Well, that was a hoot. The drag-daughter makeover episodes are almost always a delight, and I thought this one was especially wonderful -- it may even eclipse the previous benchmark, Season 3’s spectacular “Jocks in Frocks.” My viewing party was howling with laughter every few minutes. This is truly such an endearing, funny, likable bunch of queens. What I think pushes Season 6’s entry over the top is that in addition to the usual fun to be found with queens initiating novices into the world of drag, the episode also included some legitimately touching moments from the wedding ceremony.
That’s right, the task this episode was to create not only drag daughters, but drag brides. The six remaining queens -- Adore Delano, Ben DeLaCreme, Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act, Darienne Lake, and Joslyn Fox -- were first introduced to six women who were about to be married to their future husbands by ordained minister RuPaul. Bianca, who won the art-themed mini-challenge, was allowed to pair a queen with a bride, and she did so as straightforwardly as possible. But there was a twist: the queens wouldn’t be making over the women. They would be making over their male fiancés, and the queens would have to rock a mother-of-the-bride look.
As usual, we’ll break it down queen by queen, highest to lowest.
Bianca Del Rio won the challenge -- her third main-challenge win -- further cementing her place as the frontrunner of the season. Bianca and her daughter had a clear resemblance (the daughter actually gave me shades of Tammie Brown), they had an adorable rapport, and they both looked terrific. Bianca continues to be flawless. In a season stocked with very competitive queens, she continues to be the alpha female.
Ben DeLaCreme is right up there, though, and Ben arguably had a tougher challenge this time with her bearded bride-to-be. The gown Ben created for her drag daughter was quite lovely, but similar in some ways to the dress Ben created for the first challenge of the season (but as Courtney pointed out, Bianca’s gown was awfully familiar looking, too). Still, I’m glad to see that Ben has recovered from her downhill slide a few weeks back, if Ben was ever truly struggling at all. You can’t take any of these edits for granted this season.
Courtney Act is proof of that. Courtney had a terrible edit this episode. I’m hard pressed to think of a moment where she wasn’t portrayed as catty, dismissive, or full of herself. And call me naïve, but I just don’t think that’s Courtney. She has demonstrated way too much self awareness both on and off the show to be that unrelentingly negative. It also doesn’t jibe with the edit she was given in the first half of the season. It is absolutely true that the soundbytes being used came out of Courtney’s mouth, but a) context, or the lack thereof; and b) yeah, Courtney says some bitchy things. She is a drag queen. "Bitch" is their native language. Even the sweetest queens on this show throw a disparaging remark now and then. But for whatever reason, Courtney is currently being given the shady bitch crown -- although it looks like Bianca may be snatching up her bobby pins to secure it in place on her own head. All that said, I was surprised Courtney wasn’t in the Bottom 2 this week. She had arguably the butchest dude to transform, and while she did what she could, the dress was uninspiring and slightly half-assed (three-quarters assed?). Courtney also made the huge mistake of upstaging the bride herself in a gorgeous butterfly dress. I get why she wore it on the runway, but it only served to flip the assignment. Courtney looked the bride, her dude looked like the mother, and that enraged Michelle Visage. Based solely on the judges’ comments I was sure she was in the bottom.
Darienne Lake came in toward the bottom of the pack, and I disagree with that. I thought she definitely did better than Courtney. I will concede that Darienne’s own runway look left quite a bit to be desired -- she has not brought her sense of style to the runway the way I expected. I’ve seen her wear some really impressive drag. But she absolutely killed it with her goth bride, who looked great, had great chemistry with both Darienne and her actual partner, and seemed to be having the time of her life. (Darienne’s couple was obviously made up of “Drag Race” superfans, based on all the injokes they put into their wedding vows.) Guest judge Neil Patrick Harris was having none of Darienne’s approach and I suspect he’s a big reason Darienne was toward the bottom. For what it’s worth, Darienne said at her viewing part last week that she did not care for NPH at all, and that she gave him some lip on the runway -- which we did not see. I will say that I felt Harris to be curiously low energy on that panel; he did not come off well (his husband, David Burtka, fared better). A last note on Darienne: the editors now seem determined to establish a Bianca/Darienne rivalry, and I’m not buying that one either. It’s clear that all of the remaining queens genuinely liked each other. But apparently there has to be drama. I wish that wasn't the case. Why not let six great queens who respect each other just interact with each other? Why create these forced feuds? Disappointing.
Adore Delano was also a disappointment this episode. I quite like Adore, but she showed just how limited her skill set is in this challenge. Not knowing how to sew is one thing -- it’s still stupid given that this is Season 6 of this show, and you KNOW that’s going to come up. But Adore did not present either herself or her drag daughter well here. Adore wore a flat wig and a dress that I am almost positive we’ve seen her wear before, and none of it read “mother of the bride.” Her partner, who was as much of a loose cannon as Adore herself, looked awful. Possibly the worst makeover in this show’s history. They called the look “punk bride,” but really it was sloppy shit thrown together in a desperate attempt to look intentionally sloppy. Didn’t work. And make-up skills…lord. Adore’s drag daughter looked like a member from Cry-Baby’s gang. A low-rent Hatchet Face, if you will.
Joslyn Fox also had make-up issues with her makeover, as her bride had poorly blended foundation, eyelashes that really didn’t work, etc. Joslyn herself looked great and appropriate to the mother-of-the-bride aspect of the challenge. But her partner was compared to Greta Gremlin, and it’s hard to argue that point. The poor guy is a basketball player and worried seriously about what his teammates might say about his appearance in drag. I’m honestly not clear on why he agreed to do this in the first place. But he pushed through and did the best job he could (minus the vomit interruption that had me missing Willam), and did seem to make some great strides as a straight ally.
Joslyn and Adore had to lipsynch to “Think” by Aretha Franklin, which is not a natural fit for either queen (but a great song nonetheless). Joslyn tried to respect the energy of the song, while Adore just threw herself into the performance. I appreciated that, but did not appreciate her removing her heels, which is a big no-no in a lipsynch. Ultimately Joslyn was told to sashay away, which made me sadder than expected. Joslyn and Adore both figured they would be lipsynching, based on the footage shown in “Untucked,” so I’m guessing Joslyn’s critique was harsher than what they showed. But, like Trinity last week, this felt like someone getting the axe because her “arc” is finished, not necessarily based on the work in this episode. But maybe I’m off base on that.
Programming note: Next week's blog may be up a day late as I will be in Toronto until Tuesday morning. Unless someone knows a good gay bar in Toronto that screens the episodes live. And preferably is frequented by attractive, burly, available men. Help a brother out.
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