RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 Episode 6 Review: Pop The Con And Feed The Children
27 April 2018, 15:22
In an episode of emotional highs and lows, Blair St. Clair's heart shines through.
It's week six of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10, and did we just have the best episode of the season? Why yes ma'am we did. This week, Drag Race served everything you could ever want from the show - a brand spanking new challenge, fierce looks, emotional ups and downs, and an elimination that was heart-wrenching but ultimately justified. After a few lacklustre seasons and a positively dire All Stars 3, Drag Race is feeling current, cool, and - most importantly - necessary again, and I'm here for it all.
We kick off with the fallout from last week's lipsync, which resulted in Mayhem scooting her boot back to California, ugly denim hat and all - an elimination that was overshadowed by Shania Twain's baffling and extraordinary admission that she probably would have voted from Trump, a mere 24 hours after awkwardly guest judging on last week's episode. Poor timing Shania. Very poor timing.
Back to the show. Monét is feeling a little shook at being in the bottom two week's running, Miz Cracker is a little pressed that she hasn't won a challenge yet, and Blair St. Clair is just grateful to be here. All of these moments are extremely foreshadowing...
The Mini Challenge
There's nothing better than a completely non-sensical mini challenge, and this week was one of the craziest since Season 2's misguided-yet-hilarious "Chicken or What?" challenge. The queens play "Sitting On A Secret," and have to guess the object purely by feeling it with their butt. This challenge was entirely meaningless as the queens got to choose their own groups for the maxi challenge, but wasn't it fun! Monique was the obvious star of the mini challenge, god love her.
The Maxi Challenge
This week, the girls are split into three queens to lead Drag Con style panels about hair, makeup and body. It's a brand new challenge that tests the girls on their ability to actually do the things they'll be expected to do once the show is over - a kind of Drag Race work experience, if you will. It's a great challenge for viewers too, as we get to learn a little more about how Drag actually comes together. The girls are allowed to pick their own teams, leaving bottom two regular Monét X Change and this season's mute Kameron Michaels high and dry. Despite having shown some short comings in the season so far, sleeping on these two for this challenge specifically felt misguided - after all, Kameron's muscle queen gig is a unique selling point that will pique fans' interests, and Monét has a winning personality that can really come out to play on a panel. Eureka is either savvy enough to see their potential, or has clocked that she can get away with speaking the most in a team made up of one introvert and one downbeat queen. Either way, they come together to form the body panel, while Asia, Aquaria and Monique are team makeup, and Miz Cracker, Blair and The Vixen are team hair.
Prepping for the panel
Eureka comes up with the catch phrase "proportionizing" which is widely derided by the rest of the queens as being a little stupid. Admittedly it is a stupid catch phrase, but considering that the queens, RuPaul herself, Michelle Visage and every Drag Race viewer on earth have been moaning "vaaaaangie" every five seconds since Vanessa Vanjie sashayed away in season 1, there's clearly a lot to be said for a stupid catchphrase. Immediately, Team Body have three different points of view, the unlimited energy of Eureka, and a catch phrase to play with. I'd be very confident if I was on this team.Over on team Makeup, Aquaria is struggling to get her point across. Public speaking absolutely improves with age, and we've seen a few younger contestants stumble with talk-heavy challenges in previous seasons (remember Adore and Leganja trying to do stand up in Season 6?) so I worry for Aquaria. That being said, Monique and Asia have boundless charisma so that couples with Aquaria's inevitable fierce runway look will surely see her through to safe. We also discover that Monique is making almost every look from scratch every week, which will sadly mean nothing to the Judges but definitely earns her a lot of kudos with her fellow contestants and fans alike. Team hair seem a little doomed from the start, sadly. Both The Vixen and Miz Cracker seem to completely misunderstand the challenge's specifics (if Ru tells you to have a moderator, have a moderator!), and poor Blair is tasked with standing out next to the show's smartest wits and loudest mouths.
Monét opens up
Now the competition has thinned out a little, it's time to get to know some of the girls a little better. Monét opens up about her parents in St Lucia almost finding out about her homosexuality, and her regrets about not coming out when the opportunity presented itself. A lot of queer people will tell you that you become your fullest self once you come out, and perhaps the knowledge that her parents might end up watching Drag Race is what's stopping her from unlocking her full slay.
On the main stage, team body kick off the Drag Con proceedings with style. All three of the queens look great, and are full of genuinely interesting facts about sculpting a feminine body. From Monét tip about turning old tights into cleavage-creating boob pads to Eureka discussing finding body confidence through drag, the whole panel is informative and uplifting - everything you want from Drag Con. Eureka has a reputation for being annoying, but the truth is that she knows exactly what her audience wants and how to give it to them, and that is a very powerful skill to have. And, of course, "proportionizing" goes down a treat.
Team face are up next, and Monique storms the stage with one-liner after one-liner. Asia catches herself teetering on the edge of boring and throws in a much appreciated joke about being a 70 year old white woman. In truth, Monique carries the team, her charismatic and irreverent persona helping to elevate Aquaria and Asia's more earnest presentation. The demonstrations get a little confused with each queen showing off a different skill simultaneously, but honestly Monique could take a dump on stage and I was live, so who cares?
Last and very much least is team wig. There's a lot of unnecessary shade throwing in this panel, and none of the jokes really land. In Team Hair's defence, I think "wigs" is the hardest panel topic to sell out of the three, but the lack of chemistry between Blair, Cracker and Vixen really hinder them. Not even the Oprah-style wig giveaway could save the panel - and ho doesn't like free wigs?
Bring it to the runway, runway.
This week, the runway is all about giving good head, with hats of all shapes, sizes and concepts. Because the girls are judged in teams, the two best hats on the runway (Asia and Aquaria's) aren't discussed. Asia easily has the best hat of the night, it's completely conceptual, perfectly executed and, most importantly, f*cking ginormous.
It's really head and shoulders (pun intended) above the rest, and to be frank everything that followed felt a little disappointing. The other star hat was Aquaria's, who served us rabbit-out-of-a-hat magician realness with full gender-f*ck glamour. Miz Cracker's hair hat was also a stroke of genius, but didn't quite have the wow factor of Asia or Aquaria's, and while Monét's church outfit wasn't the most obviously exciting, I very much appreciated the reference. The Vixen's was probably my least favourite outfit - she looked like someone put The Hamburglar through a spiralizer.
Long live Blair St. Clair!
After being criticised for being too saccharine, Blair reveals that her upbeat drag personal is a way of coping with surviving rape. It's obviously a hugely important moment for the show, and it's wonderful to see The Vixen and Blair's genuine friendship shine through during Blair's moment of vulnerability. I'm gonna take a moment to defend Blair here, because while I understand the judges' critiques, I find Blair's ridiculously positive drag persona endearing and unique. You know, anyone can be a shady bitch, and we place a lot of value on dragging and reading, but it actually takes a lot of talent to get this far in the competition by being a total sweetheart. So you shine on, Blair, and continue to do you. She might not be the Drag Race contestant that we're used to seeing, but it's the ones who stand apart that wind up being remembered.
Did the right queen win?
Eureka is named the winner of this challenge, and while I think Asia had the better outfit, the fact that Eureka was able to succeed and inject life into two floundering queens proves that she was the worthy winner.
The bottom two
The Vixen and Blair St. Clair wind up in the bottom two. I've loved both of these girls on the show, but there was no way Miz Cracker was going to be anything but safe, given her track record and her runway presentation.
The Vixen and Blair go head to head, lipsyncing Diana Ross' iconic hit, "I'm Coming Out," and while they both give it 110%, neither queen gave me exactly what I was looking for in this lipsync. I'm a big fan of queens who can capture the essence of the songs they lipsync to, and I just don't think this number required any dropping to the knees or jumping into the splits.
Did the right queen go?
Yes. Blair brought a fresh perspective to the competition, but unfortunately her personality just wasn't as strong as everybody else's. Having said that, she is an absolute ray of light, and I'm glad the show made space for such a positive, bubbly and talented queen. Her vulnerability on the main stage this episode will surely be remembered as a truly meaningful moment on Drag Race, and she will be a huge beacon for fans who have gone through something similar.