Jump to content
  • Skinny Legend
    Skinny Legend

    RuPaul's Drag Race RuView: Your Pilot's On Fire

    club-kid-1495231808.jpeg

    Since it's premiere back in March, season nine of RuPaul's Drag Race has been one of the most polarising ever. Many fans point to the move to major network VH1 as the root of all evil, alleging that the change of channels has led to the "commercialisation" and "mainstreaming" of the show, and that the new network has stripped back all that was brilliant about the show to begin with, from the Pit Crew to the extended runway scenes. And sadly for her, Wendy Williams has often been the face of this outrage, thanks to a misplaced hosting gig with the show.

    tumblr_oqa56kYEX31r3jqyco2_400.gif

    We're nine episodes into season nine now, and whether it's luck or some divine intervention, it seems like the show has finally done it. Last night's episode was hands down the best one all season, despite the fact that a mini-challenge was nowhere to be seen. The main challenge for the week found the girls asked to create their own TV pilot to pitch to networks, which in the great Drag Race tradition of course led to a blaxploitation series involving a Russian spy, a sitcom about two Christian mothers dealing with their sons sexuality, and a prison drama involving two hookers. But it was the fun and drama in the episode, rather than the challenge itself, which made it one to remember.

    SwallowRDR-1495264976.gif

    Much of this season has been devoted to the "special moments" the girls have in the workroom - whether it's Peppermint discussing her transgender identity, Sasha slamming Russia or Valentina talking about her eating disorder - and we still got a little of that in this episode with Sasha's crash course on club kids, but it was blessedly short. Instead, the extra time was filled with scenes of the girls gaming each other and playing around, which was a nice change from the serious tone we'd had previously. In the workroom, Alexis continued the trend of trying to dominate every challenge, fighting Peppermint for the voice over in their pilot; while Sasha and Shea forged their friendship even further and Nina and Valentina made the interesting choice not to shoot from a script.

    RuPaul's Drag Race star Peppermint licks a lollipop on the main stage in the Club Kids runway.

    The pilots themselves turned out just okay, although Sasha and Shea took a well-deserved win for their on-brand, simple and effective spy comedy. The runway, on the other hand, was one of the best we've had all season, with each queen debuting their own version of a 'Club Kid' look, and the majority of them succeeding spectacularly.

    tumblr_oq84f72RUa1qlvwnco3_500.gif?resiz

    And what happened after the runway was truly shocking. Valentina, the "beautiful", "gorgeous" "Linda Evangelista" lookalike faced her ally, the forever self-doubting Nina in a surprise lip sync. And, after an altercation with RuPaul about the suitability of a veil in a lip syncing challenge - she later revealed that she didn't know the words to the song which was why she wanted to keep it on - Valentina was the queen to sashay away.

    valentina.gif

    More than a thirteenth queen in the form of Cynthia or a shock elimination in the form of Eureka, Valentina's elimination was for me the biggest twist of this season. Given the "winners edit" the producers were giving her up until this point - from the cute reaction shots, to the candle she prayed to, to the amount of screen time dedicated to telling her how "beautiful" she was - I really thought that Valentina was going to go all the way and snatch the trophy this year, despite my protests that she didn't deserve it. Of course, queens return every season on Drag Race, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if Valentina came back in a future episode - after all, I can't ever remember Ru dismissing a queen with so much malice and I can't see that standing forever. But if Valentina really is gone for good, then I'm not only completely shook but also completely impressed by the ability of the Drag Race editors to know their formula so well and to know exactly how to subvert it. If it stands, Valentina's elimination will almost definitely set her up for an All Stars gig - and let's hope it will set up Sasha for a win this season as well.



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    What a shocking twist! :o When was the last time RPDR surprised us so much? If the top 3 is not Shea, Sasha and Trinity i'll be really pissed! I'm still thinking Shea will snatch that crown, but hopefully in the next episodes Sasha can win a challenge on her own and show Ru that she deserves the title. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, lightyears said:

    What a shocking twist! :o When was the last time RPDR surprised us so much? If the top 3 is not Shea, Sasha and Trinity i'll be really pissed! I'm still thinking Shea will snatch that crown, but hopefully in the next episodes Sasha can win a challenge on her own and show Ru that she deserves the title. 

    Right?! :shocked: I was honestly so shook after watching that elimination! Honestly, I still think Valentina might come back as a surprise return so I'm kind of expecting a top three of Valentina, Sasha and Shea/Peppermint, but if she doesn't end up returning then I'm envisioning Sasha, Shea and Peppermint. :/ As much as I like The Tuck I just don't think she has the persona you would need to become a drag superstar!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By Skinny Legend
      And we've finally made it! Tonight's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, 'Grand Finale', is as the name implies - the last in a season which at some points seemed to stretch on for an eternity. The first half of the episode was pretty dull without the typical chats we've had in previous years (those were all covered in last week's reunion episode) so I won't go too deeply into that, although I would like to ask whether anyone else noticed that Katy Perry's contribution to the episode was clearly edited in completely last minute and not even shown to its recipient, Sasha. What was even going on with that?

      I quite liked the conceit of the lip sync smackdown and the drama it brought to the competition, although I have to say that the execution was a little messy. Hopefully if the show decides to pull it out of the bag in future years they'll switch things up a bit - it could be so fun to have the lip sync couples determined by a social media vote instead of a wheel of fortune that's used a grand total of once and then discarded.

      Trinity made a brave move by choosing to lip sync to Britney's 'Stronger' against Peppermint, and while it didn't quite pay off you have to admire her (perfectly tucked) balls. It was obvious who the winner would be when Trinity ripped off her skirt and Peppermint ripped off her whole outfit (and wig), but Trinity didn't give up and put on a great performance anyway. Trinity was never really my favourite queen, but she grew on me steadily all season I was surprised at how sad I was to see her go.

      Trinity's decision to battle Peppermint of course set up Sasha against Shea for Whitney's 'So Emotional', in what might have been a loss for their friendship but in what was definitely a win for reality TV. These two won several challenges together as a unit throughout the series so to pit them against each other was a twist worthy of All Stars. Honestly, I've never quite gotten the hype around Shea. Her drag aesthetic is always polished and she seems passably talented at everything she does, but I've never really seen her bring anything new to the table. She's not the worst of the bunch but she's not the best, and in my opinion her lip sync reflected that. Sasha would have emerged the victor here with or without the roses reveal that kept all eyes on her throughout the whole performance.

      And so it was that Peppermint and Sasha, two newly legendary lip syncers, took to the stage to battle it out. I had higher hopes for Peppermint's final lip sync, given how high-energy and hilarious her moves were on the main stage earlier in the season. But Peppermint seemed to have lost some of her freshness, repeating the same moves she had earlier in the night and often seeming to struggle her way through the lyrics Valentina-style. On the other hand, I wasn't sure what to expect from Sasha, who I admit I wrote off as too "serious" to pay too much attention to lip syncing. She definitely was serious, but that didn't make her lip sync any less entertaining, and she brought a whole lot of passion to Whitney's 'It's Not Right, But It's Okay'.

      Even with Peppermint's admittedly sub-par lipsync, the crowning really could have gone either way. I've said this all season long so forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but since Valentina left there really hasn't been a clear winner for me and that confusion continued right up until the final two. On the one hand, Peppermint is the first openly trans contestant on the show and I can see the execs wanting to make amends to that community for the whole "she mail" debacle by crowning her the winner. On the other hand, Sasha represents a truly unique form of drag and her branding is incredibly strong and instantly recognisable. I truly would have been happy with either of these girls being crowned the winner, but if we're basing our decisions purely on their performance in the last episode then I definitely think the right girl won.
       
         So what will a Velourian future of drag look like? According to Sasha, she's planning on continuing her regular art meets drag magazine, and she's planning to take her show on the road to expose her form of artsy drag to the rest of the world. Unlike queens like Adore or Alaska, I can't really see Sasha's form of drag crossing over into the mainstream. But she will definitely do a lot to educate a growing majority of Drag Race fans who are white, female and young and who don't necessarily know about the history of the art form. In that respect, at least, it's a win all around.

      I set out writing these 'ruviews' as a challenge to myself, and I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't a total struggle trying to make it through some of these episodes and coming up with things to write about when so little happened. But I've had lots of fun working on them and I myself have learnt a lot about drag history and just what I expect in my reality TV. It's been great fun discussing the show with all of you and I can't wait to do it again next season! Until then, let me know what you think in the comments below and don't forget to keep in touch. Have a blessed day, and stay sexy!  
       
    • By Skinny Legend
      Season nine of Drag Race is coming to a close, and with it so are our recaps. Season nine has been a controversial one, with a move to VH1, an admittedly lacklustre cast and a surprise Wendy Williams appearance all marring the once untouchable show; but it's safe to say that while this season may not have been the absolute best, it was at least better than that messy season seven.

      The main challenge this week was split in two, although one half of it was pretty non-existent. Namely, the part of the episode where the queens appear on Ru and Michelle's What's The Tea? podcast was clearly put on for cameras, as no episodes featuring any of the top four queens have been released and we all know that Ru and Michelle's recording studios aren't that lush. The podcast segment was instead there to replace Ru's final interview with the top four girls, and get some promo for one of his side ventures in there on the sly.

      The main part of the episode found the girls recording rap verses for an appearance on a remix of Ru's song 'Category Is', and learning a dance routine to it from friend of the show Todrick Hall. At the end of the day, all of the queens did a pretty good job with their verses, although it seems the black girls had a natural advantage - Trinity's rap was a little awkward and Sasha always tries to intellectualise her lyrics a little too much for my taste. When it comes to the choreography section, Sasha and Peppermint are given a losers edit, but actually turn out to do pretty well in the finished performance. It's clear that Shea was being preferenced in this challenge, however - she got by far the best choreography and was even given props which the other girls weren't.

      At the end of the episode, Ru primed all four girls for an elimination as she decided who would make it to the top three and the finale, as has been done in every season of Drag Race. But in a shocking twist, it turns out all of the girls efforts to impress in this episode were in vain, as all four of them would make it on to the finale episode. As someone who has never judged a talent show in my life, Ru's decision actually made a lot of sense to me. One of the main criticisms of season nine was that there weren't enough standout queens to keep it interesting, and that situation was only exacerbated after Valentina's elimination. It means that it's made for a somewhat lacklustre season, but it also means that for once it feels like none of the queens deserve to go and all of them have a chance of snatching the top prize.

      First up we have Peppermint, who has to be the queen with the most likeable personality out of all four. Peppermint's main criticism is that her looks are unpolished, but her winning personality means that she can sell them anyway and her lip syncs are always entertaining. Peppermint is also the first openly trans contestant on Drag Race, and in the interests of promoting diversity among their winners it would make sense for VH1 to give Peppermint the crown.

      Then there's Sasha, who has to be the most unique queen out of all of the top four and who was my immediate favourite in the competition. Sasha would definitely bring something new to the winners circle, as no one else in that bracket has quite the same level of New York intellect she does. More importantly, she knows who she is and would be easy to brand if she went on to be America's Next Drag Superstar.

      Next is Shea Coulee, who has to be the most gorgeous queen out of all four. Like Naomi Smalls before her, Shea has legs for days, a tiny waist and perfect bone structure and it would be easy to see her on a Paris runway. That said, I'm not quite sure she has the relatable personality or breadth of skills necessary in a winner.

      And finally we have Trinity, who we all pinned down as just another pageant girl at first. Trinity was never my favourite, but around halfway through the competition she really started to grow on me with her down-to-earth personality, humour and straight up drag looks. Trinity could be just the girl to bring pageantry into the new millenium.

      Next week's episode will be a reunion episode, which is always fun for some drama - and there's sure to be plenty of it, with Valentina, Aja, Trinity and Eureka all back together in the same room. We won't be covering the reunion episode, so make sure to head over to our forums to discuss it, and come back to our recaps two weeks from now for news on who ends up being America's Next Drag Superstar of 2017!
    • By Skinny Legend
      It's the fourth last episode of this season of Drag Race, and only the second last episode which will be set in our beloved work room. With the pressure mounting every week, the producers have clearly decided to give all the girls full on panic attacks by introducing a ball episode to the show. Each of the five remaining girls has to come up with three distinct looks for three different categories, as well as work out choreography for a dance number further down the line.

      Sasha won the puppeteering mini-challenge, but this turned out to be a curse in disguise as she was then asked to choreograph the rhythmic gymnastic routine that would constitute part of the main challenge. The end product of Sasha's hard work was actually pretty good for someone who professes to be so bad at dance, but we can only imagine how hard it must be trying to tell Alexis Michelle what to do - she was practically turning green with envy.

      The main part of the challenge was the three categories the queens were asked to walk in - Rainbow-She-Betta-Do, Sexy Unicorn and Village People Eleganza Extravaganza. I have to say that all of the queens did an amazing job in these categories, and looked the best they ever have - bar Alexis Michelle. To be fair to Alexis, she was given the native American village people look to work with, which was always going to be the hardest to do while avoiding accusations of cultural appropriation. Seriously, why was the native American idea character in the show when the producers could have just used the G.I. Village People character instead?

      But apart from Alexis, the other four queens did an amazing job. Shea's construction worker look was inventive, sexy and high fashion, while Trinity's interpretation of a cop was super sleek. Sasha struggled a little to stick to the brief, but her outfits were consistently gorgeous and completely on brand for her drag persona; while Peppermint had some good ideas even if they were executed a little messily. The unicorn category was pretty bizarre to be honest and I can't say I loved any of the looks there, but kudos to Sasha and Shea for giving it their all anyway.

      Ultimately, Shea won largely on the back of her construction worker outfit, which I'm not quite sure was a good enough reason to snatch the trophy for this week. It's hard to believe that Sasha still has yet to have a win on her own, and I would have liked to see her get some recognition for her consistency throughout the competition.

      Predictably, Alexis was the one to leave this week and all I have to really say is good riddance. Alexis was really the Roxxxy Andrews of this competition: a big, theatrical queen who clearly thinks she's a lot better than anyone else does and who's kept long past her due by date just for the drama she causes. I won't be sad to see her go, but I'll love watching her walk away.
×
×
  • Create New...