In which I almost give up on this season completely.
But before we get there, let’s journey back to a simpler time, when this episode was just beginning and I was 80% less pissed off…
After watching our darling little black horse gallop off to horsey heaven, the girls return to the workroom for the usual bitchfest. More manufactured drama, people throwing shade, blah blah blah. Darienne is once again showcasing her shitty attitude, saying that she was only in the bottom three because of “god damn Doogie Howser and his little Val Kilmer knockoff boyfriend” which seems a bit harsh considering that she didn’t even have to lip-sync (though she deserved to).
Insert talking heads of several queens talking about how Darienne thinks she’s all that and a bag of chips (cool new slang, hot off the presses, feel free to steal) but she’s actually a two piece and a biscuit short of a… ok I lost track of this metaphor. They’re saying she sucks.
Meanwhile Adore is super discouraged after landing in the bottom again, but manages not to blame anybody else for her own failures because she is a grownup (keep in mind that she is 24 and Darienne is 41, age is a mere number after all). She declares herself “the new Trinity.” Which… is not far from the truth (spoken by someone who loves both Trinity and Adore).
The next day is the mini-challenge, and it’s the annual puppet bitchfest! #EverybodyLovesPuppets
The queens take turns reaching into a giant glory hole (Ru: “Glory hole-lelujah!”), flanked by the OG Pit Crew in their tiny underoos, and pulling out a puppet version of one of the other queens.
The queens then have to drag up their puppet and perform a sort of shady ventriloquist act, having a conversation with the puppet version of their assigned competitor.
Adore chooses DeLa, and her eerily accurate imitation of DeLa’s boy-voice is better than any of her jokes.
Bianca has Adore, and after a dig at her dirty pantyhose she basically just says “Party” and swears a lot. Which is basically Adore, so good job I guess!
Darienne gets Courtney, and starts off by just insulting herself in character as Courtney which I think is supposed to make Courtney look bad, but it’s actually just a list of valid criticisms of herself.
Courtney has Darienne and starts off making the puppet complain about Neil Patrick Harris. It doesn’t really land, so she tells the puppet “I have a hard time making you funny, just like real life!”
And finally, DeLa has Bianca, and it’s amazing. The puppet looks insane (though it could use a few more pairs of false eyelashes to get the full crazy face effect), and she does a great hyperactive impression of Bianca talking shit about everybody (and of course yelling “Baloney!” every two seconds).
DeLa wins, of course, and her super lame prize is that she gets to assign jewel tones to each queen for the main challenge: The Glitter Ball. It’s the annual “Make three outfits around a weird theme” challenge and this time the categories are Banjee Girl Bling, Platinum Card Executive Realness and Dripping In Jewels Eleganza.
There’s not really much strategy to assigning a bunch of equally fine colors, but DeLa does mention that she gave Adore “diamonds” because she thought it would be easiest, and since Adore crashed and burned last week largely because she doesn’t know how to make clothes, she can use all the help she can get.
Darienne is basically like “LOL you should have purposely sabotaged Adore, this is a competition” and everybody is like “Not everybody is an asshole like you” (Adore says in the confessional “Bitch, I wouldn’t throw you under the damn ocean” which is so Adore and so perfect). The editing in this episode goes out of its way to make Darienne look like a jerk who everybody hates.
Ru comes to check on the girls. Adore is tweaking because once again she’s out of her comfort zone. She gets emotional, saying that whatever the judges saw in her at the beginning of the season is lost. Ru tells her to channel her strengths into the challenge.
Next Ru asks Darienne why she hasn’t won more challenges (spoiler alert: it’s because she sucks). Darienne spews some bullshit about how she’s trying to grow from the judges’ critiques and everybody else gives her some serious side-eye.
DeLa tells Ru that for her Eleganza look she wants to reference the movie “What a Way to Go” which seems like a terrible idea since she has been criticized for not breaking out of that old-fashioned look.
We don’t get to hear from Courtney. Do you think she might be safe this week? Like she has been pretty much every week since the musical challenge?
Before letting them get back to work, Ru announces that Khloe Kardashian is returning as a guest judge (half-hearted applause from the queens) along with Bob Mackie (thunderous applause and exclamations of delight from the queens), and also that there’s a SHOCKING TWIST! They’ll have to put on an opening number, choreographed by mini-challenge winner DeLa, before the main stage presentation. This hardly counts as a twist since they do literally the same thing every season, but the queens have the good grace to act surprised.
The choreography session is a pretty massive shitshow. It starts well with DeLa immediately delegating her responsibilities to Courtney, who can actually dance, but Bianca and Darienne have to throw in their two cents and it’s a big old mess.
The anti-Darienne editing returns in the workroom where we hear DeLa confessional that it’s down to the wire with only five queens left, and the odds are getting “narrower and narrower” and we immediately cut to this shot:
Man, I’m no fan of Darienne’s but that is some EDITING SHADE. Anyway, Darienne decides her glittery frock is not offering enough eleganza so she’s going to start from scratch.
Meanwhile, Adore is trying to be more positive, but she doesn’t know how to make a tutu. Her honorary drag mother Bianca helps her out but it’s still looking pretty rough.
It’s runway time, and Ru looks very lovely but I would expect her to be a little more glittery for the Glitter Ball:
After introducing the judges she tells us to get ready for the “Ballroom Glitz” but unfortunately the opening number is SUPER boring and lame.
Like these opening numbers are always lame but they’re usually at least entertaining. This time it’s just dull and slightly embarrassing.
Anyway, each queen shows their three looks, and I’m going to get through these quick and dirty.
Banjee Girl is decent, Executive Realness is sad, Eleganza is standard DeLa but at least well-executed.
“Banjee Girl” is the name of Adore’s alley and she does great, Executive Realness is a lesser version of Alaska’s pantsuit but pretty good, Eleganza is pretty and she’s doing a stunning imitation of Milk’s Pinocchio walk.
Bianca Del Rio
Banjee Girl is almost hilariously wrong, Executive Realness is boring with a wig we’ve seen before, Eleganza is the exact same fucking dress (and hair flower) she wears every week.
Banjee Girl is a Jade Jolie jumpsuit, Executive Realness is a more boring version of her St. Patrick’s Day outfit that nearly got her eliminated in week 1, Eleganza is a droopy boob/crotch anchor.
Banjee Girl is cute but more grunge than banjee (“Smells like queen spirit” – Ru), Executive Realness is very executive and very real, Eleganza is very red, very pretty.
Onto the evaluations! They’re not fans of anything DeLa did, mostly because it’s all stuff they’ve seen from her before. They’re proud of Adore for turning it out against all odds, and mostly for selling each look through her runway walk. Bianca FUCKING FINALLY gets called out for wearing the same dress every week, by Khloe Kardashian of all people. And Bob Mackie found her eleganza look very boring (in my notes I wrote “I LIVE FOR HIS HATRED” which should tell you how much I don’t get Bianca if you couldn’t tell by how much I complain about it every week). But for real, Bianca is like a sewing professional and this boring shit is the best she could come up with? Anyway, they hated everything Darienne wore because it was terrible. And they liked Courtney but once again think she’s relying on her prettiness.
Before making any decisions, Ru asks the queens who should go home this week. They all say Darienne, including Darienne who gives a very confusing and sort of sarcastic speech that I don’t understand. Courtney also mentions that maybe Adore should go home, but egg on her face, Adore is named the challenge winner! And really, considering how boring all of the looks were compared to what we usually get in this challenge, I guess she was the best overall! I’m going to take this moment to show a few looks we’ve gotten from past queens in this challenge to show how much everybody kind of failed:
(These six screenshots are all courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo who write better Drag Race recaps than I do and are generally the best, even if they do like Bianca)
Bianca is declared safe, as is Courtney. DeLa and Darienne once again have to lip-sync against one another, this time to a Kelly Clarkson song. On the internet, people are saying that Darienne had the better performance but to my eyes they were both evenly matched in mediocrity. And since this is Darienne’s third lip-sync and since she’s been somewhere between mediocre and terrible in literally every challenge since week two, conventional Drag Race wisdom states that it’s well past her time to sashay away, however in a turn of events that I will never EVER understand, DeLa is sent home instead.
FUCKING REALLY? DARIENNE LAKE IS IN THE TOP FOUR? This is some Tyra Banks level fuckery and I am not having any of it. I don’t want to overdo the “sharing my nonsensical notes” thing but this was my immediate reaction to the elimination:
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME
I don’t even want to watch Untucked I am so fucking pissed
How did Darienne even make it to the top 10 let alone top 4
Last season Detox placed fourth
DETOX IS EVERYTHING
DARIENNE IS UGH
I may have made it to the end of the wine bottle by that point but I STAND BY IT. (Seriously though, Detox is everything, I saw her live and my jaw literally dropped in the face of her gorgeousness)
I actually don’t hate Darienne or anything, she is occasionally funny and is probably not quite as bitchy as the editing has made her seem, but she has offered nothing new or interesting to the competition. She does not deserve to be there in the place of creative queens like April Carrion, Milk and Trinity. Can you even imagine how fabulous Trinity would have looked in this challenge?
And here is where I go on another rant. What I struggle with this season is that there are a lot of queens I like a lot (April, Milk, Trinity, Joslyn, Courtney, Adore) but nobody I really want to win. There’s no Nina Flowers or Jujubee or Raja or Sharon Needles or Alaska. Or Manila Luzon or Yara Sofia or Latrice Royale or Jinkx Monsoon. Part of it is that I really get the sense that the majority of queens don’t go on the show actually hungry to win anymore. They’ve seen how the careers of also-rans have blown up. They want to be Willam. That’s not true for all of them, of course. I think of Adore in particular, but I don’t want Adore to win because I don’t think Adore is fully-formed. But if the alternative is somebody I find as uninspiring as Bianca Del Rio or UGH GOD FORBID Darienne Lake, give Adore the crown, please! And I love Courtney Act to death but girlfriend has coasted through on her considerable talents.
So I’m left kind of hoping that Adore wins but ultimately not really caring as long as it’s not Darienne. I don’t even like Bianca but if she won I wouldn’t be mad (well, I wouldn’t be that mad). The most positive thing I’m taking away from this season is that I am definitely going to go see the Drag Race tour this year. I’m just not going to get emotionally invested in who actually wins the damn thing for the first time literally ever.
SO ANYWAY! Untucked was fairly innocuous, though Bianca spends most of it bitching about DeLa saying that she has been sailing through the competition. It wasn’t even an insult, fucking let it go! But Bianca has a nice moment too, when she gets a letter from the daughter of a friend. It’s super, SUPER sweet (she calls Bianca “Roy Lady”) and prompts a discussion of how wonderful it is that the world has gotten to a place where a child can be pals with a drag queen and it’s totally acceptable (I mean certainly there are many people who would clutch their homophobic pearls, but we can put it on a TV show at least). Though Bianca’s sense of humor is generally not my cup of tea, she did make me legitimately LOL when Darienne made some snarky comment and she yelled “THIS IS MY MOMENT!” #RIPLaganja
Next week seems to be the annual “Final queens star in RuPaul’s new music video” challenge, and hopefully we can finally kiss Darienne goodbye. If not, tune in next Wednesday for more of my fury! You know you love me, XOXO, catweazle.