DRAG STRIP

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap Realness: Eat Your Makeup

rpdr s7e09 01You know how babies take a while to form object permanence, so if you move something out of their field of view, they forget that it exists? All the queens here are like that with Jaidynn. Even when wiping the mirror clean, Ginger seems completely unaware of how or why lipstick would have been there in the first place. These gals are focused: all anyone can talk about is who should stay in the competition and why. To that end, there is no small amount of negativity aimed at Trixie. I understand the resentment to some extent; I love Ms. Mattel, but how can she be America’s Next Drag Superstar if she hasn’t been through the Snatch Game? It’s her Benghazi.

The next day seriously, actually starts with Kennedy announcing that it’s a new day. I’m sending a strongly-worded email to whichever editor throws that in every week. There’s not really any morning banter, so the ladies must not have been on their A game for the round table chat. Instead, we launch right into Ru’s video message. Then again, who can blame her for wanting to rush to the announcement that John Waters is here?

rpdr s7e09 02Before we get to the Godfather of Filth, however, the girls need to get out their glasses and read, henny. From the clips we’re shown, it seems like most people were solidly funny, though Kennedy lagged a bit and Fame would have been better off keeping her mouth shut and just shooting everyone a dirty look. Ultimately, the shadiest shade is thrown by Trixie, who earns herself a gift certificate for sequin fabrics (also known as drag gold).

In honor of our favorite low-down, dirty director, Ru has created a Waters-themed maxi challenge. The ladies will be doing musical vignettes based on his movies! There have been a lot of group comedic performance assignments this season (with predictably lackluster results), so I’d normally question why we couldn’t do a photo shoot or make a dress out of garbage or something. Remember when we used to do that? But I am always ready for Divine inspiration, so bring it on.

rpdr s7e09 03The most unexpected turn of events this week is that Ru allows the girls to pick their own teams. Usually by this point in the season they’ve pulled out a robot that matches people based on the statistical likelihood that they will slowly murder each other. Despite her insistence that she doesn’t want Undead Barbie back in the game, Ginger gathers Trixie in a big, buttery hug. Kennedy goes full Gollum on Katya in her desperation to be matched with a decent partner. The remaining three (Fame, Pearl, and Violet, since you’ve likely forgotten that at least one of them exists) sort of drift aimlessly toward each other, aware that they have been abandoned because of their collective lack of ability in everything not directly related to wearing make-up and an outfit.

Riffing on the beginning of Female Trouble, Katya and Kennedy are asked to recreate Dawn Davenport’s Christmas meltdown. Though Katya is eager to play Divine’s role and seems suited for the task based on her personality, it quickly becomes apparent that the singing will be too demanding for her. Kennedy steps in and hits the high notes both literally and figuratively, pairing her solid pipes with a surprisingly sassy take on the character. Handed a thankless “mom” bit, Katya amps up the insanity with haphazard attire, a voice like a talking garbage disposal, and her signature meaty-tucked couch splits. It’s like looking through a portal to 1970s Baltimore.

Over on Team Eggs, Trixie is serving Pink Flamingos-era Divine by taking her turned-up-to-11 face and raising the volume to 13. Crib-bound Ginger, no pink lemonade, might have been born to embody Edith Massey: her voice, mannerisms, and appearance are so wrongly right that I hope John Waters signs her for something pronto. Though Ms. Mattel takes some flak for not being extreme enough, she’s a competent singer and performer and the team overall delivers.

rpdr s7e09 04The remaining girls are given “Poo” and they’re straight-up drowning in it. These leftovers are not the kind that get better with age. All three women are playing Divine, but other than collectively wearing a year’s worth of eyeliner, they get nothing right. Like, whose idea was the thick New York accent? Or the low, growly voice? Or the broad arm movements and squatting? It would take months of rehearsal to salvage a decent minute out of this abomination. And I generally like abominations!

On the runway, the category is “Ugliest Dress Ever.” Carson Kressley and Demi Lovato are technically part of the panel, but the two of them combined don’t add up to a single decent judge. John Waters counterbalances by being one of the greatest people ever. If he and RuPaul were a presidential ticket, I would lobby for lifetime terms for them both. Many of the queens don’t provide the tastelessness that was asked of them, but Katya knows exactly how to scuzz it up, and her macrame monstrosity impresses. Despite displaying a frock she’d probably otherwise wear if it weren’t in a radioactive snot hue, Ginger takes the win.

rpdr s7e09 05Violet’s turd of an acting job is saved by her legitimately unwholesome fashion statement. That thing looks like wearing it requires subsequent medical attention. The bottom is thus occupied by Pearl and Fame. Honestly, you could change the channel right here. We know that Fame has to go home, and we know that a lip sync from these two will be less interesting than the 7th Heaven rerun they’re probably showing on ABC Family right now. Like, the song is called “I Really Don’t Care” for Christ’s sake. It’s dire. In any other circumstance, Pearl’s zombie frat bro arm movements and vacant fish eyes would be cause for her immediate dismissal (unless she were lip syncing against Trixie and they wanted to create drama WHAT), but Fame is a total mannequin, and not the fun Kim Cattrall kind. The self-appointed Cosmic Queen is ejected back into space. It’s OK, girl: you’ll always be beautiful on YouTube.

 

Chris J. Kelly performs under the drag name Ariel Italic; in addition to this recap, he hosts weekly Drag Race viewings at the 9th Avenue Saloon in New York City.