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RECAP: RuPaul's Drag Race Episode 8


The dolls do it in teams and someone is mysteriously let go

RuPaul's Drag Race this week was taking no chances with its frenemy theme. From the main stage challenge to the quips and quotes interspersed throughout by savvy editors, there was no mistaking the gleam-in-the-eye reading going on. Winner of for shadiest/funniest was Latrice Royale, who, upon hearing that Jennifer Tilly was one of the guest judges, told the camera, "Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly. It doesn't get any better."

Even before that, though, Latrice was on fire. After some lie detector tests administered by a stern RuPaul (serving you Ida Lupino in a woman's prison flick, and saying "ki-ki" more in three minutes than in the entire series), the queens were paired up with their polar opposites. That paired Latrice and Willam, Chad Michaels and DiDa, and Phi Phi O'Hara and Sharon Needles. "What does DiDa have that you don't?" Ru asked Latrice. "She's not afraid to fall on her face," Latrice answered. No T, no shade!

Phi Phi, however, like any unfunny person, clung to her one joke about Sharon Needles, and threw "Party City" at her like a metronome. You could ask her what time it was, and she'd say, "Where? In PARTY CITY?" For the main stage challenge, the three teams have to create "frenemy" nightclub acts. Coached by Ru's songwriter Luciane Piane--who seemed checked out for the entire episode--too many of the dolls worried about singing live rather than nailing the comedy. For reference, ladies, please view the I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel sing a duet in the same gown, and neither of them are happy about it.

In the end, Latrice and Willam's physical comedy blows the other two teams out of the water. Chad Michaels and DiDa are on opposite ends of the energy spectrum; and though Phi Phi and Sharon learned how to play nice ("I'm getting to like Phi Phi," Sharon says. "Now it's upgraded to hate"), their act fell flatter than some of the notes coming out of their mouths as an angel and a devil. At least Phi Phi took Luciane's advice and dropped her Jeanette MacDonald vocalizing. (This entire recap brought to you by Julius bar patrons, circa 1966.)

In addition to Tilly, Pamela Anderson joined Luciane in the guest judges' seats. When Ru mentions double trouble during her introduction, Pamela--consciously or not--shimmies in her chair. To no one's surprise, Willam and Latrice are named the winners of the challenge. And since the queens live by the team, die by the team, Phi Phi and Sharon must lip sync for their lives to Martha Wash and Ru's "It's Raining Men... The Sequel."

Phi Phi leaps and jumps and slides all over the stage, losing her wig in the process. She's acrobatic, but Sharon does a flawless, classic queen lip sync, all Judy Garland mouth and subversive face. She tears into the lyrics, and even flashes her panties at one point. Hey, at least she was wearing some, unlike Willam.

Speaking of her, while Ru tells Phi Phi and Sharon that they are in the bottom two, Willam leans over the edge of the stage and vomits copiously. Too much liquid refreshment in the Interior Illusions Lounge? Something fishier may be afoot, actually--and I don't just mean her look. Instead of pronouncing judgment on Phi Phi and Sharon, Ru calls Willam forward and cryptically announces that, since she's broken the rules, she'll be the one sashaying away this week. And no, not even a visit to Untucked provided any answers. (Although rule breaker or not, Willam is nothing compared to the vicious and loud Phi Phi, it turns out.) Turns out, we'll have to wait until the reunion special to find out what went down behind the scenes, but I've already lost interest.

Five queens left, all of them strong performers. Who'll be the last ones standing? Now that we know Sharon can lip sync for her life, I'm feeling more confident that she'll make it to the final three. But only time and RuPaul can tell.

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

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Mark Peikert