This week’s episode starts out with RuPaul coming out and announcing a cha cha danceoff for all the queens. The best part of these sorts of mini-challenges is how hideous everyone looks in the extremely short time they’re given to get into drag. A close second this week goes to Chi Chi DeVayne, who goes from a standing split into a deathdrop. (Kids, don’t try that one at home.) And then there’s Kim Chi. Remember how there was a whole episode on Seinfeld about Elaine’s atrocious dancing? Well, at least Elaine was actually moving her limbs in some sort of manner. Kim’s “dance” is something else entirely.
The two winners end up being Chi Chi and Cynthia Lee Fontaine, who get to divide the two girls into teams for a song-and-dance number a la last year’s Glamazonian Airways. This season it’s the good girls vs. the bad girls in a high school send up—nowhere near as fun as the absurdity of having the queens as stewardesses.
What’s an otherwise straightforward episode has one extreme spike of drama. Acid Betty demonstrates that “Acid” isn’t just a reference to LSD but to her acid tongue. Though Chi Chi is the team leader (and a superb dancer and actual choreographer), Acid insists on undermining her every chance she gets. Acid’s style is far more methodical than Chi Chi’s. While this can often be better, of course, it needn’t always be the right way to go—especially since it’s unclear (maybe even to the queens themselves?) if they’re going to be judged as a team or as individuals.
Chi Chi’s team disagrees a bit about whether to take the “one shot” line from the song Adrenaline and mimic shooting up, eventually discarding the idea. Why would that be beyond the pale on a show where men dress as women and constantly make sexual puns—and whose companion series is called Untucked? It’s very bizarre and arbitrary what is and isn’t considered acceptable humor on the series.
Any fan of the show knows how the rest of the episode goes. Both teams meet with the choreographer and struggle with the steps. They stress (no doubt fairly) over not having enough time to get looks together and get the dance down and learn the words. Many a former contestant commented that we the viewers don’t realize just how much of a race the show really is, as the episodes are extremely rushed in real life.
As the queens get ready for the stage, Team Former Fatty—Acid Betty, Kim Chi and Dax ExclamationPoint—reminisce about how badly they had been treated as fat, gay teens. The moment lacks the poignancy it otherwise might, because all three are now so clearly gifted and talented, not prone to self-pity, that their former days seem like centuries ago…with one big exception. Kim decides to lay it on the table and come out as a virgin. Apparently this is supposed to be a huge deal but she actually seems perfectly fine with it. I’m of the mind that there are far more adult virgins than people realize, and making it into a big issue is sure to cause them even more insecurity, depression and anxiety.
The performance itself doesn’t really have any standout comedic moments. There’s no Mrs. Kasha Davis mean-mugging for the camera, for instance. Chi Chi does show some amazing dancing skills, but other than that the show is entertaining but not particularly memorable. Next is the runway, where the queens have to give their versions of an awards show gown (a series staple). Acid Betty definitely brings a great avant-garde take on the assignment, with the rest being—again—competent but not outstanding. Chi Chi ends up winning the challenge, and Laila and Dax are the bottom two.
And both are sent home.
Now let’s talk about this elimination, which is the biggest load of crap this show has ever seen. There have been queens in the past who have gone home too soon. In season one, Ru had no choice but to eliminate Tammie Brown since she simply refused to lip sync. Milk’s elimination in season six was also absurd. Darienne Lake clearly should have been in the bottom, and if Trinity failed at a hip-hop challenge that was a clear sign that her time was up as whole.
This week was far more absurd than either of those cases. To begin with, it was excruciatingly obvious that Kim Chi should have been in the bottom—and it was just as obvious that if she were in the bottom, she would be sent home. Ergo, to preserve the extremely talented Kim, Dax had to take her place. Fine, that is plausible. Kim Chi clearly has a lot more to show—but so does Dax. Dax’s performance wasn’t particularly bad, her runway look was perfectly fine, and her lip sync was hardly atrocious. If anything, she should have gotten a scolding. But to send home one of the most original queens this season, someone who brought an entirely new genre to the show, is downright unconscionable. Shame!
UPDATE: Five questions with this week’s eliminated queen, Dax ExclamationPoint
Observer: RuPaul seemed so cold and cruel when she eliminated you two, which seemed to make it even more hurtful. Did it feel that way from you end?
Dax ExclamationPoint: Very much so. I can’t besmirch Ru so I won’t, but you just feel crushed. The people you look up to so long, who are so amazing and talented, masters in the industry, when they tell you your drag is like the worst in the world, it is absolutely devastating.
I gotta ask: the eyebrows. Are you serving Whoopi Goldberg realness?
I’m a cat, and cats don’t have eyebrows. No, actually I shaved them off and thought I would draw them on every day with makeup, and eventually got lazy. Now I say I lost them in a fire, or a nuclear meltdown or something.
What’s the first comic book you ever read?
Uncanny X-Men #300. Romita drew that one, with the holographic cover. Nightcrawler was super hot.
Was there a legal issue coming in dressed as a trademarked character?
Technically I wasn’t dressed as Storm. If you thought I was Storm that was on you.
If you lasted to the reading challenge, who would you read and what would you say?
I don’t even know. I probably would have sucked. Reading has to come naturally. Naomi for her toes obviously, but that’s not even news.