And now it's time for. . . . AEDAN'S USELESS, GARBLED WORDS ABOUT RPDR (Episode 4):
I know I'm late to the game here, but Jon and I tend to wait until we can watch the full episode plus the untucked back-to-back, the way it was intended. And this week's episode(s) did not disappoint (though the results sure did- but more on that in a moment). What I was actually most shocked to discover when watching the final videos for each team was that there were no real duds. All three groups did competently with two teams having laugh-out-loud performances. Which is to say this felt more like classic RPDR than the previous episode. Ru's editing team worked their magic and made me feel like one or more groups were going to completely botch the challenge, and when the final products turned out to be fun and silly it was even more impressive with that kind of build-up. That being said lets move on to a queen-by-queen breakdown as has become my general format:
• Ginger Minj: I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record here- but I don't see it. I just don't see what every other person seems to be seeing. Sure she's polished, comfortable in front of the camera, and competent in everything she does (with some laugh-out-loud moments mixed in there)- but she's also caustic in what I've come to feel is a mean-spirited, unfunny way. On top of this her looks are pedestrian, generic and repetitive and her comedy boils down mainly to a single wacky expression: she says something catty, bulges her eyes, and tilts her head slightly at the camera with her mouth grimacing. She's done it in every line delivery of every challenge. It's hilarious at first, but last night it started to show a bit of wear. Ultimately I see this girl going far (she's far too calculating and intelligent not to) but every episode seems to further cement my inability to root for her.
• Jaidynn Diore Fierce: This. Bitch. ROCKED IT. She KILLED this challenge. It helped, sure, that she was given such an easy caricature to do (Bianca is a walking caricature)- but it takes a truly special queen to be able to out-Bianca Bianca. And she did so in spades. Honestly Jaidynn should have won this challenge. Hands down. And it feels completely strange, staged, and fake that she didn't come out on top. Everything from her makeup, her hair, her look to her expressions and movements were over-the-top Bianca Realness and had Jon and I laughing out loud every time she showed up on screen. And her runway was a lot of fun as well (she's a big queen who switches up her silhouette- that's almost a first on this show). Overall she was robbed here and the fact that she was robbed by Davenport? That made it all the more galling. We don't need a shoe-horned, fake redemption arc for that lady- we need the best to be given the prize and that was NOT what happened this episode.
• Kandy Ho: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz -SNORT- Huh? What? Oh right. Jon and I were shocked at least three times this week to learn that she was still there. She leaves literally ZERO impression and in a week where everyone did well enough (there were no blatantly terrible performances) that alone should have guaranteed a place in the bottom two. I think ultimately what gets me about this week is that overall the episode was a blast- but the ultimate decisions felt less based on what we were presented with and more what Ru felt should happen in the narrative she wants to tell. And that always comes off badly when it isn't supported by what the show offered. Kandy Ho should have been in the bottom because she's literally given us nothing the entire time she's been here and seems to fade further and further into the wallpaper with each passing episode. It was her time to go and it really, REALLY pisses me off that Ru decided to instead send home a queen that left before it was her time.
• Katya: This bitch also ROCKED this episode. If Jaidynn hadn't so completely KILLED her Bianca impression I would have easily said Katya should have won. And yet neither did. HMMMMMMMMM. Katya is finally starting to shine the way I feel like she should have been the entire time. If she doesn't make it to the top three there will have been some severe miscarriage of RU-JUSTICE. She's just delightful every time she's on screen: her confessionals are accurate, funny and self-deprecating (in a manner that doesn't feel pandering) and her looks are polished, stylish and creative. She's probably the most well-rounded girl this season has to offer and I can't WAIT to see what she offers us in the Snatch Game.
• Kennedy Davenport: the best thing I can say about Kennedy this week is that she wasn't absolutely terrible. Also the dress where her sleeves were attached to the hips of her dress was also fun. But that's it. Was her performance win-worthy? Absolutely NOT. Hell, she wasn't even the funniest one in her OWN GROUP (I don't really like Minj, but she DID do better and wrote all the new lyrics). I just don't understand the decision to give her the win. At all. Should she have gone home based on her performance? Sadly not- she was ultimately just competent enough (though I also thought her runway was . . . tacky in a bad way). But she should have just been safe. Her win just felt so wrong considering her competition. Hell- she wasn't even doing a good lip-synch in the video. TO HER OWN VOICE! I mean they clock Pearl for slurring her way through the video but at least that looked like she was trying to appear like a drunk cougar. Davenport was just mush-mouthed.
• Max: I feel like they didn't give Max enough credit in this episode. Courtney Act isn't really someone you can make amazingly funny the same way you can with an over-the-top character like Bianca or Adore. But for the roll she was given Jon and I both thought she ended up doing really well in the final product. She gave good face (some of her expressions were hilarious) and did manage to capture Courtney. Did she not take it far enough? I feel like she did but I can understand the argument that she could have gone further- but she was at the very least safe. Didn't deserve to be in the bottom five at all. Ultimately Max continues to prove my initial impressions correct: she's a smart, kind, creative queen and could easily make it to the top. Right now she's up there with Katya and Jaidynn in my roster of favorites.
• Miss Fame: Miss Fame is a bit delusional. It's always nice to have a good opinion of yourself but she takes it six steps too far. I ultimately blame her for the drama in her group and her performance was just . . . okay. I will openly admit she did better than I expected- but she isn't really doing much to convince me that she's more than just a middle-of-the-pack kind of girl that will probably be gone relatively soon.
• Mrs. Kasha Davis: She's funny, campy, and I love her personality when she's in drag. Not really a fan of her out of drag. And while that would matter El Zilcho when it comes to the greater Drag World- this is RuPaul's Drag Race. A contestant's Boy Self has quickly become an integral part of what makes them a viable winner on the show. And in the end- while I hope Mrs. Davis stays far longer than some others (Ho and Davenport to name a couple)- I'm also seeing her as another Middle of the Pack.
• Pearl: I’m torn with Pearl. While I do agree with the judges that she really needs to give them what they want (more energy)- mostly because they are the JUDGES and you GIVE THE JUDGES WHAT THEY WANT DAMMIT- I also think she’s been getting a bum rap these past couple episodes. While ultimately I don’t disagree she deserved to be bottom two this week (though not against Trixie) she also had some laugh-out-loud moments in the video and I was LIVING for her Cobra Sex Idol Realness look on the runway. I’m still Team Pearl- she’s gorgeous and I enjoy her attitude/style/sense of humor- but she’s losing ground in my eyes simply because she seems to be unable to adjust her tactics to address the criticisms she keeps consistently getting from the judges. Adapt or perish, Pearl- and I know you can adapt. ALSO: I have seen many people say that Ru made the wrong decision when it comes to the result of the LSFYL- and while I really love Trixie and thought she did a fun job lip-synching - that song felt like it was tailor-made for Pearl. Her sultry rendition was more energetic than I think people want to admit and she completely embraced the song. In the end I actually completely agree that between the two Pearl was the one who truly did the better job- but they both did great and Pearl should have been sending Ho home, not Trixie. So it wasn’t Pearl staying that I disagree with- it’s who ultimately went home.
• Violet Chachki: The girl did a FANTASTIC job imitating the far-more-likeable-in-every-sense Adore Delano (also I find it HILARIOUS that Violet portrayed Adore the very week after I called her the Anti-Delano. I must have Drag Queen Future Sight). But her attitude continues to STINK. Her ability to be an annoying, impossible-to-work-with pissant in every challenge is uncanny and honestly her runway tonight was a rare miss. It was ugly and more than even the Nude Illusion challenge she was giving me Boy Body. And what was with everyone's obsession with her butt? WHAT butt? That’s not a butt. There isn’t enough of Violet to HAVE a butt. Anyways- she continues to be one of the most tragic examples of Tyra-itis this show has had in seasons (visually brilliant but brought down by a juvenile, horrendous attitude.)
• Trixie Mattel: oh Trixie. Sweet, cartoonish, adorable, fun Trixie. Yours is the first elimination this season that I COMPLETELY disagree with. While you weren’t the stand-out of your group like many thought you would be you also didn’t screw it up. You were funny with your part. And your runway was ON POINT. Also, I think what makes this decision even MORE painful is we all know you would have ROCKED the Snatch Game- whereas Kandy (who SHOULD have gone home last night) has a MUCH higher likelihood of being a disaster. Sure you were never as funny as we all knew you could be- but I also think you deserved more time to truly come out of your shell. In the end the elimination felt as off as the winner. Farewell my wonderful queen. You left us FAR too soon (which Ginger Minj seems to be reveling in.)
• Untucked was an emotional one. If Pearl was wooden and annoying in this episode she won me back with her vulnerability in the Untucked. Mostly because it didn’t feel rehearsed or fake- she genuinely looked like she was trying to stonewall the situation and show no emotions and it just kind of cracked and came out under protest- you know, the way real emotions tend to work with adults not looking to profit from it.
• I can’t emphasize this enough: Ginger needs to tone down the Bitch Factor because its coming off less and less like good ol’ fun and reads much more like insecure bitchiness. And along those same lines: Davenport needs to stop doing confessionals. They are all terrible.
• Max’s note for Trixie was incredibly sweet- and Trixie’s “Oh girl . . . she’s not going to win.” response was GUT-SPLITTING. THERE’S the wit and delivery she needed to show more of earlier (Even if I disagree with Trixie- Max could TOTALLY take this season).
• Pearl’s note for Trixie was also incredibly sweet, and her little semi-farewell at the end of the Untucked was wonderful. Pearl is a rock star. I just hope she can actually show it in the challenges- where it counts the most.
• My current top four: Katya, Max, Jaidynn and Pearl. I don't see that changing (except for, perhaps, Pearl if she doesn't start giving the judges what they want)