**DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do NOT reflect those of DragQueenMerch.com**
Bigger, badder, better, fiercer, stronger, tighter. Those are “adjectives.”
These adjectives could be used to describe this season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. We’ve got one of the best casts yet, Ru’s makeup is its best ever, and the show’s finally achieved its best balance yet of gimmickry and sincerity.
Judging purely by the the comically over-the-top workroom entrances this season (synchronized hitch-kicks? Singing opera in a classically trained voice?), the cast knows it too. It’s a good thing- they’re all just so genuinely happy to be there, no matter what they’re read for or how long they stay for.
Where are the mini-challenges this season? Why is the VH1 budget being used on questionable post-edited animations for the main challenge instead?
Now we’re left with an extra three-ish minutes of awkwardly anticlimactic banter between “Hello, hello, hello” and Ru’s walkthrough. Last week we got that strange Lisa Kudrow appearance, and this week we got an unsolicited explanation for RuPaul’s wax statue’s omniscient presence in the room (an experimental new feature which gave me PTSDrag flashbacks to season eight’s Shade Tree).
Irregardless(ly Trish), the greatness of the main challenges this season make up for it. For the first season in years, we’ve been spared from cheesy, cringe-y acting challenges, at least in the first three episodes.
This challenge was smart, and let me just say, I loved it. It encouraged the queens to be as creative as they wanted to be, and allowed them each to retain their individuality and embrace their uniqueness. They could be as funny as they wished, or as pretty as they wished. The challenges on this show have a history of forcing the queens into a box of either “pageant” or “comedy”, and I’m so glad the show’s starting to deviate from that.
My only criticism of the challenge was the sidekick aspect, where each queen had to act as a small creature to be edited into the runway performance in post-production. From an artistic standpoint, it’s not a bad concept. It’s just that it has nothing to do with drag. It doesn’t sit well with me that Kimora’s entire reason for elimination was because of her performance as this semi-animated sidekick. Also, is it just me or was it hard to understand what each queen was saying? If the show’s going to start having challenges involving post-production, we can’t have such detrimental technical issues like that.
In alphabetical order, each queen:
AJA (IG/TWITTER) ~ I LOVE her. Her personality, her look, her attitude, her character, her MOM, I mean... she was all there, and I really expected her to be in the top three. She looked like an edgier, hipper Thorgy. Still, there comes a moment at the beginning of every season in which an unlikely queen must lip-sync purely to prove that she belongs in the competition (Katya vs Sasha Belle comes to mind). And Aja. Did. *That*.
CHARLIE HIDES (IG/TWITTER) ~ As Princess Climaxica, she looked gorgeous. Her dress had great movement, and I considered her performance and look to be one of the best of the night. Very polished, very creative.
CYNTHIA LEE FONTAINE (IG/TWITTER) ~ What a classy queen! She’s so poised on the runway and off in Untucked. She never says anything negative about anyone, and only speaks when she has something nice and/or funny to say. Is it possible to win Miss Congeniality two seasons in a row? As Princess Cuculina, she looked “delicious” (an adjective).
FARRAH MOAN (IG/TWITTER) ~ Even in her moment of darkness, post-crying-off-her-brows, I still love her. She had the same problems in this episode as Kimora, with sewing and with not knowing how to play the sidekick character. I understand her placement in the bottom, but she looked so yummy!
KIMORA BLAC (IG/TWITTER) ~ In just three episodes, she managed to be one of THE most memorable queens EVER. As a matter of fact, writing this took me awhile because I had a LOT of thoughts to gather, just about her.
In just this episode alone, she didn’t know what an adjective OR a “cucu” was, and she compared the show to “America’s Next Best Sweatshop.”
She looked SO hot in the main challenge (I loved the body glitter), and the fact that she left because she couldn’t act like a monkey is disgusting.
I’m just so glad she got to talk about her struggle (of going onstage without padding) before she left.
That lip-sync... at the beginning of it, I expected her to win. I appreciate it when a queen takes a more chilled-out approach to a lip-sync, in contrast to frantically flipping about. I thought she was Katya in the “Cherry Bomb” lip-sync versus Alaska. Then I realized that Kimora new absolutely NONE of the words to the gayest of anthems, “Holding Out For a Hero,” and I couldn’t stop laughing. The bitch just doesn’t care!
Her simple “I’m pretty” before exiting the Main Stage for good was iconic. I appreciated how she used a darker shade of lipstick for her mirror message than most queens do.
While watching last night’s Untucked, I realized the real reason why I love Kimora. Sure, she’s unapologetically her dumb, bitchy self. But the thing that I love is, she’s not defensive about it. She doesn’t care if you think she’s the best. She just is. She knows she’s great, and she doesn’t need any judge or any other queen to validate her. Whereas Gia Gunn (who she is basically the reincarnate of) left in a blaze of fire, throwing shade to any queen remotely in her path, Kimora left with nothing but love. THAT’S why I love her.
PEPPERMINT (IG/TWITTER) ~ Speaking of screen time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a queen end up in the top three of an episode with as little screen time as Peppermint got. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved her look.
SASHA VELOUR (IG/TWITTER) ~ Princess Uglina should have been in the top three. She gave us a fully realized concept that was both funny and smart, complete with one of the best executed sidekicks. Even if she couldn’t win, I’m just really grateful that she has yet to get the whole “look more feminine” shtick from the judges. As a side note, her makeup and skin is flawless, even in HD.
TRINITY TAYLOR (IG/TWITTER) ~ I love this bitch. She totally deserved to win. Great characters with great names, a greatly executed ruveal, best sidekick look, best makeup, best costume. She was just The Best in this episode.
VALENTINA (IG/TWITTER) ~ Okay, she’s gorgeous and she’s polished. What else? She had a stunning look, but it didn’t read as “ice princess” and I couldn’t believe that no judge commented on that. The judges did comment on how much they loved her sidekick, but here’s the thing: just reiterating a madgab of drag vernacular centered around the word “shady” is not actually funny. Sorry ‘bout it.
~ The handwriting on Jaymes’ lipstick message was really uneven? And it looked like four different fonts?
~ Why would Valentina shave her brows midway through the competition?Choices.
~ Trinity should read the suffocation warning on her plastic bag.
~ Who even is Todrick Hall and why is he still here?
~ Does Ru not have any nicknames for any of the queens this season?
Have a sickening week!
~ Liv "Queen" Moody