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!

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