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Oscars 2017
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'RuPaul's Drag Race' recap: 'Glamazonian Airways'

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RuPaul's Drag Race

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Reality TV

Is there a scientific principle that says the fishier the drag queen, the less sense of humor she has? Because while Miss Fame and Violet Chachki have been serving up all sorts of unagi rainbow rolls with their looks, they have remarkably low tolerance for Werk Room heat. Maybe it’s from all the effort it takes to keep that sushi raw. More on this later.

But first! I love that Max stayed in character as the polio victim even when hobbling back from the Runway. That’s the Gaga-in-“Paparazzi” commitment we want to see. At the first judging, we lost the spirited but unfortunately outdated Tempest DuJour, and not surprisingly, Kandy Ho was the one to spitefully erase Tempest’s parting message, which read, “You’re never too old to dream.” Aging, the only kind of karma that everyone can agree exists, is going to hit Kandy hard.

That wasn’t the only bit of childishness up top. Violet started pouting about Michelle’s critiques of her on the first runway about her “boy body,” going as far as to utter the words, “I hate Michelle Visage.” The other queens gasped in horror as if Violet had just used a deity’s name in vain, which, to be real, she had. She went on to console herself by saying, “Ewww, Michelle,” and, “I impressed myself,” which is the sort of thing that gives vintage queens a reason to hate the young ones. Pearl then went on to shade Sasha Belle for calling her out on the runway by quipping, “I’m pretty, and she looks like freaking John Goodman in a wig.” As Ginger Minj later said, we need an adult in here.

In swooped RuPaul to save us from another hissy fit. For the Mini Challenge, which felt like a challenge that would normally happen in the first episode of a season, the girls had to “give face, face, face” while the Pit Crew blew them … “With a leaf blower!” Ru added. On hand to guest-judge was Moby—MOBY?!?!—who looks like a daintier version of Kasha Davis. He said to Ru, “I feel sort of short and homeless standing next to you,” and of course Ru was unbelievably quick with the shade: “Well, and rightfully so.” We all bow down, and I remember to look up “South Side” by Moby featuring Gwen Stefani on YouTube. That was a catchy song.

The Mini Challenge came and went in a matter of seconds. Really, all it proved was that some queens’ lips become more blowup-doll-like than others when confronted with strong winds. Ginger Minj and Trixie win for making the funniest faces, so they get to be captains for the main challenge and choose their teams.

I’ll give leeway to the queens for being a bit sensitive about being chosen last—I’m sure that’s happened to every queen on the show and to almost everyone watching—but it was very telling which two ladies were left over: Violet Chachki and Kandy Ho. Both of them have a lot of strengths, but they also come with the stankest attitudes. Kandy said, “What the hell? They’re, like, underestimating what I can do,” in a way that suggested they weren’t underestimating her at all.

On Team Trixie, Violet immediately proved why she’s not a desirable teammate by snapping back at Trixie about every decision. The most hilarious part of Ru’s visits to the Werk Room is that she’s so good at uncovering all the queens’ B.S. When she asked Jaidynn if she’s ever done a spoken-word lip-synch, Jaidynn said she doesn’t THINK she’s done one before. When Ru asked Miss Fame if she’s ever acted, Miss Fame said, “Not yet. I mean, I’ve had some opportunities that could be considered, like, an entryway to acting but not to the degree that I’d like to see my future evolve into.” To which Ru simply responded, “Right, you just described a Craigslist ad.” Ru’s shade was on POINT tonight. But then again, she’s never NOT been on in 20 years, in the same way Violet is not NOT a dancer. Yeesh, an occasional “yes” or “no” might be nice, but I suppose drag queens are, by definition, draped in all sorts of ambiguities.

During rehearsals for the two teams’ lip-synched and choreographed Safety Pre-Flight Video for Glamazonian Airways, Team Minj seemed like it was in trouble because the two big girls weren’t delivering on the choreography. Team Trixie seemed to be buckling under the weight of its egos, as Pearl and Violet clashed over an opportunity to showcase the narrowness of Violet’s waist. “I have the smallest waist in RuPaul’s Drag Race history… I want people to SEE it!” said Violet with the intensity of Norma Desmond. Oy.

As the queens prepared for their performance, Ginger stealthily lobbed a shade grenade over the fence at Miss Fame, simply by saying something to the effect of, “I know you’re not a performer-performer…” Then Jasmine Masters saw blood and went in on Miss Fame, too, calling her a mannequin queen who stands there and looks pretty. Even Kennedy Davenport got in on it, too, while Jaidynn just laughed and laughed. Moments later, perhaps feeling a bit emotional, Miss Fame brought out old childhood pictures, including one of her late grandfather, who raised her was murdered when she was only 15. Damn. We’ve heard some sob stories on Drag Race, but Miss Fame’s really is one of the most heartbreaking. Not to minimize the tragedy in Miss Fame’s past, but I couldn’t get over how dead-eyed Violet looked and how unfeeling she sounded when she intoned, “It must be really hard to go through a lot… like that.” It looks like Pearl’s not the only robo-queen this season.

NEXT: Now for the main event! [pagebreak]

There’s so much to say about the Glamazonian Airways performances, but suffice it to say that the whole thing was hideously overlong and over-produced. HOWEVER, we don’t watch Drag Race for the restraint and subtlety. The amount of creativity and effort and talent that went into writing, producing, and choreographing those two numbers must have been immense, and you won’t see anything like it anywhere else on TV, so props must be given and attention must be paid. Snaps and kudos all around, even for that rap about farting and the P!nk! sound-alike. I’ll book my next trip on Glamazonian Airways, but only domestic. I can only look at Trixie’s clown makeup for so long, but maybe a hit off an oxygen mask would tide me over.

For the runway show, the queens all showed off their best jet-set outfits as the gorgeous Jordin Sparks and legendary Olivia Newton-John were on hand to guest-judge. Kasha, Violet, and Ginger Minj placed high, with Ginger Minj taking the win. I loved that The Minj didn’t wilt under Michelle Visage’s interrogation into her overly formal jet-set outfit, which The Minj expertly defended by saying it’s something Liz Taylor would have worn on a private jet. I’m so glad The Minj was able to do her “SAYUNDY” in front of Olivia Newton-John.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Miss Fame placed in the bottom three for being too stiff—The Minj and Jasmine had a point about her “performance” skills after all—but Katya would be lip-synching for her life along with Sasha Belle for her terrible lip-synch solo. Seriously, Katya totally effed it up, which was shocking. She lip-synched about as convincingly as Tom Hanks did in the latest Carly Rae Jepsen video

The only good thing about Katya being in the bottom two was that she whipped out the season’s first flying split in all its slo-mo glory!!! Great amplitude, too! A flying split is the Drag Race get-out-of-jail-free card, ESPECIALLY if you’re a heavier girl, which Katya isn’t, but if I were ever going to be on Drag Race, I’d surgically remove whatever tendons, muscles, or vital organs I had in my groinal area to ensure that I could pull one off. It will get you out of many a hairy situation unless deployed in the wrong context, which the otherwise fabulous Sahara Davenport (R.I.P. always) did in her final lip-synch against Jujubee. So Sharon Needless to say, Katya won and the rather forgettable Sasha Belle was sent to sashay away.

And now a thing I’d like to start doing every week by ranking the queens on my Fierce List:


1. Ginger Minj: I wasn’t so sure about The Minj at first, but there are so many reasons why she’s on top right now. Not only does she seem like the person I’d most want to hang out with in real life, but she also celebrates diversity, can withstand a toxic critique from Michelle Visage (take notes, Violet), and expertly dismantled Miss Fame’s confidence without even getting her nails dirty. Plus, there were so many one-liners tonight that I couldn’t even fit into the regular recap. “I’m about to flood my basement because that’s one good-lookin’ man!” “If you look at the other team, they look like Aryan Airlines.” “You better not Showgirls me!” This bitch is slayin’.

2. Max: Right now, this weirdo is staying out of the drama, but I’m loving her Milky energy. I can tell she sees drag as a real art that deserves some serious curation while also celebrating how silly it is.

3. Katya: I know, I know. She totally flubbed tonight’s challenge and was the reason her team lost, but I honestly think that was a one-time slip-up. She’s still, along with The Minj, the wittiest and sharpest tool in the Drag Race shed.

4. Kennedy Davenport: She’s only placing this high due to her all-out regality. I want to see some personality soon.

5. Jaidynn Diore Fierce: She doesn’t seem like the most-skilled queen, and she doled out a lot of excuses tonight, but something about her cute smiley face makes me REALLY happy.

6. Miss Fame: She still needs to set herself free from her own fishy standards, but she has a ton of potential. Her looks are still on point.

7. Pearl: I was greatly entertained by Pearl’s robotic-Stepford-Wife-on-Quaaludes persona, but now I’m beginning to suspect it’s not a persona but who Pearl actually is.

8. Jasmine Masters: I suspect we have yet to see the best from Jasmine Masters—might she shine in a dance challenge?—but in the meantime, I want to see a tad more refinement.

9. Kasha Davis: She did well this week, but there’s still something forgettable about her. We need to see more.

10. Violet Chachki: Terrible attitude, reeks of insecurity, but the visual is compelling.

11. Trixie Mattel: Fine personality, but something about her just screams basic. This is a personal preference, though. She could end up surprising us all. That clown makeup is still hard to take.

12. Kandy Ho: Go.