RuPaul's Drag Race recap: 'She Done Already Done Brought It On'
Hello Race fans! I'm still on cloud nine from Nina Bo'nina Brown's big finish last week, but this week's episode started off with a bang with the introduction of the 14th queen, the inimitable Cynthia Lee Fontaine of Austin, TX!
Now, I knew there would be some shade thrown with this addition. The gals had just sized up the competition, filed their nails into prison shanks and now a new queen sashays into the competition. To say they were not having it would be an understatement. Shea Couleé brought up a good point in that a returning queen from another season has an advantage in knowing how the competition works. But I also have to point out that while that could be true, RuPaul and the producers of the show are always changing things up. Every season is different and the challenges are always, well, umm challenging! So I think she and Peppermint are overreacting. There's a lot of competition already — my advice would be to stop watching the others and keep your own eyes on the prize.
Now I have to say I'm thrilled that Cynthia Lee Fontaine is back. I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over her. And speaking of cuckoo, you'll be hearing that word a lot. I've made a drinking game out of it. Whenever Cynthia Lee Fontaine says the word "cuckoo," I have a sip (or two) of my cocktail — time to buy more vodka!
What I love about Cynthia Lee Fontaine is that she has such a positive outlook. Thank God her liver cancer is in remission, and she's back in the game. Sasha Velour said it best when she noted that Cynthia Lee is a great example of someone conquering cancer with humor and grace along the way. I'm rooting for her.
In other events, Kimora Lee Blac is still super annoying. Yes, she's gorgeous and she knows it, but her whiney attitude is not cute. I think her fellow competitors echo my sentiments. Her snarky comments sure are getting her a lot of airtime, though. Maybe she's not rotten and is actually just smart? Or wait… could she be both? Time will tell.
After the heart stopping visit last week from Lady Gaga, the queens got another startling surprise when Lisa Kudrow popped in. I'm such a huge fan, especially of her genius turn in The Comeback. She was a little treat to behold — an amuse-bouche, if you will. I thoroughly enjoyed her cameo, and how great did she look? Flawless.
Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, Ru announced that the maxi challenge would be a cheering competition. Bring It On! (Inside, I heard a little voice say to me "Don't worry, it's already been broughten!")
The head coaches (that turn of phrase makes me chuckle) were Nina and Cynthia. Great choices. In a flashback that reminded me of picking teams in junior high gym class, the "underdogs" were Jaymes Mansfield, which I totally get, and Valentina. But Valentina? Really… an underdog? I have a feeling there's a superstar lurking under that beret.
Let's talk about Valentina, while we're at it. She is a little smug. She's only been doing drag for ten months (really?!), but she's very confident. This should be annoying, but it's not. There is just something so sweet, endearing and joyful about Valentina that you just have to like her. She delivered comedy and action in the cheerleading challenge, and her runway look was breathtaking. What I love about her thus far is that she does everything through a 'What Would Valentina Do?' lens. That keeps her authentic and original and even though she's channeling a character, I really feel that her personality shines through.
And poor Jaymes Mansfield. I get it, but at the same time, I also don't get it. I know she's a great performer and has a solid platform — Ru herself said her audition tape was amazing — but personally, I know that sometimes when you get on set with all those queens, it can be intimidating. It seems like her performances have been tentative and that's the kiss of death. Once you get to Drag Race, you've got to go all out. She's overwhelmed and I just wanna slap her like Cher did in Moonstruck and say "Snap out of it!"
Shout out to cheer coach Dan Pelange. He can teach me how to do a split any day. What a cutie! I loved that the queens were all flying through the air by the end of the training session. You gotta hand it to them for going all in. My facial filler would have been flying all over the place. But, head injuries be damned, there's drag to do!
One of the great things about Drag Race, and why I think people love it so much, is that the show has heart. While it was incredibly sad (and all too familiar) to hear that Peppermint was actually bullied and physically attacked in high school simply for being who she is, her story had a happy ending when she realized that her classmates and friends rallied to support her. It was a moment where she realized she was loved. And it was a moment that I'm glad she shared with all of the young kids watching who may be in her shoes.
After the glitter settled, I was in total agreement with the judging panel that Kimora Blac and Jaymes Mansfield needed to be up for elimination. With Jaymes, I just need more confidence to sell the look. She has all the parts to make a winner(glamour, humor and a beautiful body), but the confidence is lacking. Quite simply if you don't believe in what you're selling, I won't either.
In the case of Kimora Lee Blac vs. The Panel, let me just say that while I think she had tons of confidence, she lacks a point of view. We saw it week one in her runway looks. We didn't really get a sense of who she is. And this week's white party look was, well, not even white! It was a hot mixed message that didn't really say anything. It was a huge miss in my book.
When it came down to lip synching for their lives, the fight came out of Kimora, and she truly gave the impression that she wanted to stay in the game. If she can listen to the judges critiques, take that information to heart and develop a point of view, I think she can be a real contender. I mean she is gorge!
Sadly, Jaymes just didn't bring it. But like Ru said, I think we are all rooting for her. Her day will come…
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.