By Mike Fleming
Project Q Atlanta
What really sets tongues wagging on this week’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” isn’t finding out which eliminated contestant returns. It’s when five straight athletes saunter into the You Betta Workroom.
Speculation flew when Ru announced last week that one of his girls would be back with a second chance. Ostensibly, it would be someone who left too early and didn’t get a chance to show what she’s made of. Instead, it’s Carmen, who went away only two episodes ago, long after she overstayed her welcome.
Anticlimax complete, the Top Four and Carmen go outside for a dunking booth mini-challenge. Like everything else the contestants do, they throw like girls, too. Except Alexis, who smokes the competition with 14 dunks in two minutes. Who knew? For her victory, Alexis gets to pair each queen with a straight jock for the main challenge: Transform the jocks into Jills in full drag, and perform a cheer about safe sex in cheerios uniforms. This is going to be good—or really, really bad. Turns out, it’s both.
Alexis chooses Slava for herself. It’s clear that he’ll make the prettiest drag queen (top photo). It’s also clear from his flirting with Alexis that something about all this really turns him on.
Scheming, Alexis gives Manila and Raja the apparent clunkers: beefy Matt and big ol’ Christopher, respectively. All of the guys try their damnedest to embrace the challenge, some prove surprisingly good at it, and of course, some fail miserably.
On the main stage, Margaret Cho and Sharon Osbourne join Ru and Michelle on the panel, along with “A-List” photographer Mike Ruiz in the rotating gay male judge’s seat. The cheers are just dumb, but the runway lives up to its potential entertainment value. The bond between Slava and Alexis, in addition to Slava’s look, really makes them shine.
Yara’s Rugby boy Drew turns out surprisingly hot, though their gold lamé costumes look like the Mandrell sisters. Manila’s boy Matt is the big surprise of the night. Muscular and sexy as a man, he makes a passable drag queen, and his big personality helps make their presentation surprisingly ladylike. Of course, he throws it off with a fist pump (second photo), but we assume he can’t help himself.
Raja tanks hard with Christopher. No amount of makeup or padding is going to make this man into a pretty woman (third photo). Carmen, known for showing her body and not much else, dresses big Chevy in a bikini: Big mistake. He looks like last season’s Jujubee on steroids and male hormone therapy.
The judges don’t have much to say, since the results are pretty much a foregone conclusion: Although Alexis and Slava deserve it, Manila and Matt win since he was a bigger surprise. Yara and Drew are also safe, so it’s down to Raja and Carmen.
Why, whoever will win? Let’s see, the one queen who has never been in the bottom two and who has won the most challenges, or the one queen who got to come back for no apparent reason?
At least the Lip Sync For Your Life was entertaining. Raja slinks out of her skirt to reveal a black leotard and tights. Wearing nothing much in the first place, Carmen removes the bottom of her bikini. Even with a censor’s blur, we couldn’t stop looking at that tuck.
By the end of the number, both of bottom two are bottoms up, writhing on the stage together in what can only be described as makeshift porn, giving the straight guys in drag, who are watching on closed circuit TV, something to hoot and holler about. The show ends as it begins—with another anticlimax involving Carmen. She sashays away, again, and the Top Four are finally, really this time, the Top Four.
Next week, we make the final cut to see which three make it to the finals. Teasers suggest someone walks out, but we’ll have to wait and see. And take note: the episode airs an hour earlier than usual on April 11: 9 p.m. EDT.