Monday, May 31, 2010

Eurovision 2010 Results

Old news by now, but I was out of town this weekend and didn't get to see the actual final until Sunday evening. Here are the results (Performance order/My guess/Actual place):

1 Azerbaijan 5 5
2 Spain 17 15
3 Norway 15 20
4 Moldova 12 22
5 Cyprus 19 21
6 Bosnia & Herzegovina 11 17
7 Belgium 8 6
8 Serbia 16 13
9 Belarus 9 24
10 Ireland 4 23
11 Greece 6 8
12 UK 24 25
13 Georgia 14 9
14 Turkey 3 2
15 Albania 10 16
16 Iceland 1 19
17 Ukraine 23 10
18 France 9 12
19 Romania 2 3
20 Russia 25 11
21 Armenia 22 7
22 Germany 7 1
23 Portugal 21 18
24 Israel 20 14
25 Denmark 18 4

The obvious lesson here is that I have no clue what is going on. Actually, the things I was wrong about are things that I am glad to be wrong about. Forced sentimentality, such as Belarus' "Butterflies" and Norway's "My Heart is Yours", was not rewarded. However, super dancey pop music also doesn't get a free pass (sorry Iceland and Moldova, still love ya both). Also, the flashmob celebration while votes were being tabulated was one of the most awesome things I've seen on television in a very long time:

So so awesome. Can't wait for Germany 2011!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Eurovision Rundown

Here is the rundown of the field for Saturday’s Finals along with where I think they should rank (though probably won’t). The Top 10 are in bold:

Azerbaijan (5): The reason I don’t see this winning is that it is formulaic to the point that it comes off as brewed in a lab after months of market research. It will probably rank higher, but it really shouldn’t.

Spain (17): based on the video’s circus theme, I expect an over-the-big-top performance. However, there are more circusy acts in the lineup.

Norway (15): The singer is dreamy but the song is sleepy.

Moldova (12): I love me some pop fiddle, but there are a lot of elements that work well individually yet do not play well with others.

Cyprus (19): this song is of the “cute guy with a guitar” family, but I think Belgium will be cornering the market for that demo.

Bosnia & Herzegovina (11): I think if there was a current global cause to rally around (such as the Iran Elections last summer) this song could have won the competition.

Belgium (8): This is a really sweet acoustic number by a cute guy and a guitar. Watch your back near Cyprus and Denmark.

Serbia (16): Continuing the circus theme from Spain. This one will probably rank higher than I’m placing it because it seems to be the rallying point for the Balkans.

Belarus (13): The whole turning into a butterfly thing is just cheesy enough for this to end up ranking higher, but the trend of up-tempo winners leads me to think this will be middle of the pack.

Ireland (4): Although the song is pretty, I can see there being some hesitation in adding to Ireland’s win count and crowning a singer as a repeat winner.

Greece (6): There is nothing catchier than “OPA!” but this is the personification of flaming cheese. And I love flaming cheese.

UK (24): the UK hates Eurovision and the other countries know this. Also, the song is bland to the point that the British David Archuleta will be performing it.

Georgia (14): The marketing for this song is so fierce that even I have been getting ads to vote for this song (I’m in the US). However, I think this low placement is an indication of how tough the field is.

Turkey (3): Excellent performance and potential voters spread out across the continent. However, the song is not overly catchy.

Albania (10): This song reminds me of Anastasia, but truthfully I probably ranked this a little too high.

Iceland (1): This song has been stuck in my head for days. It has Europop sensibilities and is lyrically interesting. However, there is the whole volcano thing that really threw a wrench into organizing the event, but surely she can’t be blamed for it. Can she?

Ukraine (23): I love me some Ukrainian pop music, but this is more of a meandering rant than a song. Frankly, I’m surprised this made it into the finals since I thought all Ukrainian support would have gone to Georgia.

France (9): This is a great summer jam, but I think it may suffer in a live performance.

Romania (2): Along with having the coolest performance in Semi-Final 2, they had the best Official Video of all the entries. However, the lyrics will probably hurt them with the juries.

Russia (25): not well received, and I wasn’t the only one referring to it as a song for a suicide note

Armenia (22): the fact that I had to look up this song three times because I couldn’t remember is not a good sign.

Germany (7): Top of the Byes, this number reminds me of Lily Allen. I’m curious what the live performance will be like.

Portugal (21): the only thing I remember about this song was that I was bored by it.

Israel (20): this was another song I was bored by and again I’m surprised that this made it into the final.

Denmark (18): blame Belgium.

Since this is my first full Eurovision experience, I don’t really have a reference in terms of what is considered good or bad, likely to win or lose or anything like that. There is also the concept of bloc voting between countries (Balkans, former Russian republics, Scandinavia) and other areas of politics that are fascinating but that I have no grasp of yet. For example, the BBC has projected that the entry from Ireland will be placing 5th and that Azerbaijan is the favorite.

We’ll know how things shake out by Saturday evening (Eastern Time).

Eurovision Exempt

Here are the videos for the five exempt countries. For those who don’t know, France, Germany, Spain and the UK get automatic byes into the finals every year because they are the primary financiers for the competition. As the host country, Norway gets the fifth bye, rounding out the total field of 25 for the final competition on Saturday.

France: Jessy Matador - Allez, Ola, Ole

Germany: Lena - Satellite

Norway: Didrik Solli-Tangen - My Heart Is Yours

Spain: Daniel Diges - Algo Pequeñito

United Kingdom: Josh Dubovie - That Sounds Good to Me

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Eurovision Semi-Final 2

Here are the videos for the ten that advanced from today's Semi-Final. They will compete on Saturday with the qualifiers from Tuesday and the 5 exempt contenders (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and host Norway). The 5 exempt videos will be posted tomorrow.

Georgia: Sofia Nizharadze - Shine

Ukraine: Alyosha - Sweet People

Turkey: maNga - We Could Be The Same

Israel: Harel Skaat - Milim

Ireland: Niamh Kavanagh - It's For You

Cyprus: Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders - Life Looks Better In Spring

Azerbaijan: Safura - Drip Drop

Romania: Paula Seling & Ovi - Playing With Fire

Armenia: Eva Rivas - Apricot Stone

Denmark: Chanée & N'Evergreen - In A Moment Like This

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eurovision Semi-Final 1

Here are the songs that have advanced from the first semi-final round.

Bosnia/Herzegovina: Vukasin Brajic - "Munja i grom" ("Thunder and Lightning")

Moldova: Sun Stroke Project & Olia Tira - "Run Away"

Russia: Peter Nalitch and Friends - "Lost and Forgotten"

(According to @bbceurovision, there was booing in the arena when Russia advanced)

Greece: Giorgos Alkaios - "OPA!"

Portugal: Filipa Azevedo - "Há Dias Assim"

Belarus: 3+2 - "Butterflies"

Serbia: Milan Stankovic - "Ovo je Balkan" ("This is the Balkans")

Belgium: Tom Dice - "Me and My Guitar"

Albania: Juliana Pasha - "It's All About You"

Iceland: Hera Bjork - "Je Ne Sais Quoi"

Monday, May 3, 2010

RPDR: Grand Finale

Last time on RuPaul’s Drag Race: well, it was a clip show that I didn’t recap because, aside from audition videos and cameos from Shannel, Ongina, and Bebe, there really wasn’t anything new. Let me start again.

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: We started with 12 queens and have whittled our way down to the Final Three. Jujubee held onto her wig during the “Gone with the Window” mini-challenge, wowed the judges with her personality, and delivered the best shade ever: “Ms. Tyra – was your barbecue canceled? Your grill is fucked.” Awesome. Tyra Sanchez deluded herself into being “America’s Sweetheart” and consistently raised the bar on the runway challenges. Raven started off rough but also wowed the judges every step of the way. One of them will be the Next Drag Superstar…tonight!

Raven enters the workroom proclaiming “Top Three bitches!” Juju reads Tatianna’s goodbye message: “Do you 2 the FULLEST!” Juju interviews that Tatianna had so much potential that just wasn’t realized. Raven asks Juju to clean the mirror since Juju won the lip-sync and she was Tatianna’s friend. Juju thought she was going to go home since it was her third time in the bottom, but Raven reminds Juju of her book title: “Memoirs of a Gay-sha: And I’m STILL Here.” Juju asks what would have happened if she went home and Tyra responds that the competition would have just been between Tyra and Raven. Ha!

The girls reflect on their “Oh shit” moments through the season. Raven and Juju’s all coincided with when they had to LSFYL, while Tyra’s was during the bridal challenge and everyone attacked her. We see a replay of Juju’s lecture on the runway before jumping back to the workroom and Juju explaining that Tyra needed that “come to Jesus” moment. Tyra argues that having that moment in front of the judges probably hurt Tyra in the competition, but Juju disagrees saying that the judges probably now see that Tyra has grown.

Time for one last SheMail! Ru tells them that they stand on the shoulderpads of a dynasty of drag queen predecessors. One queen will survive the final fight to the finish. Are they throwing the queens into the Octagon? I’m not sure how I feel about that. Either way, Raven is ecstatic. Once the video finishes, Santino and Merle enter the workroom. They tell the queens that RuPaul is getting ready for the final challenge, which will be a music video for “Jealous of My Boogie”. The video will include a fight sequence as well as an “over the top dramatic scene” opposite Ru. The queens also have to work with Robert Verdi to come up with two looks inspired by 80’s Power Bitches. This is just dripping with Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.

The queens head to the mainstage to practice choreography with Ryan Heffington, the guy who did the choreography for last year’s final challenge. Um, what is he wearing? It’s a black, lacy, see through tank, black suspenders, a sparkly skirt thing and gray angle boots. It’s a look I can’t imagine being flattering for anyone, let alone for a guy that can best be described as “awkwardly hairy”. Can we get him on What Not to Wear? Raven struggles a bit, particularly since Ryan and the choreography are “high octane”. Juju describes Ryan as “the tiniest, little fiercest, little white man in the world.” That’s fair. Also fair: Ryan describes Tyra as monotone. The end of the sequence will have the girls improvising a cat fight. I think they can handle that part without any problems. We see them rehearse and Juju interviews that she hopes no one takes her eye out. It’s all about timing. Ryan interviews that Juju might be the most in tune with the choreography and will likely be the one to beat in this challenge.

The girls return to the workroom to work on the lip sync and talk about what is ahead. Juju asks everyone if they ever thought they would grow up to be in a RuPaul video. Hey, just a couple of years ago I made a reference to RuPaul that I thought would be the only one ever on my blog and here we are. RUPAUL CHANGES LIVES, yo. Juju recaps for us what needs to be done in this challenge: a scene with Ru, learn the words for the scene and the song, prepare a fight scene, and have a lunch date with Ru. She doesn’t say what the time crunch is but I assume they have a short window to work with.

The first queen to have lunch with Ru is Tyra. Tyra is in male form while Ru is in female form. Ru gives Tyra a couple of Tic Tacs (they sprung for the orange ones this year) and start to chat. Tyra says that the toughest part of the competition has been staying focused and not worrying about her son. They talk about prayer and God and anger. Ru says that anger is a symptom of fear and Tyra says in a separate interview that she is afraid of losing her son. If Tyra wins the show she believes that it will allow her a fresh start in life. Once again, this show is making me sympathetic to Tyra. Stop it, show, I’m too invested in my dislike!

Meanwhile in the workroom, Robert Verdi has a consultation with Jujubee. Juju says she doesn’t have too much of an awareness of 80’s Bitches since she was born in 1984. I don’t think that’s an excuse, but Juju may not be a pop culture sponge. Juju confesses that she doesn’t really know where to begin with the wardrobe selection. Uh-oh.

Raven joins Ru for lunch. Raven calls the experience “surreal” – I can’t tell if she is misusing the term or not. Ru asks Raven about how she is handling being sequestered and she says that it’s tough not being able to talk to her mom every day. They chat about divorced parents for a bit and how they coped with the pain. Raven starts to choke up a bit as she describes how difficult it is entering a relationship when there is the possibility of failure. Ru’s nugget of wisdom for Raven is “expectations lead to resentment.” Raven interviews that she really appreciates having a conversation with someone and not having it be about the competition or drag.

Tyra consults with Robert Verdi about her persona. Verdi educates Tyra about what the style was because she was born in friggin’ 1988. Oh good, I can go back to hating her now. Verdi blah blah blahs a bit, making me wonder why he is on the show beyond the Logo cross-promotion.

Juju gives Ru a smooch at the lunch table. Ru asks Juju what it was like being in the bottom two three times, and Juju explains that she has been in life’s Bottom Two several times. She shares that she used to respond to “faggot” until she woke up one day and said screw it. That’s pretty much all we get.

Raven and Verdi have more of an in-depth dialogue about the challenge since Raven actually gets the references to Dynasty. Verdi supposes that Raven may have the advantage, leading to an interview with Raven saying that you need to know a little bit about a lot of things to be successful.

After the queens get ready for the challenge, we join Ru on a soundstage. Raven goes first. The conceit is that the contestant is confronting Ru in her dressing room about the competition. Then Ru slaps her. Raven gets mixed reviews from the director before Tyra enters for her shoot. Tyra gets confused by the director’s direction to feel more “hurt” --- his accent makes it sound like “hood”. They ultimately decide that “hood” might be the better stage direction. Juju and her five-shoulder pad jacket enter with confidence. Juju interviews that she was a theater major so this challenge should be a cinch. Unfortunately, the only thing missing from her performance was a thrown chair because it is so over the top. I realize it is a drag competition, but compared to the other two this performance comes across as unnatural. The director calls her a “drag clown”. You know, for people who have a fear of clowns or drag queens that sounds downright terrifying.

The girls are now getting ready for the mainstage choreography portion. Tyra doesn’t like any of the outfits available, which starts to get on Juju and Raven’s nerves. She manages to find something and they head to the mainstage. The routine seems fine and they get to the catfight portion without too many problems. Tyra gets a little too into character and snatches Raven’s wig not once but twice, the second time throwing it off the stage. A little later, Tyra pushes down on Juju’s head, slamming Juju’s eye into Raven’s heel. I’m sure that was at least 90% accidental. Juju asks if it is bleeding and then says “if I look fine I’ll keep going.” Atta girl! Rather than tempt fate, the director says they have enough usable footage and decides to stop.

Back in the workroom, Juju puts some makeup on to cover the bruising and gets ready to film the last segment with the girls. Raven interviews that, based on the costumes Juju and Tyra are putting on, the other girls have no clue what the aesthetic is that they should be aiming for. Raven continues saying that she is channeling Lisa Lisa, Kelly LeBrock, and Teena Marie. That is going to be one jacked up look. Both Juju and Tyra are focusing on the big hair and even bigger accessories. The actual shoot features the three of them putting on their makeup in the mirror. Kind of low energy, but it leads to Juju interviewing about how “every boy in America sings in front of the mirror to RuPaul. You didn’t know that?” That almost ranks up there with her line about shopping for deli meats. Love ya, Juju!

The next day is the last day of the competition. The girls talk about their excitement and how awesome it will be if they are the winner. Juju asks Tyra how winning will change her life. Tyra says the win will allow her to get her own place (she lives on her drag mother’s couch) and Jeremiah can be a bigger part of her life. Final preparation and everyone is nervous.

Ru enters the mainstage in a dress made from all the St. Patrick’s Day leftovers at Party City. It’s very shimmery and a much better choice than the all-encompassing poof she wore at last year’s finale. Tonight, the only judges will be Santino and Merle. For the last time: Gentlemen, start your engines. And may the best woman win!

Juju starts the show wearing a purple dress with a bubble skirt. She flips the bodice of the dress to reveal that there is bustier underneath. Raven follows wearing black leather boots, and a frilly cabaret dress. I do not like this look at all – it goes right back to her “man in a dress” wheelhouse. Tyra enters wearing a pastel blue and pink outfit. It looks very Olivia Newton-John. Yikes, her heels are chartreuse. What was she thinking? Fashionwise, this was a rather uninspired finale.

All the girls take the stage. We get to see highlight from Juju’s reel. Merle points out that under normal circumstances Juju was totally overacting, but as a parody of Dynasty she was aces. Santino doesn’t like the dress and Merle doesn’t like the accessories. Come to think of it, it does look like what a 9-year-old who is obsessed with Lisa Frank would imagine elegant to be. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound too good for Juju.

Tyra’s reel focused on how extreme her fighting was in the video. Tyra claims that she didn’t grab for Raven’s wig intentionally, but Ru points out that the accident happened twice. Tyra just giggles. Santino loves the look and Merle doesn’t say anything.

Raven’s video focused more on the other two in the catfight, but her scene with RuPaul was the best of the three. Back at the runway, Ru asks what the most difficult part of the challenge was for Raven. “Looking at your face.” Raven clarifies that she was trying not to be starstruck. Merle loves Raven’s outfit but Santino points out that Raven got lost in the scuffle. He does say that Raven pulled off the best 80’s look.

Deliberations. Merle calls Juju a “tourist” compared to the other two and that she is not as refined. Ru thinks Juju is the most intelligent of the three, but Merle thinks Tyra is pretty sharp. Ru doesn’t think Tyra is all that refined either, but she does know a lot of old-school drag tricks. Santino thinks Tyra and Raven both know their shit. Merle loves Raven’s personality while Ru finds Raven to be fashion forward. Ru says she needs to see them LSFYL before she can decide. Wait, all three?

Ru welcomes the girls back to the stage. She tells the girls how proud she is of all of them. Ru tells Juju that she brought a light to the competition, but she is not the next drag superstar. AWW! Not only was I hoping for a Juju win, but also it won’t be a triple LSFYL. Juju sashays away, saying that she is disappointed that she won’t be lip syncing.

Ru tells Tyra and Raven that they will Lip Sync for Ya Life to “Jealous of My Boogie.” For those keeping score at home, this will be the first time Tyra has had to LSFYL. Well girl, don’t fuck it up. This is the longest performance we’ve seen this season. Both girls do their thing, but during the second verse Tyra steps down from the stage and starts to vamp for the judges. You can see Ru trying to pay attention to both Tyra and Raven, but Tyra’s closeness wins that tug-of-war.

The song ends and our two finalists hug. They are both out of breath. Ru takes a moment before announcing that America’s Next Drag Superstar is…Tyra Sanchez. Tyra tears up as she hugs Raven. Triumphant music plays and then stops as Tyra lowers herself to the floor. Now the soundtrack is that heartbeat undertone you can hear on the top-level questions on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Tyra is still breathing heavily as she lies down. Raven asks for some help because Tyra is hyperventilating. Ru offers some water or a paper bag to breathe in, but Tyra eventually pulls herself together. She interviews that winning was an out of body experience. Ru tells Raven that she was unforgettable, but she has to sashay away.

Ru puts the tiara on Tyra and tells the world to be Jealous of her Boogie. Now walk girl!

Coming up soon – the always fabulous Reunion Special!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RPDR Pre-cap Finale and Reunion

Oh my goodness, y’all! The finale and the reunion! There is so much to discuss that it seems appropriate to do one of these precaps. Full recaps will appear eventually (approaching the end of semester here, so I need to pretend to prioritize).

First: Juju, Raven and Tyra are presented with the final challenge of co-starring with RuPaul in the video for “Jealous of my Boogie.” It’s basically a rehash of the final challenge from last season, right down to the Tic Tac lunch dates with Ru. The queens don’t have to write and perform a rap, but they do need to participate in a Joan Collins style catfight where Ru gets really slap-happy.

Anyway, while filming the runway catfight sequence the three queens totally let loose. Tyra can hardly contain herself, ripping off wigs and slamming Juju’s eye into Raven’s heel. Bitch, they must all be from Chicago, if you know what I mean. This all leads to the final runway showdown, where Juju was not up to snuff and eliminated. Aww! The final Lip Sync for Ya Life was to “Jealous of my Boogie” and both queens rocked it. Tyra was crowned the winner (AWWW!) but then the clip we have all been waiting for since 1 minute and 7 seconds from the first episode: Tyra hyperventilates and causes a bit of a panic. Raven doesn’t get to assume the duties as runner-up because Tyra recovers and WALKS.

Then there was the Reunion. Here’s what the queens have been up to:

Shangela: She has won some titles in California and seems all around fabulous. Hallayloo!

NPB: Helping her son connect the dots between dad and the woman in all the photos around the house.

Mystique: Her mom has not been kidnapped by Mexican drug cartels. Just FYI.

Sonique: Guess what! She has begun the transition process! Woo!

Morgan: Just doing her thing – I actually don’t recall what she said she was up to.

Sahara: Aside from the increased booking fees, she has now become a Dear Abby on Facebook for gay kids and future drag superstars.

Jessica: Jessica has become the Ann Landers for the future queens. Woo!

Pandora: She was able to reconcile with her father before he passed away, helped other gays who have contemplated suicide, and won Miss Congeniality. A true woman of the world!

Tatianna: Has a bit of an axe to grind with everyone who doubted her.

Jujubee: She’s riding the wave and hopes to parlay her experience into a gig in Rent.

Raven: She is serving as the grindstone for Tatianna and just about everyone who was not a Raven fan. There will be hugs.

Tyra: Hey, she just won, let the queen collect herself. Though I will say that I wonder how she can breath in that dress. KIDDING!

So yeah, all this and so much more – I’m sure you can see why I’m so excited to talk about it! Stay tuned!

Monday, April 19, 2010

RPDR: The Diva Awards

Last time on Take Your Mamma Out: the queens had to transform five elderly gentlemen into five fabulous drag mamas. Tatianna tried to stymie Raven by giving her the man with a full beard, but Raven promised to turn it out. All the mother/daughter pairs had to do a duet to RuPaul’s “Main Event” and Raven showed her tender side by carrying her mom off the stage at the end of the show. Raven won the challenge but Pandora and Juju were in the bottom two. OH NOES!!! RuPaul had to make Sophie’s choice and told Pandora to sashay away.

Final Four, bitches! Who goes home tonight?

The girls enter the workroom and comment on how empty it is. Pandora’s goodbye message: “Lick this Boxx, bitch.” Then Juju asks how the other girls felt about RuPaul’s shantay/shashay decision from the previous night. Tatianna thought that based on the lip sync that Pandora was going to stay. Raven disagrees, reiterating that he doesn’t see star quality in Pandora. Tatianna interviews that she doesn’t care one tick about Raven’s star-meter. Eh, it’s an argument about nothing when it comes down to it.

The girls start to talk about their homesickness. Juju mentions that she usually talks to her drag mother every day, causing Raven to ask if Juju talks to her drag mom more than her real mom. It turns out Juju’s mom ran out on her family shortly after Juju’s dad passed. Yikes. Juju gives a quick shout out to Charisma Geneva Jackson Tay, but I’m not sure if that is drag mama or bad mama.

After the shoutout delivery we get SheMail delivery. The mail has an awards show theme. Interesting. Ru enters wearing a sensible gray suit (I think wardrobe finally talked some sense into him) and congratulates the girls for making it to the final four. He prefaces the mini-challenge by reminding the queens that no one wants to be caught wearing the same outfit as another diva at the same event. Today’s challenge will have the girls styling and accessorizing a basic black dress. No cutting or gluing allowed! We see the girls scramble. Juju decides to put on makeup even though she is in need of a shave. I believe the final results for everyone might be “hot tranny mess,” to put it gently.

When Ru returns, he asks if En Vogue got back together. We see the foursome and it looks like a drag party at a frat house. Ru starts with Juju since she is the most done up and has incorporated leggings into her look. Raven has gone with all black accessories and looks like the cover girl for the spring Hot Topic catalog. Tatianna has gone with blue and purple accessories, but it looks a little matchy matchy. Oh, and she went with fish nets and silver shoes, so I guess the complete look is “matchy matchey street walker.” Tyra’s has some basic necklaces on, but she made herself a purse and is rocking the fishnets with black shoes. Ru calls it “ladies who lunch, from the funeral, to the wake, to the afterparty and then on to the club.” Hehe. Tyra adds “and then pick up the children and go home.” Whoa, where did that personality come from? I actually laughed at that. Good for you, Tyra.

Ru decides that Tyra won the challenge. I think that was a good call – it was either her or Juju. Ru goes on to describe the main challenge. All the girls have been nominated for the first annual Diva awards. They need to do three different looks for three different awards: Teen Diva, Diva D.C. Press, and Diva Hollywood Extravaganza. Oooh, this should be fun. At least it doesn’t have that weird fruit theme that last year’s multi-look challenge contained. The girls start to browse through the clothes provided for the challenge.

Back from the first ad break, Raven recaps the challenge for us. As Juju works on her teen outfit, Tatianna comments that she had a similar outfit in high school. Juju said she did too and “was the biggest fag.” Tatianna is all like “you wore it as a boy?” Juju reminds Tatianna that she is the only one in the workroom who lives her life as a woman. Changing gears, Juju tells Raven that losing to her is okay. They both want to be the final two. Juju interviews that she believes that the two of them possess the full Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent package while Tyra and Tatianna still have to fine tune certain elements.

We jump over to Tyra who is signing or ecstatically uttering as she works on one of her gowns. Juju tells her to keep singing because “God gave you a beautiful gift, so use it.” Pass agg enough for ya? Tyra laughs though. Juju asks Tyra how she feels about missing her son’s first day. Tyra clarifies in an interview that it is Jeremiah’s first day of preschool, which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Preschool is more like deluxe daycare in my book. Of course, it is important to Tyra, so I am really in no place to judge. She hopes there will be a lot of pictures and that hopefully this experience will allow Tyra to provide a better life for her son. Um, the grand prize is nice, but it ain’t gonna set up a trust fund for the youngster.

Tatianna is looking at one of her dresses on a form. She interviews that she spent a good deal of the morning thinking about what she wanted to do. Everyone else is actively engaged with gowns as Tatianna sits and ponders. “You never waste your time thinking,” she states proudly.

Tyra asks if the feathers from her fabric are interfering with anyone else because they are starting to drive her nuts. Raven interviews that Tyra’s dress looks like a hodgepodge of Muppet skins (similar to Ru’s dress last week). Oh Lord, the color pallet is lime green, hot pink, and bright yellow. I don’t even think Pandora would wear that outfit. For which look could that possibly work? Tatianna’s outfit is also looking pretty costumey. Basically she bedazzled a bra and has draped some fabric and attached it where the two cups meet.

Ru enters the workroom and greets the divas. He starts with Tyra and asks about her great Muppet caper. She says it’s for evening gown. ARE YOU NUTS?! Ru asks if Tyra feels like she is the one to beat. Tyra says she feels really confident, despite the allergic reaction she seems to be having with her gown. Ru suggests that maybe she should consider the red eyes as a warning sign that the gown might not be the best choice.

Ru asks Raven if she is ready for the biggest night of her psychological life. That’s an unexpected question, but Raven rolls with it. Ru notices three outfits on forms, one of them the Nancy Reagan suit from a couple challenges ago. Raven says she is trying to decide what she wants for the D.C. look. Raven is leaning towards a black and white Madeline Albright number. Raven describes it as something Sarah Palin would wear, leading Ru to suggest that Palin is Raven’s idol. You betcha, Ru. Raven is all like, “bitch, please.” Hehe.

Juju is draping a red scarf over a black strapless dress as Ru walks over. Ru asks if it is for the Hollywood look and suggests that it might be a little understated. Ru asks how Juju is going to put her foot in it, and Juju says she is just going to “Juju it up.” Hmm, non-answers are not a sound strategy at this stage of the game. Ru reminds Juju that she was in the bottom two last week and the stakes are high and she agrees. This is really a non-conversation that we are witnessing here.

Tatianna is still pondering as Ru wanders over. He asks if the bedazzled bra outfit is Tatianna’s teen outfit, but she says it is her Hollywood gown. Ru is concerned about the “chacha” of the outfit. Why oh why has that critique not been used on Project Runway yet? Kors fail. The problem with the chacha here is some weird poofiness added to the bust. Tatianna tries to explain that she wants to try something that the judges (particularly Santino) haven’t seen before, but Ru advises against this. Tatianna tries to Pollyanna her way out of the conversation, to which Ru replies “if you are ever going to pull something out of your ass, now would be the time to do it.” NOT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING.

With the walkaround done, it’s now time for the gatherround. The guest judges will be Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret-Winokur (from Hairspray) and Oscar winner Tatum O’Neil. Interesting choices. Now for the challenge twist: the girls will have to do an opening number, with Tyra (the mini-challenge winner) in charge of the execution. Ouch. She’s not overly excited about this position but she interviews that she is not going to let some other contestant’s failure put her in jeopardy. Before Ru leaves, she gives a tearful acceptance speech that ends with “don’t fuck it up.”

The girls move to the mainstage to practice the opening number. There are some large letters on the stage spelling “DIVA”. Tatianna interviews that she isn’t all that excited about having to work on a musical number. “It takes time away from me getting my shit together,” she says. Honey, this is week 9: I don’t think you are any closer to getting your shit together than when you first walked into the workroom. Back on the stage, Raven appears to be leading the choreography, but then Tatianna asks Tyra a question so I guess everyone is trying to have input? I’m confused, but so is Raven. She interviews that Tyra is rather passive as a director and when she does make a decision everyone is like “um, okay?” Tatianna describes it as pose, then turn, then pose again. I’m starting to picture Tatianna as the choreographer from the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa is in the beauty pagent: “I said ‘Step pause turn pause pivot step step,’ not ‘Step pause turn pause pivot step pause!’" At least Juju looks like she’s having fun.

The next day, Tyra enters the workroom and slams the door behind her. She opens the door and tells the other girls she was just teasing. Seriously, where did this personality come from and why did it take so long to get here? The girls talk about their outfits and we see Tyra trying to work with the Muppet gown. If you thought the look was already bad enough, Tyra experiments with adding a leather corset. Thankfully she decides to just start over and try to find a new look.

Juju puts on makeup and declares that she is going to be in the Top 3. Tyra says that she will join Juju there while Tatianna believes she deserves to be there as well. Tatianna prattles on that she has grown in the competition and the judges know it, causing Raven to have a bit of a silent conniption. Raven says that she had to lip sync twice, but as the challenges got harder she won two of them. Juju reminds the room that she has no wins yet. She interviews that she does not want to lip sync a third time because she will probably go home.

Raven asks everyone who they think the Top 3 will be. Raven answers that she thinks it will be her, Juju, and Tyra. Tatianna goes next: “I hope it’s me, and that’s really all I have to say on the matter.” That is such a non-answer, where’s your Nerve, girl? Tyra agrees with Raven and so does Juju. Tatianna doesn’t care, since a lot of her nay-sayers have been eliminated.

We see the girls make their final preparations and then we head over to the mainstage. Ru is wearing a black dress with a sash made to resemble rose petals. It’s very American Beauty. She calls Santino an old geezer while Merle makes a lame joke about Ru’s outfit. Marissa loves Ru’s hair and Tatum is excited to be there. Ru recaps the challenge and then the Diva Awards get underway.

The opening number is reminiscent of Chicago as the girls lip sync to a song that starts “D is for…” Things go fine until Juju misses a step. She’s on the end so it doesn’t mess anyone else up and she does make a quick recovery. The end of the number has all the girls trying to push the others out of the spotlight. It’s a very cute number.

Now onto the fashion. We start with the Teen Diva Awards look. Tatianna has long hair, a bedazzled head band, and a zebra print Betty Rubble dress. I’m not a fan. Raven enters wearing a red Merle wig and a peach colored dress that is very Miley Cyrus. Juju is rocking a Mary J Blige look. Or Janet Jackson in the “Nasty” video (“Miss Juju if ya nasty!”). Tyra comes out wearing a purple dress and huge hair. Ru says the look is very Solange Knowles. Funny story about her: several summers ago I was working at my school’s residential department and one of my coworkers read a story about Solange, who was expecting at the time, being registered at Target. We decided to investigate and ended up buying her kid a onesie. We’re still waiting on the thank you note. Anyway, Tyra’s look is okay, but I’m not a fan of the huge brooch she is sporting.

Now it is time for the Diva D.C. look. Tatianna comes out wearing a rather simple black dress with a white ruffled dickey. She has Sarah Palin glasses and hair – if this was a porno, that is. Oh, it’s not a dickey, more like an elaborate tank top. She then pretends to receive a phone call, which Ru is kind enough to narrate. “Rush Limbaugh? Why you fat fuck.” Love ya, Ru!

Raven enters in a look that Ru describes as Lesley Stahl, but I think is more like Diane Sawyer without the gauze or blankness. She opted for the Madeline Albright outfit and it looks really strong. Juju follows with what could best be described as an Imelda Marcos look. She pretends to have an upsetting phone call and grouses down the runway. The look is okay, but the performance seems really off the mark. Tyra finishes this round with a Michelle Obama meets Rhianna look. Tyra mentions that this is the first time the judges have seen her in pants. The look is fine, though I am not a huge fan of the belt she is wearing.

Oh God, THAT GUY. James St. James, the bald freak show who is on Top Model at least once a season, introduces the red carpet look from backstage. Tatianna enters and the chacha is not the only thing wrong with her outfit. I believe Tim Gunn would call it “happy hands at home.” In her interview with James, Tatianna explains that she wanted to show leg but still be subtle. As Raven walks down the runway, James tells her that she looks exactly like Anjelica Houston. I can see the resemblance, but I recently met a woman who has actually been mistaken for Anjelica and Raven pales in comparison. The gown is all black and sparkly and really suited to Raven.

Juju has decided to go with a Bollywood inspired look that is red and jeweled and a little over the top. She does most of the talking in her interaction with James, which wins points in my book. Again, Juju’s look is alright, but it still seems to miss the mark of the challenge. Tyra enters wearing a beautiful white dress that looks like icing with sprinkles on it. In her interview she quotes Ru’s sendoff line and she vamps on the runway. I think she’ll be safe tonight.

All the girls stand on the stage. As one final twist, the girls will have to give an acceptance speech for the Diva of the Year Award. The first one to go is Tatianna and she might benefit from a public speaking class. She starts with a “Thank You” before going on about how beautiful she is and how she did herself to the fullest. Basically, it is the speech an ungracious prom queen would give, so I guess Tatianna wins points for accuracy.

Raven pretends to hold back tears and the judges crack up. She thanks God, RuPaul, and her fans. It was simple and to the point, so again, points for accuracy. Juju goes next and she opts for the breathless ecstasy style of speech. She thanks Jesus, her father, and adds this “Mother, I know you’re out there watching and it’s okay, one day we’ll be back together again.” Whoa, digging a little deeper. Tyra gives the last speech, who starts by saying she didn’t know she was nominated. The judges love that. She dedicates her award to her son and reminds him that dreams will come true if you believe. Or something else very Idol Coronation Song-like.

Now for the judging. Ru asks if Tatianna intentionally went for the Sarah Palin look. She says no, but that she loves the Palin hair. So wouldn’t that be a yes, then? As predicted, Santino doesn’t like the chacha ruffle while Tatum thought Tatianna held back to much during the James St. James interview. Ru loves Raven’s dress while Santino loved her D.C. look. Marissa said Raven’s interview was the best of the bunch while Merle thought the acceptance speech showed a completely different said of Raven.

Ru turns to Juju and starts off by pointing out the missed steps during the musical number. Marissa noticed it as well, but she admired Juju’s enthusiasm as it covered up the mistake. However, the Bollywood look was too much of a costume and not something someone would wear on the red carpet. Ru talks about the acceptance speech and Tatum says she can relate to Juju’s experience of a missing parent during a big time award ceremony. Switching to Tyra, Ru commends her for saving the sprinkle gown for the entire competition because it was a perfect choice for this challenge. Santino tells her she was impressive in every aspect of the challenge and that she knows how to wear clothes. Marissa loved her teen look while Merle loved her speech. Merle tells her that she has shown a lot of growth in the competition.

The judges start their deliberations with Tatianna. Ru calls her “unfinished”, which Tatum supports by pointing out that the other girls can go into character and banter with anyone. Juju is the intellectual of the group but her performance often comes off as one-dimensional. Marissa disagrees and believes that Juju is an actress, but she did make some poor fashion choices today. Tatum was instantly drawn to Raven while Merle is impressed with each week revealing a new layer of the Raven onion. Santino loves Raven’s hard edge, but that might be her weakness, whatever that means. Tatum also loved Tyra but she needs to work on her voice. Merle points out that the voice has improved and her speech was fantastic.

Ru tells the girls that while it may be an honor to be nominated, everyone really wants to win. However, it is Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent that will determine who stays. Raven is safe and Tyra wins the challenge. She won a photo spread in Paper Magazine. That means Juju and Tatianna will be Lip Syncing for Ya Life. They will be performing the Aretha version of “Something He Can Feel.” Wow, awesome awesome song. However, Tatianna rightly points out that the way Aretha sings it is very difficult to lip sync to, particularly with her vibrato. Juju is doing a little better than Tatianna with the words, but her performance is also a little over the top.

Ru has made her decision. Jujubee: shantay, you stay. Ru tells Tatianna that she made the competition young, fresh, and fun. Eh, sorta. Ru says she has just two words for her. “Thank you.” Tatianna responds with a “Thank you.” They go back and forth a few times with “Thank You’s” before Tatianna is told to sashay away. She tells the camera that just because she is pretty doesn’t make her less of a drag queen. No, I think it’s the lack of experience that is holding you back, but give it some time.

Ru tells Raven, Tyra, and Juju that there is just one week left before the next winner is crowned. So exciting! Next week is a clip show (which I won’t be recapping) followed by the final lap and the reunion. Woot!

Monday, April 12, 2010

RPDR: Golden Gals

Last time on Reading Rainbow: the girls had to come up with a concept behind their autobiographies. Along with a title and a cover, they had to do a satellite interview where they dropped in the title of their work and the newest flavor of vodka from a certain sponsor. Raven was awesome from cover to cover, but Tatianna and Jessica found themselves in the discount bin. Tatianna’s confidence was thrown into question while Santino called Pandora’s style “coke whore”. Raven won the challenge, but Jessica got shelved.

We’re down to the fabulous five. Who will sashay away?

The girls enter the workroom and for some reason Juju is carrying Raven on her back while wheezing like a grandmother. Tyra interviews that everyone is sad that Jessica left because everyone liked her. We see her goodbye message: “I love you girls Viva P.R.!” Yay, Project Runway! Or is that Public Relations? Juju reads the message and says “Puerto Rico”. She interviews that she is okay with Tatianna still hanging around, but acknowledges that the others probably don’t agree with that position.

Everyone thought that Jessica was going to make it to the Top 3. Raven asks Tatianna why she did a double take when Ru told her to stay. Tatianna says that she thought that she was going to be sent home. Raven twists this into Tatianna believing that she shouldn’t be here. Man, Raven is really into turning that screw. Tatianna says flat out that she is tired of having to defend her confidence every single week.

Tyra asks what everyone thinks of the judges. Pandora flatly says she loves the judges, but I think she is being sarcastic. She interviews that the judges like her humor but hate her style. Pandora doesn’t know how to impress the judges if they can’t get around her fashion choices.

Before we get an answer to that quandary, we get some SheMail. Ru starts with a quote about women over the age of forty having to choose between her face and her ass. Ru speculates that that quote’s author did not consult drag queens. Ru warns the girls that their future will be staring at them right in the face. Juju immediately guesses that they will have to wear fat suits. I think we may be seeing that challenge next season. Pandora supposes something involving babies and old people. Juju takes another stab at it and proposes ovary removal surgeries for the queens.

If you think things aren’t already weird, you have to see what Ru is wearing when he enters the workroom. Black slacks, a beige coat, a white shirt with red stripes, and a blue engineer's cap. It’s amazing in that each individual article is a complete mismatch with every other piece in the ensemble. Good lord. Anyway, Ru says the mini challenge involves matching baby photos with all twelve contestants from this season. The winner will be the queen who makes the most matches in the least amount of time. The challenge is called “Ladyboy Baby Boy”.

Raven goes first and we see all the photos, which range from toddlers to maybe first grade. The only oddball photo is Mystique’s, because it is Mystique’s current head superimposed on a baby’s body. Yeah, that’s gonna be in my nightmares tonight. After the girls finish, we get a rundown of the correct answers. Ru explains that Mystique’s photos were lost in a fire, which is why they have the doctored photo. Juju only got eleven but Tyra got all twelve in 57 seconds. Pandora got all of them right as well, but it took her a minute and 24 seconds. Raven took a minute and six to get all twelve. Tatianna also got all the matches, but she did it in 51 seconds so she won the challenge.

Before we hear Tatianna’s prize, we get a description of today’s challenge. Ru tells the girls they will have the chance to grow old gracefully. He then invites in some guests, which are five older gentlemen. Tatianna interviews that she has no clue what is about to happen. Ru goes on to explain that the openness and relative freedom of expression that we have today is available in large part because of the work accomplished by the previous generation. Today’s challenge is for the queens to show their gratitude by transforming one of the guests into a drag mother version of their persona – a Golden Girl Makeover. Oh. My. God.

As the winner of the mini challenge, Tatianna gets first pick and she gets to match up the contestants with the other guests. Tatianna goes with Michael, a writer. She gives Don, a retired teacher, to Juju. Edward, a displaced mortgage accountant, goes to Pandora. The former ballroom dancer Dustin goes to Tyra. Steven, the bearded real estate broker, goes with Raven. Raven knows what Tatianna is trying to do but is not intimidated. RuPaul tells the girls to show that Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent run in the family.

The girls get some one-on-one time with their new mamas. Juju takes Don through a walking tutorial while Raven and Steven talk about their drag experiences. Meanwhile, Michael looks at Tatianna’s heels and explains that they are far too high for her to walk in without trouble. Michael has a limp, which Tatianna didn’t seem to notice when he walked into the room. Whoops.

When we get back from commercials, Steven is showing off his belly button piercings. EWWWWWW. He’s got all sorts of stuff skewered in there. I’m half expecting to see his house keys hanging from there. He has a safety pin in there that he ADJUSTS while he shows it off to Raven. No no no, no no, no. Raven is much more diplomatic but says flat out that the piercings will not be making their runway debut in this challenge. Thank you. Raven interviews that she thinks the point of the challenge is to respect your predecessors while encouraging them to reach a higher level of fierceness. I can get behind that philosophy.

Over at Pandora’s workstation, it looks like Miss Boxx has a smitten kitten on her hands. Pandora is aware of this. Meanwhile, Juju and Don have a disagreement over how to make Don’s face appear thinner. There really is an art to that. My face is not really fat or thin, but playing on the Dragulator I managed to make a look that made it seem like I was at least 100 pounds heavier. Not hot. Anyway, Juju and her mom start to bicker, but in a somewhat playful way.

We rejoin Michael as he enunciates that he is “a challenge.” Tatianna interviews that he can be “theatrical.” That’s a polite way of saying that Michael wants to be Frasier Crane. Tatianna goes on to list the challenges, such as not working with a tighter body and perhaps a little less flexibility, both physical and mental.

Ru enters for the walkaround and starts with Juju and Don. Or should I say “Contessa Touche”? The plan is to go for elegance. Juju interviews that the biggest issue right now is Contessa’s confidence. Raven and Steven (“Golda Lamé”) fully acknowledge that the challenge here is the full beard. Raven knows that Tatianna’s move was cocky (which got bleeped for some reason), but Raven is ready to turn this out.

Tyra’s concern with Dustin is that she has never done anyone else’s makeup before. Tyra doesn’t like doing her own makeup, so she is not really jazzed about working on another person’s face. Ru moves over to Tatianna and asks her why she picked Michael. Tatianna says she went with the face and eyes. Ru asks what Tatianna’s strategy was with the other pairings and she claims she didn’t have one. I call no waysies, and sure enough Tatianna interviews that there was a bit but she didn’t want to broadcast it to the room. Just own it, girl.

Ru greets Pandora and Mama Boxx, who will go by the name “Litter”. Litter steps behind Pandora and says that the umbilical cord is still attached. This is the first time I’ve noticed Pandora look uncomfortable this entire season. Litter offers a demo of her walk.

With the walkaround done, Ru gathers everyone to share some announcements. First, the guest judges will be the CEO of NYX cosmetics, Cloris Leachman, and Debbie Reynolds. Oh awesome! Also awesome: The queens will need to perform a lip sync duet with their moms to RuPaul’s song “Main Event”. Pandora is less than thrilled with this news.

The drag mamas are practicing walking and dancing in heels while the contestants work on costumes. Tatianna recaps the challenge as we see clips of the moms and daughters strategizing. Michael runs through the requirements and offers suggestions on how to proceed. That doesn’t jibe with Tatianna’s strategy of performing without a plan. Huh. Interesting. Juju comments that Michael looks pissed.

The girls get some time to practice on the mainstage. Juju and Contessa practice walking and posing. Juju tells Don to pretend he’s Celine Dion, but he only half-heartedly complies. “Do you feel sexy?” Juju asks. Don shakes his head. “Confidence! Without confidence we’re Tatianna.” Boosh.

Tatianna and Michael practice their choreography. Apparently Michael used to work at a disco, so Tatianna believes he’ll be more connected with the music.

Back in the workroom, Pandora and Litter discuss wardrobe. Pandora is concerned because the judges haven’t liked her style and she sees her options as limited. We then see her browsing through some rather garish prints. Pandora interviews that if her style is “bad fashion” then mama is getting bad fashion.

Tyra and Dustin are working on choreography. Remember, Dustin is a former ballroom instructor and Tyra doesn’t do choreography lessons. This should be interesting. Actually, it looks like Tyra is a bit more receptive this time around because she wants to show the judges that learning and teaching are being reciprocated between drag mother and daughter. However, Dustin keeps changing the choreography, so Tyra is growing concerned.

Raven asks Golda if he has ever worn panty hose. She says no. Then Raven asks if he can do a running back handspring. Hehe. Raven interviews that Golda has really bad eyes and that situation won’t improve when the lights are shining on them. Golda is very slow walking in heels and seems to have a Mr. Magoo approach to the presentation. Raven is just hoping that Golda can make it through the runway show.

The Boxx girls practice their dance on stage. Pandora interviews that neither of them really know the song, so the lip sync is going to be a bit of a mess. At least the choreography is looking okay.

We rejoin Raven and Magoo, the latter of which will be receiving an extreme makeover from the former. Ick, it’s a full-body job with the clippers. Raven is just as squicked out by having to shave her mother. We jump ahead and see that there is still some stubble, but that was a major transformation.

The drag mamas chat with each other about their concerns. Magoo is overwhelmed by memorizing the lyrics while Michael is exhausted by all the activity involved. Juju says to Raven “none of these bitches better die overnight.” I believe Tim Gunn would call that a “Make it Work Challenge.”

The next day everyone is getting ready for the mainstage. Litter Boxx is wearing Crocs – way to throw Pandora under the bus, mom. Raven recaps the challenge for us yet again. Raven shares that at first she thought the challenge was kind of weird, but now she is really bonding with her drag mama. Aw. The same can’t really be said for Pandora, who seems to become increasingly uncomfortable with her mama. I mean, wouldn’t you be too if your mom showed up dressed in that Sarah Palin Gun Totin’ Red White and Blue Bikini? Litter also keeps flirting with Pandora, but in that creepy Uncle Arthur sorta way.

We hop over to Tatianna and Michael while they converse about Oscar Wilde. Specifically, “who is Oscar Wilde?” Michael throws a bit of a shit fit. Both Juju and Contessa are shocked that Tatianna asked that question. Michael tells Contessa “we’re here to educate the young.” He starts to lecture Tatianna that “there is a pantheon one should learn,” but she interrupts him so that she can put some makeup under his eyes. Contessa tries to join in on the lecture, but Juju isn’t welcoming the distraction. She interviews that she wanted to tell Contessa “Mom, get your shit together.”

The girls start making final preparations. Tatianna frets about the time constraint while Tyra is concerned that her mom’s body isn’t fabulous enough. Bring on the duct tape. Yikes, it looks like Tyra is going to go through the whole roll, and Dustin is already a skinny guy.

Mainstage. It looks like Ru may have wiped out a village of purple muppets to make her dress. She welcomes Cloris, Santino, Merle, Debbie, and NYX chick. We get challenge recap number five before the runway show starts.

Raven and Golda are first. Golda still isn’t comfortable walking in heels, but she does smile throughout. Wow, Raven did a great job on the hair and makeup. The Boxx girls are next. They have kind of a Gypsy Rose Lee vibe. As they walk off the stage, Litter breaks away from Pandora to get a little more face time. Nice touch.

Juju and Contessa enter. Juju loves the look but Contessa looks a little lost and uncomfortable. Tatianna and her mom Annalisha enter. Tatianna did a pretty good transformation in that Michael is not recognizable. The limp issue doesn’t seem to be playing a factor either because it looks like Annalisha is wearing a rather tight dress. She starts to flirt with the panel. Tyra and Big Tyra are the last to go. They are wearing matching outfits, but for some reason Tyra decided to give her mom a Phyllis Diller makeover. I don’t think that was her intention, but if it was she really did a remarkable job.

Now the queens will perform the duet to “Main Event”. We get a montage of all the performances. Tatianna brings Annalisha onto the stage in a wheelchair. Pandora is overselling the lip sync a bit. The Tyras do well with the cha cha they rehearsed. Juju gets into the performance, but Contessa freezes on stage and just sort of bobs in place, not even mouthing the words. At the end of their routine, Raven carries Golda off the stage because mama is a little too tired to make it by herself.

All the queens return to the stage, the mamas sitting on stools and their daughters standing beside them. Raven introduces her mom, Golda Lamé. We see a before and after transformation. Ru comments that they have the same makeup while Santino likes that they coordinated without being too matchy matchy. Debbie liked their lip sync but Golda’s dancing was something to be desired. Oh, we see a closeup of Golda and she has fake lip studs just like Raven’s. Nice touch. Raven thanks RuPaul for the challenge because it allowed her to meet Steven who was active in the gay rights liberation movement.

Pandora introduces Litter Boxx. Pandora’s goal with the makeover was to do a more mature version of herself. Debbie says Litter looks like her and Litter agrees. Merle liked the energy and comedy, as did Santino and Cloris.

Juju shows off Contessa Touché. NYX Chick doesn’t really like Contessa’s hair, and I have to agree. It looks like a bad Midwestern highlight job. Cloris thought that Juju oversold the lip sync while Merle thought that “mama’s lip sync fell apart.” Contessa looks like she wants to cut a bitch.

Tatianna presents Annalisha. NYX Chick and Merle both hate the brown lipstick. Debbie loved the use of the wheelchair (which she calls a walker for some reason). Cloris thought they were funny.

The Tyras are last. Yikes, we get a closeup of Big Tyra’s face and it looks like an entire case of makeup was used just on the eyes. Santino likes the hair. Merle likes the wardrobe, but thought that the makeup could be toned down a bit. Debbie really liked the dancing.

Parent teacher conference time. Merle loved that this challenge brought out Raven’s sweet side. Santino thought that Litter Boxx outshined her daughter. Cloris found Juju’s lip sync exaggeration so jarring that it took her out of the performance. Everyone thought that Tatianna made some very good choices for this presentation. Cloris gives the Tyras a 10, but Merle thought the makeup was a bit much.

Only the daughters return to the stage. Ru explains that at this point it is not about weeding out the worst in the competition but finding the best of the best. Tyra Sanchez is declared safe. Tatianna also impressed the judges and is safe. Um, problem: Raven, JuJu, and Pandora are the only other queens standing. I don’t want any of them to go home! Pandora is told that she is funny, but her mom upstaged her. Pandora is up for elimination. Raven gave the most dramatic makeover and had the best mother/daughter connection and is the winner of the challenge. Both Raven and Steven win spa vacations at Palm Springs, which they can both enjoy after the Race. That means Juju is also in the bottom two.

Worst. Bottom. Two. Ever. One of my faves will be safe while one of my other faves will be going home. The time has come for my faves to Lip Sync for Ya Life. Don’t fuck it up, girls! Tonight’s song: “Shake Your Love” by Debbie Gibson. Huh, I never thought of that as being all that dragtacular. Pandora interviews that she hates having to compete against Juju. Juju finds being in the same position weird. Raven interviews that Pandora isn’t really giving off star quality. Juju and Pandora hug when the song finishes.

Okay, need to take a moment. Alright. What’s the verdict Ru? Jujubee, shantay you stay. She starts crying. Whoa, Pandora looks PISSED. As she shasays away, she takes a pratfall, smiles, dusts herself off, then scampers offstage. At least she’s being a good sport about it. That is until she gets backstage and complains that the judges are being harsher on her than on others. “What I brought here wasn’t what they were looking for. Fuck ‘em.” There was no smile after that last statement. I cannot wait for the reunion!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

RPDR: Once Upon a Queen

Previously on R-O-C-K in the Va-jay-jay: All the queens had to sing a live heavy metal version of RuPaul’s “Ladyboy” on the mainstage. Tatianna had yet another crisis of confidence, while Raven caused Berlin’s Terry Nunn to have a crisis of sexual identity. Sahara, Tyra and Jujubee were hot messes, but Tyra had immunity. Speaking of immunity, it is no longer on the table. Juju was more successful in the Lip Sync for Ya Life, sending Sahara Davenport off the runway.

Half the queens are gone. Who goes home tonight?

The queens enter the workroom and see Sahara’s goodbye message: “Live. Love. Believe!!” Jessica blames Juju, who is wearing Sahara’s wig from last week’s mini-challenge. Raven asks Juju how she liked Lip Syncing for Her Life, but Juju instantly dismisses the question. She was not a fan.

Raven’s next question, asking how people treated Juju in high school, was more interesting. Juju was everyone’s friend and was out. Tyra shares that she was picked on and was referred to as “that gay boy James.” Jessica tells the room that in Spanish the slur of choice was “bato.” I think that’s how it’s spelled? Spanish slurs are not my strong suit. Juju tells the girls what the slur is in Laotian and I’m not even going to attempt to spell it here. I can assure you it sounds unpleasant and Juju assures the room that it sounds even more unpleasant hearing it from your uncle. Yikes.

Jessica interviews that she had challenges growing up because she wanted to take dance classes and everyone instantly assumed that she was gay. Back in the workroom, Pandora shares that she tried to kill herself. Whoa. She goes on to explain that she hated herself for years and tried to overdose because she couldn’t deal with it anymore. Pandora says that she still sometimes hears the voice that says, “you’re not good enough.” She interviews that she has triumphed through adversity and is now happy with who she is. Juju asks for an “Amen” from the room. It’s moments like these that make me absolutely adore this show – you don’t get this sort of truth from the likes of Top Model or Survivor.

Let’s take a breather and listen to some SheMail, shall we? RuPaul laughs as she reads from a book titled Drag Fun with Dick and Jane. Eh, I think they could have tried a little harder on that title. “See Dick. See Dick try on Jane’s pumps. Strut, Dick, strut. You bettah work, Dick!” Ok, that makes up for the lackluster title. Male Ru enters and tells the girls that today’s mini challenge involves throwing shade and getting read. Translation: the art of the insult. The girls will go one by one down the line and tell their competitors what it’s all about. Ooo, stirring the pot in the most entertaining way.

Tyra whines that she doesn’t read people and even Ru won’t indulge this delusion. Instead, Tyra goes first. Ru hands her some “reading glasses” to help get into character. Her best line is calling Tatianna “Eminem in drag.” Tatianna is next and completely freezes. I find this surprising since she seems to have arrested her development in middle school so this challenge should almost be second nature. Tatianna doesn’t get through the line.

Jessica is next and pretends to flip her hair before she starts. Uh, girlfriend’s got some venom. She tells Juju to go back to Chinatown and says Raven’s face looks like [beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep]. I tried reading her lips but can’t quite make out the whole phrase. Everyone is reacting positively except Pandora who is just standing there looking bored. Juju interviews that she has no qualms about this challenge. “I will read you to filth.” Alright then. Juju asks if Tyra’s barbecue was canceled because her grill is [beeeeeeeeeeep]. Nice. She rips through everyone and manages to work in at least four different accents.

Pandora flips up her hoodie before taking on the girls. She does alright, with her best line going to Jessica: “Your drag clothes look like a donkey fucked a piñata and threw up.” Now Raven is batting cleanup, telling Juju she should be better at pedicures and accusing Pandora of going through “the change of life.” With the library closed, Ru announces that Juju won the challenge. Yay!

Before going into the challenge, Ru introduces Absolut Vodka’s image czar Jeffrey Moran. He blah blah blah’s about berry acai vodka before Ru segues into his own product placement for his latest book. Anyway, this week the queens will be coming up with the concept for their autobiographies. Once they hammer out some of the plot points, there will be a cover photo shoot.

After some ads we rejoin the girls as they start writing out their ideas. Except for Juju who is trying on a purple Amy Winehouse wig. Tyra’s all like “huh?” but Juju says it gives her inspiration. You know what’s not inspiring? Tyra announcing that her book is dedicated to Beyonce. Put a ring on it, Sanchez. Juju speculates in an interview that this challenge could be a turning point in the competition.

Ru enters the room for the walkaround. Tyra is first and her book title is The Woman in Me. I give that a 7 on the “Also a Lifetime Movie” scale. Ru asks what the tone of the story will be. My guess is the tone that plays under the color bars during screen testing, but Tyra says it will be a serious story because she has been through stuff and things. Homegirl needs to work on her pitch. Ru asks about the book cover but Tyra hasn’t thought that part through yet.

Raven is next and she is going with the title Young, Broke, and Fabulous. Ooo, I’ll give that a 9. Raven goes on to say one of the chapters will be titled “LTR” and it will talk about her long-term relationship with herself. Umm, I kinda wanna read this book. Ru’s advice is for Raven to consider who the audience is for the book.

Jessica’s book is about a kid with dreams that eventually come true. And? Ru sort of has to break down the challenge again, saying that the book needs to be about Jessica Wild and a gorgeous picture on the cover will help separate it from all the other self-help latino drag queen books out there. Jessica interviews that the language barrier is really slowing her down. You know, Nina had the same issue at this point in the competition last season. Of course, she didn’t have to write her script ahead of time, so it is definitely Make it Work time for Ms. Wild.

Tatianna’s book is called Tati: From Teen Queen to Drag Superstar. Bleh, 2. However, Tatianna probably has the most source material out of all the queens, given that we hear about her travails just about every time she opens her mouth. Ru asks how the theme of the story will be conveyed on the book cover. So far, the plan is for Tatianna to stand on a stage. And?

Pandora is next and her book is called Out of the Boxx. I’ll give it a 3, but the title does work for her. Pandora rehashes what she was saying earlier about snuffing the voice of doubt that constantly heckles you. She goes on to explain that the theater and performing proved to be a turning point in her life. Ru takes it one step further by declaring for Pandora “Drag saved my life.” Pandora agrees. Yay!

Last up is Juju. Her book is called Memoirs of a Gay-sha! Jujubee’s Journey and I’m Still Here. I’ll give it a 5, but I’ll adjust if Tyler Perry attaches to direct. Her target demo is gay Asians. Juju breaks it down for Ru and the two queen out a bit over some of the details. (Homosexuality? Girrrrrrrl!) Ru asks how to say “fierce” in Laotian. “I would just say ‘Juju’.” LOVE!

After the walkaround, Ru recaps what the challenge entails but adds one more task: an interview with Marc Malkin. The girls will be judged on Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and their ability to drop in the name of their book and plugs for the berry acai vodka. The guest judges will be Gigi Levangie Grazer and Jackie Collins. Fabulous!

Tyra is up first for the photo shoot. The photographers explain that the girls are responsible for art directing while they pose for the cameras. Tyra’s concept for her cover is three pictures: Tyra holding on to the past, accepting the present, and looking toward the future. God bless us, everyone. Tyra is confident in how photogenic she appears, but then one of the photogs point out that her face is melting. Where can I address my thank you letter, show?

Pandora starts off her shoot by taking advantage of some of the props, specifically a treasure chest. The concept is that Pandora will be coming out of the box with the assistance of the pit crew. She directs the boys to “lust over me, bitches.” They maintain their flat affect. Kenyon would have played along. Seriously, where did he go?

Tatianna has decided to go with a Princess of Persia look for some reason. It isn’t really working for her. She directs the pit crew to stand on either side of her and look at her. A few photos are snapped and Snarky Photog suggests that Tatianna be a bit more specific in how the pit crew should look at her because right now “they’re looking at you like you’re kinda crazy.” Tatianna interviews that the crew wasn’t being cooperative, so she took some solo photos instead.

Raven starts directing as soon as she walks on the set. Her concept is that she will be sitting at a yard sale in a long black dress while wearing sneakers. Basically high class meets white trash. So far she seems to be the only one who has thoroughly thought through this challenge.

Juju enters next wearing a red dress and one of those pointy hats. What are those called? I tried googling “Asian pointy hat” and all I got was a bunch of sites calling it “Asian pointy hats.” Snarky Photog asks what Juju wants for the cover and she says she just wants to look good. That’s not a helpful answer. She also has extra time because she won the mini-challenge, but Snarky Photog is less than impressed with how she used that advantage -- a lot of posing and not using props.

Jessica’s concept appears to be channeling Wonder Woman or Sailor Moon while staring off into space. Snarky Photog asks what she is thinking about and Jessica says “about my dreams.” He suggests that she think about something else because she is just coming off flat. “This is not my challenge,” she mutters to herself. Eek! Jessica might be in trouble. Snarky Photog (who isn’t really being snarky at the moment) suggests using some props, but that just makes Jessica more self-conscious. She settles on using an award statue and things seem to improve.

Back in the workroom, Tyra is frantically changing before the interview portion of the challenge. According to her, there’s only about five minutes between the photo shoot and the interview. Raven, who is now dressed as Nancy Reagan, comments that Tatianna did not change her costume at all. Jessica asks Juju what specifically they need to talk about in the interview. Juju tells her to talk about the book and the alcohol. All the queens are having trouble with the word “acai” (ah-sah-eeee).

We see Pandora enter the interview room and it turns out that it is a satellite interview. Marc can see the contestants, but they can’t see him. Boosh. We see a montage of all the queens in their respective interviews. Raven does a great job of dropping in her book title while Jessica appears to be drunk off of [Product Placement] vodka. Whoops. Pandora and Tyra drop in their titles, though Tyra forgets to say “acai” when talking about the booze. Juju drops in her title and tells Marc, who asks about where the candy hides, that there is a lot of candy to hide. Don’t pull a Jade, Juju! We see Raven namedrop the alcohol successfully followed by Pandora. Tyra fumbles again while Jessica gets even more sloshed. Tatianna gets cut off before she can slip in the plug (dirty!) and then she interviews that she didn’t drop her book title either. Jessica just barely slurs her book title in: Jessica Wild: Dreams of a Golden Child. She also reproclaims her love for the drink.

The girls return to the workroom to get ready for the runway show. Raven and Juju tease each other with their shade from the mini-challenge. Pandora rehashes the concept of “reading” but says that she does like everyone still in the competition. Raven apologizes for keeping it real, but Juju says that if you can’t laugh at yourself, how in the hell can you laugh at somebody else, can I get an “Amen”? I’m paraphrasing. Meanwhile, Tatianna is not a fan of the new Morgan-less Raven. Raven asks her how she did in the interview and Tatianna says she mentioned the drink but not the book. Raven wants her gone.

Ru enters the mainstage and she has sort of a late 60’s/early 70’s vibe about her – red Barbara Eden/Feldon hair and a chartreuse dress. She introduces the judges, with guests Gigi, Jackie, and vodka guy. Ru recaps the challenge and says that the runway theme is dressing for the book launch party. Gentlemen, start your engines.

Tyra is wearing a beige, skin-tight sheath dress. Wow, there’s a lot of junk in the trunk. She also transforms her look by hiking the skirt, putting on a belt and taking off the fur cuffs.

Juju is wearing a blue shimmering dress. For some reason her look is reminding me of Tia Carrere in Wayne’s World. That isn’t a slam, but that is what jumps to mind. Juju explains that she likes to make eye contact with the panel, something she calls the “Hey hey hey!” look.

Tatianna is wearing a Keystone Kops Prisoner inspired dress. It’s a lot like Rebecca’s look from the Top 6 runway last season without the raccoon make-up. Yikes, everything about the look is wrong – she looks like she has a potbelly, her hair is too long, the skirt is too long, and the shoes are way too mom-like.

Pandora enters wearing a lime green cheetah print. Pandora says she is trying to mix glamor and fun. Pandora, honey, you know I love you, but there is nothing glamorous about that print.

Jessica comes out wearing a shimmering gray smock dress and oversized bling earrings. Jessica voices over that she loves that dress, but it is not her best look. The whole look seems kind of droopy.

Raven enters wearing a bronze colored gown and a Dorothy Michaels style wig. Ru says “it’s so not Raven” and I have to agree. I’m getting a Bette Midler/The Rose vibe from the look, but Raven is making it work.

All the girls return to the runway. The judges start with Tyra, whose book is called The Woman In [sic] Me: a Guide to Letting Go of the Past, Accepting the Present, and Looking Forward to a Better Future by “The Other Tyra” Tyra Sanchez. Geez, Sapphire has nothing on this queen. Tyra explains the concept of the book before we see a clip from the interview. We see the part where Tyra skips over saying “acai” and she explains that she didn’t want to “fuck up the name of the drink.” Vodka guy tells her that if she is being paid to talk about the drink, then she should learn the damn name. Jackie and Gigi both dislike the cover but acknowledge that Tyra at least thought about the presentation.

Juju is next. Jackie loves the title and Merle commends Juju for drawing on a reference to another classic work. We see the candy discussion in Juju’s interview clip. Gigi tells Juju that she knows some moguls who might want to sample some of Juju’s candy. Oh my!

Tatianna becomes instantly uncomfortable when it is her turn to get critiqued. Her title is Tati: From Teen Queen to Superstar. Tati confidently explains the concept of the book, but Gigi asks where that confidence was when Tatianna walked down the runway. Santino hates the dress and says it could be a few stripes shorter. Tatianna snaps and says she is tired of trying to figure out what is too short and what is too long. Santino describes the look as Morticia Adams, which is totally fair. When it comes to the interview, we see Tatianna talk about getting hit on by straight guys before failing to mention the booze. Jackie mentions that the book was not plugged, but she isn’t crazy about the title anyway. Vodka guy says he probably would have had an argument with Tatianna about the biff.

Pandora’s book, Out of the Boxx: How Drag Saved My Life, has a rather nice looking cover with the pit crew helping my girl out of the chest. Santino starts the critique by suggesting that if Pandora is going to look like a “coke whore” she should go full throttle. Ouch. We then see the clip where Pandora correctly says what flavor the vodka is but doesn't mention the brand.

The cover for Jessica Wild: Dreams of a Golden Child is a bit of a mess. The way Jessica is positioned makes it look like she is wearing just the bottom half of a fat suit and there is just way too much gold and orange in the background. Santino says the cover could have looked more sophisticated. We then watch Jessica getting sloshed, interrupting Marc, and biffing the title of her own book. Santino calls it a trainwreck while RuPaul says it sounds like the title is “dreams of a golden shower.” Jessica claims not to know what a golden shower is. Jackie Collins seems offended by this naïveté. Poor Jessica. On the plus side, the product did get a lot of air time, but vodka guy thought it was sloppy and probably would have fired Jessica.

Raven’s cover is fantastic. Young, Broke, & Fabulous: The Pursuit of Finding Your Inner Trust Fund features the queen sitting in a yard sale holding up a pair of heels with a $2.00 price tag. We see a quick succession of clips of Raven plugging the book, which impresses Jackie. Then Gigi and Raven have a fake fight over who can teach whom about being a woman. Raven is really charming the pants off the panel.

RuPaul dismisses the girls and the judges deliberate. Tyra’s book title is okay, the judges like her dress, and Merle likes that Tyra showed a little vulnerability in this challenge. Juju’s personality impressed Jackie but vodka guy thought she might have crossed the “good taste” line. Tatianna’s look failed in the judges’ eyes. Ru likes Pandora’s consistency, but worries that she hasn’t taken her performance to the next level. Jessica didn’t seem to understand what was required of this challenge. Raven wowed the panel, but RuPaul is concerned about a lack of vulnerability.

Time for one more reading of this group of six. Ru calls the girls heroes and commends them for the progress they have made on this particular journey. “No matter what happens, you are champions.” Tyra is told that the next drag superstar needs to be consistently dynamic and that she is safe. Jujubee’s title, specifically “Gay-sha”, won over the panel and she gets to join Tyra. Tatianna fumbled her interview and biffed the runway show, so she will be lip-syncing shortly. Pandora did not overly wow the judges, but she is still safe. Raven totally won this challenge and she gets a shopping spree at L.A. Eyeworks. That means Jessica is in the bottom with Tatianna.

This week, the girls will Lip Sync for Ya Life to “He’s the Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge. For those not familiar with the song, it is the sample for “Getting Jiggy With It”, which is apparently Jessica’s strategy – she is really overdoing it. As a result, she looks kind of sloppy while Tatianna looks more subdued by comparison. Truthfully, neither performance is all that engaging, but I think Tatianna’s was a bit more solid. RuPaul seems to agree with me, but Tatianna doesn’t believe it. She actually does a double take when told “shantay, you stay. Juju and Tyra can’t believe it either, but Raven and Pandora look pissed.

Jessica is very graceful as she sashays away. She says that some of her dreams have come true and she can return to Puerto Rico with pride. Juju is in tears, but the girls still dance when the music starts to play. Ooo, they’ve choreographed a line dance. I expect instructions at the reunion!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

RPDR: Rocker Chicks

Last week on Farther AND the Bride: The queens had to play both the bride and the groom in a wedding photo shoot. Tyra’s “singing” bugged the hell out of everyone. Seriously – Juju actually told Tyra to get some manners while they were standing before Ru on the runway. I know! Martha Wash was not having any of it and neither was Ru, who told the girls that “we are all in this together” -- Tyra specifically because she won the challenge. Not so specifically: Morgan, who was sent home.

7 Queens are still standing. Who goes home next?

As the queens enter Juju acknowledges that there’s one less queen to worry about. Jessica sings Morgan’s goodbye message (“All you have to do is DREEEEEEEAM”) but I can’t tell if she is being snarky or not. I secretly hope that she is, because that’s awesome. Juju asks why Morgan used two shades of red. “Because she’s deep,” Raven deadpans. “She’s colorful and deep. And her lipstick ran out.” Okay Raven, that won me over. Raven is disappointed that Morgan is gone, but is glad that she will no longer be a distraction. She cleans off the mirror message.

Sahara is still reeling about being on the cusp of elimination in the last challenge. Meanwhile Tyra claims that she isn’t holding a grudge from last week’s runway revelations but she suggests that Tatianna may still be bitter. Tatianna interviews that she doesn’t regret calling Tyra out and does not seem to be particularly grudgey.

Juju shares that she may have overtucked earlier, but before the details get any more graphic, SheMail arrives. This time we get references to Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, possibly Gwen Stefani, and Joan Jett. What, no Heart? Raven immediately recognizes the Rock N Roll theme, but they have no clue what sort of challenge that would entail. Ru enters wearing all black and a stylish leather jacket cut like a blazer. The pit crew enters wearing speedos, bandanas and smiles as they wheel in a cart of wigs on mannequin heads. The mini challenge is to turn those wigs into the ultimate rocker chick hair.

The girls get all grabby and almost stabby as they try to snatch wigs and accessories. They have only thirty minutes, which is really not much time to tease out hair. Juju interviews that she wants to win this challenge because she hasn’t won anything yet. Meanwhile Pandora is trying to think outside of the box. Or Boxx. Or both?

Ru returns to look at the wigs. Tyra is first and her wig is faux-hawk inspired, spray painted with orange and pink. It looks okay, but she gave the face Norma Desmond eyes. She describes the look as Sasha Fierce. I don’t think so, honey. Raven describes her look as part Joan Jett, part Pat Benatar. It actually looks like Siouxsie Sioux in the video for “Peek-a-Boo” on a muggy afternoon. Not bad, but not great. Ru calls the look conservative and “rocker mom.” Tatianna’s is a mess, with cigarettes and cabbage bits(?) in the hair. The make up is just smeared on the face. Sahara’s looks like it was inspired by Swing Out Sister – totally not rocker chick.

Pandora’s wig is totally tricked out. She names it Mustang Sally and I think Tyra’s description of three jack o’lanterns stacked on top of one another is pretty accurate. Jessica’s looks a lot like Nina Flowers, but she describes her inspiration as Jem and the Holograms. AWESOME! Love ya Jessica! Juju has a lot of blue and purple in a Sarah Brightman style presentation. The wig is a mess but the backstory, that her girl is getting ready to go buy deli meats, is kinda fantastic. But Ru asks Juju when she lost control of the project. Her answer: “When I got the wig.” Yeah, I don’t think Juju should bank on this being her first win.

Ru praises the queens before announcing that Pandora won the challenge. Yay! She’ll find out her prize in a second. As for the main challenge, the queens will be transforming into Rocker Chicks. The girls will need to take their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent up to 11. The girls will also be embarking on a Drag Race first: they will be singing live to a heavy metal version of RuPaul’s “Ladyboy”. No one seems as excited about this as I am. Ru goes on to tell the queens that Terry Nunn from Berlin will mentor them. I’m not much of a Berlin fan, but Raven looks like she has died and gone to Heaven. Pandora will get ten extra minutes with Terry.

We jump ahead to Jessica practicing the song. Tatianna asks if Jessica has ever sung live. Jessica wants to be a drag singer, so she wants to win this challenge badly. Juju interviews that she should win this challenge because she is the best singer in the room. Meanwhile, Tatianna is scared shitless by this challenge. That is not fabulous.

Back from commercials, Pandora recaps the challenge and she seems less than excited. Tyra says that she is glad that she has immunity, particularly because the singing that annoyed everyone last week was apparently Tyra’s real singing voice. Oh dear. Juju interviews that this challenge is the one made for her.

Ru enters for the walkaround. He starts with Tyra who is trying to go for “futuristic rock”. Ru suggests Tina Turner as a possible inspiration, but Tyra says the only time she saw her perform was with Beyonce. Jeezy Creezy, lady, could you get off the Beyonce Fanwank Train for five minutes? Anyway. Raven is next and Ru has high hopes for her. He asks about Raven’s singing ability, but she thinks she’ll be fine because RnR is about stage presence more than skill. She does think Juju is the biggest threat in this challenge.

Jessica is applying chains to an awesome looking black dress as Ru walks over. Ru asks about Jessica’s wig (not the one from the mini challenge) and tweezes out an explanation of Ms. Wild’s signature move: a hairflip. I wonder if Jessica mixes whipcracks into the songs she performs – there was a queen in Cleveland who would do that. Sahara is next and does not want to be in the bottom two again. She wants to improve her confidence. Tatianna also needs to work on confidence. She shares a story about how she would lip sync in high school chorus. I feel really fortunate in that I did not have the sort of rough experience that I imagine Tatianna had growing up. Granted I’m basing this purely on her stories, which may be slightly embellished, but even at a base level I think she had more difficulties than most people. But Ru goes into her life philosophy, a little less impassioned than what she said during last season’s fantastic reunion episode, but the main point is there: listen with one ear, consider, and eliminate.

Pandora is next and they practice some twisting dance moves. Ru reminds her that the judges want her to “push it more” and Pandora agrees. Ru tells Juju that all the other queens are scared of her in this challenge. Juju says she wants to win this challenge. She believes this is a chance to make her father proud.

Ru tells the room that they will soon have their mentoring sessions with Terry. Also, Henry Rollins will be a guest judge. I really don’t know much about Henry Rollins – he just kinda pops up in places that usually make me go “huh.” But he is in this video so I whole-heartedly approve. The queens seem to approve as well, particularly Raven. Down girl!

Juju starts off the mentoring sessions. She sings the lyrics off of a sheet of paper, but as soon as she tries to go off book she loses the words. Terry tells her that she has the voice, but she needs to know the words. However, Juju needs to think about it less and just let loose.

Tyra begins her session by explaining her faults before she actually attempts to sing. She starts to “sing”, but it’s more like she is speaking rhythmically. Terry interviews that Tyra is beyond uncomfortable. She advises Tyra to work on her performance and connecting with the audience.

Raven enters and is beaming. It is an instant mutual admiration society. We see Raven’s rehearsal and it is part Rock Band on a Friday night, part private show for Terry. Terry’s critique: “I wish you were straight – you’re really cute.” Really, what else can you say? I think Raven is in really good shape for this challenge.

Jessica’s rehearsal is next and she also seems to do pretty well. She runs into some microphone problems when she can’t get it off the stand, but she improvises well. Pandora also knows she will need to improvise because her voice is not that great. However, I think she’s right when she assumes that the challenge is about performance and not musicality. Terry says the voice is Pandora’s weakness, but her confidence should be able to overcome it.

Sahara is drawing on her musical theater experience – which is disastrous, of course. It just reeks of Grease which is not going to do her any favors. Terry breaks it down: the softness and vulnerability are nice, but Sahara is basically panicking through the song. Tatianna, on the other hand, completely shuts down. Terry recreates Tatianna’s performance, but that just seems to confirm what Tatianna is feeling and doesn’t solve the problem. When she returns to the workroom and explains what happened, Raven is less than sympathetic. Tatianna is going to go with the Tinkerbell approach: Clap you hands and hope for the best.

The next day the queens enter the workroom with their rocker wigs. We see them prepare for the performance. Raven asks how everyone is feeling and nervousness seems to be the dominant answer. Sahara is really concerned about the challenge because the characteristics of rock are so opposite of how she lives her life. Rather, how she now lives her life. Sahara shares with the room that when she came out, she couldn’t find support at home and instead found support through designer drugs. Wow. I never would have guessed since Sahara seems so put together.

What isn’t put together is Jessica’s outfit. Wardrobe malfunctions of the zipper variety are cramping her style. Bring out the duct tape!

Time for RuPaul to rock the mainstage. She’s looking great tonight. All the judges are rocking black and everyone seems ready to roll. Let’s start the show.

Jessica Wild kicks things off and seems to be drawing inspiration from Lita Ford if she used conditioner. She works in the hair flip, rides the microphone stand like a hobby horse and brings in some Spanish.

Pandora looks pretty awesome – her normal aesthetic seems to blend well with leather and lace. She then goes into air guitar mode and dances around the stage. She vamps for the crowd, but yeah, her voice doesn’t quite have the rocker bravado.

Sahara enters screeching. Uh oh. She then starts singing the song. Again, this challenge is not about musicality. Also, she fumbles some of the words. I think she might be in trouble.

Tatianna is alright, especially once she gets into it. She vamps the crowd with spelling her name so I think she has gotten over her fears.

Raven owns the crowd instantly. The performance is going well, but the vamping is, well, bizarre. “You know what, Danny Bonaduce? You know what, Eddie Murphy?! You cannot have this ladygirl, honey. You cannot AFFORD this ladygirl, honey. You. Better. Work.”

Tyra has decided to go with the Beyonce as Electric Barbarella look today. Good lord, what a mess. Her outfit looks like it is made of a garbage bag and yellow reflection tape. She is out of breath almost instantly then does the reach-around-the-head-with-the-microphone thing that Beyonce does. Henry Rollins looks bored. She better hope that immunity can’t be revoked.

Juju is last and problems kick in almost instantly. It sounds like there is a backing track and Juju missed her cue. She tries to catch up but ends up getting lost in her own head. It’s all downhill from there. There’s no way she’s not bottom two.

Ru congratulates the queens for putting on an awesome concert. The judges start with Jessica. Terry loved everything. Santino calls the hair a little “wiggy” (which is fair), but Henry loved how she used the hair.

Juju is reminded that of all the girls she was the one to beat and then went ahead and proved everyone wrong. The judges aren’t that harsh, in fact they seem to be sympathetic. Juju is devastated.

Pandora is praised for her punk rock energy, but Henry thought there were times that she hopped around the stage in a happy fashion. Sahara shares that she was trying to be focused without focusing, but it still seemed like she was stuck in her head. Merle questions if she was really being a rocker chick.

Tatianna gets the Most Improved award from Terry. Santino warns her not to rely solely on her body. Raven, on the other hand, has the whole package (where it is tucked I have no idea). Terry tells her that she wants girls now, causing Raven to celebrate the conversion to lesbianism. Hehe. All the judges loved her.

Merle tells Tyra that she went the glamour route and it didn’t work. Henry thought the clothes dominated the performance and kept the rock out of the picture. Tyra thanks the judges for their critiques.

Deliberations. Jessica’s conviction impressed the judges. Pandora did surprisingly well. Sahara tried hard, but the performance seemed insincere. Tatianna also tried hard but was more successful. Raven impressed Ru and Henry. And Merle. And Terry. Tyra has immunity, which is the only thing keeping her from the bottom two. Juju shocked the whole panel, but not in a good way.

Tyra’s immunity sends her to safety. Jessica, Pandora and Raven are the top three for the challenge. However, it was Jessica Wild who went to the next level and she wins the challenge. Yay! She wins an unnamed shopping spree, but she does NOT win immunity. Immunity is off the table for the rest of the season. Pandora is called the Susan Lucci of the competition before going to safety along with Raven.

Juju is sent to the bottom two without much fanfare. Tatianna is told that she channeled her inner Britney and that she is safe. So that means Sahara will also have to Lip Sync for Ya Life. This week’s song: “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. Both queens start sultry, but Sahara starts to turn it into a dance number. Raven and Pandora both comment that Juju’s more subdued performance is truer to the song.

RuPaul has made a decision: Jujubee – shantay, you stay. Sorry, Sahara, time to sashay away. I think the time is right, but I think she will be one of the queens who will have grown the most from this experience.