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A place for me to post things that aren't related to my art or shameless self-promotion.

RPDR RANT: Season 7, Episode 11

Aedan Roberts

Sigh. I think I may be done defending this season. While I would still argue that the talent is JUST as strong as any other season, the judging has been so completely baffling that I'm not sure this isn't just an extended April Fool's joke. Kennedy's ability to outlast queens that outperformed, out-lipsynched (Yes, girls, I mean that) and out classed her is at this point well beyond the Tyra Edit and has moved into a place all it's own. I'll go into more detail about that later but for now- the breakdown:

• Ginger Minj: She did fine- which is exactly the issue here. The real story about Ginger Minj this week isn't what took place in the episode or Untucked- but more how what she's selling is a load of Bedazzled Glitter Manure. I completely get the strategy of low expectations. Telling Ru you can actually sew and have experience with costuming sets you up with expectations to achieve. Trixie calling herself a Comedy Queen set her bar high and when she didn't deliver she was understandably (though frustratingly) sent home. So it makes sense to downplay your abilities to a certain extent in a competition like this one. Bendela did it with her British accent, Sharon with her ability to not be "spooky," and so on. But ALL of these other queens did it with a lot more subtlety and without the major Achilles Heel Minj's attempt has. You see, while it may work during production, and while it may help save her from elimination here and there- to claim you "can't sew" or "can't dance" when a simple search on the web would argue otherwise (http://www.stageclick.com/person/10774.aspx) is downright sloppy. We get it- this show is ALL artifice. But most viewers like a little finesse to the fakery (like someone in the comments section of a review said: there is "real fake" and "fake fake"- "real fake" being artifice based on truth while "fake fake" being total, transparent malarky). And the real problem is that this kind of transparent bullshit can affect how the viewers perceive you (are you shady? Or are you just playing the game?) and can ultimately cost you a crown you could have otherwise won. Because it isn't just about Ru's opinion of you anymore. Who wins the crown is heavily influenced by the viewers- and while in the end it's up to Ru to make the final decision she tends to listen to her audience when picking the ultimate winner. Ginger is a funny, talented queen. Her looks are boring and basic, but she's a funny bitch. However what she's presented in the work room and in the untucked makes her someone I actively root against and it's a shame. Would I see her live? Yup! I'd love to. Would I cheer and give her cash monies during that live performance? You bet. Do I want her to win? Nope- not after such a sloppy ruse. She can't excuse her poor taste in costumes with lack of experience.

As for her performance in the episode: Her BFF was brilliant and her look was boring, standard Minj with some Hello Kitty heads glued on. But it was polished and well made so I agree with the final verdict of her safety.

• Kennedy Davenport: This is going to be controversial to some- but I wasn't impressed with her lipsynch. I just wasn't. It was frantic, messy and nothing but head-banging (where she didn't even bother to lipsynch) and performing every trick in her wheelhouse without timing any of it to the music. Her leap off the stage was impressive- but the EXACT SAME MOVE was used by her sister (Rest In Peace, Sahara) who did it with a lot more grace during her season. Kennedy definitely gave it her all- but for a queen whose entire shtick is "I'm a pageant dancing queen" it sure was messy and unrefined. Alyssa Edwards would have mopped the floor with her without breaking a sweat. And as for her performance in the challenge? Worst of the night all around. By far. In fact it was so much worse than any of the other girls she should have gone home REGARDLESS of her LSFYL. Her BFF was boring, stereotypical and unfunny while her look was EXACTLY as uncreative and basic as Kennedy expressed herself to be. Even KENNEDY knows that she's not as good at this as her fellow competitors- which makes her baffling continued presence on the show all the more galling. This week was Kennedy's week to go. In any, non-bizzaro version of this season she would have been sent home. But for some reason this season has been the WORST when it comes to judging and it is going to color it as the worst of the seven at this point. She's moved well beyond Tyra Sanchez in the amount of undeserved passes she's received and will go down in herstery as the clearest example of mismatched praise this show has had (that is to say, in my overly-passionate-about-RPDR opinion).

NOW! Having said all that: the sheer vileness of the hatred spewing out of Twitter and other Social Media toward Kennedy HAS TO STOP. Regardless of how poorly she's done and how far she's gotten in spite of that- the bitch is a talented performer and a FANTASTIC queen. I've done some research and watched some youtubes of her outside the show. Bitch is GREAT. And she looks like, outside the stress of the show, she's probably a really big sweetheart. And most importantly: it isn't Kennedy you should be mad at here. If her continued presence on the show is galling to you (as it is to me) then the person to gear that criticism towards is Ru herself (though that should also be respectful and polite). The fact that Kennedy is apparently receiving DEATH THREATS is beyond the pale of ridiculous even to me- a crazy guy whose waaaaay too passionate about this silly show for competing Drag Queens. I may not want Kennedy there, and may think the judging has been shady, but outside these little rants and fun conversations with friends and fellow fans I would NEVER disparage ANY of these queens. They are ALL fantastic and I would be honored to see any of them perform (some more than others, but you know . . . ) So come on internet. You can do better than that. Just remind yourselves that the real success for ANY of these queens has absolutely no bearing on whether they take the crown or not. While queens like Bianca and Jinkx have been among the most beloved and successful since winning, so have non-winners like Willam, Manilla, Pandora, Raven, Alaska, Nina Flowers, Adore and Courtney. In fact it can be argued that a couple of those who lost are MORE successful than the winners of ANY season (cough-Willam-cough). So while Katya may be off the show now- it's ultimately up to us whether she will be successful after the show- and I can't see her being anything else with the fans she's accrued during her time on the show. So lay off Kennedy.

• Pearl: Pearl rocked this episode. If the winner had come down to who made me laugh the hardest Pearl would have been the clear winner (with Katya a close second). Her BFF was so funny we had to rewind the video multiple times to hear everything we were laughing so loudly. And her runway look was honestly probably my favorite (though I completely understand and agree with Violet's win). It was glorious and made for some amazing GIFs and stood out from the crowd. With Katya now gone she's my personal #1- maybe not to take the crown (I'd personally want her to win but she just doesn't have the track record for it) but I'm really, REALLY hoping she can escape the Baffling Judging Curse of Season 7 and make it to Top 3. We'll see.

• Violet: Bitch brought it and brought it HARD. She probably has the best style and looks since Raja (though I'm not as enamored with her personality as I was with Raja). She's been nothing but flawless this whole season (outside some really poor acting/performance challenges) and as the only one left who hasn't lipsynched (and is tied in first for wins) Violet officially has my support for the crown. She has time to refine her sense of humor. She has time to learn to act better. Those things can be taught- but what can't be taught is her impeccable sense of style and the polish and pinache she brings to every presentation. She's possibly the most refined "young" contestant this show has ever seen. To top it off she's been getting sweeter and nicer and more fun to watch as the season has progressed and she's allowed herself to open up. My friend Ian called her the moment he saw her in episode 1- much like how I called Pearl. I didn't believe him at first- but he was right. Violet is winner material and the only one at this point who can snatch the crown from Ginger. So it's official: Team Violet/Pearl (with violet taking the win). And to Ian- fuck you, you smart whore.

• Katya: Oh Katya. You were my pick for the crown. You should still be there. I understand you are happy with how far you got and you have an incredible career ahead of you- but your fans (myself included, obviously) were not ready to see you go. Jon and I both agreed that Katya became the heart and soul of this season halfway through. It was very clear in the Untucked that all the queens would agree with that statement as well: every single one of them were fighting over who was closer to her. And I can see why. She had been nothing but sweet, hysterical, weird and wonderful all season long. Even when she messed up her self-deprecating nature and ability to laugh at anything endeared her so much. She seemed to find a way to relate and grow a strong bond with each of the top 6- something rare in this kind of competition. As for her performance: her Katya BFF was hysterical and well put together. It gave us life- right down to the yellow teeth and mention of Hello Kitty's "decadent capitalism." And her runway look? While not as good as Pearl or Violet I don't think it was any worse than Minj's- and her hair and makeup were FLAWLESS, not to mention her runway presentation totally sold it for us. And her LSFYL? It was the better of the two. Less frantic, sure. Less desperate. But unlike Kennedy, Katya gave PHENOMENAL face- lipsynching every line like the notes were belting from her own throat. She also made it into a PERFORMANCE instead of a series of tricks. She started slow, made every minor crescendo hit every note perfectly, and when she cartwheeled into that split? Unlike Kennedy's jump split it was timed PERFECTLY. She gave me chills. If it had been Kennedy against another sloppy performer I would understand Kennedy's win, but that just wasn't the case here. Katya gave us a performance that matched the song wonderfully with grace. She should have won and should have stayed. It's a decision that is the cherry on top of the shit sundae that is Season 7's judging and I'm just so over it. Farewell my Russian Prostitute. I can't WAIT to see you again at the reunion!

Final note:

• this Untucked was better than last week's. Pearl's face as she closed the studio door is officially my favorite thing ever.