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When RuPaul brought last season’s first cast-off, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, back into the Drag Race fold in this season’s premiere episode, no one, least of all me, had too high of hopes for the queen. There was a collective “why” from the Drag Race-watching community. We’d seen the woefully under-prepared Shangela peter out and generally be annoying last season — and as I just mentioned, she managed to squash any goodwill she had in just one measly episode.
But somewhere during the current season, surprisingly, Shangela turned into a drag force to be reckoned with. That infectiousness was no more on display than in last night’s latest episode of Drag Race, which challenged our gals on the go to put together a stand-up act in front of a live studio audience, as well as the regular judges, longtime funnylady Rita Rudner, and Chelsea Lately comedian Arden Myrin.
Halle-lou: Shangela is funny! The photo above shows Shangela at her best during the hour — playing her character of Laquifa, the Post-Modern Pimp Ho. “Yes, I’m still a pimp,” Shangela said, introducing herself to the live crowd. “But I’m also my own ho.” The character was so well developed, especially when compared to some of the characters from the other gals. “Cause of the recession I done had to scale back,” Shangela continued during her stand-up routine. “Sometimes I don’t even pay myself my own money. If I did, maybe I could get some shoes where my toes weren’t hanging five inches over the edge!” It’s silly, but just ridiculous enough to be gut-bustingly hilarious.
Indeed, this little joke bit was my favorite: “You know I had a dumb-ass girlfriend who went and joined PETA,” Shangela said. “She came screaming at me, talking like, ‘Laquifa!’ I said, ‘What?!’ She said, ‘Laquifa! Don’t you know how many innocent animals had to die for you to have that fur coat?’ I said, ‘Bitch! Do you know how many rich animals I had to f— to get this coat?! Stupid b—-!'” More than anything, it was just the vigor with with Shangela attacked the whole situation. There was almost a guttural growl from the gal on stage. Halle-lou, again!
No one deserved the win more than Shangela, and Ru said as much. “As a post-modern pimp, you b—- slapped the competition,” the high-priestess of drag said after crowning Shangela the winner. A special shout-out has to go to Yara Sofia, whose insane little-person comedy show was so inspired and yet so freaky (and maybe offensive?) at the same time.
And what of the bottom two? Delta Work — our last big girl — and Manila Luzon were made to sing Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park,” which turned out to be one of the most cohesive lipsynch-for-your-life sessions every in Drag Race history. It was sweet seeing Delta and the makeup-streaked Manila embracing at the end of the singing session. Ultimately, though, the performance signaled not only the end for Delta — but also the end of the line for the much-heralded big girls of this season. Sad! I really hated seeing Delta go — besides being an entertaining queen on the runway, she brought a lot of comedy and lightness to the non-runway moments. She will be missed. “I’m just glad to have lost to a Heather,” Delta said in her final moments, “and not one of the boogers.” That’s the spirit!
What’d you all think of the episode? Am I — and Ru and the rest of the judges — making too much of Shangela’s comedy performance? Would you, like me, like to see the uncut version of the gals comedy bits? Who are you rooting for as things get down to the wire? Sound off below!
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky
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