“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap: Ruplication

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As fellow Drag Race addicts can attest, this show’s format has remained remarkably static during its run. I was thus shocked and disoriented when the first few minutes introduced several innovations. To wit, the first scene (which now comes before the theme music) happens right after judging rather than the following day.

Since the elimination is so fresh in everyone’s mind, the discussion is intensified, and no one is shy about sharing their hope that Serena ChaCha goes home soon. This surprises Serena, who thought that having the strength to get back up after falling on her face would earn her some respect. Sadly for her, the other queens know that a toddler won’t stay standing for long. As they await the next inevitable tumble, they freely and forcefully express their distaste for her whenever the opportunity arises. Which is often.

When the opening sequence plays, it’s also been changed! No more listening to the theme song: Ru announces the prizes and guest judges over the titles. It was tough to adjust to at first, but then I realized that she no longer has to recite the list to the trying-to-look-excited-again contestants every week, so it’s actually a genius edit.

Back in the workroom, the first coalition has officially formed: Roxxxy, Alaska, and Detox are now Rolaskatox. They claim that it’s a new drug for people who are gagging, but I think it might give you delusions of grandeur. Also, why do people on this show get so proud of the teams they’ve formed? You can’t save your friends. This isn’t Survivor. Though since that’s about the only reality show they haven’t parodied yet, maybe Ru should make the eliminated queens fight over wigs on a deserted island.

After a SheMail message referencing herstory, Ru segues into the mini challenge — and the transition is so smooth when no one has to talk about a lifetime supply of ThisSeason’sSponsor™ Cosmetics. In a game that both decides team leaders and advertises RuPaul singles (an accidental byproduct, I’m sure), everyone must lip sync old tracks into cardboard cut outs. Honestly, watching them apply their lipstick is the most exciting part, but drama returns once the winners are announced. The first captain? Friggin’ Serena ChaCha, followed by Detox and Ivy Winters.

The ladies choose teams one by one (Jade Jolie is picked last and, naturally, is offended) and then receive their assignment: to reenact famously catty moments from previous seasons of Untucked. I was unconvinced of the merits of this idea, but it turns out to be a wonderful benchmark of people’s skills because it demands a convincing look, compelling acting and the ability to lip sync spoken words rather than rhythmic lyrics.

Serena’s team is assigned Season 3, and Jade is further debased by being forced to impersonate Delta Work against her will. Though she never says it, I assume it’s because she’d rather not play the fat one. You know how the young twinks are. Despite a brief crying jag, Jinkx Monsoon delivers power-lifting realness as Mimi Imfurst. In fact, everyone in the group seems well equipped for the challenge except their leader, who hasn’t the first idea how to portray someone as fabulous as Raja. It’s kind of like how a smart person can play dumb, but a dumb person can’t play smart. In fact, it’s exactly like that.

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For their presentation of Season 2, the queens on Team Ivy are worried about Lineysha Sparx, initially because English is her second language and then because she seems to be pulling focus inappropriately during the shoot. When it comes time to film her embodiment of Tyra Sanchez, however, it is GAME ON. Honey Mahogany gives a pretty great Mystique Summers, but the perfectionist from Puerto Rico still outdoes her.

Since Team Detox is dishing out Season 4, Alaska has the chance to absolutely savage PhiPhi O’Hara. I hadn’t realized until this moment that one could use make-up as a weapon. Coco Montrese devastates as Lashauwn Beyond, but Monica Beverly Hillz falters. See, her head isn’t in the game because she has a secret. If you were in the kitchen getting a snack, don’t worry: someone will remind us every ten minutes like clockwork that her head isn’t in the game because she has a secret.

And then all of a sudden it’s runway time. Did that come up really suddenly for anyone else? It felt like we barely had time to process Juliette Lewis’ drunkenness or remember who Kristen Johnston is before the fashion show began.

The looks people are presenting seem to lack a cohesive theme, and since there was no outright top three or bottom three, it’s tough to know who to highlight. In a Drag Race first, Ivy stomps the catwalk in actual stilts. Following the circus trend, Alyssa Edwards walks her purse like it’s a dog. The effect is less charming than she had perhaps intended. Lineysha lands the win with her pitch-perfect outfit and stellar video, bagging some new clothes and a week of immunity. In the bottom: the forever shunned Serena ChaCha and the oddly distant Monica Beverly Hillz.

Speaking of which: Monica, weren’t you primed for a shocking revelation? Cue the chords, cue the tears, cue the penetrating stares. Ms. Beverly Hillz isn’t a drag queen; she’s a transgendered woman. If there were questions posed about how far she’s gone with her transition or whether it would disqualify her from the competition, then they were left on the cutting room floor. She’s offered nothing but support, provided she can last through this lip sync.

The truth sets her fierceness free, though, and as Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World)” plays, Monica effortlessly mops the floor with the little loudmouth next to her. No one is sorry to see Serena’s granny panties sashaying away.

Good job, everyone! Now let’s hand out…


To Serena ChaCha, the most recent girl to be Rumoved from the competition, I bestow the If I Only Had a Brain Fake Diploma. Stop talking about your “art school” experience, hon. You went to Florida State University. Really.

Roxxxy Andrews gets pinned with the India Ferrah Chesticle Cancer Ribbon for being the first contestant this season to parade her polystyrene protrusions in front of the judges.

The Bloody Valentine Hyper-Absorbent Disinfectant Wipe goes to Detox, whose sanguine Sharon Needles with full-contact facial football was hilariously unsanitary.

And finally, a round of tepid applause to Alyssa Edwards for receiving the Mary Shelley Monster Creation Seal of Blame. You put Shangela in drag for the first time, and she’s been positively beastly ever since. She’s your fault, apparently!

ON UNTUCKED: Ivy forgets Serena’s name, and the shade darkens from there. By the end, it’s a vicious pile-on that Ms. ChaCha only encourages by suggesting that maybe the other “ghetto” queens should “read a book.” The line to kick her ass was suddenly 12 deep. She’d better be glad Ru eliminated her before someone else did. In happier news, Monica got a heartfelt video message from her loving mother. All the furniture in that room is now speckled with salty little drops of cried-off concealer.