This is how you do Drag Race!
So we’ve landed in week two of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 and what a week it was.
Starting off with only the second, but already much loved, photo-bomb. Sadly in this incarnation, Silky was one of the first to go in and as her picture was such a blinder, most of the Queens after her tried to hard at copying her. Sadly this made the game a bit messy and tacky instead of funny.
The next round was the acting challenge and thankfully everything picked up (a lot!) from there … including, unfortunately, fights!!
Of course, there were the usual squabbles about who was picked last. (Girls: in the end, there will always be a the last one for everything!!)
But something bigger went down as well.
Am I right in thinking this is the first time in herstory where RuPaul her damn self was the one starting the shenanigans? During her team talks, she decided to tell one team what the others had told her about them. And she was clearly enjoying it too.
So thanks to Ru’s gossiping what started out as an off the cuff remark from Brooke Lynn’s team about Silky’s larger than life personality ended up in a fight that overtook half the episode and most of Untucked later on.
It’s safe to say Silky couldn’t have been completely surprised people complained about being annoyed with her as most of the Queens said they’d kill her during an “innocent” round of Mary, Fuck, Kill earlier in the episode.
Oddly on elimination day the fight kind of turned away from Silky to become a bitching fest between Yvie and Ra’Jah for some reason.
In the end, it took Plastique Tiara’s pleading “hug it out” during Untucked to put a stop to it all (for now.)
There was also a sad moment where we learned more about Mercedes, the first Muslim contestant. It turned out that this Kenyan born Queen suffered because of her immigration background, which brought a lot of stress in her life. Things got worse when her name ended up on the “No Flight” list, making it hard for her to get to pageants. In the end, she tried driving everywhere. All this caused her so much stress and exhaustion she suffered a stroke one day, mid-pageant, in her late 20s. She ended up in a wheelchair for a while.
This left her with very low confidence and insecurity about her looks. Hearing this story the Queens, as always, leave behind their fights and arguments to make her feel loved and secure. This is the beauty of Drag Race: no matter the fights or petty remarks, when one of their own is suffering the drag family is there for her.
The acting challenge as well as a deeper meaning this time around. Both teams star in stories that Celebrating black cinema: remakes of Black Panther and Get Out. Both story-lines deal with identity, appropriation (from both black and drag culture,) and violence.
Directed by Michelle Visage (the strictest but also best acting coach of the team) and Ross Matthews (who is also growing in this role) both sketches turn out to be among the best of Drag Race acting herstory. This season turns out to be packed with acting and comedy talent, and it is clear from Michelle and Ross’ responses that they were pleasantly surprised. Seeing their joy in how well the Queens take direction or how funny they are is almost better than watching the scenes themselves. It is clear how much they love their drag children doing well.
There are things that could have gone wrong with the Black Panther pastiche: the cast being mostly white and Plastique Tiara being asked to go stereotypical Vietnamese. Thankfully thanks to some quick thinking (the whitest black panther) and Plastique being the one getting her nails DONE instead of doing them it kind of worked.
Then on to the catwalk, this week with an Astrology theme. The Queens had to stride the stage dressed as their own star sign and some wonderful looks were created.
My only gripe with this one: a lot of Queens were born with the same sign. Wouldn’t it have been better to allocate them with a sign once the show reached 12 girls meaning each girl could show a unique look? Oh well, just a minor squabble with so much fabulousness onstage, including Ru herself in full Wakanda realness!
So onto the winners (yes Ru can’t seem to stop splitting top spots this year) Scarlett and Yvie. Well, it’s only fair, their parts were basically a two-hander and they shared great chemistry during their scenes.
Sadly in the bottom Mercedes and Kahanna. Sharing her story with the girls and the judges seems to have lifted a weight of Mercedes and sees the queen who was once in a wheelchair lipsync, dance and do splits in a fierce performance that even outshines Kahanna who at once stage backflips and does a perfect landing IN HEELS!!
This girls, is how you do Drag Race!!
Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children’s issues and bullying.
Published works include children’s books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.
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