“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap: Hold Me Closer, Whiny Dancer

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Though the girls arrive having just witnessed an elimination, the mood is surprisingly placid. Out of sight, out of mind, it seems. At least Serena ChaCha was offered an extended public shaming; I’m not sure that anyone even says “Monica Beverly Hillz” out loud after her exit. Everyone’s too busy with new drama to care about what happened five minutes ago. In drag, you wear your hair big so you never have to look back.

Straight away, we get two key pieces of information: Jade is good friends with Coco, and Vivienne is tired of all the attention-stealing, loudmouthed queens, especially Roxxxy. The editing team at Logo has lost some of its knack for subtlety this season. It’s like the episodes are Cliff’s Notes of themselves. (And, hello, that’s my job, thanks.)

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To announce the mini-challenge, Ru appears in a voluptuous afro that she probably stole from the set of The Brady Bunch Movie to announce an impromptu dance-off. Each queen is given a slammin’ sphere of synthetic spirals, a few minutes to crap out a busted look and a chance to make the crowd jealous of her boogie. I applaud the participants, Pit Crew included, for collectively suppressing the urge to wear the wig as a merkin. OK, no I don’t. There is nothing admirable about restraint in this competition.

When all is said and done, the two winners are Coco for legitimately having rhythm and Jinkx for delivering sizzling charisma and a legit split. Yet again, the chicas are divided into teams, half to create interpersonal tension and half for crowd control. Remember how Jade was so glad that shantay-Coco-stayed? Well, she’s less thrilled about that friendship when she ends up in Jinkx’s posse.

On the other hand, no one is excited about their friendship with Vivienne (because such a connection does not exist), and Viv is pissy right back at them. She keeps talking about how bothered she is by everyone’s desire to make a spectacle, as if that isn’t the main expectation of a performer. Where does she think she is, America’s Next Top Mannequin?

For their main challenge, the ladies will be performing a ballet (“ballet”) depicting RuPaul’s life story (“life story”) in short vignettes. Alaska, who dances like one of those wind sock people at a used car lot, is terrified. Conversely, the task inspires Alyssa, who is I guess a professional dancer. And that’s not even a euphemism for stripper like it usually would be!

Since it’s clear that the contestants will be lost without assistance, and maybe even with it, Ru kindly provides them with talented, ridiculously attractive choreographers: Travis Wall and Nick Lazzarini. Everyone is straight-up dicknotized. People’s eyes get so hungry that Eric Carmen got a royalty check. Don’t slip in those drool puddles now!

Rehearsals don’t run particularly smoothly, but some of that drama is patently manufactured. I mean, Coco was so playing to the camera when she paired herself with Alyssa in their black swan/white swan routine, but giving them a lift to execute was just psychotic. Alaska continues to fret about her inability to control her limbs or tell right from left. Both teams have a Diana Ross impersonator for some reason, and that segment is basically a race to the bottom: Lineysha has never even heard of the woman, and whoever is operating the Honey Mahogany animatronic puppet must be drunk.

On elimination day, Alyssa has a lot to say about how art inspires her and her father never accepted her love of the dance and choreographing has helped her to blah blah whatever learn to abbreve, girl. Honey shares that her family sent her to Africa after finding a picture of her in women’s clothing, and I immediately panicked. If you’ve been in the background for three weeks and the producers suddenly give you a back story, you’re probably in trouble.

Before the runway walk, we get to watch the whole ballet. Seeing everyone in flats was quite telling: some people really lose their femininity without a heel to #sissythatwalk for them. Also, those little white booties got filthy quickly. Whose turn was it to sweep the stage? PIT CREW!

dragrace e04 03All Alaska’s fretting was for naught, because she doesn’t need grace and flexibility to tell a story. She sails through with a stank face and a Cabbage Patch Kid between her thighs, delivering the only standout performance on her team. The next group has a little more trouble; Vivienne and Roxxxy’s number elicits a couple furrowed brows from Travis, while Michelle heaves a vicious sigh at Honey. And bear in mind, it’s hard for Michelle to lift her chest without a spotter. She had to really mean it.

And all of a sudden the catwalk takes ten seconds in split-screen fast-forward. Club drugs! Since I can’t review individual looks, I’ll talk about the judges. Santino, as usual, is epitomizing a church gargoyle that joined the Mafia during Prohibition. Michelle straightened her hair, and seeing her flirt with normalcy is uncanny. Ru is wearing the whole bordello and I’m living for it.

Critiques go as expected. Ivy and Jinkx earn praise for their comedic chops, but Alyssa’s training garners her a win, a feathered headdress, and immunity. That should be literal next season: whoever has immunity wears a feathered headdress. Make them eat it! Roxxxy is criticized for her lack of performance ability (and I think Chaz Bono calls her fat), but Vivienne and Honey catch Ru’s attention for their complete lack of ability to catch anyone’s attention, and are thus cast into the bottom two.

Ru tries to stir the pot by asking everyone who should go home, but I’m not going to dignify that kind of string pulling with deeper examination. Don’t stand for cheap tricks, ladies and gentlemen.

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And then it happens! No, not a breakthrough moment in which one of the potential sashayers develops a personality. Their lip sync to Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again” has no “didding” whatsoever. But afterwards, while I’m thinking to myself that I wouldn’t care if they both went home, they both get sent home. It’s a triumph of the human spirit. My faith in Rumanity is restored.

I’m so happy, I could give out some AWARD AWARDS!

To Coco Montrese, I present the MacGyver Prize for Ingenious Applications of Household Items. Lacking hair in which to stick her bobby pins, she just duct tapes them right to her bald head. She’s crazy like a fox.

The No-Really-I’m-Fine Do-It-Yourself Crucifixion Kit goes to Jade Jolie. Because truly Coco, she’s so happy to be on Jinkx’s team. Happy, happy, happy. Did you pack a bag? We’re going on a guilt trip.

And Vivienne Pinay earns a Menacing Old-School Fish in the Mail both because she can’t stop talking about how fishy she is and because she’s so annoying that I a-little-bit want to drown her.

ON UNTUCKED: Alaska gets her first trip to the Gold Bar, does a pretty good RuPaul impersonation and receives a delicious message from her corpse bride Sharon Needles. There’s predictable bitchery over Alyssa’s accusation that Jade should go home. The additional footage from the workroom is interesting, but the catty remarks are like audio melatonin.