*RuPaul’s Drag Race* has popularized an entire glossary of random terms during it’s ten year run, but none stands out an oddity more than “inner saboteur.” Sure, when you Google the phrase you get a bunch of actual self help articles, but then click over into Google image search and the results are dominated by various *Drag Race* memes literally illustrating how the show has catapulted the phrase beyond Ru’s personal library of new age-leaning self help books and into the mouths and Twitter feeds of drag fans everywhere. It’s a phrase Ru has used time and time again on the show (and even more so on her podcast) to identify that little voice in your head that is also nagging away at your confidence and feeing your insecurity.
In the gospel according to RuPaul, one of our biggest tasks in lives is identifying our inner saboteur and then basically telling it to shut up all the time. Though, in retrospect it seems inevitable that one day the inner saboteur would have gotten an episode of her very own. (Is her drag name Ina Saboteur? Is that anyone’s drag name? Someone get on that.) The challenge itself is pretty thin, and one of the lightest on manual and performance label of the entire series. All the girls have to do is basically create a good twin and a bad twin (or the personification of the saboteur). It’s a challenge the basically involves styling two outfits (even ones the queens have brought with them), selling them with appropriate body language on the runway, and then filling out a MadLibs form. If the season was a bit closer, it seems like it would be perfectly designed to give Ru and the producers enough leeway to get the top four they wanted and make a controversial cut regardless of results.
Though, in a season where we’ve pretty much surmised that Aquaria, Eureka and Asia are flying first class into the top three for weeks now, the episode basically comes down to “So, who’s going home? Kameron or Cracker?”
Both queens seem to have something going on in their heads that’s holding them back. While Kameron rarely talks beyond what’s expected of her, when Miz Cracker talks it seems like we’re getting the leftovers of a conversation she’s already had five times with herself inside her head (or possibly out loud). Cracker is coming off a win and while the words coming out of her mouth indicate she’s happy about it, her tone and body language are indistinguishable from the times she came close to winning but was left wanting. Meanwhile, Kameron feels bad not that she’s been the lip sync assassin who has sent two queens packing two weeks in a row. It’s no surprise that both seem to struggle with the concept of the challenge.
Aquaria seems to be having a little bit of trouble too, but it’s likely because Aquaria is 21. Most twenty-one-year-olds are old enough to have discovered what the concept of self awareness is, but few of them have actually attained it as of yet.
Meanwhile, Asia and Eureka both seem at ease with the task at hand, maybe a little too at ease? They both do the best job of introspection and self diagnosing their pros and cons, and they both seemed to have read the room and realized that this is either Cracker or Kameron’s to lose. Though, it doesn’t seem either quite has that extra fire lit under their ass to go way above and beyond.
We’ll get to the individual performances below, but while the editors deserve props for the shenanigans they pulled off, hearing the girls all read from the same fill-in-the-blanks script kind of got old. Why not give the queens a little bit more leeway? They got to the top five for the reason. While it doesn’t ruin it and we understand it from a production standpoint, it is slightly hilarious that in an episode all about the queens being their authentic selves that the editors had to cut to so many staged reactions.
Aquaria is handed the win with Ru excusing her age and instead proclaiming that the outfits she wore were amongst the top ten to ever grace the runway (we’ll allow it in the case of the jungle cat print number).
Cracker and Kameron, as everyone should have expected, were in the bottom and set to lip sync to Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl” — a nice accidental(?) tribute on an episode that aired on what would have been Prince’s sixtieth birthday.
Unfortunately but perhaps inevitably considering the challenge they just lost, neither girl really lets go and just inhabits the song. I didn’t believe that either really was a nasty girl, nor did I want to go to their nasty world. Instead, the proceeded through the performance not like it was an art but rather a sport. When one hit some acrobatic move, the other responded by doing their own. There were flips and splits and this and that galore, but it felt sort of desperate.
We would have gone with the girl who just won a challenge and had never lip synced before, but Ru thought otherwise and pardoned Kameron. Might the inner saboteurs of Ru and the producer keep whispering something in their ear to give conventionally attractive our of drag white queens the benefit of the doubt a little too often? Hmmmm.
While the looks weren’t linked as conventionally as many of the other queens, there’s no denying both were stunning. If we had to make one quibble, it might be that the severe panty line cut on the purple look was a little unsettling, but that might be a personal problem. She also gets props for the evil twin taking the runway with bloody gloves and the good twin’s plucked purple feather in her hand. C’mon narrative.
We’ve seen Aquaria as top three material for some time now, but we never quite imagined her totally running away with the crown until now. Yet, with three wins under her belt and the fact that she’s the only queen left who hasn’t lip synced yet it suddenly seems her crown to win. Then again, Eureka and Asia have the opportunity to tie her in total wins next week and cementing herself as the favorite didn’t help Shea at the end of the day last season.
Let’s be honest, these were Eureka’s most “meh” looks of the season so far, but she sold the challenge with her body language and narrative.
3. Asia O’Hara
Asia’s good twin look was standard Asia. Which is to say, proficient, but at this point in the season, not that exciting. Her Grace Jones-meets-Malificent evil twin look was a true gag, and her self reads were the most fearlessly truthful of the competition. In our book, we would have handed her the win, but it’s not our Drag Race.
I’m not a video game quite like Kameron Michael, but I logged my time behind the Playstation and Nintendo as a kid and I still find something exciting about rival palette swapped characters (think Subzero and Scorpion or Ryu and Ken). That seems to have been the reference Kameron was going for, but in real life on a drag queen, it just left something wanting.
Though, I did learn what Voluma was tonight, so that’s something.
What was the deal with so many of the evil twins looking prehistoric? Hmmm. Cracker’s however made the least sense and the people’s queen is sent packing. We’re not patiently awaiting her joint YouTube series with Monét and her eventual All Stars 6 win.
Weird, how after all that build up, we never even actually got that Aquaria feud though.
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