Drag Race Recap Episode 4 – Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?
Welcome back, hunties! We have another sickening episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to recap, so let’s start our engines and dive in!
This week Miss Kiki Pryde got her act together to watch the episode in person at Hardware Bar in Hell’s Kitchen for a Drag Race party hosted by Season 1 winner, the fabulous Miss Bebe Zahara Benet! Joining Bebe for this week are Divine Grace and Dallas Dubois, serving up some catty commentary and prizes during the commercial breaks, all sponsored by that loveliest of liquors, Absolut Vodka!
Bebe serves it up in a fierce skin-tight leopard-print unitard and some sickening braids. Divine Grace is divine indeed a gorgeous couture black gown and a bleach-blonde dyke-‘do kept high and tight. Dallas is flawless as ever in gold, serving up some Mardi Gras beads she won this week and a choker collar that’s gonna make her neck look damaged in the morning, gurl. Oh, Dallas, fashion is pain, diva, and you bring it!
Miss Kiki could go on and on about how fabulous these queens are, but on with the show!
As the queens return to the workroom to see Monica Beverly Hillz’s goodbye note, Coco Montrese wipes the lipstick off the mirror and ruminates to herself that she’s got to focus. She’s letting all the drama with Alyssa Edwards get to her and Coco knows it’s affecting her game. Vivienne Panay, aka Not-Jujubee aka Jujupeepee, reflects on Ru’s warning that she needs to step it up or she’s going to get trampled by the hungry queens in her midst. On RuPaul’s Drag Race, being just a pretty face next to all that fierceness won’t cut it.
When the girls get their She-Mail this week, Ru reveals they’re in for a dance competition. They’re going to need to bust out some sickening dance moves to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. Ru appears in a Jackson Five outfit serving up some Michael realness (‘70s Michael, not Lady Michael) and all I can think is, “Yes! Soul Train isn’t dead yet, hunty!”
My Spidey-sense proves to be in full force, because Ru announces that the first competition of the evening is a Soul Train Dance Off! Now, Kiki Pryde doesn’t want to give away all of her secrets, but I love to put on my Young Hearts Run Free Pandora Station and werk it out when I’m getting ready for a night on the town. Suffice it to say, I’m thrilled by this challenge, darlings.
Coco is the first queen up, and I can’t help but smile when she busts a move on the floor because I know she’s the only queen in this bunch that’s actually old enough to have seen an episode of Soul Train or two in her lifetime. Most of the other queens pale in comparison to her, until Honey Mahogany struts out and does some fantastic booty shaking down the line. Then, Miss Jinkx Monsoon works her booty down the line and throws down a big split that gets all the queens whooping it up. And in the end, it’s Jinkx and Coco who win the first challenge and get to be team captains!
For Coco’s first pick she chooses… Alyssa! WHAT?! If ever there was an appropriate use of the record scratch sound effect, this moment in Drag Race Season 5 is it, hunties. The now-notorious feud between the girls gives even Ru some pause, but Coco knows that Alyssa is the best dancer in the bunch. Coco is in it to win it. Vivienne complains about being on Coco’s team because they’re “a bunch of loudmouths.” Really, bitch? This is RuPaul’s Drag Race, not Miss Porter’s School! Look it up, queens.
For their rehearsals of No RuPologies, the original drag ballet of RuPaul’s life, the queens get to work with guest judge Travis Wall and his pretty friend, Nick. Travis is the dancer/choreographer supreme from Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance and the recent gone-too-soon-from-Off-Broadway musical Bare. Look it up, queens.
Team Jinkx seems a little nervous and out-of-their-element on this one, but everyone seems willing to give it the old college try. That is, except, of course, Miss Alaska, who is like the Queen of No. Back in episode one, when Mike Ruiz and RuPaul asked her if she wanted to do her underwater photoshoot again, she said no, and I almost spit out my vodka-soda. Good thing I never waste even cheap booze. This time, when Travis asks if she can dance, she gives a super-mopey no way, Jose. Bitch, that’s Travis Wall. He’s super-adorbs and he’s trying to help you become America’s Next Drag Superstar. If he says dance, you ask how high should I kick my leg? Thank you. Next.
Jinkx comments on how dreamy Mister Travis is, and she is correct. I’m surprised the entire rehearsal session isn’t just footage of queen after queen presenting to him. Yeah, I said it.
When Team Jinkx returns to the workroom, Team Coco is doing some ballet exercises to throw them off, led by Alyssa. Team Coco may not be professional dancers, but they know how to Mila-Kunis those Natalie-Portmans on Team Jinkx. Classic shade.
During Team Coco’s brief rehearsal session, we mostly get to see Alyssa and Coco work on their not-so-great lifts during the Good Ru/Evil Ru portion of Act 2. Travis notes some obvious trust issues between those two (oh, REALLY?) and hopes it doesn’t affect the performance. Honey has trouble remembering the six steps she has to do with Detox, and neither Detox nor Travis seems impressed. Me neither. Every time Honey comes on-screen, I have to ask myself, who is that again? She is just not a memorable queen. I know that the judges have been hard on Vivienne for fading too much into the background, but it applies to Miss Honey as well.
The queens then prepare for their performance in front of Ru and the other judges and Alyssa gets real for a second about how dance saved her when she encountered issues with her parents as a young drag-ling. It’s nice to see depth behind all that terrible plastic surgery. Until a minute later, when all the queens get real shady about all the ugly crazy-faces she makes in the makeup mirror. And we’re right back into it.
The performance opens up with Alaska appearing as Ru’s mama, and surprisingly, that queen works it out. Her dancing is all kinds of terrible, but she puts 150% into it and turns out one of my favorite parts of No RuPologies. The other members of Team Jinkx are just so-so, but they get through it blissfully fast. The judges love Ivy Winters’ take on Lady Bunny, but Miss Kiki thinks she’s more Dolly than Lady Bunny. Agree to disagree.
The best moment of the night comes with the start of No RuPologies Act 2. Team Coco starts out strong with Alyssa giving all kinds of fierce face as Evil Ru. The whole story of Ru’s troubles with partying too hard on uppers, downers, and candy corn is written all over Alyssa’s flawless Black-Swan-inspired makeup. She and Coco turn it out and nail their lifts. It’s nice to see these two queens set aside their grudge long enough to put together a moving tribute to Ru’s struggles with addiction. The rest of Team Coco is a disaster. Detox and Honey flounder so badly during their duet that Michelle Visage cringes. Vivienne and Roxxxy’s finale for the piece elicits a disappointed shake of the head from Travis. Sigh.
The queens aren’t given a theme for the night’s runway looks, but there’s a lot of sparkle up on that stage. Big snaps go to Alyssa for her head-to-toe rhinestones and Ivy’s Victor/Victoria look. As Detox crosses the runway in a hideous teal bubble mullet dress and I scream, “No, Detox! Just! No!” and I have to avert my eyes.
The judges award high marks for the night to Alyssa, who deserves all the praise they muster up. Jinkx, in an eye patch and a headpiece that looks like bunny ears (did anyone else think Donnie Darko?) gets scolded for being a little too one-note with her looks and not showing us her glamorous side. Vivienne once again pales next to her Drag Race competitors, and Honey is called out by both Michelle Visage and guest judge Chaz Bono (famous for appearing on Dancing with the Stars and appearing from Cher’s vagina – thanks, Alaska!) for her vast collection of shapeless caftans. No one calls her out for her terrible wig, but it looks like a seriously gross, stressed-out cheap wig in need of some conditioner. Honey and Vivienne (aka Jujupeepee) are the clear bottom two this week. And Ru agrees! Into the lip-sync they go.
For this week’s lip-sync, Honey and Vivienne are blessed to perform to Britney Spears’ hit “Oops!... I Did It Again,” a gift from the drag gods. Sadly, neither queen accepts the gift. Vivienne’s left hand stays glued to her hip as she struts awkwardly around the stage, and Honey gives some weird faces and gets overly smiley with her mouth. Obviously, someone has not learned how to smize like Tyra teaches on that other drag reality show. For me, it’s my first time watching Drag Race where there is no clear winner during the lip-sync, and I sit there wondering how Ru is going to make the lesser-of-two-awful-performances choice. Then she throws us all a curve ball.
In a never-before-seen twist, both queens sashay away! And Miss Kiki wholeheartedly agrees with Ru making the difficult decision to destroy two dreams during one elimination. Both turned in underwhelming performances that Ru thinks lack the fire to be in the competition. All the other queens clutch for their pearls.
And to the two girls who are eliminated: I’m sorry I’m not sorry. Vivienne, you are a second-rate Jujubee who is beautiful, yes, but nothing more. America’s Next Drag Superstar needs to shine! And Honey Mahogany, who are you again? Kiki Pryde out, hunties!
Untucked Postscript: The drama highlight for this week's Untucked comes when Alyssa reveals that she would send home Jade Jolie (whose face is about 95% mouth) if given the opportunity. The other queens try to offer Jade some drag-motherly advice about her 'tude around the workroom but Jade won't hear it. And then, silence. We are then treated to some very long, dagger-eyed looks thrown around the Interior Illusions Lounge intercut with the queens' camera interviews just to fill in the terribly awkward silence. Can't wait to see where all that is headed!
If you would like to watch alongside Miss Kiki Pryde next Monday, please come out to Hardware Bar at 8PM sharp! If you wear something sickening or contribute something witty, you might find yourself in next week's recap. Our lovely host Bebe will be joined by Grace again, as well as the inimitable Miss Jackie Dupree. You don't want to miss it, hunties!