BRING OUT THE DIVAS (RPDR RECAP)
Something’s rotten in the state of Drag Race. (It’s Milk. Also Shangela.) Tonight we see the rise of a predictable villain, and the disintegration of a player who could have been formidable.
We open on the workroom as the queens return. Ben is taking sending Morgan home hard, but okay, gurl. Thorgy bitches about it, and Shangela is incapable of believing anyone in the world is actually genuine. Can we just agree Shangela is a terrible person? Aja pulls Chi Chi’s lipstick out of her bosom, which is awkward, as Trixie points out, but not surprising. Probably Chi Chi should have gone home, but I, for one, am glad she stayed. I think she has real potential, and I’m fairly sure all Morgan would have added is trash outfits, acrobatics, and bitchiness.
In a cutaway, Shangela Stormborn reveals her Game of Thrones strategy. She wants to be Daenerys Targaryen. Guess what: everybody wants to be Daenerys. Only a few of us are. Shangela is in fact 1000% Cersei Lannister. They share a love of stinkfaces, plotting themselves into disaster, and thinking they are the smartest boss bitch in the room. That’s the tragedy of Cersei--her hubris and overconfidence. From what I know of Shangela, she shares those traits as well. Also! The whole point of Game of Thrones is that everyone loses. I just hope Shangela doesn’t end up with her head on a pike. (Who am I kidding...I’d love that.)
I’d also like to nominate Shangela for the Chad Michael’s Slightly Out of Touch Pop Culture Reference Award, the Welcome to the Hunger Games, Bitches prize.
Chi Chi thinks she shouldn’t have been in the bottom and she thinks Milk should have been. Milk is being edited as a big headed asshole, who claims that her FASHION DARLING song will be bigger than Supermodel. Which, what bitch? Trixie rightly points out that Velcro is not a talent.
The maxi challenge is a Lipsync Extravangza: VH1 Divas Live: A Tribute to RuPaul. Which lol lol lol. I love the way this show serves as a living, breathing monument to RuPaul’s oeuvre. In this case, each queen is assigned a Diva. Milk is Celine Dion, Kennedy is Janet Jackson (somewhere Coco Montrese howls in the darkness), Aja is Amy Winehouse, Chi Chi is Patti LaBelle (somewhere Jasmine Masters eats her own liver), Trixie is Dolly Parton, Shangela is Mariah Carey, Thorgy is Stevie Nicks, Ben is Julie Andrews, and Bebe is Diana Ross. The runway challenge is Fashion Fails RuDemption.
The queens get some time to digest their assigned roles. Thorgy is spinning out. She loves Stevie Nicks but she doesn’t think it’s a standout role. She also hates Stevie Nicks as much as she hates Bob the Drag Queen. She rightly calls out the fact that Shangela has been awarded the winning role with Mariah. Meanwhile, Milk is 100% confident that she has Celine in the bag. She’s wearing a raggedy leotard outfit Celine wore at the Met Ball, and everyone is real confused. In case we’ve forget, Milk reminds us that she is FASHION, DARLING, and thus knows exactly what she’s doing. Shangela slyly winds Milk up (total Cersei move) and Trixie looks on quizzically.
Here we see that Shangela is a much more skilled manipulator than Phi Phi. Phi Phi was so transparent in her meanspiritedness that she only really got to Roxxxxy. Everyone else could see her coming from ten miles away. Shangela is very good because she can pretend to be a friend lending her ear, but she is fully plotting against the person, cataloguing her weak spots and implanting doubt, or making the other girl look stupid as hell (see Milk.)
Todrick Hall is here to run the girls through their paces, and let me tell you, he is better as a mean ass choreographer than a mealy-mouthed judge. Todrick has real opinions about this rehearsal, and as Ben notes, he has the ability to look deeply into each queen’s soul, find her biggest insecurity, and tell her “DON’T DO THAT.”
Shangela is doing method Mariah, draped in fake fur and sunglasses and her own unearned sense of accomplishment (total Cersei). Todrick, the girls, and yours truly want to strangela her.
Let’s run through the rehearsal quickly. Todrick is v. disappointed in Kennedy’s Janet Jackson. She doesn’t have any moves, any JANETNESS. She is terrible.
Thorgy, the never satisfied, says “Fuck you, Bob” for basically nothing. Her tamborine is bad. She claims that she loves Stevie but she hates her so fucking much. Stevie is a fucking witch Gemini, which Aja immediately groks, because Aja is also a witch. Todrick is v. disappointed in Thorgy.
Shangela is method and everyone wants to burn her as a witch. Todrick is v. frustrated with Marangela.
Bebe is Diana Ross, Ru’s favorite, and basically just glides. “DOES NOTHING! NOTHING.” Todrick is v. impressed.
Ben is Julie Andrews rapping and must have swag juice. Todrick is v. v. worried.
Ben thinks Todrick might be a witch.
Thorgy is just so bitter about everything everything.
Makeup time is boring, but we gain further insight into the fractured psyche of Thorgy. She admits to her jealousy of Bob and says Bob about 1000 times. Meanwhile, Kennedy and Shangela try to build her up while they also tear her down. I mean, they’re basically gaslighting her. I have a lot of sympathy for Thorgy, truth be told. She’ll never not get in her own way, she’ll always be bitter, she’ll always be displeased and resentful. She comes off as a conspiracy theorist, but just sometimes, she’s right. In her season, she was consistently a good performer, but Bob was always there, rightly taking the spotlight. In some ways, Thorgy embodies Cersei Lannister--the bitter Cersei, the one who feels like she should have been the son her father needed. Bitter Cersei chafes at the indignity of her lot, and so does Thorgy.
Let’s talk about the performances in VH1 Divas Live: A Tribute to RuPaul. Each queen is lipsyncing to a RuPaul song recorded in the style of each diva.
Milk is just the worst. Her outfit is horrid, a long sleeved silver leotard with a belted piece of ragged black fabric. Her Celine is inexplicable--flapping legs here, there, and everywhere.
Kennedy is super terrible. She moves her lips when there is no singing. She looks nothing like Janet. It is the sloppiest performance of the night.
Aja’s Amy Winehouse snarls so much, she may have rabies.
Chi Chi fucking kills her Patti LaBelle.
Trixie is so cute as Dolly and I love it. (NEVER FORGET THAT I AM TEAM TRIXIE)
Shangela/Mariah does have the best part. But her boobs are terrible. Let it be noted that Trixie has great boobs.
Thorgy has a terrible hat and flutters her fingers. Her eye makeup is just Thorgy. Black eyes. And yes, Stevie doesn’t have the mojo that some of the others have, but Thorgy’s styling doesn’t do anything to lift the performance up. That’s the problem with Thorgy--she can’t deal with adversity because it conflicts with her sense of self. She has no try, no grit, as we’d say in my line of work.
Bendelacreme does rapping Julie Andrews, including cunt face. Ben nails it down. There is also a Mary Poppins reference.
Bebe is Diana Ross. I don’t know what Diana Ross actually does, so this seems fine. Diana Ross has been a kiss of death previously, felling Honey Mahogany and Lineysha Sparks.
Let’s hit the runway. We’re doing Fashion Fail RuDemptions.
Milk is redoing her Glamorous runway, but she just comes dressed as Miss Fame.
Aja: Princess Disastah. Not bad. Of all the runways, this is the most marked improvement from the original fail.
Chi: Neon realness. I like this kind of but also not. I find it very confusing.
Trixie redos the ugly dress challenge. WHY WHY WHY GIRL! Why pick this one? She has this pink smock. It is ugly but I feel like that was a bad choice to redo. Out of context of the original challenge, this sticks out in a bad way.
Kennedy does the Death Becomes Her challenge. You know, she’s been thrown in the fire by a john and crystallized? OMG I can’t. Bitch is crystallized for sure.
Thorgy: Neon. Evil Shark Queen Alien Green. This is insane.
Ben: Dripping in jewels. So cute and sort of an Adore nod with the beaded chain
Bebe redoes her entrance look from 1858. It’s a power suit? IDK. It’s like 50 Shades of Oprah’s Legend Ball.
Shangela: Queen Who Mopped Christmas Venereal disease in a bubble. I hated this, husband loved it. YMMV.
Bottoms: Chi Chi, Thorgy, Kennedy
Tops: Shangela, Ben, Bebe
Safe: Aja, Milk, Trixie. Great, but then Milk has a total fit. She feels like she should have been top. Milk is white male privilege personified. She deserves to be told how wonderful she is. I’ve never ever seen someone throw a fit about being safe ON THE MAIN STAGE!
Chi Chi is basic, but she knows how to flatter Vanessa Williams, calling out her outstanding work in the 1996 blockbuster Eraser, co starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Todrick decides to be nice to Shangela, saluting her commitment to the role of Mariah, when we all know he fully wanted to smack her in the sunglasses during rehearsal. Everyone loves her outfit which makes me want to barf. There is no denying that her Mariah was the standout piece. It was funny and well performed. She deserves the top for that.
When it is her turn, Thorgy loses it. She can’t handle the critique of her Stevie performance, and she melts down, talks over Vanessa, and just loses it with tears in her eyes.
Ben did a great job with what was the hardest part. We all have to agree that rapping as Julie Andrews is a real mindfuck. Ru confesses that she doesn’t even know the words to Mother.
Bebe’s critique put me in mind of the conspiracy theory that’s floating around the dark web. Someone has suggested that Bebe is a plant, a spy for Ru, and she’ll glide through the competition, not topping, not bottoming, and give Ru the inside info when it’s time to pick the winner. I think this is crazy talk (first and foremost, the cameras give Ru all the info she needs) but the way Bebe is praised makes me feel suspicious
Shangela and Ben win. Kennedy and Thorgy are up for elimination.
Shangela is delighted to receive this power. (CERSEI)
The girls retreat to deliberate. Thorgy is disintegrating before our very eyes. Shangela invites her into her spiderweb of villainy, and suggests an alliance. BITCH THIS IS NOT SURVIVOR. How does an alliance make sense?? There would have to be a very specific set of circumstances: one queen in the top, winning the lipsync to save her bottoming ally? I’m just saying, this doesn’t work. It can’t be done...okay...unless you are Roxxxxy Andrews and are always in the bottom. Regardless of the feasibility, it is cruel of Shangela to treat Thorgy this way. Shangela is sisters with Kennedy, and there was no way she was sending her friend away at this stage. Thorgy is completely vulnerable and it is heartbreaking. Thorgy is basically like Sansa in season one of GoT and Shangela is just Cersei-ing all over her.
Ben basically just listens to Thorgy spin out, but then Thorgy tries to suggest an alliance with her. She also pretty much tells Ben she’ll kill her if Ben sends her home. It is some wild shit, but not in a good way. Ben seems to be more supportive to Kennedy, who gives a good speech.
Milk continues to flip out about not being in the top. Everyone listens and rolls their eyes. She actually sparks a tear, and everyone agrees that is totally ridiculous. Check yourself, gurl!
The lipsync song is Jump by the Pointer Sisters. Shangela gets predictably wild, and is wearing pink wristbands for some reason. It is clash city. Ben camps it up, and hilariously begins copying Shangela’s flailing. Ben is always in character--that’s key to understanding her performances. And Ben is always going to camp. Bitch loves the woods. I thought it was delightful, but I can see how it might be seen as lazy or spastic. Shangela actually jumps rope and I want to scream. She’s super literal.
Shangela wins and sends Thorgy home. You can see Thorgy’s soul leaving her body. But she keeps it together. But! I fear her greatly when she comes back for her Rudemption. She will be like Shiva, destroyer of worlds. Dark Phoenix. When she says she’ll hate Shangela for life, she’s not joking around. She’s interrupted by Ru’s message from the Handmaid Wall. I’m afraid Alaska is a vampire and she’s going to get Thorgy! Watch out, Alaska! Thorgy is bitter.