I’m not the kind of bitch to repeat things — say, like a wig someone else wore in the ball challenge two weeks ago — so let’s just get out of the way now that the judging is doing a serious disservice to a season with a solid cast and generally solid challenges.
The mini challenge this week was the reading challenge. I thought the queens largely did fine, and the winner — GottMik — impressed me with some clever digs that were playful more than hurtful. I’ve been frustrated with GottMik the past few weeks (or rather, frustrated by the judges propping them up undeservedly) but I thought overall this was a good week for them. Very strong in the mini, solid performance in the main challenge, cute look on the runway. Things I am not mad at: that.
But there was plenty to be mad at with the main challenge, a return of the improv Bossy Rossy “talk show” challenge last seen in Season 10. I think many of the queens think that improv means you have to be super loud and either end up physically fighting and/or making out with your scene partner. I’m certainly not looking for subtlety from drag queens, but I also think that kind of obvious approach to comedy gets real old real fast, and when you had four teams largely devolving into the same schtick…yeah.
Speaking of teams, they were:
-Rose, Denali and LaLa Ri as daughter, mother, and psychiatrist all impregnated by the same imaginary friend
-Kandy Muse and Symone as former reality stars who were BFFs but now hate each other
-GottMik, Olivia Lux, and Utica Queen as, respectively, a cult expert, a mime leaving a mime cult, and the mime’s overbearing mother
-Tina Burner and Elliott with 2 T’s as former NASA coworkers whose friendship was tested after extreme plastic surgery
From where I was sitting, Rose and Denali did well or better in their group, Symone was the only person present in her skit, Olivia and Utica both grated, and Tina and Elliott were either too much or too little, nothing in the middle.
So of course the tops ended up being Symone (sure), Olivia (no), and Kandy Muse (you have to be fucking kidding me), and the bottoms for the episode were LaLa (sure), Utica (definietely), and Elliott (should have been safe). I honestly cannot believe they gave Olivia a second win in a row for that mime. The physical comedy was good, sure, but the blow up at the end was pure cringe, her runway was super juvenile, and once again she wore something highly reminiscent of another queen’s look from just a few weeks ago. I like Olivia very much, but this level of praise is unwarranted, in my opinion.
After last week, I am aware that my intense disdain for Kandy Muse as a reality TV character (I won’t say “person” as I don’t actually know Kandy, I only know the version of her presented on my TV) is likely coloring my impression of everything she’s doing on the show. But I don’t know what Scarlet Witch-manifested reality the judges were watching that garnered her a top spot, especially over Team Tempurpedic, AKA Rose and Denali, who the judges will not stop sleeping on. (They are trying to break Denali, and it is working.) In his critique of Kandy, Ross complimented her by saying working with her was “effortless.” I agree completely — she put in zero effort. He was so excited that she responded back to his lines with deadpan “oh bitch” or “not me” or “I don’t know.” What exactly are you seeing that we are not? Symone had to bust through that faulty gate latch (Gate Latch for Season 14!) and singlehandedly run the rest of that scene, because Kandy was giving us DUST. If the argument is that they were rewarding Kandy for taking critiques and not being an over-the-top boor, I remain unmoved. If your only modes are obnoxious lout and flatline response, you are not deserving of praise. Compare Kandy to either Veronica Green or Sister Sister from last week’s improv challenge on UK. Both were rightly in the bottom for bringing nothing to their characters, giving nothing to their partners. What’s different? Oh, right: it’s Kandy. And the producers think the people will just love her.
How do I know that? Because I watched The Kandy Muse Show. You might know it better as Untucked. Seriously, clock it: as soon as the critiqued girls come in to the work room (where Denali and Rose are having yet another dark night of the soul, wondering what the fuck they have to do to get a shred of recognition) the focus becomes singularly Kandy. The camera is always on her. Giving her critiques, giving people pep talks (someone clued into the fact that the audience was not going to appreciate her hostile attitude from previous entries), leading kikis. If you removed the Kandy footage, Untucked would be 5 minutes long. Did anyone here sign up for The Kandy Muse Show? I sure didn’t. How do I delete that from my DVR?
That is the frustrating thing to me. There are a bunch of likable, talented queens on this cast who are routinely stuffed into the metaphorical corner so the editors/producers can force Kandy down our throats. I do not consent to this, show. If they were all slacking or not living up to ability (see: Season 11), I would get it. But that isn’t what’s happening. Several of these queens are performing strongly and being routinely ignored, while mediocrity is being elevated. We have heads. We see what is happening. You have obviously learned nothing from the Sherry Pie situation, and that is absolutely mindboggling to me. Do not put all your money on one horse, because if the fandom doesn’t like them — or if, say, they’ve done some seriously messed-up shit in real life — you are going to be left with a season chained to a turd. Look at these shackles you’ve crafted for yourself yet again.
And there is good content there with other queens. I thought the conversation between Tina and Elliott, where Elliott shared his struggles with depression, was much needed. It humanized both of them — they needed it — and it made me like Tina more, and really feel for poor Elliott, who has been absolutely fucked over by this season.
Speaking of Ms. 2 T’s, she landed in the bottom opposite LaLa (Utica got touched by an angel, in my opinion) and she sent LaLa packing in what I thought was a close lipsynch that Elliott slayed. What I liked most about Elliott’s performance was the interpretation of the song. The moves she was hitting were not just showy for the sake of being showy — they fit the beats of the song. There was a musicality to it that I often find missing in lipsynchs, which can become trick exhibitions. Elliott really impressed me. She is the darkest of dark horses, but after this episode, I’m rooting for her.
LaLa is a joy to watch and is clearly a good performer, but I don’t think she was ready to compete at this level. Still, I love her energy and I would like to see her again after she more fully develops the LaLa Ri Experience.
Here is this week’s Photo Finish, guest starring pool member Kathy Laluk and her own guest star, William! As I said with the Bird Watch video for UK2, we experienced some significant lag issues with the videos this week, and I apologize for that. We continue to refine our approach to these, and I appreciate your patience. Nothing is ever easy…
Next week: Social Media, the Unauthorized Rusical. Because literally nobody demanded it!
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And here is the poll for Episode 8! Snatch Game is Episode 9, so you’ll be able to do your swaps when that poll goes live next week. Start figuring out your guesses for Snatch Game picks now, as you’ll get bonus points for those.