This week, on MORE CRAZY WORDS ON RPDR SEASON 7 with Aedan Roberts: Episode 5.
This week's episode is really hard to sum up. There is so much to talk about that I don't know what to include here or what to ignore. So instead of any of that I'm going to immediately move into the queen-by-queen critiques. In no particular order:
• Ginger Minj: it's fairly clear at this point that Miss Minj is going to be top 3, so there goes one of those slots. Barring some MAJOR slip-ups RPDR seems to be editing things so all signs point in this direction. Do I disagree with this seemingly inevitable direction? Not really- but also: kind of. She always does well in the challenges. Her makeup is fine. Her personality- when she turns it on for the judges/Ru- is likeable enough. But then again? Her looks are uninspired and often cheap (sorry girl but you were swindled out of $5k for that dress- Visage was right to clock it). The judges (Michelle Visage again) clocked Max for his preference for gray wigs but seem to think it's fine that Miss Minj uses, from what I can tell, the EXACT SAME WIG in every challenge and runway. I mean it's not just color- it's style, color, and shape. People seem to be attacking this season for having a bunch of stylish queens with no personality - but interesting visuals are a MAJOR part of being a Great Drag Queen (in my opinion just as much as personality) and Minj is lacking here. Couple this with a shady side that is downright off-putting in confessionals and in the work-room (having a tough life and being away from your grounding-force husband explains things but doesn't excuse them) and I'm just not seeing what so many other people (the A.V.Club's resident RPDR reviewer, for example) is seeing. Who knows- maybe after this week's Untucked Video Message (which- ugh- I was hoping we were rid of. It was the most fake thing I've seen so far on there and feels wrong with the newer format) Minj will stop with the bitter-insecure mean girl thing and I'll like her more- but I doubt it.
• Jaidynn Diore Fierce: Still loving this girl. Fresh off of a challenge she DESERVED to win and she does a great job with this one as well. The only issue I had with her was more with the editing than it was with how she performed herself. The episode seemed to make me want to believe that she was the weak link in her coupling with Davenport- that it took Davenport to bring Fierce up to her "level" or whatnot. I may be over-reading things, as I often do, but it's the sense I got. And honestly that's already proven to be ridiculous at this point. I don't know why they seem to be giving Jaidynn the "inexperienced ingénue" edit- but bitch has the funny timing thing DOWN. Go Jaidynn!
• Kandy Ho: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And thus concludes my Punctuation Theater re-enacting Miss Ho's presence on screen. She seems to disappear at the beginning of the episode and doesn't re-emerge until she's called out for being forgettable. And then she does a great job with the lip-synch. But lets be honest here. All of us. Come on, now: Davis was not the one who should have been sent home. Even if Ho had blown Davis out of the water in the lip-synch (which she definitely did not do) Miss Ho should have been given the Heave Ho. And I don't even really care for Mrs. Kasha Davis. I just know that she's at least slightly more interesting to have around than Kandy. I'd take the brief shining moments of hilarity shrouded in mostly-hammy blandness over complete and total forgettability any day. But I guess she gets to live to have us forget her another day.
• Katya: still loving this bitch. While her opening wasn't very funny in the maxi-challenge she slayed her acceptance speech and proved she is more a victim of poor pairing than anything else. Other than that there wasn't much to say about her this week. Loved her, she's a joy to watch and I'm rooting for her, along with Max and Jaidynn, to make it to the Top 3 (Miss Minj's inevitability be damned).
• Kennedy Davenport: Miss Davenport did great. It's just that, at this point, my feelings have moved from a fiery dislike to a bored indifference. Probably because she seems to be less caustic and bitchy but isn't really replacing that bitchiness with anything positive or like-able yet. Either way, though, I'm still not really a fan and she ultimately comes off as Middle Of The Pack, so I'm kind of over it. I just feel like her story has been told and is, for the most part, done. Also a final quick note: not a fan of any of her looks so far on the show (barring her Oprah Winfrey Realness from Episode 1).
• Max: Max won another challenge! YAY! I believe she may be the first queen of the season to do so! And thus she continues to cement her place as one of my favorites. I'd say she's the Dark Horse of this competition but she's far too polished, poised and confident to be. She's just a really great queen and I'm kind of annoyed that people are complaining about the quality of girls this season when Max, Katya, Jaidynn and Pearl (more on that last one in a moment) are proving themselves to be really interesting, nuanced queens. I will also point out here that many people were a bit . . . perturbed by Max and Pearl's win after Pearl's little tantrum(s) and otherwise really off-putting petulant behavior, but re-watching the episode it became clear that the choice was more than just a narrative one. Those two had great chemistry and worked well off each other while also managing to look the best. Seriously both their looks were flawless that night. I think the confusion lies in the fact that no one did terribly and no one did so over-the-top better than anyone else that it did get a little nuanced in the decision-making process. But in the end I completely agree with the winners here (unlike last week).
• Miss Fame: You know what? I read in some comment section or other one of the people comparing Miss Fame to a late-blossoming Alyssa Edwards and I have to admit: I kind of see it. Every passing episode her personality starts to leak through that pretty, boring exterior and it is endearingly weird. Sure, she still talks too much and has a tendency to get really annoying.- but this past episode she gave us Chicken Realness that Raven probably wishes she could have stollen for her season's commercial challenge. She also delivered her shtick in the maxi-challenge far better than I expected she would (get this: MISS FAME carried her partner in a COMEDY CHALLENGE) but at this point it really should probably stop being so shocking. So far she's proven to be perfectly competent in these sorts of challenges- if nothing more than merely that. If she keeps this up she may manage to claw her crazy way out of the MOP (middle of the pack)- but she's still kind of just languishing there at the moment.
• Pearl: Oh PEARL. PEARL PEARL PEARL. Sometimes I'm extremely embarrassed that I like you so much. I haven't felt this conflicted about a contestant since Alaska decided to be part of the Bitch Squad of her season (before thankfully breaking away). The entire first part of the episode my constant thought was "Come ON Pearl- stop proving all your detractors so horribly CORRECT!" Jon can attest to this: it was often a verbal thought I threw at the screen in sheer frustration. The bitch is probably the most polished queen since Raven. Her looks are STUNNING and her sense of humor and personality are right up my alley. Seriously- her look was BY FAR the best of the night. She put Ivy Winters' Marilyn Monroe to shame in ALL respects. The bitch was FLAWLESS and FUNNY. But she's young. And petulant. BOY was she petulant. She was whiney and, at least initially, seemed to be falling directly into the biggest mistake any queen can make on this show: instead of taking what Ru and the judges are saying as loving (though often overtly harsh and one-note) attempts to help her succeed she saw it as a fundamental attack on her as a person. She shut DOWN. And that is a death-knell for anyone on this show. The minute you stop being willing to grow is the second you go home. But here is where my opinion of her in this episode will probably fundamentally differ from others: I actually saw her walk-off as a mature, necessary (possibly game-changing and vitally so) action that will hopefully cause the Pearl we saw in the main challenge come out to stay, leaving the hard-to-root-for infant back where it belongs, in 2008 when she was ACTUALLY five years old (youth joke!). It was the hour she needed to collect her thoughts, calm down and start thinking rationally. It is extremely relatable to me. Sometimes the only way I can really wrap my head around something and get out of my own head is to be alone. To have that little freak-out moment by myself so I can see things more clearly- and I feel that this is also how Pearl works. Ultimately I KNOW this girl has what it takes to win this. She really does. She has a great eye, phenomenal fashion and makeup skills that put queens twice her age and experience to shame, and seems otherwise down to earth, reasonable and honestly kind of sweet. She COULD be the perfect package this season needs (along with Max and Katya) if she would only stop responding so poorly to any and all criticism thrown her way. We'll see. She officially has a win and looks to be turning her attitude around. I only hope that trend continues into the next episode so I can really start to root for her again, instead of this mental civil war she had me in for half this episode.
• Violet Chachki: I feel that, much like Pearl, the editors are attempting to work overtime to both show how much of a pain-in-the-ass Violet is while also trying to humanize her and soften her horrendously assinine personality. However UNLIKE Pearl I'm seeing very little growth in that department. There are absolutely shining moments where she seems to come out of her bitchy, unhelpful haze for moments of clarity and self-deprecating reality, but those are few and far between. She even manages to mess up an otherwise perfect opportunity to begin to win over the audience. The softness she shows to Miss Fame and the friendship she begins to form with Fame are sadly overshadowed by her seeming need to point out to everyone how unique it is because she otherwise hates everyone else and they can pretty much suck it. Come on Violet. The judges enjoying your looks will only get you so far. Step it up and grow, like Pearl seems to be catching on to, or you won't make it past the Top 5.
• Mrs. Kasha Davis: RIP Camp Queen. You were both hysterical at moments and otherwise cloying and boring. Also surprisingly bitter and mean. Most of the time it wasn't really noticeable because we had Jasmine, Kennedy and Violet to overshadow the bitter tree growing on top of her head, but without Jasmine and with the other two more subdued this episode Mr.s Kasha Davis' tree blossomed into a redwood's worth of shade. She wasn't even funny or subtle about it in the Untucked. Each queen she referenced knew EXACTLY who she was talking about and I feel like the only reason they didn't bother to retort is that Davis' performance (not to mention the Judges critique of her performance) did it for them. She stumbled. Hard. And every inch she fell in her stumble seemed to make her that much meaner and more bitter. Do I think she deserved to go? Absolutely not. Her lipsynch was fun and she was up against the moving wallpaper roll that is Kandy Ho- a queen already in the bottom once and whose performance since then has done nothing to prove that she deserved a third chance. But I guess after two straight seasons of the campy comedy queens taking the crown Ru decided it would be best to take out the only real two of such a genre in this season all at once. Trixie's elimination was BY FAR not deserved, and Kasha's was also a bit of an odd decision. But unlike Trixie I didn't see Davis lasting much longer anyways. Like the judges said: she just wasn't funny enough to be a Funny Queen.
• Like I said before: I don't like these videos from spouses or family/friends directed to the queens. They are of a bygone era- the era of the overly-scripted, manipulated, fake Untucked of seasons past. I don't want or need something like that and if a queen needs it to humanize them then they don't have much there to begin with. We get it. Minj is insecure and she needs her husband and misses him. Those are hardly shocking revelations. Also: while I definitely think Minj was genuine in how much she missed her man I don't think her outward showing of emotion was genuine and I wish she had been a better fake-sobber. Girls, here's a hint: less is more when it comes to conveying sadness. If you want to really have the audience crying with you instead of crazy sobs (Miss Fame, Minj) you should stick to having your voice get low, quiet. It should catch at times. Pause like you are holding back all your tears. Genuine or not it is a LOT more effective than the Telemundo performance Minj gave us.
• Did someone mention Kasha Davis got a video in episode 4? Was that edited out? If so, why? It obviously left enough of an impression that they remembered it and mentioned it here- but I don't remember anyone getting a video message before today's Untucked. Did I just not remember? God. My head.
• Mis Fame's crazy cry-screams in the untucked were hilarious. And also a bit cringe-inducing. She may be showing shades of Alyssa Weirdness but she's yet to truly capture the pure joy of it yet.
• Max is a saint. He's had to deal with the WORST teams (him and Katya both). But unlike Katya he's managed to turn water into wine in nearly all cases. YOU GO MAX! MAX WOO!