'RuPaul's Drag Race: Reunited!': 'The Drag Race may be over, but the real drama is just getting started...'
RuPaul crowned Raja America’s Next Drag Superstar one week ago, and last night found Ru bringing the season’s 13 queens back together for the requisite reunion. “Tonight on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Reunited!” our palatable host thundered at the beginning of the episode, “our 13 drag warriors return to battle it out, set the record straight, and let each other have it.” Or to get more to the point, Ru added: “The Drag Race may be over, but the real drama is just getting started.” It was an often funny, not-too-heated hour that found the queens bringing some realness and — look at those outfits above! — a true eleganza extravaganza. Here’s a quick dossier of what went down, in a quick, highlights-focused format:
THERE WAS PRODUCT PLACEMENT, NATCH Ru’s new album, Glamazon, recently hit iTunes, and he let you know it. “I’ve dedicated the song you’ve just heard to you and all my girls,” a smirking Ru told the first batch of queens who hit the stage, “and it just so happens to be the title track of my new album, Glamazon, available on iTunes.”
BUZZY TOPIC NO. 1: MIMI IMFURST’S LEGENDARY LIP SYNC Mimi explained what she was thinking when she picked up India Ferrah up during their infamous lip sync showdown in episode 3: “Well, I had been doing it in my show for 10 years. I’ve probably picked up over 1,000 people. Uh, I’ve never dropped anyone. It’s just something that I do. Some girls do splits or death drops, and that’s what I do. The stakes seem so high — you’re not lip syncing to Mariah’s Glitter album, you know, you’re lip syncing for your life.” And then India explained how she felt during the experience: “Craziness. It was just so out-of-the-blue, like, unexpected. I was trying to perform, and she would just like move in front of me, and I said, ‘Okay, I want the judges to see me.’ The only way y’all could see me was to go down to the judges, and in a split second, I was seeing the whole rest of the girls in the back of the room, and I didn’t know what was going on. I said, like, I’m up on this bitch’s shoulder. Like, what just happened?” The almost-forgotten Mariah offered her two cents about Mimi’s generally reviled tactics: “You could have simply rolled some marbles out there and just called it a day.”
MARIAH ON HER POOR LIP SYNC SKILLS “I just study Bebe Zahara Benet,” she said, hilariously. “If you move your lips enough, then they will think that you are turning it.”
STACY LAYNE: HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED? “Oh, I’m like the Oprah Winfrey of Back Swamp, North Carolina,” she told Ru. “I go outside, walk out my door, and my cousins are like, ‘Oh my God, hey, hey girl! Oh my God, it’s Stacy.’ I’m like, it’s still me, honey.”
DELTA WORK’S DRAG WISDOM After it came to light that some of the things Delta Work said about Stacy Layne during the season hurt her fellow big queen’s feelings, she explained her tactics to great effect. “Did I read? Absolutely. Did I talk shit? Absolutely. But my intention wasn’t to hurt someone’s feelings. This is a sorority and a fraternity at the same time. Part of drag is sitting back and talking s—. ‘Girl, you got that big ol’ wig on again?’ But did I think that I was more cut out for the competition from the outset. I did think so. Obviously I was wrong because you were winning before I was.” Who knew Delta was so poignant?
SHANGELA’S PILOT CASTING Ru set up her next question based on a report from yours truly. “Entertainment Weekly reports that you were just cast in a new TV show with Don Johnson. Tell me about that.” And Shangela did just that: “I recently was cast in a pilot called A Mann’s World, that’s being directed, created, and written by Michael Patrick King. I play a male hairstylist on the show, so I’m really excited about that, but I’m also excited about continuing Shangela.” But here’s where she really brought it all home: “So I’m dual pathing it, kind of like Beyoncé and Sasha Fierce.” One word for that: Werq!
BURGER KING SPONSORSHIP Did anyone else notice that the hour was sponsored by Burger King? Oddly perfect and totally wacky at the same time.
ALEXIS MATEO: WHAT’S THE FAM REACTION? “My family has been very supportive,” the pageant queen told Ru. “My mom became one of my biggest fans. It actually helped me understand my family’s point of view about the situation because I grew up in a very Catholic, Pentacostal family, and we have been mediating between the homosexuality and the whole drag experience in my family. Now they see me more as an actor, more than just a wannabe woman, which is a point I really wanted to put across in my family.” And another reveal: Season 3 was the third time that Alexis had tried out for Drag Race. How would she have fared if she’d made it on earlier? “Oh child, if I was chosen the first season or the second one, I probably would have gone home the first two episodes,” she said. And then some advice for queens in a similar situation: “Keep trying,” Alexis offered. “When the fire is there, when you wake up in the morning and that’s what you want to do, go for it. Never give up.”
MANILA LUZON: OFFENSIVE PORTRAYALS OF ASIANS? “When the episode of the news challenge aired, I got a lot of negative feedback, people saying they thought it was offensive, but they were always, like, not Asian,” Manila explained to Ru. “Comment after comment left on my Facebook page, I’m Asian, I didn’t find that offensive, I thought that was hilarious. It’s also the whole thing of humor: If it doesn’t push any buttons, it’s not funny.”
RAJA: HOW’S IT FEEL TO WIN? “Surreal, surreal. Abstract,” she said. “Sometimes invasive, because there’s a lot of haters out there, which is kind of a new thing for me.” And what of those haters? “I’ve just come to a place in my life that I don’t really mind embracing the fact that there’s a masculine and a feminine, and why not join the two together and morph it into one amazing creature.” Added Ru: “Well, it worked for Bea Arthur.” And more, what of those haters who said that Raja had too much experience to be on the show? “Yes, I am seasoned, and yes, I have been doing it a long time, and yes, people do know who I am,” Raja eloquently said, “but there was nothing said that America’s Next Drag Superstar should be a beginner whose never been known or seen.”
THE BOOGERS-HEATHERS CONTROVERSY “This whole Heathers-boogers thing, that’s ridiculous,” Shangela said. “But if you want to put someone down to build yourself up, then that’s what you have to do for yourself. If this is the face of booger, I think it’s sickening. So ta-da! Hell, minus the lawsuits and the prostitutes and the drugs and tiger blood, I’m the Charlie Sheen of drag. Duh, winning!” Manila tried to explain what a booger was to the audience. “When I first started drag, I was a booger down,” she said. “I was a booger for years. Well, a booger is just a term, in drag, of just being a busted, unpolished mess.” And then Delta — a member of the Heathers, mind you — offered up her opinion: “People are taking everything so damn literal,” she said. “It wasn’t a reference point of, ‘You look literally like a booger.’ It was a state of mind. The fact was we’re grown men. We know our names aren’t Heather, even though they’re f—ing right here on our necks. We know that’s not the case. We kept doing it over and over because it was the audacity of that. The audacity that this fatty Mexican man is Heather.” And the final word from the Superstar herself, Raja: “The Heathers and the boogers thing was meant to be fun and light, and it still should be that. It really shouldn’t be taken literal. If I could squash it and not really perpetuate it further.” In a final show of solidarity, Raja sweetly bestowed her Heathers necklace on the until-now miffed Stacy Layne Matthews. It was a cute moment.
MICHELLE VISAGE: WHY SHE BROUGHT CARMEN CARERRA BACK “Look at her!” Michelle began about the controversial move. “No, really… No, Billy, Santino, and I felt that… Delta came up, Mariah came up, we were all back and forth, trying to figure out who to bring back. And in the end, we all agreed unanimously that Carmen was fresh on the mind, fresh on the lips, and we knew that she had more tricks up her sleeve. Or so we thought.”
ALEXIS MATEO ON MICHELLE VISAGE “I think you’re a b—-, Michelle!” Alexis said, with a smile on her face. And then she offered this surprisingly smart bon mot: “It’s so easy to talk about a drag queen, but it’s so difficult to be one.” Very well put, in my opinion. But then Michelle detailed her tactics for judging Alexis, specifically: “Now let me explain so you understand where I was coming from,” Michelle offered. “I think you are an amazingly talented queen. I think you’re gorgeous. With all of you, my job was to help you get to the next level. Tonight, your body looks perfect to me. Like, I would have no critique of this, Alexis.” And further: “Why would you do something that makes you 30 pounds heavier look when you don’t need to? That was my only issue I’m just here to be as real as I can be, minus my boobs.” (A hilarious moment revealed — if you can call it a reveal — that, yes indeed, Michelle did pay for her boobs, so that’s why they aren’t so “real.”)
MISS CONGENIALITY Finally, Billy B and Santino arrived to crown this season’s Miss Congeniality: Yara Sofia! So deserved. She was no doubt this season’s version of Pandora Boxx. My only wish is that they would have let Yara have a minute or two for a speech. That was have capped the episode nicely, but I’ll certainly take a rendition of the queens — plus the judges — lip syncing to “Glamazon,” which, of course, they all reminded us you can “find on iTunes, b—-!”
So, Drag Racers, that’s it for season 3. So let’s chat: Were you satisfied with the season? Did the reunion answer all your burning questions? What didn’t I detail above that tripped your trigger? What else were you dying to know that Ru didn’t ask? Sound off in the comments below…
Follow Tanner on Twitter @EWTanStransky
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on PopWatch