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Thirteen Thoughts About RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season Ten, Episode Two

Wow, this is late, no? Apologies but I was in some shit and out of town so deal with it.

This was a great episode though. I’m already impressed with this season because everyone is rising to the occasion and the show is doing a great job of being both a throwback while under-produced, making it much more enjoyable to engage with the show when you feel like you aren’t horse being dragged to a fucking body of queer water. Everyone wins.

Let’s get into it!

Spoilers, obviously. Proceed with caution.

13. Vixen, Vixen, Vixen
The biggest accomplishment of this episode was not only crafting Vixen to be a thorn in everyone’s side but that she also can rise to the occasion. Should she have eventually won the challenge? Probably not but it was a nice full circle to have her calling everyone out and then get a double win. Karma – or something.

12. The Iconic Miss Vanjie
Did Vanjie go home too soon? Potentially. But is she now an icon in her own memetic right? Absolutely.

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11. The Return Of The Mini-Challenge
We are two for two with mini-challenges (and next week appears to have a mini-challenge as well). Using quick drag, the queens donned their best country look for a slightly unexplained hoedown. We got Asia looking gorgeous and Jon Benet Cracker and Aquaria anally swallowing a brook and Eureka boot scooting to something that was slowly revealed as a big promo for Ru’s next album. That said, it was fun and silly and was given the time for the scene to live out. That’s what this season is excelling at: not rushing shit. A ton was crammed into this episode but nothing felt forced or glossed over. That is a major accomplishment in terms of editing.

10. A Vixen Win?
Vixen did not deserve that mini-challenge win. Sorry! Asia? Absolutely. She earned that, both in look and dance and stuff. Vixen was just not great looking and her moves, while funny, lobbed over the challenge. Perhaps this reveals that, again, the rules and interpretations thereof are slightly off?

9. WTF Are These Teams?
This producerly team captains (Asia: deserved; Vixen: produced) led to some really, really weird teams. Asia should have had a stellar group with Aquaria and Dusty and Monique and even Eureka – but it all seemed to crumble as quickly as it was built, likely as a result of the Eureka forced-add. The other team was markedly stronger but admittedly still quite weird as the Kameron and Blair additions made for a strange oddity compared to the high risers that are/were Monet, Mayhem, and Cracker. Also: what the fuck were their first picks? Uh. Okay.

8. We Should Always Have Alyssa On Hand
Alyssa as a choreographer was a nice tying in of previous seasons with a perfect jolting of attitude. She definitely made the queens step up their games although somewhat stupidly rattling the old “You didn’t do X thing that we didn’t say you had to do?” chain of choreography that obviously was a non-issue made an issue only because Asia’s team wrongfully put such a focus on their DIY moves. (That said, Asia’s team did seem to have considerably more to do. Granted, they did have an extra person.)

7. Eureka VS. Eureka
Eureka was in a mind funk this week, throwing off herself because she was unpicked and went home in a dance/lipsync challenge last season. Understandable PTSD at work! But her tiff with Asia? Girl: listen to reason and shut up. Her being the emcee of sorts? Funny because she was the semi emcee during Kardashian the musical. Her not knowing the words for her gig? She knew better. Clearly, Eureka is picking up where Nina Bonina Brown left off: she’s her own worst enemy.

6. An Early Sisterhood
Did anyone else notice how sweet and close the queens are? The pre-runway workroom gabbing seemed so genuine and so sweet and was the sort of chatter that seems to have happened naturally. We got Karbie telling us how someone threw a can of piss at her for being fat while Mayhem and Aquaria felt their oats to a funny end while Dusty went into a tizzy over his makeup. It felt right! And it felt like no one was actively being a fake jerk or fake lover, acting “right” instead of acting real.

5. Tired Of Aquaria VS. Cracker Already
Aquaria and Cracker need to bury this fucking hatchet because I am already exhausted by this protracted “She took my look!” and “No, she took my look!” business. Y’all both dumb if you keep this up.

4. A Decent Showing!
The performance was pretty strong! Asia’s team was markedly sloppy, with Eureka and Karbie noticeably jumbling up their lipsyncs and fading away in the action. Meanwhile, Yuhua and Dusty and Aquaria and Asia did great work – but none really pulled off what Vixen’s team did. All of them – Even Kameron!! – did such a great job. The biggest shock was Blair who seemed to be a baby bird trying to walk for the first time only to end up almost stealing the show. Who thought this little midwestern girl had it in her? Not I.

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3. A Decent Runway!
The runway was pretty fabulous as well. A lot of bedazzled body suits, sure, but decent nevertheless since those who did not suit clearly illustrated themselves as the ones to watch (while Asia and Yuhua’s seem almost forgivable). Dusty gave a pretty great Sharon Needles knock off while Aquaria balanced the fashionably bonkers with the editorial. Vixen was McLoving it great despite bad edges while Cracker did her signature and Mayhem was elegant as ever. Most surprising – Again. – was Blair who looked absolutely stunning. Everyone else? Eh. Some weren’t awful (Monet, Kameron, Eureka) but the bad made up for it (Karbie, Yuhua…and Eureka).

2. Padma Is A Great Judge
I mostly agreed with the judges’ critiques but I was most struck by Padma “Glitter” Lakshmi’s fantastic sharpness of being able to call out queens for being unmemorable and sloppy. She might not be a drag expert but she is certainly a pro at judging people. I want Padma to bring this salt to fucking Top Chef, sheesh.

1. Eureka Earns Her Keep
We all saw Karbie and Eureka going head to head and, intentional or not, we saw Karbie’s bare ass in that she truly is a one-trick pony. Cute out of drag, sure, but the twerkless wonder. What was remarkable about this lipsync was that Eureka gave us one of the tightest performances. Not just because she knew the words but because she pulled no stunts nor really “did anything” yet she commanded the room. This was quite the way to defeat a foe since, last season, she never got her chance. This not only proved her worth but that she is capable of getting over her hump. She ain’t winning but this certainly is an example of how powerful she is.

Next episode we have more “acting” to look forward to but the challenge seems pretty fun and silly and right on time as far as the natural beats of the season. Unsure where we go from the acting challenge but I am craving a makeover or design challenge before we slide into Snatch Game.

As we got to see more queens come to life, my ranking got a bit of a shake up.

14. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
13. Kalorie Karbdashian Williams (Maintained – and out. Underbaked. Better luck next time!)
12. Kameron Micheals (Maintained. I can’t imagine him going that far and I can’t quite imagine anyone else sneaking out before him. However, unless the “OMG HE SO HOT!!!!” bit getting abused next episode, we have more of him until that muscle queen storyline sings.)
11. Monique Heart (Down six. I’m so mixed on Monique. One minute she’s making a fucking brilliant dress, the next she’s barely memorable in a concept-less, derivative body suit. She might sneak out before Kameron but she would certainly kill in a lipsync. Hence, her staying power.)
10. Eureka O’Hara (Down two. I think Eureka will go further than this but she, like Cynthia Lee Fontaine, is a queen who only goes so far. This is a fact.)
9. Dusty Ray Bottoms (Maintained. I really like Dusty! But Dusty is dang derivative. I thought about that during her runway: what is Dusty’s point of view? You can’t describe it without other drag queens, can you? Such is her flaw. But so cute out of drag!)
8. The Vixen (Up three. Did Vixen deserve her winning streak this week? I don’t think so. Did she prove her talent? Of course! What I want from Vixen is a bit of a calming, deep breath so we don’t constantly have her in the context of being a bitch. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that she has a killer boy body. Kameron who??)
7. Asia O’Hara (Up two. I think Asia is so great and so talented and so beautiful but is a very unstable element. She seems to be up and down and all around and just on the edge of being not-mediocre. We’ll get a better sense of if she sinks or swims next week.)
6. Aquaria (Maintained. She is going to go far but will likely put fashion over substance!)
5. Blair St. Clair (Up two. This little one. Impressed! I think she’s going to sleep her way to fame – and perhaps a Miss Congeniality.)
4. Monet X Change (Maintained. Monet was a bit sleepy this episode and I have a feeling she might slip but I’m leaving her here since no real standouts have shaken this top four.)
3. Yuhua Hamasaki (Maintained. Same as above. The note that she could learn from her pageant sisters was potentially foreshadowing but I see a lot from this one. Keep at it, Yuhua!)
2. Miz Cracker (Maintained. What a winner, this one.)
1. Mayhem Miller (Maintained. But, Mayhem is unshakeable. I saw her perform live this past weekend and she truly is the one to watch.)

Thoughts? I’m eager for next week. And still pissed Untucked isn’t free. Fuck you, VH1.

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