Here we are again. It’s time for RuPaul’s Drag Race! I’ve been waiting for this moment all week. The websphere has been all agog about who’s returning so let’s waste no time and jump right in. The “Previously On” montage morphs so quickly into the new episode I almost missed it. It’s Cynthia Lee Fontaine! I’ll take it. As you know, I’m crazy for her cucu. The contestants aren’t quite as pleased. While everyone is touched by her recovery from liver cancer, she’s a fierce competitor and her past experience puts her a few steps ahead of them in the game. Kimora Blac, on the other hand, is only concerned about the ass competition. Priorities, people. Priorities.
After a good night’s sleep, the queens meet in the workroom. Lisa Kudrow waltzes in in full Valerie Cherish. The girls freak out almost more than when they saw Gaga. I’m a big fan but I’m still surprised at their reaction. RuPaul claims he ran into Lisa on the lot and she wanted to say hi. Yeah. Because that’s how it works in Hollywood. She’s actually there so he can tell us that he bases his workroom “hello, hello, hello” on her The Comeback character. They do another Valerie Cherish bit and she leaves. Uh, okay. That was kind of random.
This week’s maxi-challenge is a cheerleading battle royale. #QueerCheers. The room erupts in squeals. The queens’ inner children have been waiting a lifetime for this opportunity. As last week’s winner, Nina Bo’nina Brown will be head cheerleader of RuPaul’s Glamazons and returning vet Cynthia Lee Fontaine will front the B52’s Bombers. This week’s RuPaul self-promotional highlight: RuPaul got her big break in The B52’s Love Shack video (insert footage here).
Just in case they’ve forgotten what high school was really like, RuPaul has them do a Schoolyard pick for teams. Nina chooses Shea Couleée, Alexis Michelle, Aja and Sasha Velour. She announces that she has a heart for the underdog so she also wants Jaymes Mansfield. Jaymes is insulted. She doesn’t consider herself the underdog and having it publicly pointed out is humiliating. Cynthia gets Kimora, Eureka O’Hara, Farrah Moan, Peppermint and Trinity Taylor. Team Cucu. The final two queens are Charlie Hides and Valentina. Nina takes Charlie so Valentina is forced upon Cynthia. I’m shocked. Valentina did great last week but as a drag newbie the girls don’t trust her. And they’re jealous hags. Valentina is much more gracious than I am about it. She knows that she’s a star and soon enough everyone else will know too.
The teams are issued scripts and characters. RuPaul’s Glamazons make quick work of passing out roles but an issue arises over Jaymes. Everyone wants her to play Snoozy. They all claim, “It’s a great opportunity for her to be funny,” but what they’re actually thinking is, “Stick the loser with the least sexy role so I don’t have to do it.” Except Jaymes doesn’t see herself as a loser and she wants to be Floozy. It turns into a showdown between Jaymes and Alexis. The other girls smirk. They know that Alexis can eat Jaymes for breakfast and they’re excited to watch. They’re definitely channelling their mean girl cheerleader characters. Luckily, pot stirrer Shea intercedes and points out that Alexis can handle any challenge thrown her way, even the role of Snoozy. Alexis can’t argue with that. After all, she’s an actress.
They start practicing and Jaymes can’t find her character or remember her lines (ie: I’m Jaymes and I’m a floozy). Alexis tries mentoring her but it makes no difference. Her nerves get the better of her. Finally, she stops the practice and asks if she can switch roles with Alexis. Oh, Jaymes. You’re breaking my heart. You know, I have to admit something. I didn’t spend my week wondering who was coming back. I was too busy feeling bad for what I said about Jaymes. You can’t blame her for being terrified and holding herself back. I just wish we could see the real Jaymes Mansfield. I have a feeling she’s pretty spectacular.
We get our first cutaway to Wendy Williams’ viewing party and the vibe is decidedly different than last week. There is no live audience and Wendy herself is very low key. I think the social media backlash really got to her. Ross Matthews is working overtime to keep the segment moving but it’s a big, dull dud. Interesting.
The girls walk into the rehearsal space to find a group of male cheerleaders doing flips all over the stage. Now they’re scared. Are they expected to do that too? Kind of. Their routines include tumbling, jumping and stunts. In heels and wigs. Yeesh. Season 9 is no joke.
Back in the workroom, the teams create their cheer outfits. Kimora Blac complains that she doesn’t want to wear panties under her cheer skirt. She complains that she’s tired of stoning. She complains and complains and complains. Kimora thinks she’s a Kardashian and the rest of the girls work for her. No one is impressed.
As the girls beat their faces for the big event, Aja discovers Valentina’s La Virgen de Guadalupe candle. They all laugh but she doesn’t care. “Everybody gets to have a drag mom but I feel like La Virgen de Guadalupe is my drag mom.” And she’s going to help her win.
Peppermint tells a heartbreaking story from high school. She was on the cheerleading squad and one of her friends asked her opinion of a certain basketball player. She admitted he was cute. At lunch, the basketball team cornered her and watched as one of their own beat her up. The room gets quiet. It’s an experience shared by many gay youth but it never gets easier to hear. She got a happy ending of sorts. The whole school supported her through the aftermath. After years of being singled out for being different, she was loved. And that’s all any of us want in life.
RuPaul is back in drag on the runway. She is joined by Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews and guest judges The B52’s (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson).
Both teams perform together. I can’t really tell who is who or if anyone is doing a good job. I mean, these girls aren’t cheerleaders or gymnasts. There are lots of awkward partial cartwheels and rolls. I can’t really clock them for it because these aren’t activities most drag queens have in their repertoires. And I have to give them credit for what they do pull off. Lifts. Flips. Flying. Those are some advanced stunts. The only real standout is Valentina, everyone’s last pick. Looking great is the best revenge.
The runway category is White Party Realness. Nina Bo’nina Brown goes sexy thot. Alexis Michelle is an ice queen. Shea Couleé surprises me. It’s probably clear I’m not a fan but I’m loving her high fashion jumpsuit and cone bib. Charlie Hides also does snow queen. She looks lovely but her outfit is too simple. Sasha Velour goes 1940’s. She looks totally different than either of her previous runway looks. Aja comes out in a Hannibal Lecter mask that is quite avant-garde but when she takes it off all she’s left with is messy hair and a monk’s robe.
Jaymes Mansfield looks like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Jean Kasem. I just wish she’d let loose a little more. Cynthia Lee Fontaine is covered in stones. The feathered hat is overkill. Farrah Moan is vintage burlesque showgirl. This is how I love my Farrah. Sigh. Valentina is a lovely bride covered in flowers and a long train. She really knows how to create a stunning look. Trinity Taylor is unrecognizable because she stole Detox’s look. Kimora Blac goes cheap thot. Torn top, American Flag bikini and a sailor hat. Ugh. Peppermint claims her look is inspired by Elvis but it’s just her Gaga look in white. I expect more. Eureka is busting out of her bustier. Her hair looks like the Statue of Liberty’s torch. I love it all.
Top queens: Shea Couleé, Valentina and Trinity Taylor
Bottom queens: Charlie Hides, Jaymes Mansfield and Kimora Blac
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
The two queens up for elimination are Jaymes Mansfield and Kimora Blac. They perform Love Shack by The B52’s. This song fits Jaymes better than Kimora so she might actually have a chance.
As the song starts, Fred Schneider can’t help but lip-sync his part. Kate Pierson gives him loving side-eye. Kimora is clearly a professional drag queen and she’s attacking the song like she would any other. She’s fine but boring. Jaymes is actually reacting to the song. She even makes The B52’s laugh. Unfortunately, she goes in and out of the performance. When she’s in, it’s brilliant. Then the nerves sneak in and she gets tense. I think she should win but probably won’t. Had she held true to her performance, she would have blown it out of the water. Kimora Blac, shantay you stay. Jaymes Mansfield, sashay away.
Next week: Todrick Hall guest judges and since his newest album is called Straight Outta Oz, the queens create fairy-tale princesses and sassy sidekicks.
And don’t forget to watch Untucked, right here at Tamaratattles.com!