RuPaul’s Drag Race – Season 7 Episode 12: “And The Rest Is Drag”

But is it available on iTunes though?

Russian Away From Here: So in the previous episode, Katya was eliminated and then the season was prematurely cancelled because honestly who cares any more. I mean, I try not to be one of those internet people who whines that something is RUINED FOREVER when a particular contestant gets sent home, but the thing about Katya was that she was probably the last remaining contestant this season who actually felt like she was a human being in addition to being a reality TV contestant, and also pretty much the only one who could give a coherent confessional beyond Ginger, so her exit means that the whole thing is going to become even more artificial (and I realise that’s a ridiculous complaint to make with regard to a TV show about competitive drag, but this show works best when there’s at least one person in the running who isn’t entirely made out of funny faces and catchphrases) and it’s also going to be all Ginger, all the time. Having one contestant narrate the entire thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it’s someone as relentlessly sour as Ginger, it was bound to make this episode a bit of slog.

Ginger Snaps: And speaking of Ginger, she and Kennedy reacted to Kennedy’s latest spell in the bottom two by drawing everyone’s attention to the fact that Violet is the only remaining queen who hasn’t lip-synched (even though that’s been the case ever since Miss Fame went home in the John Waters musical challenge) and sneering at her about how this clearly means that as soon as she has to lip-sync she’ll go home because she’ll be awful because she hasn’t had any practice at it, which to me suggests an ignorance of both a) what happens when there are four queens left these days and b) how the show works in general. I don’t know if Ginger and Kennedy have bothered to look back over the history of the show (if only Sasha Belle were here to explain it to them!), but the crown doesn’t generally go to the person who showed their prowess in the LSFYL the most often, because that tends to indicate that they FAILED A LOT OF CHALLENGES. Indeed, no winner in any previous season has lip-synced more than once, which basically rules out everyone except Violet from winning, if we’re going on previous form. Still, if there’s one thing that’s admirable about Ginger it’s her indefatigability, and she went on to launch a robust defence of her own performance across the season so far by informing everyone that, okay, she may not be a dancer or a damn seamstress, but when it comes to singing, acting and performing, NOBODY IN THE HISTORY OF THE SHOW has ever been as good as Ginger. Well, at least we know Ginger’s got Ginger’s vote for Miss Congeniality, so it won’t be a total blowout when Katya wins.

Video Nasties: As is traditional for the penultimate round (or the semi-final, or whatever you want to call it), Michelle took Ru’s place in the workroom to announce that this week’s challenge would be…guess. Go on, guess. If you said “making a music video for Ru’s new single”, dingdingdingdingding, because of course it is. Specifically, the video is for ‘Born Naked’, which we will soon discover is not exactly ‘Jealous Of My Boogie’. It’s not even ‘The Beginning’. It is, in fact, quite rubbish. Still, why waste a great song on a mediocre season, right? Michelle informed the top four that they will have to dance, lip-sync and appear in a skit that apparently airs as a prologue to the video, presumably mostly to pad this episode out a bit rather than for any valid artistic reason, but only three of them will actually appear in the final cut, and one of them will be EDITED OUT. She didn’t say that the unlucky queen will only find out when this episode airs, but rumour has it that’s what happened.

After Michelle left the queens to get to work…they all kind of sat around in their pre-established groups, laughing at and/or bitching about the other two, because apparently Katya’s elimination was all it took for the remaining four to stop really pretending The Bitter Brigade and The Fashion Club had anything in common apart from their love of drag. That meant that Ginger and Kennedy sat around complaining that Pearl and Violet were too immature, too young and too undeserving to be America’s Next Drag Superstar, while Pearl and Ginger ran around wafting bits of fabric over their head pretending to be ghost brides and giggling about those two boring old wet farts in the other corner. The interesting thing is that both sides have valid points to make here once you wade through all the vitriol, but if you had to ask me which group looks like it’d be the least soul-destroying to spend a day in the workroom with, I know which one I’d say. The main problem was that this felt very much like Boogers vs Heathers redux, in that the episode got rather swallowed up by how much everyone hated each other, and considering how much all of that playground bullshit soured my enjoyment of season three, I wasn’t really here for it to be honest.

The Cayne Mutiny: Transgender icon Candis Cayne turned up to choreograph the music video, which she informed us would be 80s-inspired, although it quickly became clear that her main role in the challenge was going to be rolling her eyes at how awful and thoroughly unprepared all of these queens were, because DEAR LORD. Only Kennedy really escaped with her dignity intact, since her outfit remained in one place and we all know by know that girl can turn out a lip-sync. Ginger’s dancing was passable but a little clumpy, and her wig started to fall off in the blasts from the fans so she pulled it off and hurled it off-set, at which point Candis was all “Yeah, the continuity people send their thanks from the edit suite, lady.” Pearl was also afflicted by wig-wind-dispersal, and had to run off and get Violet to pin it back in place while Candis tutted loudly, and also her dancing was the same “hold your arms up and move them around without bending your elbows” stuff that she deployed in both her previous lip-syncs, and which is apparently so familiar to all the queens at this point that it’s been nicknamed “PEARL SMASH” and it was hilariously imitated by Kennedy in a confessional. (Kennedy’s really stepping up her confessional game at this late stage. Better late than never.) As for Violet, well, Violet didn’t know her words, so perhaps Ginger’s prediction from the top of the episode wasn’t entirely without merit.

Working Lunch: Since the last episode before the final is nothing if not formulaic at this point, we also had the obligatory section where the contestants sit down for a chat over a Tic Tac with Ru. (This season’s diet: a solitary Tic Tac diluted in a blender full of water. Homeopathic Tic Tacs, if you will.) Where this was once a chance for the contestants to get a last-minute pep talk from Ru and see how far they’ve come over the season, at this point it’s pretty much just “CRY, DAMMIT!” So Kennedy opened up about having a developmentally-disabled sister and her role in having to help raise her sister, which has only increased with the death of her father. In a joyous subversion of the standard story, however, it turned out that Kennedy’s father was supportive of her drag career, and actually encouraged her to apply for the show, which is awesome. Ginger pleased the producers by delivering the tears when she talked about her father abandoning the family when Ginger was a teenager to shack-up with his high-school sweetheart. Pearl talked around something that happened in her youth, and the total absence of detail suggested it was something pretty appalling so I do not wish to speculate further, and Violet…actually, Violet doesn’t really have much of a tragic past, at least not that she’s willing to discuss on TV. Unless you count her hair in that leaked masturbation video.

Skit Happens: The skit required the queens to play three different roles opposite Ru’s stern disciplinarian father: a soused, oblivious mother, a bratty kid sister and a rebellious emo gay teenager who’s about to walk out on the family to become a superstar. The conceit is that while they’re all technically playing opposite each other, three at a time, it’ll all be edited together so that the same queen is playing all three roles at the same time. Kennedy struggled to take direction in the way that she often does, and in a particularly egregious omission neglected to mention that Ru’s album was available on iTunes (unless this was all a stealth sabotage against product placement on the show, in which case maybe I’ve underrated Kennedy all this time). The others all succeeded to various degrees, although Ginger was probably the strongest in all three roles, and Violet and Pearl both needed a bit more range than their standard monotones, though whose performance was the best overall probably comes down entirely to your personal preference in queens at this stage in the game.

Simply The Best: Given the brief of “Best Drag” for the runway, Kennedy had giant hair and a rainbow coloured figure-hugging gown with giant hips. Violet serves up some butch Liza Minnelli drag. Ginger also goes for big hair, like Cheryl Stark big, paired with a rhinestone-covered white gown. Pearl came covered in pink, but kind of ruined the whole thing with seashell titty-covers that were horribly misaligned; not wanting to pad is one thing and it’s fine, but at least try to maintain the illusion by covering up your non-existent tits in the right place. Since apparently an insufficient amount of tears were generated during the sit-down chat with Ru, the queens were all shown pictures of themselves as children and asked what they, as adults, would say to them now: there was a lot of mumbling about believing in yourself, learning to love yourself, remember it gets better, and Pearl still absolutely refusing to discuss her childhood in any great detail, and I have a lot of respect for Pearl for that. Not everything is reality TV fodder, after all. Also, Violet encouraged wee Violet to have ballet lessons.

Ru asked all four queens why they deserved to advance to the final and not the others. Of course, there are two ways to interpret this: one is “why have you proven that you are more deserving of a place in the final than anyone else?” and the other is “why should these losers go home?” I’m not saying either one is right or wrong – certainly Ru didn’t seem to draw a clear distinction, in this season at least – but it’s telling that Ginger and Kennedy both went for the “tear your opponents down” approach while Pearl and Violet opted for “focus on your own strengths”. Again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying why your opponents don’t deserve to win, as long as you say it with some style – think Alaska – but I think Ginger and Kennedy executed their attempts rather badly, and focused too much on petty political squabbling than sound judgement. Ginger’s suggestion that she and Kennedy could share the title was a particular misstep. Also, Kennedy kept referring to how she had “condoned” herself in the competition, when she meant “conducted”, which probably isn’t great when you’re this close to being America’s Next Drag Superstar and Ru’s sizing up your public speaking ability.

Eventually RuPaul made them all lip-sync together to ‘Born Naked’ one last time, and then eliminated…Kennedy. Which, taking the whole season into account, makes total sense, but it’s harder to justify it in the context of this episode where, for the most part, she was on point. Still: Violet, Ginger and Pearl are this year’s final three. I won’t be recapping the Countdown To The Crown because that’s basically all fluff and filler, so just one more recap to go and then we’re all done for this year.

Untucked: Unsurprisingly, the two factions do not particularly like each other. Ginger and Kennedy explained their answers by pointing out that they are pageant queens, and in a pageant you have to answer EVERY SINGLE PART of the question and not just the bits you feel like, while Violet and Pearl rued (ha!) not throwing Ginger and Kennedy under the bus when they had the chance. Such a wonderful coda for this year’s Untucked, isn’t it readers? I don’t think the format change has been that bad, but I do sort of miss the old one where there’d be the occasional Pink Furry Box to break up the griping. I hope they consider bringing that back next year, assuming this isn’t all the result of Logo basically running on beans at this point and World Of Wonder having to fund the entire damn thing on a SquareSpace budget.

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