This week on RuPaul's Drag Race, the queens once again broke off into teams for the semi-annual Let's Make These Painted Messes Attempt to Sing challenge. Only this year, we're working with an alum from American Idol (slack-jawed baby queen Adore Delano) and one from Australian Idol (fishy piece of plastic Courtney Act), so suddenly there were expectations.
Not for everybody, of course. The majority of the queens still can't carry a tune, Gia Gunn's singing voice could be weaponized for international warfare, and for the second week in a row, Trinity K. Bonet sees a smidgen of adversity and decides not to try.
In the end, Courtney Act scored the challenge win, and Trinity bested an uninspired April Carrion in the lip-sych. But who came out the best by our standards?
Ben De La Creme: DeLa doesn't seem to have much of a fan in his doppelganger Michelle Visage. Much like Michelle did with DeLa's Seattle compatriot Jinkx Monsoon, she's finding things to nitpick even when the performance (as seen on TV at least) is pretty flawless. Her Shady Queen was very Into the Woods and a highlight of her team's performance.
Adore Delano: From the beginning, obviously the singing challenge was going to come down to Courtney and Adore, our very own homegrown Idol. All good and patriotic Americans should have rallied around Adore, which is why RuPaul's decision to give the win to Courtney was not only misguided but treasonous. Okay, maybe that's too much, but honestly, while Courtney has the better vocals, it was much more fun to watch Adore play the burnt-out, stumbly, messy queen she was tasked with. For someone who presents so ... well, dumb, Adore is pretty canny about how to play things in front of the judges.
Joslyn Fox: No one's more surprised than us that Joslyn is among our top queens of the week. She seemed like the prime example of a clueless queen with no real personality to offer. Things started to shift last week with the Scream Queens challenge, when Joslyn's verbal gasps were an unexpectedly canny choice. This week, her deep-voiced queen (oddly reminiscent of LuAnn DeLesseps) was another smart, funny character choice. Her runway aesthetic is still pretty prom-ish, but baby steps.
The Verses (could go either way)
Bianca del Rio: Still basically correct in all conflicts, never less than good in challenges. Maybe recognize how tired "I didn't come here to make friends" is in 2014?
Courtney Act: So, okay, Courtney is likely the better singer, but Adore was ultimately the one who gave us a character we were interested in watching. Courtney is an A+ when it comes to natural gifts like beauty and vocal talent. We're still waiting to be blown away by what she's able to do with them.
Darienne Lake: After a ripping through the competition last week, Darienne fell back into mediocrity. Given that her personality seems to skew theater, this was a surprise.
Gia: This week, we learned that Gia used to perform kabuki. This might be the most interesting thing about Gia. Also, she has no idea what a Tony Award is.
Milk: For such a towering and unique drag queen, Milk was invisible this episode. That's not good for a queen whose claim to fame is standing out.
Trinity K. Bonet: Trinity has been making her own bed for the past few weeks, by saying she wants to be a really good Beyonce impersonator. Unfortunately, Trinity forgot this week that Beyonce likes musicals and that she sings. And those judges were harsh, telling her to enunciate and put a cork in her mouth. But the saddest thing is that Trinity doesn't seem to be having fun at all. She was in a musical about fish oil with people singing about beans and farts, and couldn't even enjoy herself. Next week, it's Snatch Game time. And Trinity:
Laganja Estranja: We've been pretty indulgent of Laganja so far. The loudness, the attention grabs, the MMMOOOKAAAAAY? We chalked it up to a young queen still learning how to be herself when the performance ends. This week's Untucked looked like it was going to be the beginning of Laganja letting her guard down, getting a video from her parents and all. It was a sweet moment. But after a (rather benign) tension-breaking joke from Bianca, Laganja showed us what actually does lie behind the mask: a screaming need for attention. Points for honesty during her "This was MY moment! How dare you change the subject from ME!" tirade, but "not a good look" doesn't even begin to cover it.
April Carrion: April kind of came and went. She wasn't really featured, never offended, and never really shined. And the worst thing you can do in this competition is be safe.