It’s safe to say that we’ve all recovered from “All Stars” Syndrome. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (2010-) season 10 has proven to be the light at the end of the school week we all needed to get through the gray slog that is “spring” in New England. With two not-so-tearful goodbyes to Kalorie and Yuhau, let’s revisit the past few weeks of Drag Race.
PharmaRusical and Tap that App: Finally, salvation. After a series of mainstage snoozes on “All Stars,” Drag Race is finally delivering some maxi-challenges worth watching. The PharmaRusical brought us into RucoLabs — “Better living through fake science” — and introduced us to a series of headstratching prescription drugs, including but not limited to “Badonkadonx” for … well, rear-end growth; “Flaccida,” kind of like Viagra but tailored to the Drag profession; and, of course, “Conflama,” a cocktail of conflict and drama that seems to be readily available in the workroom this season.
Last Thursday, Mother Ru followed up the PharmaRusical with another maxi-challenge that seemed to comment on the vapidness of modern life, as she tasked the queens to sell three niche dating apps: “End of Days” for those looking to find love before the apocalypse, “Madam Buttrface” for queens with rocking bodies but little else and “Fibstr” for pathological liars. The real standouts were Miz Cracker and Eureka in “End of Days,” who served frantic middle-aged women at a church luncheon, and of course Asia O’Hara, whose open-mouthed death stare can be compared to celebrated works of art such as the Giménez’s ‘Beast Jesus.’
Best Drag: The queens gave us looks for days. After they wrapped up marketing “Swallowease” — no explanation necessary there — the queens walked the runway in their “very best drag.” Asia O’Hara stunned in a jeweled bodysuit with ruffles of pink fabric spilling down to her ankles. Rhinestoned for the gods, the Dallas diva gave us the very best of the pageant scene, picking up stylistically right from where Kennedy Davenport left us in “All Stars 3.” And there was fan favorite Miz Cracker, who looked like she should have been in the “All Stars 3” promo shoot with an angular gold metallic dress and topped with a rectangular blonde wig. And of course there’s Eureka, whose sequined, futuristic bodysuit was like Samus meets the pageant circuit. And the Tennessee queen wowed again last week as well — the category was feathers — and had viewers screaming, “Nevermore!” with a Raven-inspired black gown and flame-shaped blonde wig. Another deserved mention is Kameron Michael’s goth, bird-of-prey overlord look last week, which has established the Nashville muscle queen as having some of the most versatile drag of season.
The Vixen: Let’s take a look at the Chicago native who seems to carry a gas can around the workroom, ready to ignite drama at any moment. She landed herself team captain after a Hoedown Throwdown of a mini-challenge and proceeded to be, well, heavy-handed in her role as team leader for the PharmaRusical maxi-challenge. “That is so cute,” she quipped in response to the queens who tried to delegate the team roles democratically, before she assigned everyone a part. But that’s only the beginning of the drama. The Vixen’s been stirring the pot since the first episode’s Untucked, when she accused Miz Cracker of faking her way into the competition by copying Aquaria’s looks. “No, too vague!” Vixen shouted as Aquaria diplomatically tried to explain her fraught history with Cracker. The Vixen doesn’t have time for niceties: She’s been in the competition to fight ever since she strutted into the workroom.
But don’t think her attacks on Cracker mean she’s on Aquaria’s side. She and Aquaria have been sparring ever since the New York staple questioned why The Vixen would borrow Monique’s wig for the “Very Best Drag” runway look. The Vixen clapped back until Aquaria stormed off set. But the real tea was in the episode’s Untucked, when the Vixen framed her feud with Aquaria through a racial lens. When Aquaria questions the integrity of The Vixen’s drag and she responds, the Vixen reads as the “angry black woman” while Aquaria gets all the sympathy. The fight fizzled as Untucked went on, but Aquaria vs. The Vixen has been the most fiery drama of the season, and we should expect more in the coming weeks.
Yuhua Hamasaki vs. Michelle Visage: Last Thursday we got one of the weirder judge/contestant confrontations of the season. Her wounds fresh from flop of an appearance in Madam Buttrface, Yuhua received even more flack from the judges for her runway look. She contrasted a bright red wig with a black feathery gown with two crows jutting out of her body. Michelle questioned the look, and Yuhua calmly explained that her look was inspired by the crow’s symbolic meaning as death in some Asian cultures. The judges were insensitive to say the least, mocking her response in their private critiques. It was extremely iffy, like they were belittling her Asian identity, and unfortunately the criticisms landed her in the bottom two and ultimately got her eliminated. So let’s file that incident under “Drag Race’s” most uncomfortable moments — right next to Ru’s train flag — and move ahead to next week with a clear mind.
As much as we could keep chatting about Untucked drama and runway looks, let’s regroup in two weeks. Until next time, Miss Vanjie!