Sharon Needles has been dominating RuPaul’s Drag Race in its first three episodes this season, and of course, there are other strong contestants, like Willam and Phi Phi O’Hara and some of the other sundry queens. But last night on the show’s new episode, “Women Behind Bars,” saw a star who was burning somewhat quietly really brighten up: Latrice Royale.
I’ve loved the big gal since the show opened — and I’ve been rooting for her — but she really turned it on last night in the main challenge, which found the ladies acting out a scene from the fake sitcom Hot in Tuckahoe. As Ru described at the top of the challenge, Tuckahoe was about “four best squirrel friends who keep getting arrested and sent to jail.” (The show looked cray-cray, but also like something I would watch… and enjoy.) Considering her prison past, Latrice was sure she was a perfect fit for the sitcom. “As soon as I saw that there was a prison guard,” Latrice said, “I knew that was the role for me.” And Latrice delivered, giving the camera such a load of facial expressions that the editors cut various shots of her lip-pursing into her group’s comedy scene. “Honey, you could do that for half an hour,” Will & Grace creator Max Mutchnick told Latrice, of her perfect pursing, “and they would laugh.” She was successful largely because she just went for it and performed over the top, which is what works in television sitcoms. (To be fair, Dida, Willam, and Phi Phi did well, too — they all employed a similar balls-to-the-wall approach.)
Latrice also scored for me during the episode’s runway-prep time. Things came back to her stint in prison, to which she had little remorse — Latrice instead looked ahead. “Everybody makes mistakes,” she said. “But bitch, you better look sickening when you get up.” And then, Willam asked Latrice to “take us to church,” which consisted of a dance session with all the queens. Which was nothing short of sheer brilliance!
The other interesting thing about Latrice, of course, is that — with Madame LaQueer’s much-needed offing (what was with that horrid accent?) — she’s one of only two big girls left in the competition, alongside Jiggly. (And she, honestly, doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning the competition.) Latrice is the Big Girl Club’s only chance of a winner, and she does actually seem like a real contender. Do you agree?
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky