To all the Darienne Lake haters out there: you
can exhale now. Droopy topaz vagina has left the stage. The “villain” of season
six is no more.
The hatred for Darienne, which has been grossly exaggerated as well as easily
manipulated by this season’s overproduction (it’s as though the producers felt
this season needed another Phi Phi to win ratings), really comes down to how
she treated BenDeLaCrème in the middle of the competition. In the scheme of
things Darienne is a sickening queen, when you think about it. She can read a
bitch to filth, she is a lip-sync assassin, and she has a consistently strong
aesthetic (regardless of her sewing gaffes). In fact, it is worth noting that
Darienne has across the whole season been a stronger dresser than Adore Delano.
I do not make that assessment to knock Adore, but only to relocate the critique
of Darienne into the context of the season.
When it comes to the Darienne v. Ben debacle, I am on the fence. Sure, Darienne
did not step up to the “Glamazon by Colorevolution” challenge like a classy
queen, but her sour feelings toward Ben did not falter their performances in
that challenge in the end. True, they ended up in the bottom two, but not as a
result of how they worked together—they were just the worst of the eight queens
that week. As for Darienne’s disdain for Ben in general—well, I kind of get it.
You know those certain people you regularly see at parties—they are not in your
social circle but sort of in the periphery—who everyone loves but who for some
unknown reason just rubs you wrong? And when you try to voice your opinion of
that person your friends counter, “But they’re really nice??” And then you want
to say, “Niceness is not requisite for me liking someone! Everyone is supposed
to be nice, that is the bare minimum. This person is boring, and I hate their
stupid voice!” Do you know that experience? If you have, you will understand
Darienne’s experience. Moving on…
As you may or may not know from following Ranking the House Down the last
couple months, I have been gunning for Bianca and Adore to make the top two
(there really is no top three this year, let us be serious here). With that in
mind, it would be a real snore to rank the final three queens of season six,
given all that this reviewer has argued in their favour already. Instead, let
us recap the whole season, and have our own little “countdown to the crown.” Click to the next page, queens!
Ranking the Lip-Syncs the House Down:
11. TIE: Vivacious v. Kelly Mantle,
“Express Yourself;” Darienne Lake v. Magnolia Crawford, “Turn the Beat Around”
This one is a tie because the first two lip-syncs of season six were unsightly
disasters. In the former of the two showdowns, we see Kelly Mantle struggling
to step out of her heels while Vivacious wins the whole thing without really
trying. In the latter we see Magnolia. Period.
10. Laganja Estranja v. Gia Gunn, “Head
This was the lip-sync where two millennial falcons squared off to a song
neither of them appeared to remember/know at all. Laganja did high kicks while
Gia showed off some motifs from kabuki, and it was clear both queens were
trying to pull out whatever hat tricks they had at their disposal as they were
clearly not feeling the musical number.
9. Darienne Lake v. BenDeLaCrème,
Darienne jumping around with a droopy, glittery peehole. Ben waving those
spaghetti arms. Kelly Clarkson. It was all pretty weak.
8. Trinity K. Bonet v. Milk, “What a
Milk was surprisingly not too beige during this rap number, and Trinity’s
sultry treatment of the song was also unexpected. We anticipated more shade and
kiki to a 90s rap track, but Trinity took us in a different direction that paid
off in the end.
7. Adore Delano v. Bianca Del Rio v.
Courtney Act v. Darienne Lake, “Sissy That Walk”
A note to the producers of Drag Race: no more quadruple lip-syncs. We do not
see enough of the four performers. The cross-editing is distracting and
diminishes our interest. Anyway, for what it is worth Adore was the better of
the four queens, and Bianca and Courtney were shockingly underwhelming!
6. Adore Delano v. Joslyn Fox, “Think”
Latrice would not be proud, Adore. This is not how you treat Aretha. Put your
shoes back on like a classy lady, and put some soul into this number. “The
power of Christ compels you!”
5. April Carrion v. Vivacious, “Shake It
However unremarkable the song is, both queens brought cheeky, high-energy
performances for which we will fondly remember their short runs in this
competition. No other queen in season six can walk like Vivacious, and April’s
physical resemblance to Selena Gomez is almost eerie.
4. Darienne Lake v. BenDeLaCrème, “Point
of No Return”
This is the best of the Darienne lip-syncs. Very few queens have ever dressed
so suitably to lip-sync for their lives, and Miss Lake’s shoulder pads worked
beautifully with this 80s one hit wonder. As Bianca described the showdown,
“Miss Darienne is turning it, because you know damn well Miss Darienne had this
on cassette when it came out!” Ben was… okay.
3. Joslyn Fox v. Laganja Estranja,
Not just for the double split, but also because Laganja maintained game face
after her hyperventilating meltdown in the gold bar, and because Joslyn worked
“WOMP WOMP” into the performance.
2. Trinity K. Bonet v. April Carrion,
“I’m Every Woman”
The first really important lip-sync of season six still stuns me. Had Trinity
performed that song before? Every move was perfectly timed. The trots across
the stage, the flowing blue fabric with every sashay, the flipping of the fan—that
was high drag, Mary! Bring Trinity back for All Stars!
1. Adore Delano v. Trinity K. Bonet,
This is one for the Hall of Fame. This is one of those lip-syncs we re-watch in
shitty resolution on YouTube. Both of these queens are now legendary for the
lip-syncing chops they showcased in season six, and this showdown was the
pinnacle for both queens in their performances throughout the entire competition
(not even Adore’s Glitter Ball ensembles impress as much as this lip-sync). I
would be curious to find out if sales of this song went up in the week
following the “Queens of Talk” episode.
A final ranking of the house down on the next page…. Including who should be taking home the crown.
A Final Ranking of the House Down:
14. Magnolia Crawford (13th
It is official: Swordfish Crawford is the worst contestant in drag race
13. Laganja Estranja (8th
While we feel uncomfortable about the lack of closure that accompanied
Laganja’s exit, she still brought a limited breadth of skill and reference to season
six. She could do a death drop and talk kiki, and that’s about it. Oh, and she
rode Adore’s coattails.
12. Kelly Mantle (13th place):
It would have been nice to see Kelly last another episode to at least confirm
the validity of her early elimination. One still wonders, given Miss Mantle’s
resume, if she could have rocked those acting and singing challenges.
11. April Carrion (11th
She is precious in the workroom and on the runway, just not as an actress
or a singer.
10. Vivacious (12th place):
Who would win in a reading mini-challenge between Ornacia and Lil’ Poundcake, one
9. Gia Gunn (10th place):
There should be an All Stars season just for the villains of Drag Race. We
could have six episodes of Gia, Akashia, Rebecca, Phi Phi, Roxxxy, and a rabid
weasel in a cage fight.
8. Milk (9th place):
Did you see Milk skip to her loo down the runway in those platforms? She is the
poster squirrel of glamazon fierceness. Pinocchio was her best look.
7. BenDeLaCrème (5th place):
Take or leave Ben’s runway presentations (and forget those
lip-syncs—zzz-ZZZ-zzz), but her performance as a singer and character actress
for the first half of season six was an impressive streak of highs and wins.
6. Joslyn Fox (6th place):
Joslyn peaked at episode six. What a shame that she didn’t maintain momentum,
because she is among the most lovable of this batch of queens. Her performance
in Snatch Game deserves more credit than it received.
5. Darienne Lake (4th place)
It is too bad this competition got the worse of Darienne. Like Detox and Carmen
in previous seasons, she was a queen who we had high hopes for at the beginning
of the competition, but who didn’t really produce results in the end. Still,
this queen is among the best lip-sync artists of the entire series.
4. Courtney Act (2nd
I have complained extensively about how boring I think Courtney is in the
workroom and in talking head testimonials, but in the end she ranks this high
for her A+ runway ensembles. Klaus Nomi was the best look of the season, and I am
appalled that it was not listed in the season’s best looks on “Countdown to the
3. Trinity K. Bonet (7th
The glamour. The lip-syncs. That stand-up act! Trinity is the unsung hero of
season six. Come on, All Stars!!!
2. Adore Delano (Will she win?):
She can act, sing, impersonate celebrities, rap, read, and even kai kai
when her life depends on it. Adore is spilling over with raw talent, and as the
unpolished ingénue of season six she has presented to audiences a relatable
drags-to-riches story that would make her win a monumental moment in Drag Race
1. Bianca Del Rio (She better win!):
Still, nothing could be more monumental than to crown the all-time best
competitor of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Bianca deserves to win because when it comes
down to it this is the drag Olympics, and if Rupaul was simply awarding the
queen she liked most this whole competition would be a mere flashpoint. Bianca
served throughout this season, and the crown rightfully belongs to her. Still,
in whatever outcome both of these queens have established themselves as drag
celebrities for all time. Whichever queen does not win the crown will still
rise to the fame that has been achieved by Raven, Manila and Alaska in past