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Ranking the Glitter Ball Down: A Breakdown of the Final Four of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six

Ranking the Glitter Ball Down: A Breakdown of the Final Four of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six

This season has so far caused
two major controversies (to do with the competition, not its cultural politics
of gender). The first huge upset was the elimination of Trinity K. Bonet over
Joslyn Fox; and now this week fans got their knickers in a twist over the
elimination of BenDeLaCrème over Darienne Lake. Indeed this season has lost
much of its intensity due to the elimination of these queens who had the
endurance to send home any of the remaining four, with exception to Bianca who
is holy drag manna.

Looking back at this drag ball and the wedding dress challenge before it, I am
still personally chagrined that Trinity was not still in the competition to
dazzle the judges as well as give the competition more complexity. After all,
why have one amateurish ingénue learning the ropes from Rupaul and Bianca Del
Rio when we could have two? And how is it that Trinity could go home after that
salacious lip-sync to “Vibeology” with Adore, which was basically the best kai
kai since Raja and Carmen, when Ben got to stay after her shitty lip-sync to
“Point of No Return”? I could wax nostalgic for days about Trinity K. Bonet,
and now that we have seen the drag ball I have an even more fantastical
imagination about how Trinity could have presented in those categories. Her
banjy girl in the “Oh No You Better Don’t” video was the most authentic look of
all the queens (rap performance aside); her Nicki Minaj in Snatch Game was
halfway to executive realness; and her Rupaul-inspired runway look could have
competed in the glitter eleganza category as emerald chic. But I digress…

Before this week’s Glitter
Ball the trajectory of season six was pointing Ben towards the top two, and the
way the cards were laid out she really seemed to possess the raw goods to give
Bianca a run for her money. I only meet the judges halfway on their critiques
of Ben this week. I know that this is top five so the scrutiny is bound to be
more involved and thorough, and I also understand that Ben deserved to be in the
bottom two this week given how the remaining contestants averaged across all
three looks. However, the judges reacted to Ben’s effort in this challenge as especially
weak when it was merely not as good as the three better queens. Ben’s banjy
girl was about as off the mark as Courtney’s, and her business look was about
as strong as Bianca’s. Michelle deserves mad respect for the care she puts into
her criticisms on this show (she has received a wave of hateful comments this
week over the elimination of Ben), but it is startling that she did not pick up
on the citations in Ben’s business realness. It was His Girl Friday meets
Chinatown, meets motherfucking Mildred Pearce! You don’t get more business
savvy than that! 

It is fine that Ben is in the bottom two, as the judges are correct that her
eleganza was basically a rehash of her looks from Scream Queens and Drag Queens
of Comedy. Furthermore, she tends to go for a fortified gladiator structure in
her bodices that is not as cute as she wants to be. Nonetheless, the detailing
of the rose quartz in her eleganza look deserves recognition.

I am comfortable with Ben going home on account of two significant problems I
have with her: the rigidity of her aesthetic in terms of silhouette and
paintjob; and the fact that she is a boring lip-syncer. Courtney was on the
button with her remark that Ben dances like a rubber chicken: she is trying to
give Celine arms but just comes off like she is doggy paddling in the shallow
end. Say what you will about how lip-syncing is weighted in Rupaul’s evaluation
of queens, but at the end of the day you are going to pay door cover to see a
queen who you know will turn it the fuck out on a stage. Ben has twice not
brought it, whereas Darienne lip-syncs like rent is due.

I honestly wanted the exact final four that now remain in season six—just not
like this. To elaborate, weeks ago we had imagined Darienne could surprise us a
couple more times, given the strength she had exhibited in the first half of
the competition. All that materialized, however, was one tight stand-up gig and
some fun wig switches. To boot, her performance in the Glitter Ball might have been
the worst of the season. Hence viewers are stunned that Ben went home while
Darienne stays in this competition for another week because while Ben has
exhibited a wide array of skills and talents, Darienne has been almost
consistently lacklustre by comparison. I do believe this was Ben’s time to go
home, but I also feel that Darienne should have joined her. A double
elimination would have been a more appropriate decision on Ru’s part this week,
both because we know—and I know I said the same thing last week but this time I
am certain—CERTAIN—Darienne will go home next week (remember her last music
video?), and because neither queens deserved to participate in the final
challenge. Furthermore, that Kelly Clarkson lip-sync is not re-watchable. At

Four queens left! Let us rank ‘em the house down on the next page.

#4. Darienne Lake
Where she will finish: #4

It is easy to commiserate the loss of Ben by lashing out at her rival this
week, but then that would overlook how enjoyable Darienne was this episode.
There are a few things that deserve acknowledgment with reference to Darienne’s
performance in this challenge. First of all, she outshined the other queens in
that opening musical number, and reminded us exactly why Ivy Winters’s
impersonation of Marilyn Monroe in last season was so offensively boring. By
the way, who is writing these embarrassing musical numbers? These songs are the
worst—they should be dragged out into the yard and shot. But back to

It is true that Darienne’s interpretation
of banjy girl was more club kid (basically, the reincarnation of Ornacia), and
when she walks out in her business attire it shows on Darienne’s face that even
she is in disbelief that she is wearing it—she even exhales on the main stage
like she just ate something she would regret. (Best critique: Michelle: “The
executive realness—didn’t buy that either. Where, Jiffy Lube?) Darienne’s
eleganza look, however, droopy topaz vagina aside, was beautiful in its
conception. I would even bet that it looked great when Darienne first put the
gown on. The stretchiness of the material was an unfortunate fashion hazard
because from waist up Darienne was the best looking of the five queens in the
eleganza category. It is also remarkable that she turned that look out after
scrapping a half-finished topaz look, a wise a choice it appeared. “Whole new
dress, whole new fabric, whole new everything—what the fuck am I thinking?” she
said, and we all panicked for her. So with this is mind, Darienne’s final
product is not that terrible, is less of an eyesore than whatever Ben stuck in
her hair and on her hips, and had the potential to be the best look of the
bunch. Too bad that it wasn’t.

Looking back at the whole
season we can tell Darienne will not send Courtney or Adore home, and comparing
her with the other three queens makes it a moot point that she is even left in
the competition. However, Darienne showed sensitivity and vulnerability in the
Untucked Lounge this week that reminds us why we still like her, and this shows
promise that she could leave season six on a more sentimental note. Aside:
Bianca’s read of Darienne’s childhood photo was rich like butter: “The picture
is sepia so it must be Darienne!”

#3: Courtney Act
Where she will finish: Runner-up

Santino was right about Courtney’s eleganza: it was the best of the five
queens, and was walked in a way that seemed so natural and effortless. Michelle
has become tired with Courtney because this queen has only been a pro for the
entire season. She shows no flaws! In fact, the only critique the judges make
of her is that she shows no flaws, which is not much a critique. 

Courtney’s major glitch,
however, is her personality. This queen is not relatable at all. She is so high
above us, on a fucking pedestal, posing and smiling perfectly and waving her
hand like drag royalty. Nothing fazes her because she is a robot. This makes
her less likeable than Bianca and Adore, and it arises as an issue whenever
Courtney has to step up to any challenges that require charm or empathy or
anything remotely relational.

Exhibit A: Courtney is not funny. She just isn’t. Go back and re-watch that
puppet mini-challenge and try not punch yourself in the face.

Exhibit B: No one believes Courtney when she says in the Untucked Lounge, “Today’s
the first time that I’ve actually felt like myself, and today I feel like the
silly, crazy, zany, fun Courtney that I am when I’m just with my friends has come
through . . .” It seems like she practiced that line in front of a mirror:
“Today I will be personable!” 

Exhibit C: Courtney knows how to be beautiful but not how to express anything
through her beauty. Her banjy girl was calculated and turgid, when banjy is
supposed to be about vibe and nerve (as Adore and Bianca demonstrated). I
laughed so hard when she explained her banjy look in the phrase of a question:
“I’m feeling pretty banjy? I’ve got my boyfriend’s flannel and I feel like I
could cut someone?” That’s Beige 101 right there. Best critique: Michelle, on
Courtney’s silhouette: “Go rob a couch.”

Exhibit D: Courtney is the queen who shows the MOST skin and is the LEAST
sexual!! That makes her about as charismatic as a fucking Dove commercial.  

I am starting to think that Courtney would have been more likeable if she
played the villain of season six, because this week she conveyed so much
soreness towards the judges’ decisions. She made about a hundred bitchy faces
and it was delightful to watch, especially through that squirmy, manic smile
and that angry-looking ruby red mask. She is so obviously tense but keeps on
this creepy veneer of loveliness, and it was kinda fun to watch her split at
the seams (not literally—squirrel friend is a size 00 I bet). I am waiting for
Courtney to blow her lid and destroy the set like Carrie White at the high
school prom. That would make her relatable!

Do you not find it fascinating that Courtney is most entertaining as a brunette?
Stew over that for a moment.

#2: Adore Delano
Where she will finish: I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE!!!!!

Adore turned it around this
week, like we all wanted, but did anyone think she would win the Glitter Ball?
That was impressive, and deserved as well, though we should break this down some
more. Adore did not win because she was miles ahead of the other girls in the
challenge—Bianca got two out of three ensembles right, as did Courtney—but
really because Adore had the best average across the three runway looks. It
deserves saying that if we had not heard Adore audaciously describe her
business realness as “hot lesbian” we would not have loved it as much. In fact,
it was only when she opened her top to show her black bra that it started to
feel like we were watching Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. (Here’s an
idea for a future Drag Race challenge: the queens re-enact 90s erotic neo-noirs
and we all get wet!!!). When she first walked out on that runway I was reminded
of my days as a sales associate for Club Monaco, when all the girls I worked
with had to wear uniforms comprised of a “Vanessa shirt” and “Tex pants” that
stretched at the crotch. Of course, Adore is always reliable to sell a garment
regardless of how it looks on its own, and the boss bitch act worked in the end.

With Ben out of the way, Adore is Bianca’s main threat, and much so after her
challenge win this week. Even with the challenge win aside, we can still tell
that this is where the season is going from the five minute long exchange
between Adore and the judges during the queens’ critiques. If Courtney does not
win next week’s challenge, one of Bianca or Adore will rise to tie Sharon
Needles for most challenges won in a season. I am extremely nervous because
Adore is great on camera (when scripted), and if she wins this whole thing I
will go on a rampage. I might even set fire to the high school prom. I love
Adore, but I have all my chips on Bianca and I need the Goddess of C.U.N.T. to
take the crown, at least to maintain order in this world.

#1. Bianca Del Rio
Where will
she finish: I TOLD YOU, I

It is
true, her eleganza was a worse version of looks we have seen from her before,
but overall Bianca was strong in this challenge. Her reference to early 90s
Mary J. Blige was an impressive take on banjy girl, and the way she matched her
orange beehive to her blue two-piece for her business ensemble was very
eye-catching. This was another week of Bianca just being Bianca, which is
always better than the other queens. Still, we are bummed that she did not win
the Glitter Ball, because our bets were on the professional seamstress stomping
all over the challenge.

Adore is rising and Bianca is about the same as she has been throughout the
whole competition. Will Adore speed ahead of Bianca in this season’s Drag Race?
Has the world gone topsy-turvy? Where’s my rosary?!

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