RPDR S4, E9: Frock The Vote Top & Bottom

Well, we’re at the point in the race where there aren’t enough queens to have any real drama. So we’re down to extra long product placements; transparently manufactured conflicts and faggy filler. And even with all of that, the producers have still managed to create some of the most compelling challenges yet, imho. I still think this is one of my favorite seasons thus far, but I’m definitely feeling the sag. You know you’re in trouble when even the villain of the series is tepid at this point. We need someone new to hate.

Be careful what you wish for, huh?

So the queens find Willam’s mirror send off. And once again, Sharon proves that she is the most astute and aware. She recognizes the power of Mr. Belli’s exit. “There’s nothing more punk rock than being kicked off.“ Personally, this Queen agrees. However, Bianca was very disappointed by Willam. He expected more from an accomplished artist. He feels that Willam took a spot that could have gone to a queen who really wanted to win the Race. I personally think Willam had his own goals and worked the exposure for everything it was worth. And I’ve no doubt that Willam would have truly lauded Sharon and Phi Phi’s hilarious re-enactment of his departure. And of course: Drag Queens puke glitter!

So we get to the Blatant Product Placement Challenge. Another “make something pretty” undertaking. But it also confirmed something about Dida which the Queen will get into a little later in the post. The girl is a sweetie with some great instincts…but she is painfully under-educated. “I was inspired by the Victorian Age, so I took from Marie Antoinette…”

While a grasp of history is not a true indicator of intelligence, the Queen must tell you that he was embarrassed for, and by her. Unfortunately it perpetuates the stereotypes of the dumb black male. Granted, a good percentage of the people watching of all ethnicities probably didn’t catch the faux pas–but it definitely helped me pinpoint why Dida basically gave up in this episode.

And Miss Phi Phi O’Hara won. And got nothing for it. Very much like her life if she doesn’t get it together.

So now RuPaul steals my idea of doing a RuPaul’s Drag Race parody of the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Don’t try to get all logical on the Queen and remind him that this show was taped months ago. RUPAUL STOLE THE IDEA, I tell you!

The pre-Main Challenge workroom was fairly free of drama, however it brought up some issues that the Queen would like to muse upon. The primary bee in my bonnet being the schizophrenic directions given to the contestants by RuPaul and Dan Savage. In every other performance challenge it’s been all about the laugh. Now they’re going to get all serious on the queens and tell them to discuss real issues during the debate? WTF? The Queen is still trying to figure out what he feels about the workroom mentoring. It was kind of interesting to watch Dan challenge the lady boys with current events and gay propaganda, but just like all of the other challenges that depend on parody, most of the queens really don’t have an idea of how to approach it. And then having the mentors coach and critique as if the debate were legitimate, just really set those particular queens up for failure.

Bianca and I mused about Latrice and Dida’s general current events and pop culture knowledge base. There is no doubt that Latrice is the King of Common Sense. But this show is so much about being tongue-in-cheek and quick witted on all things kitsch, that we watch them fail in the wake of the other queens who seem to have a disparate understanding of the world. We can’t help but wonder if it has to do with culture and race. Both Dida and Latrice are articulate and well-spoken. But they really do seem to need someone to break down the components and premise of each of these challenges to be successful. Latrice dutifully takes every one of Dan Savage’s suggestions, but left to her own devices doesn’t seem to understand how to incorporate them into a compelling and relevant character. And Dida is smart enough to know what she doesn’t know much of the time, but instead of inspiring her, that understanding seems to takes all of the steam out of her process.

The Queen was SO glad that Chad Michaels stuck to his guns and created a character that he thought fit the challenge best.

And so we Frock The Vote.

We’ll get into individual performances of all the dolls in the Queen’s next post. Bianca and I agree that it was a tough call between Chad and Sharon. Both gave fully realized performances. We think the main reason that Sharon stood out was a very specific platform that she could articulate well. While Chad’s character was stellar, there was a little less focus on actual issues which put him slightly behind. But what a pleasure it was for the two of us to have such great characters to choose from, so that it came down to very specific things to determine who we thought shone the brightest. We also agree that the brouhaha over Phi Phi’s character’s comments was ridiculous. The only thing she could be criticized for was a relatively generic delivery of the line. It could have been SO much funnier. All in all, it was one of the better challenges in our opinion.

Again, we’ll discuss the individual runway looks in the next post. However, the Queen HAS to say, regarding Chad Michaels:

She. Looked. STUNNING.

But, it’s Condragulations to Sharon Needles.

The only thing that will stop this bitch from winning (besides producer manipulation, of course), is her dogged need to be true to her aesthetic. She’s got it all, and she is definitely somebody, about something, and Prances like nobody’s business. But she will never win the judges over completely until she goes totally Glam. If I were her Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent Coach, I would sit her down and say: “Sharon, I know you want to stay true to your shock personae. Has it ever occurred to you that if you REALLY want to shock these judges, you would come onstage COMPLETELY GLAM? They would never expect it, and you would almost be assured the win.”

And it’s Sashay Away for Dida Ritz.

Ah, my sweet little dude in a dress. What a winning personality, and great instincts. Dida got tired. She was beat down by the criticisms of her look. And she knew she didn’t really have a grasp on the topics needed to be successful in the race. That’s what all the machinations about Politics was all about. It was her Mystique Summers Madison way of avoiding the fact that she really wasn’t quite ready for a competition of this magnitude. If she just sticks her head in a book from time to time and really thinks about what she learned through osmosis from folks like Sharon Needles, Chad Michaels–and even from Latrice on makeup, hair and costume–she will DEFINITELY be a star. Good luck lady boy.

And last but not least: the God-Forsaken Twist.

*sigh*

Who’s coming back?

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13 thoughts on “RPDR S4, E9: Frock The Vote Top & Bottom

  1. totally agree with you about Sharon Needles; I have her for the win.
    Excellent point about the ‘glam’ too..never thought of that but you’re so totally right-and if she did so, there’d be howls of ‘foul’ if the judges didn’t pick her.
    Good post…thanks

  2. I owe Miss Sharon Needles bigtime for linking your blog on FB; otherwise, I might never have found you. Your Drag Race analysis is spot-on, especially with this episode and the last one. I was certainly confused with the approach taken this week; yes, it would have been a great opportunity for the contestants to express their views on political topics, but I don’t really think this was a particularly good vehicle for them to do it properly even if they wanted to. The contestants were certainly confused and bemused by it all, and I think the contest suffered as a result.

    I also wanted to slap Miss Phi Phi upside the head for being a little too joyous about Willam’s departure, especially since she was already benefitting from it by being there in the first place. It was pretty obvious that, had Willam not been kicked off, Phi Phi would have been on the “sashay” side of the LSFYL. Just a little humility about the matter would have been nice.

    Looking forward to being a regular reader of this blog (and hopefully you won’t mind me regularly opening my big mouth here). 🙂

  3. I agree with your observations on Dida — I think she is young and may not have the experience and/or resources that the other ladies do. However, she (unlike Jiggly, for example) seems anxious and willing to learn. While she may not have mastered her lessons while on Drag Race, I’m sure she’s picked up a lot of new things to consider. I also feel like the Queens this season have become true friends, and Latrice and Chad will both continue to influence Dida in a positive way.

    And thanks for this post — I always enjoy your analysis (and your snark, too!)

  4. I don’t know, Sharon was pretty glamorous for the debate. Granted, it was daytime glam and not full-on night-time glam. Still, it was a concession and not a spooky edge in sight. She was lovely, and the makeup was flawless! I wish they’d just leave her alone to do her conceptual stuff on the runway (and Michelle’s wanting to see the “real Chad” was just nonsensical).

    Loved Sharon’s “from sea to shining sea” flourish at the end of her speech. Of course, it was helped by the music which the producers added to it, which was surely not Sharon’s doing. But it’s say something about how perfect a send-up of political advertising it was that you knew exactly the soundtrack that should go with it.

    • I agree that the “needing to see the real Chad” meme is nonsensical (and previously to this it was “She’s too perfect”) I keep feeling that this ridiculous critique of Chad is just the judges looking for a reason for her not to win. The same thing goes for the “she’s too spooky” critique for Sharon. IMO, those 2 are heads above the competition (yes, even ahead of Latrice — whom I love as a person but who really just does glam looks & when she needs to be creative — Snatch Game, dragazines, debate, — falls flat).

    • Although she did give a fantabulous Steve Martin “I was born a poor black child” impression when judging The Mean One, I have no idea what’s wrong with Michelle and her constant harping on meeting “the real Chad Michaels.”

      Chad is a seasoned queen and has an vulnerability coupled with fiestiness that isn’t invisible. Get glasses, Jersey gurl! *laughing*

  5. I, too, was linked here by Ms Needles, and I’m glad she did. Your analysis is spot on. I am sad to see Dida go because she was such a sweetie. I think Phi Phi’s “help” line falling flat shows a lot about her– she’s too mean to be funny in that way. She was terrible at the reading challenge because she was uninterested in the art of the read (if you will) and more interested in telling the other queens what she thought of them.

  6. I loved Dida & while she wasn’t “there” yet in terms of deserving to win it all, I would have liked to see her in the Top 4 because it is obvious she has potential, just not the resources/experience as the others have. Dida definitely deserved Top 4 over Phi Phi, IMO, because besides having no self-awareness (really, the judges were laughing at the help line? I heard crickets) Phi Phi is totally closed to any kind of constructive criticism and, let’s be real, her drag is kind of tired.

    Chad, Sharon, Willam & Latrice have been my top 4 from the beginning, but with Willam gone, I would have liked Dida to be in the Top 4 instead.

    Chad or Sharon FTW!!

  7. I’d love to see them bring Willam back and have him finally bump Phi Phi, but it’ll probably be Jiggly or Kenya.

    Phi Phi’s shoes were utter crap. That was some Regretsy “shit glued to other shit” realness. I didn’t catch Dida’s “Victorian Marie Antoinette” moment, oh dear god–that girl isn’t done yet. She just really needs to be a biscuit and sop up the culture around her.

    Michelle’s criticisms of Chad are getting ridiculous. And why is Santino still a judge? He has the worst aesthetic EVER. Of course he would like Phi Phi’s look.

    I have so many problems with Dan Savage, but he was a better judge than I thought he would be. At the workstations, I thought he was going to be another Max Mutchnik who didn’t get drag queens and didn’t care to learn.

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