RuPaul super-sized Monday night with a back-to-back double feature of RuPaul’s Drag Race followed by two fully-loaded installments of Untucked. It was an emotionally taxing and completely tiring three-hour affair that, if nothing else, totally blurred the lines between this season’s winners and losers.
Aside from being one of the most transparent and agenda-driven seasons of Drag Race, season 6 has boasted one of the most talented casts to date (albeit also being one of the most delusional). Last night’s double dose featured the fall of a fan favorite, the rise of more than one underdog, and the unsurprising departure of only one of the final eight.
The entire evening was shocking, to say the least. For the sake of my sanity, I’m going to break this down by shock value factor and treat both delightful episodes as one. In the sake of fairness, I will also discuss Darienne Lake, even though the only shocking thing she brought to the table this week was her continued presence.
Episode 7 brought back the “make a commercial” challenge, which was introduced for the first time last season when the queens made commercials for a signature fragrance, which they created on their own. This season, things were severely dumbed down when Ru placed the ladies in teams to plug one of her products, RuPaul’s Glamazon Makeup or something like that or whatever.
What the challenge lacked in creative freedom, it more than made up for in establishing the catty dynamics between certain queens. It’s clear that RuPaul hand-crafted this challenge specifically to thrust certain queens into the spotlight and push others back into their safe zones. The queens served “black and white glamour” on the runway, which in my opinion, has been the most flawless runway display this season. More glamour, ladies.
Episode 8 revived one of last season’s more hilarious challenges, the live stand-up comedy challenge. From the moment this challenge was announced, it was obvious that Bianca was going to win, but watching how each of the queens interpreted “comedy” and the cringe-factor that comes with watching them perform it was more than enough to keep everyone entertained. The “twist” — bringing an entire nursing home to sit in the audience — was worth it if only to cut to an elderly woman literally knitting during the most embarrassingly awful performance. Touché, producers.
And now for the SHOCKs:
SHOCK: Trinity K. Bonet absolutely slayed both competitions
Yaaaaasss, work bitch! is all I have to say to Trinity K. Bonet this week. With a little help from a matronly Bianca Del Rio in episode 7, Trinity totally came out of her shell this week and left behind whatever insecurities were causing her to fall flat throughout the first half of this competition. I respectfully rescind my accusation from last week that the producers were keeping her around to fulfill some sort of contractual obligation to Gilead — Mama Ru clearly saw something in Trinity that I did not, and I’m glad this queen’s real talent finally rose to the surface.
Speaking of which, I’m really loving the relationship Bianca is establishing with the queens. As a commenter pointed out last week, it would be easy to edit her bitchy reads as her only contribution to this season, but the producers have really done her a solid by showing the caring side of Bianca, the side that roots for everyone and *cough* has what it takes to win this competition. *cough*
Trinity made a flawless comeback this week, though it may be too little, too late. While coming into her own will definitely take her further than she previously would have gone with the tired attitude, I’m not sure she has top three material. Top five, maybe, but definitely not top three.
Her performance in the makeup commercial and her jokes during the comedy routine were both seriously on point — she made RuPaul cry and even began offering advice to other queens during Untucked. Claps all around.
SHOCK: BenDeLaCreme’s Fall From Grace
My, how the mighty have fallen! I wouldn’t go so far as to say DeLa was given the shaft this week, because her subpar performance on both challenges made me want to cover my eyes, but she was definitely off her game both times.
First, pairing her with Darienne Lake for the commercial challenge was absolutely evil, and there are only two reasons RuPaul would have done this. She either has a personal vendetta against DeLa and wants to willfully watch her fail, or she’s further setting Lake up to be this season’s evil bitch a la Phi Phi O’Hara, a plan I revealed in last week’s recap.
Her pairing with Lake proved fatal as both completely crashed and burned trying to sell makeup to a “cougar crowd” during the commercial challenge. Both queens wound up in the bottom two and both wound up staying after the franchise’s second no-elimination lip sync. I’m not so bitter, and I’ll give credit where credit is due — Darienne Lake totally won that lip sync and she rightfully shantayed first, but just as we saw in the first no-elimination lip sync last season (Update: it was the third — the first no-elimination lip-synch happened during season 3), Ru was caught in a pickle choosing between the queen who lip synced better and the queen who legitimately deserved to stay.
DeLa was also the only queen to fall victim to hecklers during the stand-up comedy routine, something that she totally brought upon herself. The fact that she performed poorly on both challenges last night leaves me fearful for her future — I pegged her as season 6’s winner last week (even though I have now fully accepted that Bianca Del Rio will win), and I’m still hoping she makes it in the top three.
SHOCK: Joslyn Fox is NOT a fair-weather queen
Dare I say Joslyn Fox is this season’s Jinkx Monsoon? Her attitude and performance during both challenges last night distinctly read “These queens better not write me off yet,” something season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon said long before she emerged as a frontrunner. I’m placing bets on this one.
SHOCK: Laganja Estranja has never been told she’s annoying before now
In what comes as the biggest shock of the entire season, Laganja Estranja was informed that her excessive vocabulary and phony personality comes off as annoying, to which she reacted as if she’d been confronted about this for the very first time.
I find it hard to believe that someone who wears a “no smoking” sign in their hair and works a bend, snap and “okurrr mama” into every sentence has never been on the receiving end of an eye roll before, but it’s clear that Laganja’s psychological issues are much larger than this competition and perhaps this is the first time she’s been forced to deal with it?
Serving “stoner realness” during the comedy challenge in order to land a few jokes about smoking (which went over like a lead balloon, tbh) is, in the kindest terms, lame. Does Laganja also believe she’s the only pothead in West Hollywood? Take a number, girl.
Her tantrums and fits from last night are far too numerous to list here. In lieu of beating a dead horse by talking about it, I’m just going to breathe a sigh of relief knowing she won’t return next week.
And now, the looks:
Somewhere, a black lagoon is missing its creature. I don’t know whether to read Laganja or leave it alone at this point, but I will say this: Coming out with makeup on only one side of your eye has to be high on the list of drag queen cardinal sins. The wig she wore for the comedy challenge was great because it was removable during the lip sync, but the under-wig reveal would have been more impressive if Roxxxy Andrews hadn’t done it first last season.
Was Adore even in the episodes this week? I can’t say anything she did was particularly memorable, but I do feel as though she’s still a contender for the top three. Although two weeks of “safety” at this point isn’t exactly a good thing.
Bianca Del Rio
The only thing more impressive than Bianca Del Rio’s charm is the fact that she hand-crafts everything she wears out on the runway. Even after she’s announced as this season’s winner, she’ll continue to inspire queens for generations to come. She’s timeless.
Trinity K. Bonet
“Night at the casino fish” Trinity could get it. I’m so inspired by her turnaround this week, and this black and white casino night look is giving me life. I’m so glad you didn’t go home when I wanted you to, Trinity.
I’m slightly perturbed that DeLa was read for this incredible thing sprouting around her neck this week, but I’m glad it inspired one of the best runway reads of all time. Never forget that as she sauntered down the runway, RuPaul remarked “I don’t know what that is around her neck, but if it snows tonight, it’s going around my tires.” Iconic.
Wow, Darienne Lake wore the same outfit as last week with some crinoline wrapped around her arms. Forgive me for not being amazed.
Attention all future Drag Race contestants (and Milk)!
If you’re going to come out on the runway in male drag, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT. Courtney’s complacency continues to allow her to coast through the season, but RuPaul and the judges are finally starting to catch on to her holier-than-thou attitude. I think she’s talented enough to compete and be remembered as one of the best, but I just don’t think her heart is in it to win it this season.
It’s true, Joslyn essentially wore the same outfit two weeks in a row and just switched up the color scheme. But this look works for her, and she’s improved so much in the last two weeks that I’m not going to hold this tiny fluke against her. That being said, I’m secretly hoping she makes it further than Courtney Act to get that validation she clearly deserves.