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Ranking the House Down: Our Squirrelfriends of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six (Recap #1)

Ranking the House Down: Our Squirrelfriends of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six (Recap #1)

As /bent has featured a list of past contestants from Rupaul’s Drag Race, ranked from worst to best, this weekly feature will provide a cheat sheet as to how the recently eliminated queens from season six have fared, as well as how the rest of the queens from this cohort are looking in the long term of the competition.

As we rank this house down we begin with the first eliminated queens, and in season six Rupaul blessed us with two for one! Yes, in a genius marketing ploy the Drag Race spin doctors decided that we will get more out of these queens when they’re split into two groups of seven. Last week, the first seven queens had to present runway looks inspired by assigned TV shows; and this week the other seven queens had to present ensembles inspired by assigned party themes. Now that the two parts of the grand opening are complete, and we are all done kvetching about the wait, we can agree that we got to know all fourteen of these girls much better than we would have in just one episode—especially the first eliminated queens. So how did these unfortunate queens fare?

Kelly Mantle:
What happened to Kelly? This queen promised so many dimensions that didn’t materialize in the mini and main challenges. Either the promise was false, or Kelly had the goods all along and is going to pull her shake-and-go wig when she looks back over the obvious, calculable areas where she could have improved. She missed the chance to show her performance skills, and it’s a shame. She is still a delightful queen with a couple funny one-liners under her belt (“I’m not going to go reciting my IMDb page like some queens we’ve seen in past seasons”). Plus, it really takes character for a queen to make light of her Achilles heel after she has fallen. Best line: “EAT MY BACON.”

Magnolia Crawford:
Well, in case you were wondering how different things would have been if all fourteen queens were in one group, it is now safe to say that Magnolia was going home first, with or without Kelly alongside her. You can just look at her swordfish nose to figure that one out. Also, her defensiveness! I am not sure at this moment if we have ever in Drag Race herstory seen a queen look so desperately aware that she was losing as her defeat unfolded. Magnolia knew she was losing in the workroom, when she walked the runway, when she made a multitude of half-baked defenses of her look, and when she watched Darienne Lake lip-sync (lip-sync tip: DON’T LOOK AT WHAT THE OTHER QUEEN IS DOING.). Even before “Turn the Beat Around” was over Magnolia had this “I’m fucked” look on her face. It was all really disappointing, and I am now stumped as to how Magnolia made it into the top fourteen. I am now going to relieve Venus D-Lite of her ranking as the worst contestant in Drag Race herstory, and pass that title over to Magnolia Crawford. Best line: Rupaul: “Magnolia, your bovine design was not divine—where’s the beef?”

And here’s the rest of the squirrelfriends of season six, from worst to best, judging how they have presented on and off stage during their first weeks:

12. Joselyn Fox:
Joselyn is looking like the weak link of this bunch. Her paintjob is nothing to write home about, and for how busy her runway look was this week it is fading fast from our memories. She’s adorably stupid, but she needs to step it up. She doesn’t want to be the Jade Jolie of season six (then again, Jade at least made it to the middle of her season).

11. Leganja Estranja:
Michelle Visage gave this Alyssa Edwards protégé the best read of the episode: “You are full of energy, are you?” Right?! What a brat. All her “GOORRRRLLLL” and “SUSHI ROLL SUSHI ROLL” is just too much, and it’s obviously a smokescreen for how depthless she really is. Send her home!

10. Darienne Lake:
She’s hilarious to the camera. Her lip-sync to “Turn the Beat Around” was full of hand-jives and face-face-face. I want to dance with her at an open-bar wedding. All that said, she really needs to prove her creative chops. In fact, didn’t Pandora Boxx get chewed out by Santino for wearing the exact same thing in season two?

9. Vivacious:
LOVE this girl. LOVE the way she sissies that walk. LOVE Ornacia. Still, her style choices range from tickle trunk to local party supplies store, so she probably won’t go far. Let’s enjoy this club kid as long as we have her. 

8. Milk:
Milk frustrates me. When I watch her describe her drag I am distinctly reminded of fine art students I went to school with who made great art but couldn’t explain shit about what they were trying to do. I mean, part of me understood them in that nihilistic, Enid Coleslaw way (“I just… like Don Knots?”), but mostly I just wanted to shake them by the shoulders and yell, “If you can’t explain your craft no one will take you seriously! Develop a frame of reference! Explain your theory base!” So, when I watch Milk I get pissed off because I think, A beard? Okay, but why?

7. April Carrion
And speaking of frame of reference, April is someone Milk could look to for ideas of how to play quirky and arty and draggy, and still keep it purposeful. Upon first meeting April she tells us her inspirations are Bjork and Coco Rocha. This is a girl who models her drag after someone who dresses as a swan at the Academy Awards; and someone who debuted to the world by Irish step-dancing down the catwalk of a Gaultier show. It’s exciting, and we can see it playing out in her idiosyncratic approach to the Duck Dynasty costume.

6. Gia Gunn:
Gia is determined to be the villain of season six, and so far she’s proving to have the chops for it. It remains to be seen with whom her major rivalry will be, but based on Bianca Del Rio’s read of her as “Kimora Lee Kardashian” I get the idea those two will share words in the Untucked Lounge (by the way, is it no longer Interior Illusions Lounge?). My only glitch with Gia’s overall presentation is that she could shade her eyes to not look so pinched together. It’s a bit cubist up in there.

5. Adore Delano:
We want to see Adore go far. She’s rough around the edges, but she’s outrageously funny and will probably pull out her guns in performance-based challenges. Best line: “I’m Adore Delano, I’m 23 years old, and I’m a fucking Libra!”

4. Courtney Act:
Courtney is polished, professional, witty, and has moments of radical brilliance (her commentary on the gay/straight binary is phenomenal). Still, all we’ve seen of her so far is Good Sandy from Grease. Even her pillow fight photo is Good Sandy. We need to see some Bad Sandy.  

3. Ben de la Crème:
Ben needs to stray from the “terminally delightful” shtick early in this season or else Michelle Visage is going to tear her to bits. Nonetheless, her gluing skills are stupendous, and after Bianca she’s the most quick-witted of the bunch.

2. Trinity K. Bonet:
The most unmemorable queen from the Meet the Queens featurettes has proved to be one of the tightest competitors, and one of the more attractive personalities. She glows with aspirational wonder, and in the Untucked Lounge she has moments of surprising eloquence (her reads of Magnolia Crawford, especially). I look forward to Trinity’s trajectory in season six. 

1. Bianca Del Rio:
Is the competition over already? I feel like Bianca already beats all these girls in charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent, and by such a wide margin! I am giddy to find out who of these other queens has the skills to make this seasoned insult comic sweat.  

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