Others are welcome to disagree, but this season of Drag U is rather disappointing so far. Season One had felt more open and had an actual judging format. This year its very subjective. The editing makes it seem that the judges like each student equally yet by the midway point of the episode we know who is draguating with top honors. The moment we figure out who has the most dramatic backstory, the internal soundbyte goes off, “We have a winner!”.
This week the theme was nurses. There is Hope, 32 year old single-mom of three. Raised in a strict religious home, married young and then divorced, she’s never had free reign to be herself. Ru teams her with Shannel which seems to be a good fit. Shannel is excited that Hope’s favorite movie character is Jessica Rabbit. Both of them flip when the Dragulator has Tawny Fox bearing a very close resemblance to the cartoon vamp. They’re going to have fun in the Drag Lab which Hope has described as Barbie Heaven.
Next up is Kim. This 34 year old mom of two teens had buried herself in work, school and two teenagers to avoid facing the loss of her best friend in a car accident. Once again, Mariah is given a tough nut to crack. However, I don’t know if it’s lack of coaching from the Drag U staff or Mariah’s real personality but she seems to avoid connecting with the students on a deeper emotional level. But in her favor she is determined to tranform Kim into Nikki Vixen.
Finally comes this week’s winner. We can see it from her entrance exam with Professor JuJuBee. Not only is Lanelle a cancer survivor she is currently battling breast cancer. And to ramp-up the heartbreak of the situation, JuJu reveals her story leading up to the loss of her father. I’m not being cold-hearted or cruel here. Lanelle seems to be a nice person, a great mom and a caring nurse but it felt like the old “Queen For A Day” show. It was kind of cool/funny that Lanelle admits to having been a Hustler Girl in her past which probably explained the dominatrix look in Lady Bunny’s undies lesson. As for her new persona, Angel Espirit, Lady Gaga really doesn’t translate well on a 40+ mom.
In the afore mentioned Lady Lesson the ladies learn about underwear. It was a genuinely funny moment when Bunny said “Here’s something I never thought I’d say…’Ladies, show me your panties.” And they did. From what Bunny called “the Eleanor Roosevelt look” to just a big “Oh dear!” for Kim’s, it was what you would expect, a whole lotta granny panties going on. The best lingerie makeover was Kim looking like, as Shannel said “a big stick of Bubblemint gum”. It would have been cuter if she’d lost the sneakers which Bunny called her out on.
From there it was back to the lab to create the looks. Despite vid clips of different wigs, students cutting fabric and trying different shoes…the looks were exactly what the Dragulator showed. Going back over previous episodes, it is very apparent that all the pieces needed to recreate the persona the machine shows are right there in the lab. That is disappointing when compared to last season. The queens and students had to really create. They had the freedom to take what the Dragulator showed and then combine it with the students personality to put something original on the runway. This year it seems to be boiling down to who can be the best copycat.
Finally came judging. Charo was the guest judge and we didn’t get her full bombastic personality. She needs to come back for the next season of Drag Race so she can do another mini-challenge with the queens. That said, she was not as opinionated as usual. Candy Cayne and Bunny didn’t have much to add either. Lanelle won even though Kim’s lip-sych/dance routine were much better. Maybe next week we’ll actually get some surprises?
RuPaul’s Drag U