Whatever you might think about the split premiere of Season 6, it made things a lot easier on me! Twelve queens are a lot to handle, especially when they're a group this good!
So I called in some help this week! Chris Kelly writes wickedly funny Drag Race recaps for GEEKS OUT, and he gives some seriously mesmerizing performances as New York queen Ariel Italic. I first saw his inventive and surprising lip synching during the Reddit "Lip Sync For Your Life" competition (which he won) and had to draw one of his distinctive looks. (Seriously, go watch the original video. The whole thing. You will not regret it.)
Chris and I got chatty and catty about this week's Drag Race episode. So read on for our thoughts and for my drag doodlings!
CHAD: Okay, so I loved this episode, and after all the drama and mixed results we got from the split premiere, we got off to a wild start with the assembled group of 12 queens. Did you like this episode as much as I did, Chris?
CHRIS: I LOVED it. This is shaping up to be the best season yet. I was skeptical of the format change, but it has paid off immensely. I can't wait to see what happens next.
CHAD: And it feels like we're finally getting a picture of how things will go, what the workroom dynamic will be like. Essentially: Bianca Del Rio slaying the goddamn house down.
CHRIS: Absolutely. She'd better stay around until the absolute end. Whenever anything happens, I immediately want her take on it. I wish she would walk around with me and narrate/throw shade on my life.
CHAD: I love that she's not only the funniest queen, but also one of the wisest, too.
CHRIS: Yeah, she's been around. But I'm worried that her image is going to get her in trouble. People don't recognize that she's just playing, and down the road I'm sure she's going to make more than a couple enemies.
CHAD: I think she does speak up and call out queens whenever she gets a whiff of bullshit, which can definitely spark some drama. I thought she was a little rough on Trinity, especially since the younger queen has already shown off some serious talent.
CHRIS: Trinity is stepping it up a little bit. She's fabulous on the runway, but she doesn't strike me as having much in the way of personality or presence. Being stylish isn't enough in my book, and I'm not sure she brings more than that. Also, Beyonce? Really? Are we not done trying to be Beyonce yet? (Apparently not.)
CHAD: So, I really warmed up to Trinity last week, and she got even more respect from me in this episode. Typically, when a queen is feeling out of her element, like Trinity in the acting challenge, a girl gets defensive or indignant. But Trinity acknowledged that she was an "acting virgin" from the start and actively solicited the others' advice. In fact, I think Trinity is one of the few younger queens who will prove receptive to the more seasoned queens' perspectives--I see a major generational gap in the cast, and we got a taste of some of that drama during Untucked between Adore and Bianca.
CHRIS: They're clearly putting forward young queens like Adore and Laganja to see if they can hang with the old guard.
CHAD: Here's how I see it: Bianca, BenDelaCreme, Courtney, and Darienne are all extremely experienced and well-rounded queens. They'll be able to handle any performance/comedy challenges with aplomb. But they're all so polished and consistent that they may not deliver drama on the runway. And that's where Adore, Laganja, Milk, April, and Trinity come in.
CHRIS: April blew me away last night.
CHAD: Yeah! The sad thing is, I've been struggling with how to draw that damn umbrella!! Milk has served up some stunning looks already, and I was seriously impressed by Laganja's runway ensemble this week!
CHAD: I LOVED this week's main challenge. I thought the 60's/80's sequel idea was particularly smart. And these acting challenges always have their fill of WTF moments.
CHRIS: Yes. And I like that we went with an acting challenge early on. Make these ladies prove that they have personality.
CHAD: And it gave me an excuse to draw this:
CHAD: The problem is that I LOVED her runway look. But I couldn't NOT draw this!
CHRIS: Totally. I love that everyone else was so skittish about being the head in the box, and she proved that skill means working with what you're given, not letting the material carry you.
CHRIS: Milk is interesting to me. I like her, but I don't love her. And I can't believe she's already repeated those leggings and heels. It's only her second episode! Like, did you not pack enough clown gear, hon?
CHAD: Well, in her case specifically, the Dairy Queens have stated that they throw out their looks after wearing them once.
CHRIS: WASTEFUL, Dairy Queens. There are drag queens in Africa who would KILL for those looks. What would their drag mothers say?
CHAD: There's been a lot of outcry about Vi's depiction on the show, that she got a "bad edit." What do you think about that?
CHRIS: I think she probably got a little extra emphasis on her bad qualities. The show wants to make it look like they booted the "right" person, you know?
CHAD: Yeah, I think the producers saw the same thing we did--that Vivacious has some fabulous ideas but often fails to execute them well.
CHAD: I know you're not "Team Adore," but I still think she's going to go far. Her style tends to be fairly simple, but I love that it's often based around such powerful, glorious colors
CHRIS: Yes. Adore buys $10 cosplay wigs. She's on a budget. (I know, because we own some of the same wigs.) She works with what she has, but she works it well. I couldn't make that little money look that good.
CHAD: So what are you excited about next episode?
CHRIS: I can't wait to see how the team dynamic continues to play out. It was a smart move to divide people early on, because the psychology of it has really settled in. It seems like no one is going to bridge that divide.
CHAD: And conversely, I think one of the really positive aspects of starting with the smaller groups is that each team really bonded--they all "got" each other, so there was no odd woman left out. All the girls with Vivacious seemed to respect her and regret seeing her go. Whereas in previous seasons, the first few queens who got booted wouldn't have had time to make any connections at all. Especially the quirky girls.
CHRIS: Yeah. I would love it if they all formed friendships, but realistically I don't see that happening. I think the gap will remain, but you're right, they'll defend each other to the death within their own groups now. They're like wolf packs.
CHAD: The most fabulous wolves of all!
That was a much longer write-up than I usually post for the Drag Race, but I hope it was worth it! Let me know if you'd like me to keep chatting with Drag Race experts!
Even in such a lengthy conversation, we still missed a lot of queens. (Courtney! Laganja! April!) So I need your help! I didn't have time to finish all the illustrations I would have liked, so vote below for which sketch I should finish. I'll keep voting open until 5pm Central Friday, then I'll draw the queen with the most votes over the weekend!