Nothing Separates the Wheat from the Chaff Like a Drag Race Rusical!

Condragulations.
Condragulations.
Screenshot: VH1

A mood before we begin: Michelle Visage hissing “Miss Vaaaaaannnnjieeeee...Miss Vaaaaanjiieeeee” at Ru last week like a fancy little snake as Ru tried not to 1) move her face; 2) crack her makeup; 3) sob.

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A note: Untucked, the absolute best part of Drag Race, is back. It is no longer on YouTube; it lives in its full glory (plus commercials) immediately following Drag Race. As Ru says in the intro, “If you’re not watching Untucked, you’re only getting half the story.” Even though the new VH1 version is slick, shiny, and better produced than previous iterations, it still contains the essence of what makes Drag Race and all reality shows of this ilk so fun—the gossip, the hubris, and the nerve. Listen to your mother—Rupaul, not me. Watch it!

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As for the episode, what we’re left with after the first elimination is a group of drag queens trying to figure out how, precisely, they will play this dastardly little game. Miss Vixen is coming out of the gate strong, sticking her nose in the Aquaria vs. Cracker feud for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Miz Cracker may win this war due to overall experience and age, but I don’t doubt that Aquaria will fight a very good fight. Also, god bless a mini challenge that forces the queens to throw on a quick drag and do a little dance—foreshadowing for the maxi, which was “Pharma-Rusical,” a strange bit of performance art that kickstarted the drama machine because it forced Asia O’Hara and The Vixen (the winners of the mini challenge) to pick teams.

A musical challenge brings out the best and the worst in absolutely everyone, as insecurities about dancing, singing, acting, lip synching, bodily strength, and fortitde come rushing to the forefront. This sickening soup of bad feelings and stress came to a rolling boil once guest choreographer and MY FAVORITE, ALYSSA EDWARDS, Donald Duck-ing in a sparkly blazer, showed up to put these women through their paces. Not everyone is a dancer. Blair St. Clair, self-professed Broadway baby, was like a baby deer in silver stilettos, wobbly and scared, a one-way ticket to Gangly-Town.

There’s nothing I love more than a good Rusical, but nothing—I repeat, NOTHING—will ever be as insane or as tight as “Glamazonian Airways.”

For reference:

Living up to that legacy (or this one, honestly) is difficult. I don’t know if this Rusical did... which is not entirely the fault of the queens. One can only do so much with lackluster material. For what it’s worth, I will say that even though Asia O’Hara’s team was clearly the worst, Dusty Ray Bottoms pulled off a reasonable pony and YuHua was a pleasant surprise. Everybody else, dear lord, was kind of a mess.

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Let’s move along to the runway. Category was: best drag. What happened: a lot of leotards, bitch! If it is Season 10 of RuPaul’s Maybe Best Friends But Possibly Mortal Enemies Race, you should really try to find a way to step it up! Asia O’Hara wore a leotard; YuHua wore a coat made of a skinned Muppet over a leotard; Monique Heart wore a Cookie Monster-adjacent leotard that ruvealed ANOTHER leotard underneath, which was better than the Cookie Monster look. The judges HATED it, which I thought was rude!!

Asia, Monique 2 ways, Yuhua
Asia, Monique 2 ways, Yuhua
Screenshot: VH1
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Many people chose to interpret this as an excuse to wear a catsuit, including Kalore Karbdashian-Williams, Monet Exchange, and Eureka O’Hara. Of Kalorie’s look, a woman sitting in front of me at the place I watched Drag Race said out loud in a withering tone, “I’ve seen that outfit on the train on a Friday night.”As for Eureka, I truly do rather this on her than a GOWN. I am weak for a mermaid sequin, but I don’t know if this is her best drag? Is this anybody’s best drag? I don’t know their lives, maybe it is!

Illustration for article titled Nothing Separates the Wheat from the Chaff Like a iDrag Race/i Rusical!
Screenshot: VH1
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Miz Cracker’s gold futurist vision, complete with a cracker wig delighted me; The Vixen’s flame look was just fine, and Mayhem and Blair St. Clair wore beautiful gowns, like the stunning pageant queens that they are.

Illustration for article titled Nothing Separates the Wheat from the Chaff Like a iDrag Race/i Rusical!
Screenshot: VH1
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Kameron... no. It’s rude to say I get Kelly Mantle vibes, but you know what,I DO. Also, wasn’t Miss Vaaaaannnjiieeee essentially removed from the proceedings last week for wearing a version of this outfit? Worth mentioning is the fact that though I do enjoy Aquaria’s talent for la danse, I could NOT remember her “best drag” look, which is probably my fault, BUT I also was not wowed in the slightest! Finally, no dots for Dusty.

Illustration for article titled Nothing Separates the Wheat from the Chaff Like a iDrag Race/i Rusical!
Screenshot: VH1
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Miss Vixen’s team did the best and therefore Miss Vixen won the challenge! She won the mini and the maxi! Condragulations! This lip sync, my friends—I’m not sure what the tactic for a sort of mid-tempo disco classic as this is, but I must say Eureka did it. She used the whole stage! She knew every word! She was funny! She avoided that strange Shangela head tilt that Kalorie seemed to rely on! No one trucked out any unnecessary splits—a song of this caliber requires restraint. And, finally, in the end—the right one went home—Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams, girl. It’s okay. New Mexico is proud.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

So. Many, Thoughts.

1. I don’t find the Vixen to be a compelling villian. She’s working too hard at it and it loses some of the joy of being a truly hateable villain. Also the ONLY reason she won the mini challenge was to be captain and be able to foment even more drama. And I have absolutely no idea why she won overall this week. Even after watching the episode and Untucked, reading the Vulture recap and yours (which has damn pictures) I can’t remember anything she did or wore this week.

2. Kalorie’s look was basic, but I thought Monet Xchange’s was too and it didn’t pick up the light as well as Kalorie’s did which made it look super underwhelming. I’m clocking her as LSFYL in the next few weeks.

3. Dusty’s handwringing over the dots was SO STUPID. Girl, Michelle told you to switch it up - you do not have a choice. Also, you may consider it to be a trademark but it seems more like a crutch. I think she’s terrified that without a shtick she’ll blend in and be forgettable and doesn’t believe in her Creativity Uniqueness Nerve and Talent without them. Also, SHE STILL HAD THE DAMN DOTS! They were small and blended in with her eye makeup, but you could definitely see them in close ups. That being said, I fucking loved her runway look.

4. What is up with the judges fucking with Monique? Girl easily had the best look last week (SHE MADE A WIG OUT OF PLASTIC!!) and her look this week was fun and the nod to Janet Jackson was so clever, even if the Cookie Monster angle was a little weird.

5. I think all the talk about the Aquaria/Miz Cracker feud is actually making it harder to for distinguish between them. I have such a hard time figuring out who is who in and out of drag because it’s all they ever talk about so I have no other point of reference to attach to them.

6. FINALLY, I was absolutely obsessed with Eureka’s lipsync. For me it was up there with Latrice’s masterclass in less is more, although obviously Latrice’s is still much better.