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Eureka O'hara (#110 of 11)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 5, “The Bossy Rossy Show”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 5, “The Bossy Rossy Show”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 5, “The Bossy Rossy Show”

With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, how do you solve a problem like The Vixen? So far this season on RuPaul's Drag Race, she's outpestered every pest, driven hornets from their nest, and even thrown that whirling dervish Eureka out of whirl. Conditions are to the point that, because she knows that if she has to sit in that Untucked area backstage she'll end up popping off on some other queen, The Vixen privately confides that she just hopes she's not deemed “safe” this week. She'd rather be in the bottom three than risk cutting off valuable kiki time by reminding white queens of just how loaded words like “crafty” actually are. During an earlier fight, Monique Heart said she worried that The Vixen's commitment to the warpath would stand in the way of presenting “her blessing.” And “The Bossy Rossy Show” fully brings that conflict to a head. And only on Drag Race could a fiery semiotics lesson so comfortably stand shoulder to shoulder with another personality donning a full-body pickle suit and toting around a doctor's clipboard.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 4, “The Last Ball on Earth”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 4, “The Last Ball on Earth”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 4, “The Last Ball on Earth”

The question of who's got your back is at the heart of this week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, and it nearly gets lost amid an otherwise curiously early-season ball challenge that probably sets the new record for the most runway lewks in Drag Race herstory. Ru's franchise has, from the very beginning, established that no queen can really make it without a solid support system, even if it comes in the form of a highly engineered reality TV series on the prowl for tissue-clutching moments of emotional vulnerability. Queens who've been subject to self-sabotage have seen their stars rise with a reintroduction to the camaraderie of the workroom. Queens who've refused to pay testament have found themselves in the midst of a bitch edit faster than you can say “Shante, you stay…for the editors' manufactured drama.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 3, “Tap That App”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 3, “Tap That App”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 3, “Tap That App”

I know gay bars everywhere have to fill their valuable Thursday cocktail time, and that VH1 probably feels some level of responsibility to make sure that lasts as long as possible. But seriously, for a show that once could pride itself on whip-crack pacing, the “new normal” 90-minute episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race are starting to really put the “drag” in Drag Race. But at the same time, the fact that VH1’s strategy of maximalism has also resurrected Untucked from its recent YouTube ghettoization practically makes it all worth the effort. Because The Vixen’s performance in Untucked thus far is damned close to turning what most would call bonus material into must-see TV. And at the risk of making the main show feel like the background material.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 2, “PharmaRusical”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 2, “PharmaRusical”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 2, “PharmaRusical”

For anyone who’s ever watched a RuPaul’s Drag Race challenge and thought, “What drugs did they take before coming up with that?,” tonight’s episode, “PharmaRusical,” is for you and probably not too many others. The second-episode lip-sync challenge is almost always the most frustrating and least satisfying of every season. The challenge doesn’t ever allow any queen the chance to really polish up her persona. Instead, the girls get separated into two teams, are usually assigned to their roles by someone who barely knows them yet, are forced to work within an ensemble when audiences are still just trying to remember who’s who, and finally have to wrap their lips around nonsensical gibberish dialogue. And then keep a straight face when Michelle Visage tells them they “kind of faded into the background.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 1, “10s Across the Board”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 1, “10s Across the Board”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 1, “10s Across the Board”

It’s almost as though RuPaul knew Drag Race fans weren’t going to sit still for how All Stars 3 went down. Because we’re moving into season 10 of the main competition without so much as a week off to ruminate on Trixie Mattel’s victory. But, really, let’s take a disco nap-sized moment to unpack, because count me among the many drag justice warriors calling foul on Shangela’s behalf. Unless her reputation among queens is truly Valentina-level bad, there ain’t an edit in the world that could’ve justified her getting only one lipstick-pull at the climax of last week’s finale—and from Thorgy Thor, of all queens, the only one with a justifiable ax to grind against Shang.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 13, “Reunited”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 13, “Reunited”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 13, “Reunited”

Well, on the plus side, anyone who still misses the old Untucked format has now had their edges officially snatched, and has also finally landed on their favorite episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine. In a twist from virtually any prior seasons, the season’s queens are all invited back prior to the show finale for a reunion special the likes of which the show hasn’t really done since season three, when the Heathers and the Boogers sort of called a truce. Of course, when Ru used to close out with audience-free reunion episodes, it happened after the winner had already been crowned. This time around, all of the season’s contestants are dragged into a holding place before one of four queens find out next week which one of them gets named, for the 11th time, America’s next drag superstar. Does that stop them from reading the house down? You’d think so, but that’s not the way this counter-intuitively scheduled cookie crumbles. As it quickly becomes evident that Ru intends to flit from controversy to controversy without any real structure, here’s a match-by-match rundown of all the beef.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 9, "Your Pilot’s On Fire"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 9, “Your Pilot’s On Fire”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 9, “Your Pilot’s On Fire”

Girl, call Tilda Swinton. Because we need to talk about Nina Bo’nina Helen Gurley Brown. And, because really only one significant thing happened in this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race (namely, one of the most tragic lip-synch misfortunes in human record), be aware that spoilers are higher up in this rucap than usual. Having said that, we really need to talk about Nina Bo’nina del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Brown.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 5, "Kardashian: The Musical"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 5, “Kardashian: The Musical”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 5, “Kardashian: The Musical”

“This is RuPaul’s best friend race!” exclaims Alexis Michelle as three or four other RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants kiss and make up in the workroom. What happens when queens all get along? Producers manufacture drama, silly. And, even for a show that wears its fabrications and intentionality on its rhinestoned sleeve, the machinations start to seem just a touch mannered. Following a series of episodes that effortlessly drew personality (or lack thereof) from a cast that seems more look-oriented than personality-dependent, the fifth episode of the show’s ninth season is a marked regression. And not only because I now, after all these blessed years, am forced to finally write the names of all the Kardashians, a situation for which it will take me some time to forgive Mama Ru.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 4, "Good Morning Bitches"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 4, “Good Morning Bitches”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 4, “Good Morning Bitches”

For whatever qualms longtime fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race may have about season nine’s streamlining, at least the challenges remain extraordinarily well placed. Or, as Phi Phi alleged in the embittered aftermath of All-Stars, the producers know exactly what they want and how to get it. Just as the queens are getting to that Real World zone where they’ve stopped being polite and started serving up realness, they’re thrown into a morning-news-show challenge that forces them to slap a mealy grin on their simmering tensions. And it’s more of a failure than a success, but in this context, bad TV makes for excellent TV. Or, at least, a train wreck comparable to Kathie Lee & Hoda.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 3, "Draggily Ever After"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 3, “Draggily Ever After”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 3, “Draggily Ever After”

I’m neither the first nor the last person to point out that, nine seasons in, there are some RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants who were in their formative years when the series was first making waves, contestants who’ve quite literally always known drag in a mainstream context. We caught an early, often irritating example of that in season six with the finger-wagging, tongue-snapping, “OK-r-r-r-r”-ing Laganja Estranja, but you always had a sense in her case that the drag persona was the result of an internalized split, and that the drag persona for ’Ganj was a brassy form of wish fulfillment. But Valentina’s win in last week’s episode feels like the next evolutionary step in the process. And, thankfully, RuPaul’s ready with a challenge that helps restore balance between the Valentinas of the competition, for whom drag is an almost subconscious element of their DNA, and the Eurekas or Trinitys, who are paying their dues and letting the world know it.