha, who wore tons of money but still looked cheap.
Should Win? I think they should give Jaidynn the pity-win here unless Katya pulls it out.
Should Lip-Sync? It breaks my heart, but this should be Trixie up against Pearl. Fame’s runaway was just strong enough and her performance just funny enough to keep her safe.
RuPaul is wearing a pink dress with rainbow chesticles. It’s super-casual. The cameraman cannot seem to get a steady shot of Lucian Piane, though he’s not moving at all. Michelle Visage is in vomitous pale green. Ross Matthews is in a fetch silver paisley print suit jacket. Lucian looks cute as ever. Jessica Alba is radiant and hasn’t aged a day in the past decade.
Katya, Jaidynn, and Kennedy step forward as the stars of their groups! Katya and Jaidynn are excited, with Katya throwing her toddler wiggles around. Kennedy Davenport wins for no reason whatsoever. (Well, to be fair, the point was to make fun of Ru, and Kennedy was the only one to do that).
Ms. Fame and Ginger are safe with no further debate, and all of the top five are sent away. Fame is hugely benefiting from the dull runway.
Michelle wants Pearl to loosen up, and Lucian wants star power. Pearl is sucking her teeth in response. Michelle is getting a stoner vibe, but Pearl says she feels picked on. Ross thinks “Tan With You” was funny, buy Lucian’s not seeing Trixie stand out. Michelle and Jessica Alba want her to take the comedy farther. Trixie looks upset. Michelle weirdly liked Max’s boyish look, but (for the first time in Drag Race herstory) wanted more green. She challenges Max to give a look without gray hair and Max says, “alright!” Alba loved it. Max is really good at taking critique. She clearly learned more at that performance program than Trixie did. Alba loves Violet’s “tushy” and Michelle liked her Adore. On Kandy, Ross thinks everyone else has “looks … concepts, and I don’t think a pretty dress is enough.” Lucian thinks she got lost. Ross loved Sasha’s schticky outfit. Michelle didn’t like her sing-talk, and Sasha whips back, “What happened was I think Bea Arthur was inside me when we were recording.” Michelle seems to dig it.
In private, Lucian thinks Pearl is lazy but Alba thinks she’s nervous. “Get your head of your ass,” she declares, “Work it out.” Michelle doesn’t think Trixie has the camp personality to match her look. Ru reveals her audition tape was one of the funniest of all time. Alba thinks you have to be intelligent to be as creative as Max, but RuPaul was underwhelmed. Ultimately, she was too focused on being Courtney Act to act like a dragged out version of Courtney. Valid.
Ru finally gives some play to how smart and “studied” Violet is, while Alba wants to suck the life out of her (something she’s clearly done before). Lucian thought she struggled in the studio, but was shocked by the performance in the video (the undertone being, “OMG, Violet planned that!”). The Kandy critique is that she got washed out against the other big personality queens, but they liked her adlibs. Alba wonders if she can do anything other than empty glamour. Michelle thought she blended in the video, but Ross really loved her.
Ru has made some decisions. Violet is safe. Max is safe. Mrs. Kasha Davis is safe. Pearl is in the bottom two. It’s Trixie against Kandy, and Kandy is clearly safe. This is a bummer, because Trixie’s star had been on the rise, but she was really the worst this week.
Lip Sync: “Dreaming” by Blondie. Finally, a good song. Trixie is performing it like a manic Barbie, but Pearl is summoning that Debbie Harry drama combined with a Robert Palmer backup dancer. Trixie’s performance is good, but it’s camp, and that doesn’t ever beat a solid “I’m feeling it” kind of lip sync. Pearl just keeps serving more and more drama, and it’s quite entrancing. Her face is brilliant.
Poor Trixie is a goner after two weeks she should have won. RuPaul Pearl is broken by hitting the bottom two and having to defeat her friend.
Trixie is bummed she lost on a comedy challenge. Us too, Trixie. Us too. Perhaps we’ll get her brought back later, as this is a pretty weak crew.
What did you think? Offer your reads in the comments below.