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  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Given that last week's episode of Drag Race was undeniably the best all season, it might have been hard for this week's entry to keep up the pace; and to be honest, I don't think it quite managed to best the twist which occured in that episode. But this week's episode still put in a good showing, thanks in large part to a particularly fun maxi-challenge which found the queens performing makeovers on the crew of the show, who up until now have been a largely mysterious unseen force save some brief appearances on Untucked. Part of the reason the crew's appearance worked so well us because of how effectively they played off the queens. For the first time all season, Valentina's elimination means that it the game is really open to be won by any one of the girls, and it seems that they have used this as the wake up call they need to believe that they're all being given an equal shot. A combination of this newfound energy alongside the camaraderie and support of the crew meant that they all, in the words of RuPaul, stepped their pussy up. Trinity and her drag daughter Glittafa Days had by far the most family resemblance out of all of the queens, even if they didn't really offer anything new when it comes to The Tuck's looks. That said, Trinity was lucky to be working with the youngest and fishiest of all the crew memebrs, so she already had a head start. Meanwhile, Sasha and her drag daughter Donatella Velour had a look that was very on brand for Sasha and yet still somehow cooky and not too overdone. Alexis and Peppermint were both overall slammed by the judges, which is a shame because I didn't personally think either of their looks were that dreadful; Alexis's in particular was actually very polished and fun, if uninspired. Shea and Bae Couleé also both actually looked pretty good, but Bae's walk and fashion mishaps were both admittedly a little cringeworthy, not that all of that can be blamed on Shea. In my opinion, the only real loser of the night was Nina. She failed to really commit to her bunny rabbit makeup, which was one of the cheapest and messiest she's shown all season; and her outfits were uninspired, giving the same silhouette she has in nearly every runway so far. That combined with a Charlie-esque lipsync proved to be enough to make her leave the competition. Nina's personal narrative was one of the most interesting to watch this season, and I truly hope that she will reform her self-sabotage before any eventual appearance on All Stars that may or may not happen. Kesha made an appearance as a guest judge, which was a bittersweet moment for longtime fans of the troubled singer. On the one hand, it was great to see her out in public again; but on the other, she seemed to have lost some of the party girl, borderline alcoholic spark that she had when she first debuted. Still, it was great to see that the show didn't edit her out entirely as it sometimes does with guest judges and that she seemed to have a fun time with Peppermint's protege Sarge, aka Winter Green. I am a little disappointed that we didn't get a lip sync to one of her songs ('Sleazy' would have been a great choice, and it's music video even starred Detox and Vicky Vox!) but it's possible that her ongoing legal issues made this impossible, and 'Cool for the Summer' was a more than adequate replacement. This season got off to quite a slow start, and to be honest I'm still not sure the combination of queens chosen was the most interesting to watch. That said, there's been a few real highlight episodes, including the premier and the past two, so I'm hoping that things will only look up from here on out. And for once, I really have no idea who's going to be eliminated, or who's going to make it all the way. It's exciting stuff!
  5. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  6. This week's episode of Drag Race recalls one of the most liked challenges in recent years - the RuPaul Roast. Debuting in season five with strong comedy queens like Jinkx Monsoon and Alaska Thunderfuck, the roast became a chance for the contestants to let out all their anger at the judges in the name of comedy, and led to some of the best watching that season. Sadly, this year's roast wasn't quite as exciting, despite the fact that the queens were given the opportunity to roast Michelle Visage, a veritable mine of material. I have to put this one down to the queens this season, who are all perhaps a bit too sunshine and rainbows to succeed in a comedy environment. Shea Couleee and Peppermint both slayed the challenge with their quick wits and expert delivery, while Nina went for somerthing completely different (as is her style) with her charicature of her own great aunt. Sasha, too, took her own spin on things, playing the role of intellegencia turned comedian as she displayed her unique wit to the judges and proving she's more than just an arty queen. All four of the girls did a good job, but it was Peppermint who ended up taking the crown, and deservedly so. On the other hand, Trinity floundered trying to play her hillbilly-esque character; although given how strong her start was I get the feeling that she was victim to an edit which enhanced her awkward moments. Alexis, on the other hand, tried real hard to deliver her one-liners as the She Hulk but she struggled to land her jokes, despite a quick delivery. Farrahs's set was even worse, although it had me giggling in a "so bad it's good" kinda way. Her endless exasperates6d "ooh"'s, flustered "aah"'s and exasperated coughs reminded me so much of Eeyore that I couldn't stop laughing; although they made a lot more sense when she revealed in Untucked that she'd forgotten some of her queue cards and was just buying for time. That said, it is interesting how editing can completely change the way one of these challenges look. Valentina's set was pretty weak, relying on a bad "ghetto" accent (which Sasha surely cringed at) and a mispronouncation of the word Michelle for humour; and if the audience seemed unsure, Michelle was downright befuddled, saying to Ru, "I'm so confused". Valentina's set was most likely just as poor as Farrah's, but thanks to some clicks of the finger in the editing room, she was made to look like the star the show is clearly trying to tell us she is. Alexis and Farrah both ended up in the bottom two, and, as we've been predicting for weeks, it was finally Farrah's turn to go. Moan actually grew on me with every episode she was in; her fake whining was kind of cute and endearing by the end, and she seemed like the most genuinely sweet girl on the show. But she had stayed long past her welcome given how poorly she'd performed in almost every single task. Maybe some Ru Girls just aren't meant for the silver screen.
  7. This week's Drag Race featured guest judges Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling returning to coach the queens' acting on a parody of 90210, 9021-HO; a job I'm sure they wish they'd turned down after they saw the daggers Nina was throwing at them with her eyes. With Cynthia Lee Fontaine out of the picture she often hogged, it was interesting to see who stepped up to the plate this week and who let the pressure get to them. In typical Drag Race style, the show within a show was a campy mess, parodying the format of 9021-HO with a random school lunchlady thrown in for good measure. Trinity Taylor took home a well deserved win for what was basically a recreation of Amy Poehler's "cool mom" from Mean Girls, while Valentina stunned us with just how beautiful she can look as the popular girl in school. While both of them did a great job in the battle, I can't help but hope that neither of them wins the war - Trinity is a super talented drag queen for sure, but there's something I find difficult to relate to in her personality, and Valentina is frankly just an irritant both in and out of drag. On the other hand we have Aja, who despite being what a certain stunner may call a "messy queen" was immediately more likeable to me. Aja's tantrums are at this point things of legend, with her "Linda Evangelista" meltdown spawning memes, t-shirts, and a whole song in its honour. But far from turning me off her, Aja's point of showing her own vulnerability in such an unguarded and unmanufactured way just makes me like her even more; and it helps that she consistently turns out great runway looks. I truly didn't think that Aja's performance in 9021-HO was bad; but really, none of the queens (apart from possibly Nina) had any major flubs this episode, and someone had to go. It's a shame but it seems as though Aja's workroom drama overshadowed her performance and ultimately led to her dismissal. At this point, my main question about this series is just how Farrah Moan has managed to keep her claws in the competition for so long. This girl is a ticking timebomb to go and I'm really shocked that shes outlasted someone like the incomporable Charlie Hides considering how many times she's lip synced. My crystal ball is telling me she won't last another week.
  8. And here we are: RuPaul's Drag Race's annual impersonation extraveganza and soiree with the stars, Snatch Game. Since it's initiation in season one, Snatch Game has become an iconic part of the shows DNA and one of the few challenges to be repeated season after season. Typically falling somewhere in the middle of each cycle, the game offers a turning point in each series where producers feel we know enough about the queens themselves to allow them to impersonate others, a feat which can often turn disastrous depending on how theatrically talented each one may be. And with so much anticipation between seasons for the challenge, Snatch Game also brings with it a huge amount of pressure and expectation; something I would argue this week's Snatch Game managed to live up to. Alexis Michelle must have been smiled on by the gods this week, as she benefited not only from the absence of Eureka O'Hara (which allowed her to step into the role of cunty fat "tell it like it is" queen) but also from having the foresight to choose a character who Ru loves: Liza. Jinx Monsoon has stunned audiences with her spot on impersonation of Liza during live versions of the Snatch Game during the Battle of the Seasons tour, but surprisingly no queen has yet attempted the icon during the televised version of the show; an opening Alexis spotted and jumped at. Like Jinx before her, Alexis nailed Liza's unique blend of camp, slapstick and complete crazy in what was nevertheless an endearing tribute, and went on to snatch the top trophy this week. Not to be outdone, Shea put forth a stellar impression of true supermodel Naomi Campbell, while Trinity nailed the lesser-known living pop art project Amanda Lepore with her perfectly plastic personality. I've spoken before about my dislike of Valentina, but she proved she was more than just a looks queen here with her hilarious (if admittedly one note) portrayal of Miss Colombia; it was a new side of her I'd like to see more of. Sasha struggled somewhat to make the famously serious Marlene Dietrich funny, but her choice was on brand for the queen and she garnered enough laughs from the judges to keep her safe for another week. Meanwhile, Farrah struggled from a poor character choice (how does one make YouTube sensation Gigi Gorgeous funny without playing her as a dumb blonde?) and Cynthia played it a little too close to home with what should have been a spectacularly accurate portrayal of funny girl Sofia Vergara. Ultimately, it seemed as though Cynthia's inability to play anything other than, well, Cynthia, was her downfall, and she was sent home this week. While I was sad to see Cynthia leave and will definitely miss her carefree, wise-cracking personality, I rest easy knowing that she's given pretty much everything she has to offer to the show this time around and, as far as we know, hasn't had any illness weighing her down this season. She gave it her all and if she didn't quite get as far as she wanted we at least know there's not any hidden potential in there that's being wasted - which is more than can be said for the likes of Jaymes Mansfield. Meanwhile, it's pretty clear that unless Farrah steps it up big time - and quick - she'll be the eliminated queen next week. Come on Queen of Highlighter, we're all rooting for you!
  9. RuPaul's Drag Race is back. No, really this time! The mini-challenges are back. The main challenges are as wacky as they used to be. The runways are extended. Wendy Williams is gone. And I'm shocked and amazed at just how much I missed the Pit Crew. Now all we're missing is "You've got she-mail!". This week's episode felt like a true return to form for a show that has for it's first few episodes been struggling to get it's footing. There's been ups and downs along the way, but overall this season of Drag Race has felt a little lost; the structure's been fucked with, editing has been messy and confusing, and none of the queens have particularly stood out from the pack. This week, the brave were seperated from the weak, psyches started to shatter and we had our first surprise elimination as the contest really started to heat up. Following a cute little mini-challenge in which the girls are asked to don "quick drag" and take cute beach selfies with the long-lost Pit Crew, they start working out actors for each role in Kardashian: The Musical, a Hamilton-inspired stage show in which the girls will lip sync, dance and exagerate their way to the top. It's classic b-grade schtick that the show excels at, although why Rob and Caitlyn were excluded from the musical while Britney, Lindsay and Paris took part is completely beyond me. In the bottom this week were Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Farrah Moan, who played Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner respectively. You would think that given their fame Kim and Kylie would be the easiest characters to play, but when you think about it both of those sisters are known for their vapid lack of personality rather than their over the top personas, making it hard to pick up on any mannerisms or ticks that specifically say them. Alexis Michelle had the easier job of playing momager Kris Jenner, and she probably would have won the challenge had it not been for a hella basic runway look. Instead, Shea Coulee stepped up to the plate with an impressive (if completely inaccurate) Blac Chyna parody which she ended up winning for. Coulee put a great amount of energy into her performance and unlike Cynthia she lip synced perfectly, but the performance (and song) left me thinking more "I'm a professional dancer auditioning for Chris Brown" than it did "I'm a filthy homewrecker who's trynna ruin Kim K's life". Luckily, neither Cynthia or Farrah had to go home (although they probably both deserved it after a mediocre lip sync) thanks to the shock elimination of Eureka, who left the challenge thanks to a leg injury she sustained in the second episode. Am I the only one who thinks that Eureka's bowing out is a totally strategic move? Like Willam before her, Eureka has removed talent from the equation by being eliminated from the competition for something completely other than her drag, placing her above the rest of the girls. Eureka probably knew that with the likes of Nina in the competition she would never snatch the top prize, so instead of letting someone eliminate her for not being good enough she's decided to make the first move and leave herself. It's the Drag Race version of "You can't fire me, I quit!". Eureka also probably knew that her inflammatory chats with the likes of Valentina, Sasha Velour and Trinity Taylor were going to earn her a villians edit, and that the best way to avoid that would be to feign sick. After all, nobody can hate a sick person! In truth, a part of me is a little sad that Eureka had to leave. She was really the only one around causing genuine drama, and without her I'm worried we'll have to rely on a mental breakdown from Nina to give us something fun to watch. That said, if we get to see Farah Moan's perfectly highlighted face in the competition for one more week (and it probably will only be one more week), I'm a happy girl.
  10. We're four weeks into our recaps of this season of RuPaul's Drag Race, and so far I have to say that I'm still not 100% sold on season nine of the show. Last week's episode seemed to be a return to form, offering the kooky, left of center humour that the show is known for; but this week's episode seemed to fall a little flat. This might have to do with the fact that the hype was so strong for this year's competition, which promised to be the biggest one yet - thanks in part to some extra special guest judges like Lady Gaga and Kesha - but I also think that the show as a whole is prioritising the wrong kinds of drama and the wrong queens overall. This week's challenge started off promisingly enough, with the queens being split into two teams and asked to participate in a morning talk show type gig, covering current affairs, DIYs and a celebrity interview with Naya Rivera to top it all off. Team Not On Today is led by last weeks winner Trinity Taylor, while Team Good Morning Bitches is led by last week's almost loser Aja, and ends up being the most successful out of the two. Valentina has continued to be as irksome as ever, and at this point I'm really struggling to see what it is that everyone likes about her. She turned out another gorgeous runway look, but the fact that she told Eureka and Sasha off in the workroom for arguing over eating disorders with a "I want you to focus on your work," just managed to get on any nerve I have remaining after my rib removal surgery. Just who does this ten month old queen think she is? On the other hand, after four weeks of what I saw as nothing but hype, Miss Nina Bonina Banana Fofana Osama Bin Laden Brown is finally starting to grow on me. This is partially thanks to an impressive turnout on the runway, in which she rocked a corset which would make even Violet Chachki wince, balanced out by some crazy padding and a huge breast plate which made it hard for her to even sit up; although in my opinion, the look was somewhat ruined by a makeup look straight out of a grade school Halloween party. But Nina's overly made up face made a lot more sense to me when she showed her vulnerability on the main stage, bursting into tears at the mere mention of her name by RuPaul, and emotionally opening up on Untucked to the other girls. That said, I still think that versatility is what makes a true Drag Superstar, and Nina wasted a chance this week to strip back the crazy makeup and show us full on glamour. Let's hope she does so in the future. Somehow, Trinity Taylor managed to land herself in the bottom two, while Peppermint got off with barely a slap on the wrist despite constant fumbles in her acting challenge and a dismal runway look. When Trinity was announced as bottom two, it was obvious that Charlie Hides would be the eliminated queen this week; but really, we all already knew this thanks to the disproportionate amount of airtime she got this week compared to previous weeks (and the fact that she dropped her first single on the day of airing). It's a shame that Charlie was booted so early, as she mentioned that she would have made a brilliant Joan Rivers in Snatch Game and I tend to agree with her; but it's not a total surprise. Charlie is a YouTube Queen who's used to controlling everything about her projects; the lighting, camera angles, makeup, script and improvisation are all ruled over by her with little outside influence. Putting her into a challenge where she needed to work in a team, and so closely with Cynthia, was bound to be her undoing all along. That said, there's still little excuse for that lip sync, which has to go down in history as probably the worst in Drag Race herstory; when else have the other queens at the back been screaming at the performers to do more? Overall, I can't help but feel as though Drag Race is still struggling to find it's feet this time around. Mini challenges are still M.I.A. and the runway this week was shortened by about one tenth of the usual length (although you can watch the full length version here), but there didn't seem to be much taking it's place other than the typical backstage drama. A lot of people are suggesting that the move to VH1 may have changed management and that the new producers are to blame for the awkward nature of the show, but I've gotta put at least some of the blame on the editing. Drag Race has always had a penchant for manufactured tears and drama, but there was always a bright streak of talent and oddity shining through that made it all worth it. This time around, the odder queens - like Nina and Sasha - aren't getting much screen time at all, with the focus being placed squarely on (the probable winner) Valentina and the love to hate queen of the season Eureka. It's making for a much less kooky season and one with fewer standouts to those who aren't here for the gorgeous or bitchy queens. All we can do is hope that as the queens continue to fall like dominoes, a larger screentime allowance will allow some of the lesser sung heroes of the season to rise to the top.
  11. After months and months of build up, RuPaul's Drag Race returned with it's biggest ever season premiere today, promising bigger guest stars, bigger personalities, bigger challenges and bigger wigs than ever before. Since it's announcement, this season of RPDR has promised to be bigger and better than those before it, starting with the shows move from specialty LGBT network Logo to the more mainstream VH1 (which earned the show a cool one million viewers, breaking records for the series) and the announcement of the shows first guest star: one of the biggest popstars in the world and probably the biggest LGBT icon around, Lady Gaga. In actuality, Gaga's appearance was pretty lowkey compared to the extravaganza the queens put forward. She entered the show through a cute little gimmick where she played the thirteenth drag queen, code name Ronnie, who was Gaga's biggest fan and best impersonator; but the PlantGa plot didn't last for too long and the popstars true identity was revealed pretty quickly. Gaga and her lip fillers ended up taking on more of a mentor role, guiding the queens through their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent pageant categories of hometown drag and Gaga illusion, and giving them personalised feedback during this week's Untucked episode. Ru announced at the beginning of the week that no queens would be eliminated during the premiere episode, which was a good choice given how much airtime Gaga took up and how little the queens themselves got the chance to shine. In the pageant, Eureka and Sasha Velour scored high with Nina Bo'nina Brown taking the top prize - a nice twist of fate given Eureka's own prediction that Nina would be eliminated - but as we all know, producer picks and fan favourites rarely coincide, and there were plenty of other queens who audiences loved. Farrah Moan and Kimora Blac stood out thanks to their strikingly fishy looks, while Aja, Charlie Hides, Peppermint and Valentina all scored tens across the board for their winning personalities. Jaymes Mansfield, on the other hand, sat in the corner like a lost puppy in need of a hug, making her the most loveable queen since Kim Chi last season. It will be interesting to see if she manages to come out of her shell or if her insularity ends up being her downfall. And now for the question on everyone's lips: who is the elusive fourteenth queen teased in the episodes final moments? If you're a Reddit user, you'll probably agree that the most likely option is Cynthia Lee Fontaine, whose voice was allegedly heard in the background of an NPR interview RuPaul conducted last August. Other prime choices include Laila McQueen and Serena ChaCha, both of whom audiences have observed were absent from social media during filming. I'm not gonna lie though: I would be totally here for the surprise return of Shangela, the House of Edwards queen who has so far starred in two seasons of Drag Race and cameoed in a further one. Shangela's had more than her fair share of chances to snatch the crown, but I wouldn't mind producers continuing the gag just one more time for longtime viewers of the show. After just one episode of the show, it's hard to predict a top three, but if we had to put money on it we'd bet that Aja, Kimora Blac and Charlie Hides will go far in the show. Drag Race traditionally features a top three involving a seasoned professional (think Chad Michaels or Bianca Del Rio) alongside some younger ingenues (say Alaska Thunderfuck or Naomi Smalls) and we can't see them changing that formula up anytime soon. Who are your picks for the top three? Did Gaga live up to the hype? Sound off in the comments below and stay tuned for more of our coverage of RuPaul's Drag Race season nine!
  12. Well, did anyone expect anything different? Episode two of Drag Race's latest season just finished airing in America, but for all the good it did we might as well have just skipped straight to episode three. Despite a fun main challenge in which the queens cheered against each other in teams, a guest spot from everyone's favourite ditzy blonde Friend Lisa Kudrow and some truly sickening runway looks, there was nothing in this episode that surprised or wowed in the way the season premiere did. The premier gag was, of course, that a fourteenth queen would be entering the competition: and as we and Reddit predicted back last week, it turned out to be none other than Miss Cynthia Lee Fontaine, the season eight queen who hung her head in shame when she left in tenth place but who has since turned her trash into treasure with a strong online following. Cynthia is kind of like Drag Race's Sofia Vergara: a total Hispanic stereotype, but one who's completely in on the joke and who's warm and funny personality is just too winning to dislike. That said, if she said "cucu" one more time this episode I think I would have let her fall right off that cheer pyramid. Meanwhile, Valentina continued her streak as the judges favourite by pussystunting her way to the head of the cheer pack and walking the runway in an (admittedly beautiful) wedding gown. Valentina is gorgeous for sure, but there's a certain smugmess in her beret wearing ass that rubs me the wrong way, and I'm surprised that Michelle hasn't read her for showboating like she did Bob last season. As if anyone was surprised, Jaymes was the queen to leave this week, failing to make an impression with her sleepy, ditzy drag persona. Weirdly enough, she was actually the only queen who really made an impression on viewers, even if it was a largely negative one; and the fact that she seemed to have a lot more to give makes me sad to see her go. Overall, it was one of the show's more predictable episodes, and not one that really served any purpose other than to reassert Cynthia's dominance over the competition. The girls noted that Cynthia already has a grasp on how the show works, as well as a large fanbase outside of it, and with the workroom overflowing with more wigs than your local Party City it's hard for any of the lesser-known girls to truly leave their mark. Fingers crossed that as the season continues the claws will come out and the queens will get to show their true personalities. And for god's sake, give us a sewing challenge!
  13. Another week, another Rupaul's Drag Race recap. And while last week's episode suffered from a sense of total predictability and boredom, this week's brought the show's classic mix of "WTF am I watching" ridiculousness and "OMG this is amazing" talent, as well as an elimination which I don't think anyone expected at this point in the game. Three episodes in, and the mini-challenge seems to have gone the way of Gia Gunn's penis; and while everyone misses the irreverence and fun of those challenges, I have to say that I think given the huge amount of queens we have to show off during this season it's not a bad idea to put the focus on the personalities over the tasks. Scrapping the mini-challenge allowed the queens to talk about, for instance, their own personal experiences with the shooting spree at Pulse Nightclub which had happened mere months before filming; and it was super emotional to hear that Trinity, who had once been crowned Miss Pulse, had performed at Latin night one week to the day before the mass shooting. Cynthia, who was originally scheduled to perform at Pulse on the evening of the shooting, had rescheduled her appearance at the last minute only to have one of her fans enter Pulse that night, unaware of her cancellation, and never leave again. It was a truly emotional, if clearly set up, moment, and one that made the following frivolities seem somewhat insincere. The main challenge this week consisted of designing an outfit fit for a princess, with a backstory and terrifyingly animated Disney-esque sidekick to match. Peppermint took a traumatising experience from her childhood in which she nearly burned her house down as inspiration for her princess, while Sasha Velour had a criminally underrated turn as The Princess of Selfdoubtia, the only character with a fully fleshed out storyline and some semblance of a social message. Trinity took the win thanks to her straight-shooting redneck sidekick, one which the judges thought showed off a new side of her personality; but while she was stunning for sure, there seems to be a wall built up around Trinity which I find hard to break down. With her messy, basic mermaid outfit and lack of a coherent storyline, Farrah Moan seemed a surefire choice to go home, despite being overall one of the most polished queens this season. Which is why we were all a little surprised when the bottom two this week consisted of fan favourites Kimora Blac and Aja, both of whom were critiqued for their confused princess backstories despite sickening runway looks from each. I have to say that when I saw Aja was going up against Kimora I thought it was for sure her time to go; but she proved herself to be one of the show's most formidable lip sync opponents ever, turning every move into an opportunity for a jump and/or a split. Kimora really had no chance against the level of fiest Aja showed tonight. Just look at the difference in their death drops. With this week's lip sync, Aja proved herself as more than just an Instagram queen: she's a strong player who'll surely go far in the game, and one who seems more instantly likeable than the smug personalities of Trinity or Valentina. Aja's had her chance to shine; all we can hope is that it's Charlie's turn next, because that queen from across the pond was serving major looks tonight and we know she has a whole lot more to offer than what she has so far.
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