Bride and gloom.
As the numbers start thinning out, it’s fun to see what the editors do to fill the space that’s left by the departures of the eliminated queens, and perhaps the most interesting of all the additions in this episode was the emergence of what felt like a last-minute villain edit for Courtney Act. For better or worse, this season has lacked a true villain in the Phi Phi O’Hara/Roxxxy Andrews mould, instead just giving us a couple of minor henchqueens like Gia and Laganja, and filling in the gaps between feuds with a catty comment from Darienne. To be fair, Courtney’s edit in this episode isn’t an enormous departure from how she’s been shown up to now, but it does have an element of the “thinks a lot of herself and irritates the others” edit that Tyra Sanchez got in a few episodes of season two. Then again, the other queens seem to tolerate Courtney’s ego more than the queens of season two tolerated Tyra’s, so maybe I’m just projecting here.
This week’s mini-challenge is possibly the most half-arsed one yet: the queens are asked to celebrate equal marriage by rolling around on a paint canvas to create a piece of abstract art. It’s all nonsense, of course, but everyone knows it’s nonsense, and the fun comes at the end when the queen do their best pretentious hipster impression to explain what they’ve created. Everyone bullshits their way through it nicely, but the highlight for me is easily Darienne, who waits for Ru to express her approval of her painting before volleying back a flawlessly-timed “you’re looking at it upside down”. Everyone’s looks like a hot mess, of course, but Bianca wins, probably because her explanation was the most articulate.
There is at least a connection to the main challenge: Ru has been ordained as a minister and will be marrying six couples on the main stage tonight. The brides are paraded out and Bianca, as the winner, gets to decide which bride is matched with which queen. The twist, because of course there is one, is that they’re not making over the women – that would be far too easy – instead the women are getting married in tuxedos and the queens have to turn the men into blushing brides.
It’s clear immediately that Joslyn is absolutely fucked. For starters, she’s had enough trouble getting herself runway-ready in recent weeks, even without a second party to worry about. Second of all, her groom is pro-basketball player Brandon who does not seem happy to be there, does not want to wear a dress, does not want to be laughed at by his teammates when this goes out (maybe going on a national TV show was not his best idea ever), and does not want to look pretty. Third of all, without wishing to put too fine a point on it, Brandon is black and Joslyn either does not have the right shades of make-up for his skin or simply does not know how to do it in the first place, because the end result is pretty terrifying – my immediate thought was “RoboTyra”. To her credit, Joslyn does her best to calm Brandon down and promises Ru that she’s going to class it up this week while still keeping it foxy (womp womp), and does her best to deliver on that. Unfortunately, the end result is not great – the gown that she creates for “Bradonna” is trashy in a “1980s Cyndi Lauper video” kind of way, and Joslyn – as the mother of the bride – looks sweet but matronly accompanying her “daughter” down the aisle, and ultimately loses a bit of her Joslyn-ness in the process. Predictably, the judges hate it, and then after they’ve been read for their presentation, Brandon starts to feel faint and has to go off into the wings to be sick, because apparently the heat and the restrictive clothing got to him. So all in all, it’s not a great week for poor Joslyn – though she does appear to win Brandon round in the end, as he’s a fiercely loyal cheerleader for her throughout Untucked and even says that now he won’t fear having gays in the locker room. Progress!
As far as the other queens go, Courtney dresses up her drag daughter “Rien Act” (which is an excellent slow-burn pun that took me a little while to get, and also sounds very Kath & Kim, so well done Courtney) in what Darienne laughingly refers to as a “bath mat muu-muu” and, well, she’s not far off the mark with that assessment. The essential problem here lies in Courtney’s unwillingness to be overshadowed, so while both the dress and the makeover are passable (if not exactly stellar), Courtney hits the runway looking like a million dollars while the heavy make-up job makes her “daughter” look more like her mother. The judges are impressed with how hard Courtney’s clearly worked, but Michelle’s furious with her because the mother should NEVER outshine the bride.
Bianca is gifted with Alex, who is Dutch and therefore knows all about gay marriage. He and Bianca bond fairly quickly, and since Alex is entirely up for whatever Bianca wants to do with this challenge, there’s never really much danger here – Bianca, of course, does a superb job with both the resemblance and the costume, and the family resemblance really is uncanny. She also does a great job of playing the tearful mother of the bride to “Fifi Del Rio” without making the whole thing about herself. As a result, Bianca wins the challenge, and not only gets a romantic trip for two to Hawaii for herself and a companion, but also the same prize for her drag daughter and his new wife. So that’s rather lovely.
Darienne has got Damon, who actually volunteered himself for the process and turns out to be something of an IRL Drag Race stan, which has its positive side and its negative side. As far as the former is concerned, Damon is entirely familiar with how this all works and has no real boundaries to speak of, not to mention he’s already planned out exactly what sort of bride he wants to be (goth), and in terms of the latter – well, he basically wants to make the most of the opportunity to throw shade at absolutely everyone. So it’s quite fortunate he got matched with Darienne, really, because it’s not like there are many bridges she hasn’t already burned on that front. Frankly, Ann reading the hell out of everyone both in the workroom and during Untucked is great fun, to the extent that she’s got my support if she wants to audition for season seven. Anyway, the goth bride thing throws Darienne at first, mostly because all of the accoutrements they’ve been given are pure and white, but she works it out and gets “Ann Drogyny Lake” walking down the aisle looking a bit like that chick from NCIS (and also somehow looking even more like Michelle Visage than Ben does this week), and Darienne adds a few accents of black to her own silver outfit in the interests of solidarity. Darienne and Ann get good notes from the judging panel, apart from Extra Stupid Guest Judge Neil Patrick Harris who claims that he didn’t get that it was meant to be a goth wedding, because apparently he suffered some sort of serious head trauma on his way to the judging room. He later goes on to claim that it is, in fact, the worst outfit out of all six, which is patently untrue however you look at it because ADORE DELANO, who we’ll get to in a minute. Anyway, suffice to say that NPH is a terrible guest judge (although His Partner David Burtka is charming), and this seems as good a moment as any to admit that I never really understood the internet’s collective wide-on for him anyway.
Ben’s bride is similarly low-interest, and Ben’s kind of boring in himself, so there’s not really a lot to report on that front. Really, when the greatest dramatic conflict you can wrestle out of the whole thing is “my wife has never seen me without a beard”, it’s a bit of a non-starter. They do, admittedly, turn out the second-best performance of the week, and I like the theme-naming of the daughter (Suzette À La Mode), but I could’ve done without Ben’s insistence on taking a diagonal walk down the runway which is kind of dumb and pointless.
Like Joslyn, Adore has had significant problems just getting herself runway-ready, so she’s also got her work cut out for her in this episode. She can’t sew, which is a bad start, and her guy is enthusiastic but also kind of a mess, and Adore can’t really put an outfit together and ends up begging for help. Bianca does her best to be supportive from a distance, but everyone’s kind of got their hands full with their own business this week, so there’s not really a lot she can do to turn things around. Eventually, with time running out, Adore glues some shit together, throws a Hagrid wig and a leather jacket on top and sends Honey Bun Delano out there on a wing and a prayer. Needless to say, it doesn’t work – the judges criticise her poorly-constructed outfit, the lack of any family resemblance, and that Adore didn’t really even make herself look like a mother. None of this is inaccurate.
So the bottom two is clearly Adore vs Joslyn, and they lip-sync to ‘Think’ by Aretha as their new daughters cheer them on from the Form Decor Lounge. (Joslyn’s bridge and groom in particular are FURIOUS that she’s at risk of elimination, and given that the actual woman of the relationship only met Joslyn for all of about six minutes, that speaks volumes as to how charming Joslyn must be). Joslyn is probably the more Aretha-like of the two, but she’s hampered a bit by her long, flowing gown, and Adore is more animated and snappy, so she gets to stay and Joslyn sashays away. Obviously it’s a sad day for me because Joslyn was my favourite queen this season, but realistically I never expected her to get any higher than fifth, so sixth place is very respectable. And there’s still the Miss Congeniality crown that she’s been campaigning so hard for.
So the bottom two is clearly Adore vs Joslyn. They lip-sync to ‘Think’ by Aretha, cheered on from the back room by their sisters (Joslyn’s bride and groom in particular are PISSED that she’s in trouble, even though the actual woman of the relationship barely even met her – that’s just how charming Joslyn is). Joslyn probably is the more Aretha-like of the two, but she’s hampered a little bit by her long flowing outfit, while Adore is more animated and snappy, so she gets to stay while Joslyn sashays away. It’s sad – she was definitely my favourite queen of the season, but she was never making it any higher than fifth, so going out in sixth place is very respectable.
This week’s Untucked developments include Brandon apologising for not being better for Joslyn, and Adore getting a message from her mom that helps to see where Adore gets her…well, everything from. Adore cries a bit because she’s worried that she’s the one who’ll have all the viewers going “why is she still here?”, and Bianca assures her that won’t be the case, she’s just had a couple of rough weeks because it’s top six so they’re all under far tighter scrutiny. And plus this gives Joslyn one last chance to do her sweet but over-familiar “you’re a superstar already, you’re so awesome and I love you, you just need to love you like I love you” routine. Seriously: MISS CONGENIALITY.