Toronto Diary
6 min

The Drag Race RuCap: all T, all shade

What’s that? RuPaul’s Drag Race is back, which means another season of RuCaps? Yay! Well, here we go again: another season of reading, shade throwing and tucking. So let’s get to know the latest batch of queens, as they dive into pools and dumpsters and try to make a red-carpet dress out of Rodeo Drive trash. Now, once again, let’s take a look at the shit that worked and the shat that Cha-Cha’ed.

After a banner fourth season and a slightly less banner All-Stars run, RuPaul’s Drag Race is back and bigger than ever, with 14 queens competing for the title this year. Once again, we’re treated to the queens entering one by one, showing off their best first-day-of-school drag and sizing each other up as competition. Detox Icunt, whose full name had to be truncated for TV, is particularly adept at reading her competition, dispatching each new competitor with a quick, pithy remark. Between her wit and her killer Queen Bee cocktail dress, she’s definitely one to beat.

There are really only two major happenings to come out of the introductions: the first is Alaska Thunderfuck (once again, name truncated for the sake of a PG rating) coming in wearing a dress made of garbage bags and a horse mask. As the boyfriend of Sharon Needles, she’s simultaneously one of the most well-known queens there and one of the biggest targets. But after the queens recover from that shock, another bomb is dropped in the form of Coco Montrese, whose past with fellow contestant Alyssa Edwards quickly draws a line in the workroom’s proverbial sand. But before they can address the elephant in the room, oooooo girl! You got SheMail!

Lady Ru shows up on the TV to tell the queens that this season is all about making a splash in Hollywood, and considering what a critical and commercial darling Drag Race has become, she’s not completely wrong. Will any other queen ever be as big as Sharon? Potentially, but they’ll have to bring it hard. And their first challenge is going to quickly wash away any ego they brought along with them, as the queens take a dive in a giant water tank for a photoshoot. Detox, in particular, sets herself apart from the rest of the girls, serving seapunk realness, while Lineysha Sparx displays astonishing poise and beauty underwater. Some of the less successful queens: Jinkx Monsoon, Seattle’s premier narcoleptic drag queen (not a joke) nearly drowns trying to get her shot, while Serena Cha Cha can’t keep her dress down, which prominently displays her untucked junk. But it’s Alaska who does the worst, as she becomes so aggravated with her inability to sink that she quits halfway through.

Naturally, Detox wins, much to the chagrin of Lineysha. Lineysha’s a beautiful girl — and an even hotter boy — but something tells me losing isn’t really something she’s terribly fond of. Alaska isn’t too thrilled with her performance, either, so she alleviates her guilt by getting naked and flopping her dick around. For some reason, I feel like this video is appropriate:

Egoraptor and Alaska’s big floppy penises aside, it’s time for the queens to get serious. And by “serious,” I mean they go on a magical bus tour through Hollywood, lip-synching to a RuPaul song while waving to the celebrity judges they green-screened into the scene. What does it have to do with the rest of the show? Nothing really, but it serves as a fun, campy diversion, as we shuttle off to Marco Marco’s boutique to meet up with . . . Camille Grammer? Does that mean anything to anyone? No? Okay. Well, she sends the queens to the back alley, where they’re met by a pink-hazmat-suit-clad RuPaul, who gives the queens their first challenge: they have to rummage through the dumpsters for fabric and accoutrements to create a dress for a Hollywood red carpet.

Now, I think something needs to be mentioned now before we move on: either because of the show’s increased profile or because of some inspired casting choices, a good handful of the queens this season are remarkably bitchy. Alyssa, in particular, rushes out of the gates being as vile and bitchy as possible, despite the fact that she looks like a skeksis with too much botox. There’s also Serena Cha Cha, an art-school alum and drag baby who tries oh so very hard to read the other queens, but compared to Detox, the poor dumb bitch is illiterate. This bitchiness is reflected in both their dresses, as Alyssa ends up copying many of the other queens’ components, while Serena tries to explain her disastrous choices using art-school vernacular. You will learn to hate both of these queens very soon.

Despite Alyssa and Serena’s complete inability to craft a decent dress, Ru spends most of her time zeroing in on Alaska and fan favourite Penny Tration. Alaska decides to embrace the trash aspect of the challenge by making a dress out of blue plastic wrap, which has Ru slightly worried because, once again: she’s making a dress out of blue plastic wrap. Alaska is clearly treading on dangerous territory, but Penny in particular gets the brunt of Ru’s passive-aggressiveness. Ru tries to steer the plus-sized Penny away from the unfortunate purple tube that Penny designs, but Penny spends so much time repeating “FAN’S CHOICE! FAN’S CHOICE!” that Ru’s advice goes unheeded.

If it seems like I’m glazing over all of this? Well, I kind of am. Honestly, the premiere is an hour and a half, and I have to keep track of 14 queens all clamouring for attention. It’s like trying to walk 14 overly excited puppies at the same time: it’s a hell of a lot of fun, but you can never quite keep track of every single little thing that goes on. As the lesser queens are slowly weeded out of the competition, it’ll be easier to really appreciate the queens individually. So for now, we’ll just jump to the mainstage, where a silvery RuPaul will be judging the girls alongside Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Mike Ruiz and Camille Grammar.

Surprisingly, four queens end up on top instead of the usual three, possibly because of how many fucking queens we have to keep track of: Roxxxy Andrews, the curvacious pageant queen, creates a beautiful black gown with peekaboo hips, a ruffled shoulder and gothic overtones, which comes together far better than you would think. Ivy Winters, the circus-performer-turned-seamstress, creates a pretty red dress, but it doesn’t say much other than “I AM A PRETTY RED DRESS. I AM PRETTY AND RED. LOOK AT HOW PRETTY AND RED I AM.” Surprisingly, Alaska’s dress comes together gorgeously, with the blue plastic reflecting the stage lights so that it looks almost aquatic. But Lineysha’s dress has the greatest wow factor, as she turns wallpaper into a stunning, if somewhat voluminous, ballgown. However, the win goes to Roxxxy, which gives us another look at Lineysha’s bitch-face.

Unfortunately, Jade Jolie, Penny Tration and Serena Cha Cha end up in the bottom three. Jade Jolie doesn’t really make a bad dress so much as she made a decent dress but then threw too many Lisa Frank pieces on top of it. The clear bottom two are Penny, whose shapeless purple sausage-casing of a dress is in no way helped by makeup so dark it makes her look like she has mutton chops, and Serena, whose dress is . . . where to begin? The makeup on her face is five shades whiter than the rest of her body, which is covered in a layer of grease for some reason. Her hair is barely hanging on to her head, and her dress looks like an unholy union of lederhosen and a hula skirt made of tube socks. Serena should clearly be going home, right?

But then comes the lip-sync. Oh, the fucking lip-sync . . .  it was so bad, it actually made me physically depressed. Shockingly, Serena “I’m an art student!” Cha Cha sucks pretty hard at lip synching, but somehow, Penny manages to suck even harder. Apparently, memorizing the words to Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” is harder than I thought, because Penny spends most of her time with her back to the judges, trying to hide the fact that she doesn’t know the words. When faced with the choice between the impossibly bad and the impossibly bad but facing the wrong direction, they pick the lesser of two evils and keep Serena. Yes, despite a massive fan vote to get her on the show, Penny is gone after one episode. All that excitement over a little Penny Tration, and it’s over before it started . . . sigh.

Bookmark and Share