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RECAP: RuPaul's Drag Race Episode 5


T and wet T-shirts for RuPaul's dolls

Assuming that Logo renews RuPaul's Drag Race for a fifth season--if they don't insist on forcing more reality bullshit like the upcoming Toddlers and Tiaras spinoff Eden's World down our throats--can someone please lay down some ground rules when it comes to lip syncing for one's life? As in: Don't tear off your wigs, don't disrobe and don't think that doing the splits continues to be jaw dropping. All three tropes were in heavy rotation this week during the climactic battle, and all three are as tired as Phi Phi O'Hara's constant sniping about the other queens.

But before Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" led one doll to safety, there was a wet T-shirt contest to win! Yes, the eight is enough contestants donned the rubber breastplates the judges have criticized so often, some made-to-order tees and pranced around on a stage outside while the Pit Crew soaked them in water--getting their skimpy briefs plenty wet in the process. No surprise when the winner was announced: It was Willam, who was serving up serious Girls Gone Wild realness. He described his look as a gal who wants to go to Miami, but "can only afford Fort Lauderdale."

In the dressing room, RuPaul suddenly swerves course from the nip slips to the serious when she throws down drag history about Stonewall. This week's challenge is for the dolls to construct pride parade float boats with a message. Willam's message is that he's a star. Literally. He covers his entire boat in star stickers featuring his image.

On the runway, half the girls are sickening and half are just saddening. Sharon Needles turns her left arm into a snake for an Adam and Eve riff that would make Gypsy Rose Lee proud; Latrice Royale is a cross between Aladdin's Genie and The Little Mermaid's Ursula; Chad Michaels could easily have sashayed off of a Las Vegas stage. But Jiggly wraps herself in a cape that seems like a colorful straitjacket; Phi Phi still doesn't know how to pad her body appropriately; DiDa Ritz looks like an extra from an '80s music video; Milan's whole boat is an homage to herself--and she doesn't pull it off like Willam, who stopped the runway to drop anchor and set foot on dry land.

During critiques, the incisive Kelly Osbourne gets more screen time than Michelle Visage or fellow guest judge, NCIS's Pauley Perrette, who was... present. Kelly alone notices the camel toe; she, bearing the weary weight of a tiara, is the one who squeals in delight at Willam's body and upbraids Billy B. for his fat joke about Jiggy Caliente. Her wise sass makes Michelle Visage seem like a try-hard. When next season comes around, perhaps Kelly will grace the judges' table more frequently? Until then, we'll make do with her appearance this episode, a total delight.

Less delightful was the paint-by-numbers lip sync for your life between Jiggly and Milan (reprising all her moves from the previous two lip syncs for her life). Milan ripped off her wig with a faux defiant scowl; she tore off her dress; she fell backwards onto the stage; she even copied Jiggly and did the splits. All to no avail; the judges have seen all that before, and all eyes were on Jiggly, who turned it out in a not unpleasant fashion. So it is that Milan must sashay away, leaving RuPaul's Lucky 7. And what a seven they are! Never before has Ru assembled such a diverse array of talent, all of whom make Monday nights a pleasure again after the backbiting drama of last season's queens.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Mark Peikert