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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5: The Story So Far

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS OF RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE SEASON 5, EPISODES 1-7


Okay, so it's about time I did a Drag Race post. I've been tossing one up for a while – I was going to do a pre-season review, but with fourteen queens constituting this season’s roster, my procrastination got the best of me (read: I’m a lazy effing COW). Now that number has halved to just seven, I’m ready to spill the tea. Let’s untuck.

This week’s episode was, for me, by far the best of the season so far. If there was a theme, it was reading: in the Mini Challenge, the “library” was opened as the queens were invited to throw shade at each other (my favourite line coming courtesy of Miss Jinkx: “Roxxxy Andrews, there are two types of peanut butter: creamy and crunchy”). Then, in the Main Challenge, the insults continued to fly as the queens participated in the first Rupaul Roast, taking part in a stand-up style skit reading Ru, the judging panel and each other. The overall caliber seemed to be much higher this week after an array of lackluster performances in the last two weeks’ challenges. Jinkx, Alaska and Coco were all responsible for some serious laugh-out-loud moments, provoking more than a couple finger snaps of approval at their riDONculous reads (Alaska providing the best line with: “Michelle Visage: you can take the girl out of New Jersey but you can’t keep the girl from giving blowjobs to homeless men along the New Jersey turnpike”).

The lip sync, a Roxxxy Andrews versus Alyssa Edwards affair, also delivered in spades this week: Roxxxy snatched her own weave and whipped her hair like a high-speed propeller (leading Ru to tweet “AMENDED: Never remove your wig while performing, unless you're wearing another wig underneath”), and Alyssa threw it down, literally, pulling out some serious pageant-winning choreography. Amidst a runway aflame, the judges were losing their sh*t: Ru’s hysterics and Michelle’s impassioned finger-wagging were equally ridiculous. Needless to say, shante they both stayed.  



Now for some individual critiques…

First to Miss Ivy Winters. Ivy lucked out again this week, managing to avoid the bottom two only by reason of being out-underperformed by Roxxxy and Alyssa. It’s the second time, for me, she’s had a close escape: her surviving the Snatch Game was also more thanks to a lack of fierce competition on the night itself than any display of talent on her part. Going into the season, I had high hopes for Miss Winters (having seen that stilt-based runway look and learning she’d styled outfits for Manila Luzon, one of my all-time favourite Drag Race alumnus), but they’re fading fast. As a seamstress, she’s incredibly talented, but as a performer, she lacks the punch of many of her competitors. It’s not that you have to be bitchy to be a drag queen, but sometimes Ivy pushes docility into blandness. Her talents with a needle and thread may just be enough to carry her to the Top Five but, in all likeliness, I’m predicting an exit within the next two weeks. Sorry, Ivy.


Another queen who’s failed to live up to my own pre-season hype is Miss Detox. In the first few weeks, it seemed she was on course to be a season standout, as I’d predicted. Lately, however, she’s been unsettlingly average. In fact, she hasn’t lived up to her potential in the main challenges at all since her Week 3 victory. Considering next week will be Week 8, that’s a good month of coasting. She’s had a few cute runways, yes (tragically, what looked to be one of her best runway efforts flew largely under the radar on the scandalous Week Without a Runway) and on the whole she hasn’t been inherently bad, it’s just that compared to what I expected of her going into this season, she’s been a bit of a disappointment.

Part of the problem with Detox has been her attitude (on which I thought Kristen Johnson’s read of her was pretty spot-on); she’s almost the opposite of Ivy in a way: it’s like, she recognizes the tepid reception she’s been receiving, so she tries to insulate herself from criticism by projecting such a no-nonsense attitude that the other queens are too inhibited to fairly hold her to account. Coco tried (however unprofessionally) to do just that, calling her out on her pairing Coco and Alyssa together, and instead of Detox coming back with the obvious rebuff that she’d simply (and fairly) used the advantage she’d earned as a Mini Challenge winner, Detox lied, saying that her moved hadn’t been inspired by malice, despite cackling with Roxxxy beforehand about how she’d planned to set Coco up. That insincerity, coupled with a slew of average performances, has been something of game-changer in my opinions on Miss Detox. Unless she really steps her game up within the next few weeks, I’m thinking that this Goddess Made of Silicon may just miss out on a Top 3 finish.

The Dress That Never Was: one of Detox's better runway looks

Of the remaining queens, it appears, to me, to be something of a two-horse race between Jinkx and Alaska. Just as Ivy’s been lucky to miss out on the bottom two for a handful of weeks, Alaska’s been seemingly unlucky to miss out on winning a challenge so far: her first week trashbag couture was a masterpiece, as were her performances in the Lipsync Extravaganza, Snatch Game and this week’s Roast.

Before the season aired, there’d been a lot of obvious and uninspired smack written online about Miss Alaska living in husband Sharon Needles’ shadow, but the past seven weeks have surely put an end to that. She’s a master comedienne and deciding to distance herself from Rolaskatox was definitely the right move this week. (If there’s an area in which she does need to grow, it’d be her runway: her looks can sometimes veer on pedestrian and she’s shown a tendency to under-paint). On her overall record so far, then, I’d pick Alaska as my Silver Crown winner for this year.


That leaves Jinkx Monsoon as my prediction of this year’s winner. Of the seven weeks we’ve seen so far, Miss Jinkx has ranked highly in four of them and won another, leaving only two weeks when she wasn’t either a winner or one of the most highly-rated queens. Until this week, the anchor tugging away at her upward ascendance had been an inability to serve “glamour” on the runway, but, having apparently conquered Michelle Visage this week, it looks like we could be seeing a turning point in Jinkx eradicating her Achilles’ hill. I actually thought that Miss Monsoon deserved to win last week’s challenge, too. The only explanation I could give for her not having done so (beyond the more cynical claim that Ru’s intentionally awarded a different queen victory every week to heighten the unpredictability, and thus drama, of the season) was her hideously over-contoured mug on the runway. Learning from her mistakes and continuing to grow will only further stand in Jinkx’s favour as we reach the second half of the season, and if she continues to conquer the runway, the top prize may well go to Seattle’s Premium Jewish Narcoleptic Drag Queen.


Jinkx's standout performance as Little Edie
...and again as Mimi Imfurst
Remaining, then, are Alyssa, Coco and Roxxxy. Despite a great performance this week, I don’t see Coco lasting much longer. She’s already lipsynced twice, so if she makes it to the bottom again, she’s almost a dead cert for elimination. I can’t imagine Ru wasting the opportunity to deliver his own slice of poetic justice in having Coco sashay away to Alyssa, so I’m expecting those two will find themselves lip syncing against each other in either Week 8 or 9, with Coco being the first to leave.

Don't count on it, bitch.
Mop the floor with that ho, Alyssa!

With Ivy gone either shortly after (or before), it’ll be then that things get really interesting. Next to be eliminated will probably be Alyssa (if it were up to me, she’d actually be a Top 3 contender: I find her hilarious and her lip sync this week was one of the greatest of all time; sadly, though her performances in the main challenges have started failing to live up to her personality, so it looks like she’ll just miss out on a Top 5 finish).

P*ssy on FIRE.

Miss Edwards gone, that will then leave Detox and Roxxxy to fight it out for a spot in the top three. As with Alyssa and Coco, I can see Ru maximizing another of this season’s storylines and orchestrating an emotional Lovers’ Showdown lipsync between Roxxxy and Detox. If that turns out to be the case, I think Roxxxy might just have the upper hand.



To summarise, then, I see the latter half of this season playing out as follows (though I am rooting for my girl Alyssa to go further!):

1.      Jinkx Monsoon
2.      Alaska
3.      Roxxxy Andrews
4.      Detox
5.      Alyssa Edwards
6.      Ivy Winters
7.      Coco Montrese

If it’s true that Jinkx wins, and so isn’t eligible for the crown of Miss Congeniality, my pick for the title is Miss Ivy Winters. And that, as they say, is the mother***ing tea. Do you watch Drag Race? What are your thoughts? Who do you want to win? Comment below, bitches! 


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1 Comments:

Blogger Michel Chahade said...

Omg, you called it almost perfectly wow

May 12, 2013 at 11:55 PM  

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