Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Chad was professional, Sharon was beautiful, spooky and stupid and Phi Phi sucked. (And I forgot what saggy diaper realness she was serving in the first episode.)
Kiss you, miss you.
Sparkle, glitter and Phi Phi’s oversized lashes greet us then the queens all enter like robots calling themselves “One of three,” “Two of three,” “Three of three,” and that resistance if futile. I have been told on good authority (tumblr) that this is a Star Trek shout out but I’d expect them to be bigger fans of Mars Attacks. Phi Phi interviews some canned BS then it’s time to pour some out to the lost (JIMMY!) and talk about how awesome Latrice is.
Phi Phi, assuming the others have the long term memories of a cat, talks out of her ass about how she always thought they’d be the final three, even though she’s been shit-talking Sharon since jump. Sharon admits she’s surprised to be in the final three, though, and interviews that she can’t eve win a bar pageant in Pittsburgh so this is beyond.
Let’s analyze this body language.
It’s Chad’s turn to instigate the producer-influenced discussion about Chad and Sharon saying Phi Phi needed to go. Chad wants to smooth things over while Phi Phi “jokes” that she still hates them. Sharon’s not in the mood to indulge Phi Phi’s gaping maw of rage and just tells her that in the end they’re all friends and she likes Phi Phi…so Phi Phi can just go home. Heh.
But no time to dawdle over how many pages of the DSM apply to Phi Phi (None! She’s just an asshole!), they’ve got SheMail. Except we all know what the final challenge is, so Ru recaps some of the more memorable challenges then asks which one is ready to take a giant step and join Ru and her elite squadron of fighting glamazons. Today, RuPaul’s Drag Race, tomorrow…the world. Then she cackles for about three hours. And everything you need to know about each queen can be summed up by this photo:
That is some defensive posture. Lighten up, Phi. If you can’t laugh at yourself, how in the hell can you laugh at anyone else? Anyway, hello, hello, hello. Ru’s here in a rather low key yet dashing navy suit with fitted black shirt so he had to fab it up with leather flip flops. Okay. Since there’s no mini challenge, he launches right into the final challenge, being the video shoot for his new single Glamazon. Mathu Andersen is back, as always, to direct but the spritely, little, top-knotted, genie choreographer, Ryan Heffington, has been replaced by Candis Cayne, which makes the queens happy, but I’ll miss his weirdness. So gentlemen start your engines and may the best woman…win!
The queens join Candis in rehearsal and a Frankenbite from Sharon lets us know, while we watch Candis do the Carlton, that she’s “Miss Candis Cayne/she’s a famous/super star/and/is a fantastic dancer.” Candis asks if any of the queens have dance experience. Chad and Phi Phi do but Sharon makes this face:
While saying she has “a little.” Phi Phi’s either excited about dancing or excited that Sharon might not do well. You can never tell. Candis spouts some reality show platitudes then tells the camera that the concept for the choreography is “high fashion, Dragzilla, primal glamour.” Okay. Between the twirling, skipping and sassy hands It looks more like “first grade, grape soda high, Barbie glamour,” but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
As Phi Phi and Chad tentatively get it, Sharon…does not. Candis isn’t quite as bitchy about correcting Sharon as Ryan would have been so we move on to her critiquing each queen. First up, Phi Phi who she thinks is good but a little “cha cha.” Chad’s too girly, but competent, then she takes the opportunity to be needlessly mean to Sharon, telling her it “doesn’t have to be pretty…thank God.” She says she’s joking in a way that doesn’t sound like she’s joking and Phi Phi loves it because she’s a bitch. But Sharon’s still not getting it and is hopping around like a newborn colt. Sharon admits in interview that she’s feeling intimidated that the others picked it up so quickly then after Candis bids adieu with some encouraging words, editing decides to slip in a voice over of Sharon saying “It’s hard,” to make sure we picked up that Sharon’s having difficulties. Yeahyeahyeah. So did Raja.
Not the face of someone who was joking.
Back in the workroom and the queens are provided with their video costumes. They just have to do hair and makeup. Sharon thinks the video will be cool and says the costumes are a mixture of “1950’s B horror films meet an issue of Italian Vogue.” And I’m not saying someone in production intentionally favored Sharon but…red, orange and blue? And the red and orange are so close in tone that Sharon was destined to stand out, even if she just stood there picking her nose.
On set Mathu looks…different.
Last season: bald dude from Fringe
This season: Unabomber
Is this shaggy, End of Days look a trend? I mean, I know it’s 2012 and all but is that really how you want to meet your maker? Anyway, it’s time to do the choreography in front of a green screen and, well, Sharon’s not getting it and wandering into Chad’s space. At least her hair is small. They try it again and Sharon’s still kind of awful, but trying so Mathu encourages her by telling her it was just one “wah” this time instead of two…”wah, waah,” but he’s smiling so there’s that. But this is the “Oh noes…will Sharon fuck it up?” segment so everyone looks frustrated or disappointed and Phi Phi tries to take control while Sharon walks off set and Chad thinks she needs to get it together. Oh NOES. Will Sharon fuck it up? Who knows, who cares. They just end it there and go to break.
Back from break and it’s the next day. That was…abrupt. Queens arrive in the workroom and there’s a lipstick message on the mirror telling them to meet “us” in the ladies room. No one knows what this means so to cover her vibrating from rage and anxiety Phi Phi pretends to be amused that it might be the eliminated queens, but it’s just Raja and Tyra. And I wondered why Bebe wasn’t there until someone floated the theory on tumblr that since this show is supposed to be a send-up of America’s Next Top Model they Adrienne Curry’d Bebe which if that’s true…HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Didn’t they used to look…better?
Sharon’s excited to see the past winners because she’s a fan of the show, but Raja and Chad get super emotional to see each other. They hug and cry as Chad tells us they’ve worked together for years and she has a lot of love for Raja. But that’s not why they’re there. Tyra lets the queens know that there’s one more little twist. They’ll be shooting another of Ru’s knockdown, drag out fight scenes and having the annual Tic Tac luncheon with Ru, so don’t fuck it up.
Chad’s up for lunch first but opts not to eat the Tic Tac since she hasn’t eaten since 1972! Ru congratulates her and they have a good laugh but Ru brings it back to how Michelle has a stick up her ass about Chad being “too perfect.” We want our superstars to
bleed for us show vulnerability. Chad thinks she’s always true to herself and if that’s not enough, so be it.
It’s not so Ru takes another tack, asking about Chad’s parents. They’re both still alive and while Chad lives with her mother, she has an estranged relationship with her father, who, it would seem, left the family 25 years earlier and started a new family. Chad thinks this has manifested itself with a certain detachment and Ru gets to have a Tyra moment wondering if this is where the “invulnerability” that Michelle whines about comes from. Ru suggests that this could be a breakthrough for Chad, not just in the competition but in life. Chad agrees in the most detached way possible. Seriously, here’s what they looked like throughout:
Sure, this could be Botox, but crack an emotion. Ru thanks Chad and sends her off with a handful of Tic Tacs while Chad graciously thanks Ru for the opportunity. And while I never got the criticism before…Michelle might be right.
Over in the lounge, Sharon’s meeting with Tyra and Raja and telling them how she’s always been kind of a loser but wants to win to show all the other unconventional, weirdo losers that they, too, can wear a big crown and find their niche. The loopy music suggests that this is either charming or a pipe dream, so Raja wants to run lines. Sharon pops into her “Sharon” voice and Raja, showing some self awareness is impressed that she can soften her voice because, duh, Raja never could. Meanwhile, Tyra didn’t just buy veneers and a new breastplate with her prize money, she bought her own self awareness and jokes, in her baritone, that she modifies her voice all the time. Heh and good for you, Tyra. Then it’s time to play fight so Tyra jumps in and offers to be “Ru” so she can punch the crap out of Sharon while Raja flaps in the background. They’re both impressed with Sharon, so Tyra gets in one last punch for good measure.
We’re not bitter at all that the prize money is $100K this season.
Phi Phi’s having her Tic Tac lunch with Ru and they joke about how “hungry” Phi Phi is. Ru wonders if it’s from having a father in the military and Phi Phi hems and haws around the situation, saying that the last time she spoke with her father was on her 18th birthday where they had a fight and she went to the hospital. There’s some obfuscation and vague explanations and I’ll leave it at that.
Ru’s a bit taken aback by this but Phi Phi says it made her strong and that growing up in such a situation, maybe she thought it was normal. Ru tells her to never think that again or let anyone make her question herself. Phi Phi interviews that she felt she and Ru “connected” and now Ru understands where her heart is. Ru sends her on her way with a handful of Tic Tacs and she’s actually pretty cute walking off. Gah. Just writing that left a burning sensation in the back of my throat.
Hey a broken clock is right twice a day and Phi Phi isn’t always hateful.
Chad’s with Raja and Tyra and Raja wants to know who her biggest competition is. Chad says Sharon because they’re kindred spirits and…before she can say any more nice things, Raja just gets to the point and wants to know if they kai-kai’d. Of course not, but they all have a good laugh about it so Tyra can ask about Phi Phi. Chad admits that Phi Phi’s “come” for her but backs off almost immediately trying to give her the benefit of the doubt because she’s “only 25,” and Tyra points out that she’s only 23. This makes Chad reassess her opinion of Phi Phi and wonder if she’s not appreciating her for the “amazing kid” that she is. No, Chad. You’re appreciating her for EXACTLY who she is.
HAHAHA. Sex talk bonds you for life.
With the dirt dished, it’s time to practice Chad’s scene but she’s a PROFESSIONAL so after a few fake slaps she’s done. Werrrrrrrrk!
Sharon’s lunch and she just steps in with the jokes and the compliments and saying that she can’t clock Ru’s lace-front from even that close. Whatever anxiety she might have about the competition, she doesn’t show it and Ru’s openly laughing along. Ru asks about Sharon’s relationship with Alaska and Sharon interviews that Alaska’s auditioned all four seasons while Sharon only auditioned once and made it. Sharon tells Ru she just wants to talk to Alaska and make sure everything’s all right so Ru gets to go Tyra, encouraging Sharon to talk to her like she’s Alaska.
Has she always looked like a Muppet?
Sharon tells Ru if she could she’d tell Alaska that she’s loves her, she’s the biggest superstar she knows and she hopes this doesn’t do any damage to their relationship. Ru says, but doesn’t muster the one perfect tear, that everything’s fine, that Alaska would never want to stand in Sharon’s way or stop her from following her destiny and that they’re all on a journey and all that’s missing is Al Franken playing a lyre while riding by on a unicorn to complete the inspirational tableau. Sharon’s a little more circumspect, though, and thinks that while Ru gives nothing but good advice, she’s still has a fear of success and fame.
Rather than cut straight to Phi Phi with Raja and Tyra, we get a lovely bonding moment when Sharon goes to the workroom while Chad’s getting ready. They share a heartfelt hug and Sharon clearly gets emotional, crying on Chad’s shoulder for a moment, before walking off making a joke about Chad being a crafty little witch. She goes to put on her make-up but tells us in interview that this was the first time it really hit that things were about to change.
Together they’re the size of one person.
Awww, that was sweet. Let’s check in on Phi Phi. Raja asks her what’s up and Phi Phi’s just excited to be in the top 3. Then Tyra asks if being young has held her back. Phi Phi says that she thinks people use that as an excuse. The “not to kill me in my sleep” goes unmentioned. Tyra tells her not to let anyone use her age to hold her back because “being young is being fun,” but they both don’t seem to get that no one used their age as an excuse for why they sucked as drag queens they used it to justify why THEY SUCK AT LIFE. Plus, Phi Phi’s the same age Manila was last season. Let that marinate for a while.
But not for too long because Phi Phi interviews about how others “ganged up” on Tyra…like they do her….HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, can’t finish that sentence. Others. Ganged up. On PHI PHI. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I guess the person who snarled like a hyena at the drop of a hat was some other Phi Phi. Anyway, she thinks that Tyra proves you can win at a young age (even though Phi Phi’s older than Tyra) and piss off the audience so everyone will still say years later that you shouldn’t have won. And if Tyra can be such a polarizing and disliked winner, why can’t she?
Because at least Tyra never had to be told about her Shannen Doherty eye.
As Phi Phi finishes up by having Tyra kick her around, Chad wonders how she’s doing. Sharon jokes that she’s”Disneying it up somewhere,” then Chad has to go get all grown up and mature and say she feels bad about some of the things she said to Phi Phi. Now, did she yell in her face or call Phi Phi a “thing” or “it” or “disgusting”? Why, no. Of course not. She just told the stank little bitch to get over herself and grow up. Seriously, she’s 25 not 5. She needs to grow up because that’s not THAT young to be acting the way Phi Phi does.
But Chad’s a nicer person than I. Phi Phi comes back to the workroom and Chad gets emotional as she apologizes. Phi Phi musters an “I’m sorry if I’m annoying sometimes,” overlooking how she’s a gaping hole of suck and rage most of the time, but Chad’s not going to hold her to any standard and tells her she’s not. That’s a step too far. Annoying is mild compared to what we’ve seen, unedited, so let it stand. Sharon does and says she’s not sorry, but she still likes Phi Phi. Then Phi Phi gets to interview that, even if they don’t want to admit it, they’re family. And that’s why Chad hasn’t invited Phi Phi to perform in Dreamgirls, even though she’s had Dida, Willam, Sharon and Latrice perform. Sisters!
I believe this technique is called bitch powdering.
Time to shoot the acting scenes and the queens all look a little less Intergalactic. Mathu tells the queens to get in their first position then announces that if they don’t do it properly “the dog’s going to die.”
When did this become American Stuffers?
He calls action and the queens all hit their mark, but he wants them to be defiant, since the scene is about them trash-talking Ru, calling her “RudePaul,” “Stupid model of the world,” and “Grandpa.” Then Phi Phi says she’s going to throw a wrench in RuPaul’s plan and actually throws a wrench a wee tiny bit too close to Ru. Oops. Ru “jokes” while Mathu laughs but nothing comes of it except Mathu reminds Phi Phi not to hit Ru, so moving on to their specific scenes.
Per Mathu, Chad’s prissy but takes direction well and as he purrs in his posh Australian accent that he doesn’t believe the slaps, he tells her she’s beautiful and he appreciates her effort. Next up is Sharon and she nails the dialogue mocking Ru’s catchphrase about “Everybody say love,” then is a little unconvincing when Ru “punches” her but gets it quickly, saying that she feels lucky to have Ru “kick the shit” out of her.
Finally, Phi Phi who says this is her last chance to impress Ru. She so completely cheeses over the line that Mathu hides behind his script to laugh at her. Heh. He kindly asks her to ratchet it down several notches, not that it works, while Sharon and Chad lie there. She finally gets as close as she’s going to get so Mathu calls her a good girl like she’s the stuffed dog he’s been carrying around.
Ru likes to beat a bitch or three.
As the queens shoot the scene one more time, they talk over their individual scenes. Chad says the experience was like moving on and finding validation and redemption while Sharon talks about how hard she’s worked and that she feels she can conquer anything now. Then as Ru stands in for the million or so viewers and kicks the crap out of Phi Phi she just tells us how happy she is to be there, sharing her story, growing as a performer and giving us all a perfect image of who she is so we know to cross the street when she’s walking up. Then they each tell us they’re the next drag superstar and it’s a wrap.
Last day in the workroom. Chad’s in a good mood as Phi Phi Stuart Smalleys about how she thought everything she did throughout the challenge was good enough and smart enough and doggone it, they liked her. Sharon glooms that she found the choreography challenging. They all get starry-eyed about the last runway, but Phi Phi and Sharon are “nervous.” Then Phi Phi interviews that to “work so hard” and not win would devastate her because, I guess, Chad and Sharon have been sitting on their asses the whole time.
anvil gets dropped bonding moment about who will be lip synching, assuming that they’ll be lip synching for the win, and it’s runway time!
Since it’s the finale, there are no special guest judges, only the regulars: Michelle Visage, looking like a sparkly, Christmas ornament of a saloon floozy ($22.97, including her tits!) and Santino Rice, looking all proud of himself because he’s graduating Celebrity Rehab. But, sadly, no Billy B.
I remind you: They are tasked with judging other people’s style.
Ru wants to know if they’re ready to crown a winner, and Michelle makes a canned childbirth joke so Ru can explain that this year’s video saw the queens become “romping, stomping” glamazons and now they’re going to “pummel” the runway one last time, so gentlemen start your engines and may the best woman…win!
And it just has to be said. What was up with their runway looks? Last year we got Sally Bowles, a Puerto Rican Day/Pride float princess and Manila with her own tiara but this year they look like blah. Whatever, here they are:
Phi Phi O’Hara
For a regular week, these outfits work and each one did well on some element but overall it was ordinary. Still, Chad managed to put together a great if expected look and, to me, won this round.
Luckily they’re not being judged on runway alone. First up, they watch the acting sequence. Sharon gets camp like the old vaudevillian she was in a past life and Chad’s PROFESSIONAL but Phi Phi’s theory that if she’s bigger and louder than everyone else she wins makes herself look more amateur. Still, most queens who’ve been on this show have been UNT’s at best and Ru shows why Charisma is something you can’t learn because she always outshines the contestants. But grading the queens, this round goes to Sharon.
On to the video. Here it is, in case you haven’t seen it yet:
They show highlights then move on to talking to the queens. Michelle loves how Chad finishes all her moves with “flourishes” and Chad admits it’s an old-school drag trick. Santino doesn’t care if it’s old school because he thinks she’s got great humor and a lightheartedness that he didn’t feel he saw in the video. Michelle compliments Sharon on going California Natural with her finale look and loved her “runway stomping” in the video. Santino complains that her dancing was weak then they non-sequitur a non-comment from Michelle that when dancing isn’t your thing you have to sell it. Michelle loves Phi Phi’s pink leopard leotard but thought her stomping in the video was weak. Santino liked her dancing, though. I’ll assume they saw more than just the released video because to me it was all Sharon’s. And not just because she stood out in blue.
In private Ru thinks the decision will be difficult because they represent three different types of drag. Phi Phi’s
a mediocre hack the ingénue, Chad’s the PROFESSIONAL diva and Sharon’s “the little monster.” First up they discuss Sharon and while Michelle says she was always the “underdog” (even though she won the first challenge, and four overall) Santino loved that she always hit the runway with something conceptual and creative. Michelle whines about the “goth” thing again, even though Sharon’s stepped out of her comfort zone more than Phi Phi, then wonders if America is ready to embrace someone so unconventional. Ru points to Gaga but Santino thinks Sharon’s even beyond Gaga.
Michelle thinks that no one can beat Chad on professionalism and she would represent the show flawlessly. Santino mocks that she’s probably had those Versace dresses since the early 90s but when Michelle says that Chad grew up in a different era of drag, Santino says it’s not about Chad’s age as much as he doesn’t think she’s evolved and that’s what makes her drag seem old. Phi Phi gets damned with the faint praise of “most improved” and nothing of substance that she does better than the other two, so she’s third, right? She has to be. Whatever SILENCE! Bring back…the girls.
Do you think he knows they’re asleep?
Ru addresses them all. She tells Chad she’s a seasoned queen, but does she represent the future of drag. Phi Phi has grown but is she prepared to deal with the responsibilities of being the next drag superstar. And Sharon. Per Ru, she’s as charming as she is scary and shakes drag to its core but does she have the right stuff to be the next drag superstar? Still working the “it’s too tough to call” angle, Ru tells the queens that she’s “breaking all the rules.” (And Willam’s all “WTF?”) All three will lip synch…for their lives. Chad interviews that she’s going to give it her all while Sharon interviews that she’s never been afraid of an audience (and Phi Phi doesn’t get an interview?) so ladies, don’t fuck it up.
Lip synch is to Glamazon, of course. All three start out doing standard lip synchs, and thank you KnittingAnon for giving us the phrase “death recline” to describe Phi Phi’s weak attempt at a death drop, but it isn’t long before Sharon decides to use her tentacled and freaky look to its advantage and drags herself along the runway like some biblical beast. Michelle’s impressed. Sharon also seemed to separate herself more successfully than the other two. Chad showed a lot more skill and musicality this week than last but neither she nor Phi Phi seemed willing to risk losing it by doing something bold or different or attention grabbing, so I score the lip synch another win for Sharon.
Swinging for the fences.
The queens all hug it out and Ru calls them to attention. It was at this point that I realized what was what because there’s only two minutes left to the episode. Derrr. Ru calls each queen by name, and there’s a brief moment where it looks like Chad thinks Sharon’s won when Ru doesn’t immediately say her name after Chad’s and Phi Phi’s but…no. Ru calls all three queens and says the winner…of RuPaul’s Drag Race…America’s next drag superstar…is…going to be announced next week, on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Reunited.
While the queens all stare and wonder WTF? Phi Phi interviews to ask if it’s a joke and Sharon thinks Ru’s a crafty little witch. Ru says she wants to hear from the audience to find out who we want to win. Phi Phi delusionally thinks that no matter what, she’s going to win while Chad’s all squirmy to find out and Sharon tries to be diplomatic saying any of them deserves the title…well maybe her a little more. Ru joins the queens to dance off stage while Michelle and Santino dance at the dais, and that’s it.
Personally, even though I’ve been Team Needles since jump and still want her to win, I can’t help but also hope Chad pulls it off. She’s a PROFESSIONAL and already is a drag superstar. Still, I won’t complain if it’s Sharon. She is different from anyone else who’s been on the show and it’s good to shake things up. But, really, my #1 option is “anyone but Phi Phi.” Any other thoughts?
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