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Kameron Michaels (#110 of 10)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 10, “Social Media Kings Into Queens”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 10, “Social Media Kings Into Queens”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 10, “Social Media Kings Into Queens”

We need to talk about Vanjie. Specifically, we need to talk about what Drag Race‘s accelerated milking of a meme for every last drop its worth says about this season’s competition as a whole. When Vanessa Vanjie Mateo became the first eliminated queen, she claimed a few extra seconds on stage before asserting her worth in the only way she knew how: by dropping her own name thrice with the wounded delicacy of a Tennessee Williams heroine—“Miss Vanjie…Miss Vanjie…Miss…Vanjie…”—before then retreating backward up the runway while glaring directly at the judge’s table.

The moment was fierce and doleful—a fertile field for camp deification. The space Vanjie cleared around herself in that moment was instantly recognized by RuPaul and the producers; a behind-the-scenes clip showing Michelle Visage bringing Ru to tears by merely invoking Vanjie’s name was included right off the top of the second episode. And from that point on, the ghost of Vanjie never truly left the show. From the workroom to the judges’ critiques to deliberations to Untucked, echoes of “Vanjie” have never been few and far between, like some gay offshoot of the game Marco Polo.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 9, “Breastworld”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 9, “Breastworld”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 9, “Breastworld”

The loss of The Vixen last week arguably robbed season 10 of RuPaul's Drag Race of its one undeniable narrative thrust, forcing the show's cast to go from loudly debating the most outspoken queen of the pack to quietly tiptoeing around the doggedly silent elephant in the room. Though The Vixen's elimination restored oxygen to the workroom, “Breastworld” sees most of the remaining hunties, well, hunting for ways to kick-start their own storylines, especially as the competition has rounded the clubhouse turn.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 8, “The Unauthorized Rusical”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 8, “The Unauthorized Rusical”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 8, “The Unauthorized Rusical”

The only RuPaul's Drag Race challenge more cringe-worthy than the lip-sync production number—which this season, in case your brain has blessedly blocked it from all memory, was the extended pharmaceutical commercial from hell—is the one that forces the queens to show off their vocal chops. So what better way to double our fun than to combine the toughest aspects of both of them, with the added difficulty factor of celebrity impersonation?

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 7, “Snatch Game”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 7, “Snatch Game”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 7, “Snatch Game”

A few rucaps ago, I dismissed the acting chops of the girls on this season's RuPaul's Drag Race. I surmised that, much like Marilyn Monroe's Miss Casswell in All About Eve, they ought to consider heading back to the Copacabana School of the Dramatic Arts for some remedial classwork. Apparently they did, because the long-awaited Snatch Game episode not only boasts some truly fine performances, but also brings all things dramatic into razor-sharp focus.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 10, Episode 6, “Drag Con Panel Extravaganza”

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 6, “Drag Con Panel Extravaganza”

VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 10, Episode 6, “Drag Con Panel Extravaganza”

No one ever accused RuPaul of shying away from shamelessness, but usually the bald-faced self-promotion is a footnote, not the full paragraph. Ru's “available on iTunes” winks have always been in tune with the show's funhouse satire of reality competition tropes, and are more often than not balanced out by the moments when Mother Ru's protégées unleash emotional realness: Roxxxy Andrews coming to terms with the moment her mother left her at a bus stop, Ongina revealing her HIV-positive status, Monica Beverly Hillz affirming her identity as a transgender woman. Look, RuPaul's a high-powered businesswoman who, working in a trade that seldom allows for second acts, managed to build one of pop culture's most unexpected empires. But she also knows from what film—basically the urtext American comedy of selling out—comes the line “We take the cash, we cash the check, we show them what they want to see.” With a smile.

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.