Apparently I was the only homosexual on the planet who enjoyed that acting challenge. I saw gay social media engage in full-throated bitching, but I thought it was charming, and I didn’t think any of the Final 5 bombed. Did any of them fully blow me away in it? No — although a few exceeded my expectations.
The challenge in question was a campy acting skit called “Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens.” Kandy Muse got the coveted role of Dominique Perignon, a drag queen villain in the vein of Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan Dexter — and really, none of these queens could E V E R pull off that kind of arch savagery — while Rose, Olivia Lux, Symone, and GottMik played her rival Drag Queen contestants, who Kandy sabotaged by shrinking via toxic overhead lighting. (Just go with it, folks.)
Prior to shooting the skit, the queens got a virtual visit from Scarlett Johansson, who gave them acting tips. I know a lot of people will take pot shots at ScarJo for her many questionable roles, but I’m not that bitch. She’s had her drubbing. I’m moving on. Besides, she has suffered enough — her big money-making solo super-hero movie has been on hold over a year now. Karma has had its day. I enjoyed her interaction with the girls, and I especially enjoyed the impromptu Zoom bombing by her hubby Colin Jost, who was funnier in his one unscripted gag than he has arguably been for seven years on “Saturday Night Live.” On a related note, thank you for those beach photos, Colin. I’m a…big fan.
We only had five queens left, so we’ll go right down the line:
Rose won the challenge, and I’m honestly not sure why. I really like Rose, and beyond that, I respect her talent and craft. But if we’re basing it on what she put out in that challenge? It was a lot of cornball mugging and not much else. I’m not even sure what her character was supposed to be. I’m not mad they gave her the win, as it puts her on roughly even footing with Symone heading into the finale. But do I think she had the best performance in the challenge or on the runway? No. (Runway is debatable — see Photo Finish for more.) I would have put her as the runner-up.
GottMik would have been my winner for the week. I’ve mentioned before that I expected GottMik to struggle in the performance challenges, and get protected by the judges until F4. But that’s really not the case at all. GottMik is a talented comedian and actor. I thought they were funny in this and I thought they looked amazing on the runway. (The theme was Haute Pockets, BTW, and I am gutted that not one queen came out as a fancy Hot Pocket sleeve — you know Tina Burner would showed up as the hot ham and cheese of my dreams! It’s right in her color wheelhouse!) GottMik has performed much better than I expected going into the season, and it’s weird that at F4 I don’t feel like the edit is treating them as a serious threat to the crown. They really should. Especially since I think they could have easily won the last two challenges, on top of the Ball and Snatch Game.
Symone struggled to bounce back from her Bottom 2 appearance last week, and further flailed when she didn’t get the villain role she desperately wanted. She had what I felt was a very human moment in confessional, breaking down at the incredible expectations she feels from her drag family, House of Avalon. But in the end she turned out a solid performance in the acting challenge — note that she did drop the accent she has a tendency to go to when trying to be funny, which I think has become overdone — and then turned out a balls-out interpretation of the runway brief that may not have been flawless or tasteful, but was certainly ambitious. I think all of this ultimately helps Symone’s case for the crown. She has had an arc. She has struggled and clawed her way back, and Ru eats that shit up. I still consider Symone the most likely to win the season.
Kandy Muse actually had a good episode in my opinion. Sure, she ended up in the Bottom 2, and looked like a half-finished macrame hotpad while doing so. But I thought she gave us more in that acting challenge than she has ever given us. I thought her medical emergency in Untucked was very relatable (Kandy, girl, I am right with you on the high blood pressure, you gotta get on the medication, I promise it will make your life better). And I thought she actually showed us some self awareness in her talking heads, which was a refreshing change of pace. I also felt bad because, as I’ve been saying for weeks, the judges blowing smoke up her ass all season finally came back to bite her. Michelle and Carson both critiqued her for just “giving them Kandy” in the challenge. Literally that is all she has been giving you all season long. All. Season. Long. There has been 0 range. None. And you have just praised her relentlessly for it. So now, right before the end, coming off a win, it’s a problem for you? What a mindfuck. I actually found myself sympathetic to Kandy this week. But I still thought she lost the lipsynch and should have gone home. The glitter shower was nice but she relies too much on props to disguise her middling lipsynch skills. Not a joke. Just a fact.
Olivia Lux was the one to get eliminated, and even though I think she delivered a better lipsynch, it was her time. Arguably past time. In the challenge, Olivia relied way too much on the voice-crack ditzy schtick she has pulled out far too many times (actually, almost all the queens relied on schticks they had already shown us, which is a terrible decision — future contestants on this show, if you are in this position, PLEASE push yourselves and really swing for the fences instead of playing it safe). Her dazzling smile and innate charm started to dull for me several weeks back, when Production was pushing her with back-to-back wins. And even before that, all of it was starting to feel a bit forced. I think Olivia really does have tremendous potential. She has not been doing this long, and the fact that she did as well as she did with so little experience? She should be proud. But as Rose — fairly, although bluntly — told her Untucked, Olivia came on Drag Race to explore her drag. Nobody else in that room was there to explore. They were there to compete and show their best. Olivia swears that she knows who she is as a queen and as a performer, and certainly I’m not inside her head. But based on what she showed this season, I don’t see a fully formed entertainer yet. I think a few years of travel, of live performing, or public appearances will help hone her into the queen she can be, and I think Olivia is exactly why God (Ru) invented All Stars. She is a gem. She just needs a lot more polish.
Confidential to Olivia: I know you’re trying to make, “Get ready to Liv!” happen, but “Liv, Laugh, LOVE” is literally right there. Take it. Christmas Tree Shops/Home Goods have an endless supply of cheapo signs you can customize and sell at DragCon, along with your tiny purses. You’re welcome.
We didn’t even discuss the gorgeous and talented Cynthia Erivo as a guest judge, but I think you all should know: Cynthia Erivo is gorgeous and talented, and also seems like a total sweetheart.
Here is this week’s Photo Finish, featuring guest judge Jake Pitochelli! If anyone in this pool would like to be a guest judge, and have not done so during the four years that Season 13 has been airing, please shoot me a message! We have two episodes left that we need guest judges for.
As for scoreboard, Data Maven Michael Schwarz is currently on walkabout and won’t have the scores updated until tomorrow. So just like Jesus, your scores may have risen tomorrow (Easter). Check back for those!
Next week: the Final 4 challenge THANK GOD. Another RuMix. Half of these queens blew their first one. Can they redeem themselves and make it to the actual honest-to-god final?