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.

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