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Ranking the House Down: The Remaining Five Squirrel Friends of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six

Ranking the House Down: The Remaining Five Squirrel Friends of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six

“Drag My Wedding” was a bit of a dud compared to previous episodes, and
much of this is to do with that Trinity K. Bonet is not here anymore to shake
up the competition. Think about it, two sewing competitions in a row are
exactly what Trinity had been waiting for all season. This was her moment to
shine, and while we know she did not deserve to make it to the top three based
on her performance throughout the season (and it may have been a contributing
factor to her elimination, the fact that she could have outperformed BenDeLaCreme
and Courtney Act in the couture challenges) it bothers us now that we are
looking back through the vacuum of this boring and predictable episode. Of
course Adore and Joslyn were going to end up in the bottom two! Of course
Bianca was going to win, and Joslyn was going to go home! The only surprise
here is that the judges somehow preferred Courtney’s drag mother-daughter combo
over Darienne’s bride-wore-black presentation. That was a ridiculous decision.

In addition, the main challenge was boring for the following reasons. First of
all, as Oliver Sava has already mentioned in his review for the AV Club this
week (start following their recaps if you have not started yet), straight
marriages are not a spectacular sight on a show that is a platform for LGBTQ
issues, and is shot in a country where more than half the states have still not
passed same-sex marriage. Furthermore, we have already seen bride realness once
before, in season two. It was amazing, and made this challenge seem like a
shoddy rehash. On that note, the dressing up of jocks has also been done before,
in season three. That was also a superior episode. What would have made this
challenge more fun is if the queens had to dress up the brides as drag queens. Girl-on-girl drag has not been done yet!!!!

At least we got to watch Joslyn get sent home on a high note. Her drag mother
look was beautiful as well as suitable to the challenge, even if Brandonna
looked like the lady gremlin. Joslyn, this one is for you. Big hugs! 

*          *          *          *          *         

We are at a somewhat predictable trajectory in the home stretch of season six,
where we are now sure Bianca will win (lest there be riots in the streets), Ben
is a shoe-in into the top three, and Darienne is going home next week. The
following mysteries remain…

1. Who will edge into the top three
between Courtney Act and Adore Delano?

So far Courtney has performed overall better than Adore. Courtney has been
mostly safe across the season, with a couple challenge wins and no lip-syncs.
Adore has hit high more times that Courtney, but has also her share of poor
challenge performances and unfinished runway presentations.
There is also the factor of character storyline to account for. Adore is the
young hopeful of season six who, for her wealth of talent in all performing
arts, needs a boost of confidence to become America’s next drag superstar. Her
most recent pitfall in the drag-up challenge is building us up, I suspect, for
a major come-back next episode. Here is hoping such, because in the event that
Adore falls in the bottom two again I will become very bored of this season.
Meanwhile, Courtney has been a consistently impressive competitor, her teddy
bear and lingerie get-up being her only low point. She is never unpolished, and
a couple of her recent ensembles promise a range that we would like to see more
of from her. That said, she seems to think she has already won this season and
that puts a bad taste in our mouths. In addition, due to her unshakeable
confidence and repose Courtney’s challenge wins have felt obvious and
uneventful. Drag Race fans love good character development, and we get off when
we see queens overcome their deepest vulnerabilities to turn out fierceness we
never knew they had. Adore and Ben have given us these enjoyments more than
Courtney. Ultimately, however, quality is still what it is and Courtney has
never performed “poorly”. Measuring Courtney against Adore at this point is such
an exhaustive exercise that it has us wondering…

2. Will there be a final four instead a
final three?

Michelle Visage said herself that this is one of the tightest competitions she
has ever seen. She is not referring to Bianca, of course—we all know she has
this bitch in the bag. However, Adore, Ben, and Courtney are so neck and neck
that it is hard to imagine a top three at this point. In addition, the editing
this season has been so sly and deceptive that the competition appears to take
a ninety degree turn on a weekly basis. Just when we are ready to write off one
of these girls they come back strong the following week.  
So, this leaves us with a couple possibilities. The first is that, in the outcome
that Darienne goes home next week in the “Glitter Ball” challenge—and she
will—the remaining four queens will go on to perform in the “Sissy That Walk”
shoot, making this season the first time that four queens compete in the music
video challenge. This does not seem implausible, as the four of Bianca, Adore,
Ben, and Courtney make a perfect foursome. With Darienne out of the picture
they would make a well-rounded foursome, like an 80s pop quartet or a group of
intergalactic super heroines. Side by side, they cover many of the styles we
have seen on Drag Race: kitsch artists, fish filets, high campers, the sweet
and the sour. They have such distinctive styles of hair and makeup, and such
different shapes and sizes, that to eliminate one of the top four queens would
seem to create a hole in the matrix between the four of them. Taking out any
one of Courtney, Ben, or Adore would be like removing a whole species from a
drag ecosystem. So, there is a good chance that four queens will compete in the
final challenge of season six. In the scenario that only three queens feature
in “Sissy That Walk,” however, we are curious…

3. Will there be a double elimination in the next episode?
If two queens are eliminated next episode there are two credible double-eliminations
to consider: Darienne and Adore, or Darienne and Courtney. We know by now that
the judges are becoming tired of seeing the same designs and silhouettes from
Darienne. Actually, we have not yet heard Michelle or Santino say this, but I
foresee this criticism in the next episode. In their YouTube video series
“Fashion Photo Ruview,” Raven and Raja have explicitly voiced this opinion of
Darienne’s style, and I can feel it coming from the judges soon. This bothers
me, because I think the critique is implicitly discriminatory towards plus-size
squirrels. I mean, you can pad for days and add yards of fabric to an ensemble
(ahem, Jiggly Caliente), but there is only a certain extent to which you can
minimize size and alter shape. I personally think the edgiest fashion choice
Darienne made this season was when she added puffy sleeves to her
black-and-white ensemble, making the silhouette even wider. It was a radical
gesture (very Beth Ditto), almost as if to state, “You think what you have seen
is large, well get ready hunties!” Basically, at the end of the day a big queen
is a big queen so make quick and decide whether you are getting on the bus or
waiting for the next one. 

will go home for sure, not just because of how she will perform in the challenge
(in all probability worse than Bianca and Ben), but because the show’s
producers are really trying to frame her as the villain of the remaining
queens. I suppose that in the scheme of who is left in this competition
Darienne is the bitch of the bunch, but then this is in the context of season
six when almost no one is throwing serious shade. In season five every queen
was serving up T, all baggage was on the table, and almost no one was innocent.
And we loved it. When Darienne goes home, this competition will reach an
unprecedented level of diplomacy that will feel like drag model UN (Australia,
US, the lost city of Atlantis and Seattle). It might become boring, I warn you. 

is a strong candidate to go home in a double elimination next week because we
have already seen her muck up style challenges, from her ankle length dresses
to her barely together Honey Boo Boo ensemble, to last week’s especially
disheartening, half-assed attempt to put another dude in a dress. She seems an
obvious candidate to end up in the bottom two—maybe almost too obvious. As I
have already predicted I think Adore is going to pull some polish out of her
ass and impress the judges with genuinely impressive runway ensembles, or at
least a couple of them. I cannot base this prediction on much more than a hunch;
that, and the fact that the editing of the last episode gives the impression
that Adore will blossom once more before the season’s end.  

is a probability that Courtney will fall in the bottom two next week for one
of, if not both of the following reasons: all three of her outfits will have
the same blonde-bombshell shtick (refer to all her runway choices for the first
half of the season); and she keeps relying on that body! I also think Michelle
will finally call Courtney out for barely beating her face, as it is
unremarkable for a drag competition. Courtney’s blonde hair will also be
referred to in some way as a crutch.
Then again, maybe there will not be a double elimination next episode but in
the final challenge. Maybe Rupaul
will have figured out by the end of the season that there really is a final two
in this season and eliminate Courtney and Adore in one big blow, leaving the audience
to vote between two queens this year. This feels like a viable finale, as the
Bianca and Ben camps now seem the strongest of the five remaining queens. We
know from the herstory of Drag Race that Ru could throw any wrench into the mix
at this point. A double elimination, a triple lip-sync, a final four, a final
two, two lip-syncs in the same episode—fuck, why not even a lip-sync battle
between Bianca and Courtney next episode, just to throw audiences off—any of
these conclusions are possible! Remember the movie adaptation of the Parker
Brothers board game Clue, when there were three alternate endings? This is the
same thing, basically.

One thing is for sure: we are in for a big surprise in one of the next two
episodes. The anticipation it too much! Now let us rank the house down (on the next page)…

5. Courtney Act: Her self-absorption is unpalatable at times. That she outshined her drag daughter this week was especially off-putting. 

4. BenDeLaCreme: Now that she has
dropped the voice and worn something I actually like, I am starting to take her

3. Darienne Lake: She is obviously
going home next week, and it sucks because she is majorly under-appreciated.
Her drag daughter was a stunning transformation, even if mother looked a bit
bought off the rack.

2. Adore Delano: Our fingers are
crossed that she brings it next week. That lip-sync was disappointing. 

1. Bianca Del Rio: If she does not
lip-sync in one of the next two episodes Bianca will become the greatest
competitor in Drag Race herstory. Dwell on that for a moment.


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