Yes, I’m back, baby. Back to let you HAVE IT!
Hope you all had a lovely week. And now back to our regularly scheduled program of men in wigs taking household items and transforming them into superhero costumes. As you do.
BUT FIRST! It was the annual Reading Challenge and somehow the winner ended up being…Sister Sister? That came out of nowhere to me. I thought her reads veered more harsh than funny (a recurring theme with Sister), whereas I thought most of the other queens were actually stronger. I would have given it to Bimini, but I acknowledge that right now I would pretty much give everything to Bimini.
Except the win for this episode, for which she was lucky to escape the bottom. The challenge, as previously mentioned, was to repurpose unconventional household materials — sponges, gloves, etc. — into quarantine superhero looks. I think most of the girls forgot about that last part and just heard “unconventional sewing challenge” and at the last second remembered, “Oh shit, I need to also create a character for this.”
Only two people really nailed that part of the concept for me, A’whora and Lawrence Chaney. One ended up in the Bottom 3, the other won, and I thought they should have been the Top 2 of the week (even though I did not love Lawrence’s look — he can do better than corset over swimsuit). While a few of the other gals made some cute looks, or at least something serviceable, I thought they should have been toward the bottom for failing the other part of the challenge. I’m looking specifically at Bimini and Ellie Diamond. There’s no question that Ellie’s look was one of the best, but that was 100 percent Ellie Diamond, 0 percent superhero character. Bimini failed on both accounts. That was a mess, babes.
But not as bad as Tayce and Sister Sister, who were our Bottom 2, and rightly so. Two distinct issues here. Tayce committed to a concept that multiple people warned her about, but she would not listen. Even Ru, I believe, tried to talk her out of using the Brillo pads as the basis for her look, since Baga Chipz did that last season, and Lemon did the exact same thing on Drag Race Canada. But Tayce was unmoved, and despite creating what I can only refer to as the World’s Most Glamorous Life-Sized Shredded Wheat Biscuit, complained that she wasn’t getting credit for the amount of work she put into the look, nor the pain she endured repeatedly cutting herself in its creation. Gal, you had three copper wires laid over your snatch, and filaments were pulling away the whole time you were on the runway. Sure, you put in effort. But so do washing machines. Nobody is giving them a RuPeter badge.
Sister Sister was wildly creative with her look, also to her detriment. I actually thought the concept was interesting — a massive plant, exploding in blooms and roots — but it was about 15 things too much. Sister absolutely loved her concept, and did not understand the judges’ critiques at all. I have to say, I respect that. Say what you will about Sister Sister, but when she stayed true to her drag is when I liked her the most. It was when she was trying too hard to play this game — which started right after her first B2 appearance — that I found her challenging to root for. No pun intended with that plant outfit. (OK, pun somewhat intended.) Sister also incurred the wrath of the Drag Race fandom by hoarding a tremendous amount of the materials for the challenge (she got a 15-second heard start for winning the mini challenge), and was condescending in her talking heads about it. More on that in a second.
That whole scenario did give us the hilarious sequence in which A’Whora “infiltrated” Sister’s space and tried, and failed, to compliment Sister in an effort to get access to some of the fabrics she hoarded. I suspect this whole thing was at least partially producer manipulated, but regardless, it was incredibly charming on A’Whora’s part. This whole episode was great for her — she fully hit the highs I always felt she was capable of — and that blue superhero look she created will go down as one of the absolute best design challenge looks of ANY season of Drag Race. Instantly iconic, especially that incredible shoulder pulse she did when she came out. That’s DRAG, honey. And it’s also fashion. And also possibly passive aggressive if you think that she stole Sister Sister’s signature blue-mouth make-up shtick. A’Whora loudly denies this, and I believe her — she painted on a face mask, which was perfect for the look. But even a whiff of pettiness will win me to your side in an argument.
As well deserved as A’Whora’s win was, Sister’s elimination was equally well deserved. She and Tayce gave their all in a lipsynch, but it was well past Sister’s time to go. When I consider that she (and, if I’m being honest, Ellie) outlasted the likes of Tia Kofi and Ginny Lemon, it butters my biscuits. That is in no way to dismiss Sister’s drag, which I think is SO interesting. I’m glad the show cast her. She has a unique quality to what she does. It’s baffling, but you know it makes total sense to her, in her head. She is very much a drag artist, in a way that, say, Tammie Brown is. The trouble is, that doesn’t always work in a show like this, with very strict expectations and a wide array of challenges, and Sister fared all the poorer because she lacked the natural charisma to get the audience on her side.
I don’t know how much of it was her and how much of it was the edit, but there was a clear awkwardness to her, coupled with some nasty offhand comments about the other queens that put many people off. I doubt Sister was being at all serious in her criticisms of the other contestants. I suspect she was trying to give the camera pithy sound bites, which is what all these girls know the producers want. But that’s precisely where I think she screwed herself. Because as soon as she tried to be someone she wasn’t, they stuffed her into the “villain” role and, man, the fans fully bought into that. She’s gotten a lot of shit online, which is unfortunate. Sister Sister is simply a different kind of queen. Not one necessarily well suited to this kind of competition, but one whose drag I think deserves respect. I hope ultimately she gets that.
Here’s this week’s Bird Watch, featuring guest host Curtis Creekmore and extra special guest judge Johnny Gall!
And how are you doing in our little viewer pool? CLICK HERE for the updated scoreboard, courtesy of Michael Schwarz. And don’t forget to fill out your Episode 8 poll to get some of those sweet bonus points! It’s a comedy challenge, so keep that in mind.
We’re entering the home stretch, dearies. Who do you think will win? Who do you think will just miss the F4? The suspense is killing me. I hope it will last…