Drag Race Recap: Enter the Oprah-Bots

dragreWe’re covering Logo’s only worthwhile show, RuPaul‘s Drag Race, in all it’s queeny, catty glory. This week, it’s all Oprah, which means wild weight swings, crazy people jumping and lots and lots of thoughtful, sympathetic nodding,which the girls will need after they butcher their attempts to channel the Big O.

Straight Roommate is really excited to watch the show and was sort of disappointed more of you didn’t talk about him last week in the recap comments, which is mostly my fault for not including his more provocative opinions. I’ll try to make up for it this week. For starters, as Ru is going over the prizes the winner receives, he says that he thinks that the Absolut sponsorship is lame and that throwing a rainbow flag on something is not enough to be an actual endorsement of gays. “It’d be like if Denny’s started offering waffles and saying it was to show their support of black people.”

Which is a great way to start the most racially tense Drag Race to date. The girls arrive and video Ru tell them that this week’s challenge is going to be about channeling someone famous and the girls all share a knowing look and solemnly declare that it’s time for impersonations.

Actual Ru shows up in the workroom and has the girls do a quiz wherein we learn that there are actual drag queens who don’t know the last name of Dorothy and Straight Roommate opines that “Ru is one of those rare people who are much better looking as a woman than a man.” The contest doesn’t seem to matter at all and is just a set-up to declare that this week is going to be all about Oprah.

Shannel the Showgirl freaks the fuck out. She asks if Oprah will be there and of course she won’t, because seriously, Oprah has better things to do. But this doesn’t stop Shannel from declaring, “Oprah is the most amazing person on earth.”

picture-110The girls have to channel their inner Oprah and everyone is excited except for poor Nina, who has never seen Oprah because somehow Oprah only shows up on cable in Puerto Rico and she doesn’t know who this mysterious and wonderful woman who gives away cars and wisdom is.

Shannel can’t shut up about how she’s the biggest Oprah fan in the world and explains to a dubious Bebe that Oprah is “responsible for who I am today”, which makes us wonder if Shannel gets Oprah’s self-empowerment message. In any event, Shannel used to weigh 217 lbs and was a miserable fat kid until Oprah came along and showed her the benefits of rapid weight change.

Everyone is scared of Bebe because she looks like Oprah, but the real worries come when Rebecca asks Bebe for her dark make-up and starts to do blackface. Shannel comes over and explains that it’s about channeling your “inner Oprah” in a serious manner that says, “Um, yeah, please don’t do blackface,” and Rebecca washes off her dark, dark make-up, sparing us from seeing how Santino and Ru would respond to a drag in black face. Which would have been interesting, but we’re pretty sure the producers would never have let it happen.

Based on her makeup, Akashia is doing doughy Oprah, and this episode is all about redeeming Akashia, it seems, which is never a good sign. We find out that she lets people stay at her house rent-free, which supposedly categorizes her for sainthood, but from what we know about Akashia just convinces us she’s either engaging in human trafficking or starting some sort of bitchy drag cult in her living room

Ru asks her what her inspiration for Oprah is and Akashia says she’s doing Oprah as if “she were speaking at–“, but we never find out because Ru interjects “The Tuskegee Institute?”– which is the best line of the show so far.

Ru calls the girls “Squirrelfriends”, which Straight Roommate explains is gay slang, though I’ve never heard it (admittedly, I do not go out much these days), but he says his gay BFF Jason uses it all the time, so there you go. I don’t know how I feel that I’m getting my gay slang news from a straight guy, but hey, that’s the 21st Century for you.

picture-42Nina Flowers finds out that part of the challenge requires hr to be on teleprompter which prompts her to say “Okay, that’s nice” with the voice of someone who does not read English well and Shannel has once again pronounced herself the winner of the competition before it even happens. “I’m the biggest Oprah fan here, so as far as I’m concerned, this is already over.” Have we told you we hate Shannel yet?

Logo seems to have taken our advice and the ads this week are for the Oscars and Medea Goes to Jail instead of the awful gay shows they produce– though we probably imagine this has something more to do with the show being successful enough a draw to lure real advertisers. Oh wait, there’s a Noah’s Arc ad. Blech.

Anyway, the competition is broken into three parts- they must read some news from the teleprompter using tricky words like “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”, sell some infomercial item and interview Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, the stars of Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, also a World of Wonder production. Three cheers for cross-brand promotion.

Bebe’s Oprah is the best. Ongina looks like Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa and even makes a cute joke about it. We love Ongina. She’s approachable, funny and has her stuff together. She’s got the C.U.N.T. mantra down. She is the only one who manages to sound like a real talk show host, too. The rest of them are all various shades of terrible.

Bebe is more Avon Lady than Oprah and asks too many questions and doesn’t understand that the interview isn’t about her. Akashia doesn’t stand for Tori and Dean and makes an ass of herself by bending over and showing Tori her ass. Nina Flowers doesn’t know how to read a queue card and asks is Tori has HIV, but rolls with it and manages to salvage the interview.

On Vaseline Alley the guest judges are media consultant Howard Bragman and Mad TV‘s Debra Wilson Skelton who screams something about the winner being on her show, which is funny I guess because Mad TV is canceled. I guess there’s just not a huge market for awkward uncomfortable humor, what with Joan Rivers cornering the market.

picture-35The runway show allows the girls to wear their own looks (What? No, “Channel your inner Gale?”) and Shannel is Medusa, Ongina is a cross between Bjork and Madeline Kahn, Bebe is Tina Turner meets Lion King and Akashia falls on the runway!!!!

And Akashia falls on the runway!

And Akashia falls on the runway!

No, I am not typing the same thing over and over again to boost my word count, it’s just that we s this moment repeated fifty times, with loud doom drum playing, in slow motion. The producers think they’ve found the drag equivalent of the Zapruder tapes it seems. To Akashia’s defense, she sort of recovers with a spin and twirl, but yup, she fell.

The judges dissect and Ru tells Shannel, “I haven’t seen much vulnerability from you; we need to see some vulnerability,” and as a response Shannel blankly blinks her bedazzled eyes and mutters, “Input confirmed,” or something along those lines. The judges think her costume is too showgirl and we don’t see what’s “showgirl” about a giant wig made up of snakes and fake breasts encircled by asps. Oh wait…

Rebecca is sweet and fun and we’re sorry we don’t say more about her in these recaps, but thus far she’s sort of boring. Of all the contestants, she most looks like a woman and who knows, maybe she’s the sleeper of the series?

Bebe, whose wig is the size of a small boulder gets “Most improved” and Debra says she is the “only one with an X factor.” Jade looks great, but her dress shows her package and she sucks at channeling her inner Oprah according to the judges.

picture-54Bebe is pronounced the winner, which we don’t really care about because Shannel and Akashia get to “Lipsync for your life” as the bottom two. Thus far, Akashia has managed to win these things, but she’s yet to have any real competition. Last week Tammie just sort of gave up, but Shannel didn’t lose all those pounds for nothing, dammit.

They lipsync to Whitney’s “The Greatest Love of All” and then just as the bridge of the song heads to the final climax, Shannel loses her big wig-o-snakes and, rather than giving up, she perseveres on. The judges go wild as wigless Shannel takes them home and there are two ways to look at this: One is that Shannel lost her wig and managed to demonstrate her “vulnerabilty” and nerve at just the moment she needed to. The second is that Shannel knew she had to do something dramatic and took the calculated risk of “losing her wig” to show the judges just how “vulnerable” she is. Since Shannel is actually a drag robot and not an actual person, we think it’s pretty obvious which scenario we think it is.

But hey—it works and Shannel wins! Like all bitches, Akashia totally collapses after losing, saying through tears, “I have not cried in four years!” See, robots everywhere! Goodbye forever Akashia! Good news is that you stayed long enough that we actually got a sense of who you are. The bad news is that we hated you and are glad to see you go. The other good news, though, is that we probably hate Shannel more than you, so now you can read us say awful things about her in the recaps instead of you. And you win a new car!

Just kidding. This isn’t Oprah, after all.

You can watch full episodes online here.

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  • Amber LeMay

    When Skelton commented she wanted the winner to be on her show, I beleive she was doing her own “channeling” of Oprah. In her introduction Ru mentioned that Skelton was known for her Oprah impersonation.

    It’s too bad that this challenge wasn’t earlier in the competition as I think that both Victoria and Tammie would’ve been in the top three.

    Next week’s sponsor should be ShamWow as it looks like all of them go on a crying jag.

    Can’t wait!

  • Qjersey

    RP dissed NYC queens, but Akashia is cut from the same cloth as pier and ball queens.

    Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent (CUNT), but Akashia was so serving street cunt.

  • Sebbe

    I vote for straight roommate to be queerty’s official gay tv show live blogger!!!

    It was Jade, not Rebecca who started to do blackface.

    All I could think of was Hillary trying to pronounce Dmitry Medvedev during that debates when the galz were trying to say Ahmadinejad.

    I’m sorry you don’t say more about Rebecca either, she is hands down the best looking boy and the best looking girl. What is straight roommates opinion of her? Straighty obvi is reading the comments, JOIN IN!!

    I defo thought Shannel lost that “wig”? on purpose. She better be the next to go. I’ve never known any drag queens, but she’s the worst kind IMO.

    The best line of the night was Akaisha, “you haven’t seen the last of me”.

    My straight friend is obsessed with this show, he even had to show me all the videos on the website. There are ones of confessionals in their hotel rooms (cockroaches and all) with Akaisha (that’s the only one he made me watch) drunk and bitching from day one!!

    Stag hags are the best of friends. Vote for straight roommate!!

  • Olive Yurdich

    Post some half-naked pics of Straight Roommate and we will comment.

  • Sebbe

    Oh, I actually like the fact that absolut feels “obliged” to sponsor all things gay for fear that gays might forget about vodka.

  • Michael


    Generally great review for a trash-tastic show, minor editing quibbles aside. How many ways are there to spell Akashia? I was hoping that Asian Reporter Trisha Takanawa would have won, but I think the Lion Queen costume plus the respectable job at the news made Bebe shoe-in.

    This is [Your Name]. Good night.

  • kevin

    okay, this LONG article about a really bad stupid show confirms it. Queerty has become Perez Hilton. Sad. Goodbye.

  • Sebbe

    @Kevin – bye bye.

    This is one of the only things worth watching for “entertainment” purposes on television right now and is sooo relevant to this site.

    Again, Japhy, thank you for reviewing this and I don’t know how personally you could ignore it. Pop culture is just as much of our identity and personification as anything else written on this site.

  • Sebbe

    @Kevin – I would remind you to re-read Queerty’s self description of itself.

    “Queerty is the gay blog. There’s just no other way to say it. With its sharp eye for news, entertainment, shopping, fashion, and travel for the GLBT community, Queerty reaches an audience of upwardly mobile gay men and women who have long since abandoned traditional (and staid) gay media. When it comes to independent gay media, Queerty is at the top”

  • Sean

    This show is hysterical! And Shannel losing her wig was a great moment, planned or unplanned. Nina Flowers had the best commercial and for the first time I really enjoyed Ongina!

  • Sebbe

    @Sean – I also think I appreciated Ongina for the first time last night. I’m glad we are getting to see so many different sides of the girls in the few short episodes so far.

    This show is very well done and because of it I actually found and watched and enjoyed logo’s documentary Equality U which was very well done.

    If one of Ru’s goals in this show was to put drag back on the radar I think he accomplished his goals. I have personally never known any drag queens with the exception of Ru on teevee and a bartender at a club in Boston who is fabulous. I wouldn’t say I was anti before, but I have a whole new understanding and respect for it personally and for those that partake in it.

    Me and some friends went to a drag bar in Boston (that I didn’t even know existed) and had an awesome time after seeing this show and we will definitely be going back.

  • Sunday

    Rebecca should be the next to go. She’s boring as dishwater and if I wanted to see a pretty girl who can’t manage to walk in heels, I’d watch Tyra’s show.

  • Faberge L'Eggs

    Best episode yet!

    Shannel looked like Ming the Merciless while interviewing Tori and Dean, and she looked like Ursula the Sea Witch when allowed to do whatever she wanted.

    Note to Shannel: a French manicure isn’t what a sorceress of the briny deep would have. More for porn stars and girls at the prom, honey.

    I think it’s going to come down to Bebe and Nina.

  • GranDiva

    Howard Bragman is teh HOT! How has that one slipped past me? I mean, I know people who know Bradley Bayou; no power bears should ever escape my attention…

    And the whole Debra Wilson thing. She hasn’t been on MadTV for, what, six years now? She’s mostly famous for being in the audience at American Idol finales these days. Erica Ash (ironically enough, from the Big Gay Sketch Show, where she played Gayle King a few times) is positioned to be the new Debra Wilson in the last season of MadTV, and she’s much more amusing.


    And yet you seem to have time to write a snarky comment about it, instead of just LEAVING. I mean, you say that as if anyone else actually CARES whether you read this (or any other) blog at all.

  • cruiser

    @Olive Yurdich: I vote for that !

  • cruiser

    @Olive Yurdich: better yet, how bout totally naked pictures of Straight Roomate?!

  • kevin (not that one)

    Really…seeing Medusa lip sync The Greatest Love of All was just awesome. And the snake wig was off the hook. This was by far my favorite episode and I was so glad to hear the other queens talk about how they missed Tammy at the beginning of the show. Tammy, other than Nina, was truly the most unique on the show.

    Nina is starting to bring it home. I hope she makes it through, but I sense that she has a little problem with insecurity.

    And I have to hand it to Shannel. She totally missed the mark on the Oprah thing, but she pulled out of that last bit with flying colors.

    The celebrities on this one were great to see…I just wish we could’ve heard more from Deborah Wilson Skelton cause I’ve loved her on MadTV.

  • gurlene

    @Sebbe: Hey sweetie. Since you are obviously in the know what does “squirelfriends” mean? I read that piece 5 times and still don’t understand the meaning of that slang. And please hurry. My rhumatism is acting up and I have to lie back down.

  • atdleft

    @Olive Yurdich: Hehe. I like that idea. Can Straight Roommate be the official Queerty vlogger? Oh, and can he blog shirtless? :-D

  • atdleft

    @kevin (not that one): Yeah. Some of the other gals here may not be into Shannel, but I was touched by that lip sync for her life. Come on, just being able to upstage Akashia is deserving enough of a win! Oh, and I do give her credit for looking cute as a girl AND a boy. ;-)

  • atdleft

    OK, I just finished watching online & here’s what I think. First, Bebe totally deserved to win this week! Not only did she pull off great looks, but she actually (gasp!) proved she has great talent. Some of the other queens competing still haven’t shown much talent yet.

    Secondly, it was time for Akashia to go. She skated by on her attitude for far too long without showing the talent to back it up. Sorry, girlfriend, but just ‘cuz you look good in a dress and can lipsync Destiny’s Child doesn’t make you a superstar.

    And finally, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who’s really becoming an Ongina fan. If it weren’t for Bebe’s fabulous interview, I think Ongina could have pulled off a second win in a row. Her “Connie Chung tribute” kept me LMAO the whole time! :-D

  • sparkle obama

    the editor continues to get the two “latin (looking) boys” confused

    and ongina compared herself to connie chung, not tricia takanwa.

    and what?

  • BobP

    Yes, that Shannel works my nerves. First of all, that interview had a super high cringe factor…all those questions, jeez.
    Just before she lost her head gear, she did this scary St. Vidas dance spasm, which caused the malfunction.
    But, as I’ll never forget, she’s Oprah’s biggest fan. The BIGGEST, you hear?

  • Sebbe

    @Gurlene – I guess thank you LOL, I’m not sure if I’m in the know, but I’m not positive about squirrel friends, I have only ever heard my west coast friends say it. I always thought it just meant your attractive friends.

    @Faberge – Ming the Merciless, Ursla the Sea witch – I just LMFAO so hard. The description was right on. Ru, was right too, Shannel had an agenda in wearing that outfit.

    Can I just add that I love Tori, and Dean is always up for playing along too. When I was a kid and she was on 90210 I told myself I’d marry her, WOW, shoulda known then. LOL.

    It is kinda funny that Japh keeps confusing the latino boys and I have no idea where he got takanawa, ongina even said the name Connie. Oh and WTF is Tricia Takanawa?

    Straighty needs to proof read the article first babe.

  • BrianZ

    Loved the show, yet again! I will admitt to squeeling with joy when Akashia was told to go. It was more than joy when she fell: Kick the dress honey, don’t walk on it! She was never of any interest other than to exemplify what _not_ to be.

    Ongina is great in drag, but manages to match Shannel’s attitude out of it: C.U.N.T. all the way. I did appreciate that Shannel showed some love in missing Tammy, with everyone except Akashia agreeing.

    IMO, Nina is still the girl to beat!

    Oh, and as a PS to Queerty: There are many web publishing packages that spell check. I strongly suggest you invest in some licenses and make it mandatory. Seriously, even Perez manages to spell everything in the headlines correctly.

  • REBELComx

    I love this show more and more every week. This episode had me laughing my ass off at so many little things. Oh and for those of you who don’t know…Tricia Takanawa is the Japanese reporter from Family Guy, voiced by another MadTV staple, Alex Borstein. And while Ongina did refer to herself as Connie Chung (another MadTV impression done very well by Bobby Lee), she could have easily been Quahog’s Asian correspondent.

  • Sebbe

    ohh I’ve never seen family guy, I thought it was a real person. Borstein was awesome as Bunny Swan though? The best character on MadTv ever.

    Ms. Swan at the gay bar

  • Sebbe

    This show better be renewed for a second season.

  • BrianZ

    @gurlene: Oh yea, ‘squirrel’friends: What do squirrels do, especially before winter?

    They hide their nuts! ;-)

  • Sebbe

    @gurlene – bf tells me its anyone who likes dick gay or female, but i’m suspicious cause he rarely knows something I don’t, LOL, kidding. Maybe japhy’s str8 roommate can fill us in.

  • Monica Roberts

    I will have to admit, this is better than some of the “low sodium catfood” they try to pass off as dinner to the elderly.

    I want to be like Akashiea, and don’t give a care how people think.

  • Sebbe

    Why were Dean McDermott’s toenails painted? Does str8 roommate know Is this a new trend with str8 men?

  • kf


  • Sebbe

    @KF – kindly tone down the caps so early in the morning. LOL. Who or what is vitamin C besides the nutrient.

  • gurlene

    @Sebbe: Thank you. I have called people that I don’t even like and no one knows what it means either.

  • Sebbe

    @gurlene – where is Japhy’s str8y roommate when we need him? Maybe they can send him with Cord on his next assignment. LOL

  • Stop! Or My Daddy Will Shoot!

    I think Shannel is sweet. A little over-eager and chatty, but basically a decent gal. I think you’re just stretching to say something catty, Japher. Tut tut.

  • Sebbe

    @ Stop! Or My Daddy Will Shoot! – aren’t we all itching to say something “catty” in these times specifically when describing a reality show about drag queens? Seriously, how can you not? LOL

  • Ezekiel

    How is it I’ve never heard of this show? OMG. Sounds like a riot.

  • Sebbe

    @Ezekiel – watch all the episodes as soon as you can. They are available online at logo for free. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Sebbe

    @KF – Loved her, forgot all about her. Is she still around at all?

  • Mike

    Soo Shannel, Ive seen her show in Vegas.
    First off its done at the Gypsy which is about the size of my living room. Its a decent place considering but very small and definitely not the big lights of vegas people might be thinking.


    Her show is AMAZING! Extreamlly entertaining and hilarious.
    Shannel should be doing standup, I’m not kidding or trying to float her boat. I’ve seen the show at the Gypsy about 7 times and it has been different everytime.

    I’m not usually into drag shows either but every time Im in Vegas I look to see when her show is.

  • Sebbe

    @Mike – thanks for sharing. I assumed it was some big splashy vegas venue from the way she spoke.

  • Tom

    The only thing that could make this show any funnier is Japhy’s recap.

Comments are closed.