'RuPaul's Drag Race' recap: Talent wins over charisma this week
My favorite moment of last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race revolves around this quote from RuPaul herself: “Tatianna, that’s an answer for the Miss America contest—not the RuPaul Drag Race contest.” Zing!
Sitting at the judges’ table, the drag superstar host had just asked Tatianna who from Team Pandora Boxx deserved to go home after losing the burlesque challenge. And, while everyone else on the team was saying that Tatianna herself should take her high heels back to the streets and leave the Drag Race womb, Tatianna decided to go allllll kinds of PC with her answer, picking the increasingly adorable Morgan McMichaels because “she has immunity.” No, no, no. Finger wag! Bad idea. Because then came the aforementioned head-thump from RuPaul. We don’t play that way here at Drag Race, RuPaul scolded, telling the (truly sweet) Tatianna how things work.
You know who else needed a big ol’ head-thump during last night’s episode? Tyra Sanchez, the mouthy little witch who decided to whine her way through the entire hour. I could not deal with her by the end, as she was unhappy with everything, bitching about pole dancing and wearing high heels during dance practice. (And how effing bitchy was it when she wiped away Shangela’s lipsticked goodbye note? A big ol’ finger wag to that.) And this quote from Tyra was just enough to send me over the edge: “I wanted to be in Pandora’s group,” the diva said, after being selected to Team Sahara Davenport. “She had all the tall, skinny, pretty bitches.” Well, boo hoo, I want a Gold Card and diamond earrings and a big plate of baked ziti. Right now. But you don’t always get what you want!
Sahara said it best when she lamented about Tyra: “Oh my God, I’m in a group with, like, Satan’s baby.” At one point, while the rest of her team was working up their costumes for the challenge, Tyra gingerly nestled herself under a blanket on the couch. “Don’t wake her up,” the darling Jujubee warned RuPaul, who was aghast at Tyra’s behavior during her check-in rounds. “She’ll scream!” RuPaul gave Tyra a little talking to, but ultimately let her go back to sleep and seemed more amused by her antics than anything. Which, like — what? How’s Tyra getting away with such crap? Where’s the RuPaul head-thump in this instance? I was more than shocked that Tyra’s awful actions during the run-up to the challenge didn’t come up on the main stage. But I suppose her dancing and selling on the streets were better than average. And I’m calmed, truly, by the fact that her bitchy attitude will likely come and bite her where the sun don’t shine…eventually.
With all the focus on Tyra’s heinous attitude and Tatianna being thrown under the bus by her teammates, I was shocked — shocked, I tell you! — when it came down to Raven and Nicole Paige Brooks lip syncing for their lives at the end of the episode. Granted, the two did make the least amount of money during the burlesque show, so that was a strike against them right there. And, as several of the contestants said, Nicole Paige Brooks (from Atlanta, Georg-ia), is not sexy. (Raven: “Nicole was picked last because this is a sexy contest, and she’s not sexy.) But, I know this competition is about four things: charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Did charisma have nothing to do with the bottom-two selections this week? Because if it did, Tyra — and maybe even Tatianna — would have been slumming it on the main stage. Alas, maybe this week was more of a talent-focused week? Whatever.
The lip synching by Raven and Nicole Paige Brooks, overall, was truly heinous. But I sort of blame it on the song. While I love En Vogue’s “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” it just didn’t seem to have the oomph needed to really send the performances over the top. I’d never choose it for a big ol’ sing out. Ultimately, Raven turned it out at the end, and Nicole Paige Brooks went home, which was probably for the best. I mean, as much as I think it should have been Tyra’s week to “sashay away,” the producers are smart to keep her — purely for dramatic fire-stoking potential down the line. And Raven is, in the end, more fierce than Nicole Paige Brooks (no matter how fabulously and how many times you say “from Atlanta, Georg-ia”).
Other observations from the episode: (1) Mystique Summers Madison has figured out what she’s gotta do to stay in this competition—do that crazy, slam-down splits thing. But let’s just see how long that floats her through the competition. And how long her legs and crotch can handle that. (2) Jessica Wild seems to be a quiet frontrunner so far, in my opinion. Did you see that fabulous dress she wore on the main stage? Ye-owww! (3) Dita von Teese, love you lots. But you didn’t add much to the show. Neither did you Kim Coles. (4) Tyra, while heinous, has shades of season 1’s winner Bebe Zahara Benet, especially after showing up on the main stage with that natty ‘do. (5) Sahara Davenport won the challenge and won a $1,500 gift certificate to seqinqueen.com, which was my favorite web site even before I checked it out and discovered that its uber-genius tagline is “Sparkle, Anytime.” (6) I need more Merle Ginsberg and Santino Rice, please.
As for other highlights from the episode, the menagerie of inspired vernacular and quotable quotes continue to kill me. Such as:
“It’s RuPaul here with your Drag-U Weather forecast! This we can expect a high-pressure system, followed by storms of ‘Hell no!’ ‘Oh no she didn’t!’ and ‘What you call me bitch?!'” —RuPaul, in the She Mail delivery explaining the upcoming challenge
“You’ll be turning a lady into a tramp. The lady in question is… me. Or as I like to say: Mini Ru.” —RuPaul, while explaining that the episode-opening mini-challenge would be trampy makeovers to Barbie doll-sized versions of herself
“Nicole cannot bring sexy back.” —Raven, about Nicole Paige Brooks’ lack of sexiness
“I feel that pole-dancing — that it’s kinda a little hoe-ish.” —Tyra, complaining yet again about pole-dancing (?!?!)
“That girl will eat Beyoncé in one swallow!” —RuPaul, about Mystique Summers Madison while on the main stage
“I felt like Eartha Kitt. I’m serving fish, honey, and this ain’t trout.” —Jujubee, during her walk on the main stage
“I do sassy — I don’t do bitchy!” —RuPaul, after Sonique says that her bitchiness while on the street selling cherry pie gift certificates was inspired by Ru
“No one wants a cherry pie that bites back.” —RuPaul, schooling Sonique on her cherry pie-selling bitchiness
“Lady ATM!” —RuPaul, after Raven says that, looking back, she wishes she wouldn’t have moved that much on the stage so she could make more money
What did you think, Drag Race watchers? Did you love the episode? Do you agree with my growing hatred of Tyra Sanchez? What was your favorite quip from the episode?
More on RuPaul and ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on EW.com:
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ premiere recap: Should Mystique Summers Madison have sashayed away instead?