RuPaul gave fans of Drag Race an extra special treat with the second episode. Not only was the challenge both fresh and funny, but the judges panel was blessedly free from the monotone, monotonous Santino (does he do anything other than repeat the word "couture" and laugh, desperate for approval, at all of RuPaul's jokes?). In his place was the foxy Billy B., always welcome.
But before Billy B. read for filth--and girl, he was vicious!--the queens started off the episode by creating some junk in the trunk using whatever materials the Pit Crew dumped in front of them. Willam, who thought it was going to be an athletic challenge, apologized for wearing a jockstrap, though the sight of him in it needed no apology.
The winners, Phi Phi O'Hara, Willam and Chad Michaels, chose their teams for the WTF wrestling match. In the ring with three pros, they learned all the tricks of the trade, from body slams to clotheslining, before taking the ring in character. As Latrice herself said, "I'm a big bitch," and this was a challenge made for big bitches. Both she, Jiggly Caliente and Madame LaQueer turned in flawless, physical performances for a crowd of screaming gay men and special guest judges Rick Foxx ("I'm gonna tuck extra tight for Rick Foxx," Willam said) and John Salley.
Back in the dressing room, the ladies all bitched and kiki'd in a way that was refreshingly free from the usual backstage drama (maybe they were saving it for Untucked, which I find one of the most toxic half hours of television currently on air).
The runway challenge was to present a girly girl look, which is out of the wheelhouses of most of this year's crop--though Sharon Needles gave you "lost Arquette sister," as Michelle Visage quipped. Lashauwn Beyond glued some big plastic balls to her neckline and carried a giant bubblegum machine to remind the judges that she didn't fall into a McDonald's ball pit; Willam proved that she's all about her body with a barely there outfit (and she did tuck extra tight); and DiDa Ritz claimed that her giant hair bow and long T-shirt dress was supposed to give you a Carrie Bradshaw feel. As Rick Foxx said, "She was trying to give you Sex and the City but it felt more like Sex in an Alley." "I wouldn't turn that down, either," RuPaul said.
In the end, Chad Michaels' team--with Sharon Needles, Latrice and Milan--won the challenge. Willam proved Michelle Visage's critique that her attitude may get in the way by responding to the news of her safety with, "Bye," and joining the rest of the girls upstage. And The Princess and Lashauwn Beyond ("You look like a backup singer for Luther Vandross in 1987," Billy B. told her) were left to lip sync for their lives to Donna Summer's "Bad Girls," a not-great lip sync song. Apparently The Princess killed it live, because there was no hesitation when RuPaul declared that, shante, she stays. Which means that the young, green Lashauwn Beyond had to sashay away. Just as well. She kicked off her shoes early in the song, and performed the whole thing in webbed pantyhose toes. That's something even Santino and Michelle Visage could agree on.
Photo by Aaron Young for Logo