There are few things more satisfying than watching somebody get eliminated from a reality show that totally deserved it. Magnolia Crawford may go down as one of the most bitter, unappreciative queens in Drag Race Herstory. The aggression shown on the runway after her critique foreshadowed the revelation of her utter indifference towards the show during Untucked. There’s a difference between being a conniving, shady villain (Hi, Gia Gunn!) and being a defensive, self-righteous, broke-down ho-bag and Magnolia stood firmly on one side of that fence. Magnolia was so far gone she couldn’t even see the fence if you gave her your best reading glasses. At some point during Untucked, each of the other queens took turns trying to assist Magnolia back on to the side of sanity and humility, only to have their words of constructive criticism slowly stabbed to death by Magnolia’s razor sharp nose. She wasn’t here for money or camaraderie or the chance to hone her craft. She was “only here for the exposure.” I mean, obviously. Everyone’s here for exposure; so don’t expose yourself as a difficult, whiny cow.
Magnolia aside, the group hocking their shticks in “RuPaul’s Second Big Opening” was a top to bottom more entertaining set of queens than last week’s group. Of the six surviving queens, not one of them was a total mess in the fashion of Adore Delano—not even Joselyn Fox, who’s similarly cluttered Quince outfit at least didn’t need to be carried down the main stage. Maybe it was the presence of Bianca Del Rio, whose wit and charisma were working overtime; maybe it was Milk, whose weirdness at least contributed to the discussion of the difference between drag and art; maybe it was Courtney Act, whose humor and skill might actually be able to match her spot-on mug and body. If the queens actually stay in these groups for a while—and I hope they do—I know which one I’ll be rooting for.
Let’s start with Courtney, who’s coming into Drag Race with, by far, the biggest built-in fan base of any of the girls. Some people might think her past successes should disqualify her from the competition, but I disagree. Only one of the other queens—Joselyn—knew who Courtney was, and her Australian fame doesn’t really translate over here. That being said, I’m sure that Courtney came out of the premiere smelling better than any of the other roses in her group. Even though her performance on the main stage was a bit middling—there was no excuse for the length of that cape—she presented herself throughout the episode as equally gracious, clever, stunning, and talented. Courtney has an ease and comfort to her that none of the other girls can clock. Bonus points for the way she matter-of-factly and intelligently discussed her sex life and her views on gender politics during Untucked. “Sewing isn’t my fortay, but everything else is.”
Courtney’s biggest competition for the crown is Bianca Del Rio, who’s given the coveted first spot in the introductions this week. Being the first meant that producers knew she’d provide entertaining commentary on the rest of the girls, and did she ever deliver. Bianca’s delivery may come off as a bit hacky and old school, but she’s able to pull it off because she’s legitimately intelligent and quick. There’s nothing worse than a humorless queen and nothing better than a funny queen reading a humorless queen for filth. I was a bit surprised that she won the challenge considering that her makeup suffered from a lack of blending, but at least she showed the humility during Untucked to admit her shortcomings—or as shoddy swordfish Magnolia Crawford called it, being “boring and having no spine.” Her tropical outfit was camp perfection, though. I’m really excited for a funny girl who also happens to be a Broadway costume designer. Courtney may seem like the obvious ringer, but Bianca might overshadow them all (if she can get her eyes under control).
However, my choice for this week’s winner was actually neither of them. Yes, Trinity’s outfit suffered because of the cardboard toilet seat around her neck, but, to me, Bianca’s makeup was less easily forgivable. The description of her dress as “Princess Leah meets Kate Middleton” actually made total sense once her sparkly silver dress and extreme Marie Antoinette mug were revealed. There was something equally soothing and terrifying about Trinity’s voice coming out of that space queen’s face. It was almost weirder that Milk’s ensemble. I recoiled a little bit after learning that Khloe Kardashian is her ultimate idol, but she won me back during her complete undressing of Magnolia’s attitude during Untucked. At the moment, Courtney, Bianca, and Trinity are my three favorite of all twelve remaining queens.
Speaking of Milk, she’s my number five (after BenDeLaCreme). Milk is fucking weird, guys. Milk dresses like a giant twelve-year-old mariachi singer on acid. Milk paints a gap in her teeth. Milk has fingernails that require her to clap like a bear pawing at a jar or honey. Milk is very tall and might step on you if you get between her and her Tiny Tim wigs. I LOVE MILK. I am of the opinion that weird is always good. Weird done well is even better. I wasn’t as much of a fan of Milk’s runway look as everybody else, and I thought the beard should have been left at home, but she’s still one of my favorites because I know she knows how to do weird better. She’ll probably prove to be too much for Gay America to handle, but that really says more about Gay America, doesn’t it. Shame on you, Gay America! Run before the radioactive hobo that is Milk crushes your Fire Island vacation homes and!
You know what? I like Joselyn Fox too and I don’t care who knows it. I have a theory—and I am perfectly prepared to be proven wrong—that Joselyn Fox is a smart dumb blonde. For one thing, her laugh, which is really her just saying “he he”, is absolutely a put-on. (It’s also exactly how LaToya Jackson laughs.) I think Joselyn is better at portraying dumb, fun, and slutty than anybody else this year. Gia Gunn (Hi Gia!) is offensively vapid but she’s also a cold-hearted bitch who will scratch up her Mercedes-Benz so that her husband will buy her a newer one. Joselyn Fox just seems blissfully unaware of her surroundings and probably accidentally locks herself out of her apartment once a month. I hope their interactions are everything I imagine they will be. I didn’t hate Joselyn’s dress as much as most people did, although her construction was a mess. The only thing that kept her out of the bottom was…
…Darienne Lake, who simply based on this week’s challenge deserved to be in the bottom two and, based on her lip sync, also deserved to outlast Magnolia. Of the sub-groups of sub-groups of people represented on this show, plus-sized drag queens are among some of the most marginalized. They’re gay men who have to deal with both judgment from the straight world for choosing to dress up like women for a career, and judgment from the gay world for not being sleek and sexy. It’s nice to see a big queen who’s comfortable with her body, who can hold her own in a conversation with Courtney Act about sex. I like Darienne Lake, even if I think her camp ascetic lacks something fresh. Her skirt was atroche, though.
We end on the six surviving queens returning to the Werk Room, only to find the other group awaiting them. Vivacious is wearing a Julie Newmar mask sent from the heavens. Bianca has already targeted Gia “Kimora Lee Kardashian” Gunn. Milk will probably eat April Carrion. Ru bless us.