By Contributing Writer, The Lady Cocotte
I’m always excited for a new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race but, to be entirely honest with you, I’m still broken up about last week’s elimination of Cynthia Lee Fontaine. That crazy cucu queen really put a spell on me. And I’m not alone. The other queens seem sad to read her farewell message on the mirror (“Don’t give up!!! Fight for your dreams!!! Love you Mis Amores #CuCu”). When Robbie Turner comments that she can’t wait to see Cynthia again, Derrick Barry asks if that means she wants her to come back to the competition. “Derrick,” Robbie deadpans. “Let’s not get crazy…” Amid a sea of laughter, Acid Betty gives Robbie a compliment about daring to lip-sync for her life in skates. Unfortunately, Robbie is too shaken up to acknowledge how monumental it is that Betty is being nice. Failing the acting competition seems to threaten her whole identity. Well, buck up girl. You may be down but you’re not out. Derrick is too caught up in her own drama to notice Robbie’s breakdown. She thinks Michelle Visage told her that she doesn’t have a soul. Bob the Drag Queen tries to help. “Michelle said you don’t have soul. She didn’t say you don’t have A soul.” Derrick doesn’t understand the difference. Sheesh. I just can’t with this girl.
For this week’s maxi-challenge, the girls are asked to form new wave bands. They have to write lyrics for the retro tracks RuPaul gives them, create costumes and then perform live on stage for the judges. That’s a lot of work! I had a feeling it was going to be a big challenge when Ru skipped the mini-challenge altogether. RuPaul has an extra glimmer of evil in his eyes when he tells the girls they get to pick their own bandmates. Anarchy! Kim Chi, Robbie Turner and Naomi Smalls grab each other first. “I love these bitches,” Kim explains. “Team best friends race!” The New York queens (Bob the Drag Queen, Acid Betty and Thorgy Thor) hook up next. That’s a lot of talent, and ego, in one group. Let’s hope they can make it work to their advantage. The last team (Chi Chi Devayne, Derrick Barry and Naysha Lopez) is formed by process of elimination. “The third team just seems like leftovers… just formed together,” Kim deduces. Sometimes leftovers are delicious. Right?
Once the teams are formed, they have to choose their tracks. Kim, Robbie and Naomi want to push themselves so they choose punk. The New York girls want the party track but the leftovers want it too. Gee, I wonder who is going to get their way? Bob finds her wedge when she realizes Chi Chi actually wants the synth track. “I just don’t want you guys to fight,” Betty tells them. “I don’t want Chi Chi to be upset.” The New York girls use fake kindness to push their agenda and eventually Derrick and Naysha give in. Team New York vogue away from the negotiation, rubbing their victory in team leftovers’ faces. But did we really expect anything less from them?
At the suggestion of Naysha Lopez, team leftovers decide to base their band characters on shapes (triangle, square, circle). When Chi Chi Devayne suggests that their costumes be the shape they’re representing, both Naysha and Derrick Barry throw a fit. “I don’t want to come out in a box,” Derrick gripes. You want to be a shape but not be a shape? I’m so confused. Chi Chi starts to worry that her team is going drag her down. She turns to Acid Betty for a reality check. Even Betty thinks shape costumes fit the genre. “Klaus Nomi was like a walking triangle,” she explains. Naysha and Derrick refuse to listen to reason. This doesn’t bode well for Team Synth. As writing progresses, Chi Chi begins to distance herself from the other girls. Instead of participating in the team effort, she’s sewing. “I’m working on my runway outfit because these bitches have fabulous costumes and I’m gonna walk out in a neon bathing suit. So if it seems like I’m a little worried, I am.”
Team best friends race know they need to be funny so Kim Chi suggests writing about chicken wings. Her bandmates love it. The other teams are giving them serious side eye. They’re definitely going to have to push themselves to turn into punk rockers. “Nothing about this is finger licking good,” Derrick Barry asserts dismissively. “That group is gonna lose.” Shut up, Britney! Mind your own business, square/not square.
You would think Thorgy Thor, as a trained musician, would be an asset to the New York girls. Unfortunately, Thorgy is a perfectionist who feels like her teammates should just let her write the song. She isn’t receptive to any of Bob the Drag Queen or Acid Betty’s input. “Thorgy is driving me crazy,” Bob explains. “She’s not contributing as much as she’s negating.” This is going to be a long day. And then the other teams start to play dirty by distracting Thorgy with compliments and questions. Bob is about to lose her damn mind. Acid Betty is forced to be the peacekeeper in the group. “Those bitches are going down,” Robbie Turner cackles.
It’s time for Lucian Piane to whip these teams into shape! Dragometry (formerly team leftovers) is first. Derrick Barry is feeling extra pressure to show the judges a character that goes beyond Britney. Lucian suggests they talk-sing but Derrick isn’t onboard. “I want to be a pop star of drag and I feel now that I’m given this singing challenge, this is my time to put everything out there.” Me, me, me! Chi Chi nails the right tone and Lucian advises Derrick and Naysha to follow her lead. They probably won’t.
Les Chicken Wings bring more best friends race, less punk rock to their performance. Lucian knows he has to pull it out of these girls so he asks them for a primal scream. Naomi Smalls can’t stop smiling. Tres punk rock. Kim Chi and Robbie do a little better but still not good. Finally Lucian informs them, “Somebody just snatched your wig, tripped you and stole all of your heels.” They still can’t bring it. Uh oh. Let’s hope this doesn’t mean Les Bye Bye.
The New York girls name their band Street Meatz. Lucian thinks they’re giving him Broadway instead of New Wave. Bob the Drag Queen starts arguing with him. No matter what Lucian says, Bob has a smart ass answer. Lucian is dumfounded. “It’s very surprising that any queen would come for me cuz… I’m gonna be judging these bitches.” True that. It gets so bad that even Bob notices what she’s doing but she can’t stop herself. “I know I shouldn’t be arguing with Lucian. I know I shouldn’t be. But I’m already in argument mode because Thorgy has gotten me to the very edge of the cliff. Lucian is just an innocent bystander. I think I might have just cost us this challenge.” I hope not, Bob. And you better not take my Thorgy down with you.
The runway theme this week is Neon Queen Realness. For the first time in Drag Race history (I think), RuPaul is wearing pants on the runway. Sure, they’re skin tight and covered in sequins but they’re still pants! The judges are Michelle Visage, Lucian Piane, the co-founder of Blondie (and fan of the show) Chris Stein and the face of Blondie, Debbie Harry.
We begin at SheBGBs for the live performances. First up is Street Meatz. Thorgy Thor has a polka dot pyramid on her head (a la Devo), Acid Betty is somewhat channeling early Madonna and Bob the Drag Queen is rocking a new wave bob. Their song is funny and their choreography is very 80’s. I think Thorgy is the standout but I might be a little biased. Dragometry are sucking up to the judges by wearing Blondie-esque costumes. They’ve clearly compromised by wearing black shapes on their heads. It looks stupid and Naysha’s circle is wonky. Chi Chi was right to be worried. Their song is a pro-rectangle girl anthem. The judges are trying to keep a straight face but it’s not pretty. Les Chicken Wings burst onto the stage with as much anger as they can muster. They’re better than in rehearsals so I’m proud of them. Wow. They’re actually pretty good. Their lyrics are the best and they’re mostly pulling off the punk rock attitude. Robbie Turner is the star but Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls are pretty good too. The judges are bopping along and laughing. RuPaul’s laugh is the loudest. They must be the winners.
Derrick Barry is first on the runway. Usually her makeup is on point but she must not have had enough time after the concert because she looks like a man. She is wearing a neon neoprene bathing suit with a vinyl cover-up on the bottom. If she’s not lip-syncing tonight my head will explode. Naysha Lopez is in an amazing neon bodysuit that looks like it was painted on. Chi Chi Devayne is, as promised, wearing a neon bathing suit and thigh high boots. Judge Chris Stein has a bone to pick with her. “I watch your show all the time and you cannot wear the same shoes for the challenge and the runway!” She still looks better than Derrick. Kim Chi has done her face like a surreal painting (Picasso maybe?) that I think requires her to walk the runway with her eyes closed. Her outfit is nothing to brag about that face is everything. Robbie Turner has a neon Marie Antoinette getup that RuPaul clocks as more Gone With The Wind than Gone With Her Head. Naomi Smalls is doing Naomi Smalls in neon. I’d be a little mad but she just looks so damn good it doesn’t matter what (or how little) she’s wearing. This runway was made for Acid Betty and she doesn’t let us down. She has turned herself into some kind of fantastical fish woman that judge Chris Stein calls “Nosferatu goes to Fiorucci.” He’s my new favorite judge. Thorgy Thor does Twiggy in neon. She has painted outlines on her face like a cartoon. It’s not entirely successful. Bob the Drag Queen is really honoring new wave in an oversized yellow suit with a snatched waist and neon pink paint dripping down her bald head. Simply gorgeous. RuPaul asks her, “Bob, how’s your head” and Bob replies, “No complaints.” No complaints indeed.
Top queens: Les Chicken Wings (Kim Chi, Robbie Turner and Naomi Smalls). Robbie Turner wins!
Bottom queens: Dragometry (Derrick Barry, Naysha Lopez and Chi Chi Devayne) and Acid Betty (according to Michelle Visage).
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
The two queens up for elimination are Naysha Lopez and Chi Chi Devayne. I’m pissed. Derrick should be here instead of Chi Chi. This is ridiculous. Naysha and should-be-Derrick perform Call Me by Blondie.
I’m having a hard time concentrating on the lip-sync. Derrick has stayed around based on how cute he is and how famous he is for far too long. Ugh. Ok, pay attention! Naysha kicked her shoes off right away (and that’s drag a no-no) but she’s bringing the emotion. So is Chi Chi. These girls want this, bad. There isn’t much movement until Naysha starts cartwheeling all over the stage. She’s not very good at it, though. Ooh, she dropped into the splits. She’s fighting. Chi Chi is still taking her time, doing a slow, emotional performance. And then she death drops. Well, things just got interesting. Chi Chi is on fire! She is flipping and cartwheeling and flipping her hair around like a crazy woman. And then both girls curl up together and stroke each other’s faces as they sing the last verse. And that’s how you do it! Chi Chi Devayne, shantay you stay. Naysha Lopez, sashay away (again). As she leaves, Naysha drops a little shade on Derrick: “I was giving it 110% and am I a little upset that someone that’s giving 50% and not committed at all is still here? Yeah. Absolutely.” We all are, Naysha. We all are.
Don’t forget to check out Untucked right here on Tamara Tattles:
Next week: It’s Snatch Game! It’s Snatch Game! It’s Snatch Game! And since you can’t have a tv show without her, Gigi Hadid is guest judging. Please let someone do Yolanda! That would make it all worthwhile…