Tag Archives: RuPaul’s Drag Race

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 predictions: Who will be the top 5?

Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race is upon us come March 24 on VH1, and I can’t even figure out who will be the first queen sent home. All of this season’s queens seem like they could easily take the win, but even still, I have a couple of predictions as to who will be in the top five. Join me on a journey and see if you agree.

Nina Bonina Brown

 

Nina Bonina is someone who is a true unique force. That’s tough to say that with this list is because all of these queens on this list are true unique forces who are bringing something new to the art of drag. But what Nina brings is a truly different way to paint. She doesn’t just “beat a face” in the traditional beauty queen way; she literally becomes the characters in a hyperrealistic, yet very painterly way. It’s astonishing. (Case in point: her Transformations episode in which she made James St. James into Minnie Mouse.)

Also, her performances are wildly entertaining as well. Maybe the use of “wildly” is a bit of a pun, since this particular video is of her Season 9 premiere party performance as an ape. (As a Planet of the Apes superfan, it’s giving me visions of what an Ape City nightclub must be like and I love it.)

Sasha Velour

Sasha Velour is the performance art queen to beat. Sasha is probably the most avant-garde queen I’ve seen, and she definitely embodies that artsy New York spirit. She also has given herself the unique trademark of an artistic unibrow, which takes from further still from the traditional beauty makeup and presentation of what the mainstream might think of as a drag queen. Overall, Sasha’s elevated drag to a fine art level.

Shea Couleé

Shea Couleé has the makeup skills down and her own set of avant-garde references, as she showed in her episode of Transformations:

But she also has some amazing dancing skills, too, particularly with her Beyoncé performances.

I think she’s probably the most conventional on the list, but she’s got tons of stage presence, and she seems to be in line with the RuPaul mold of Young, Gifted and Black supermodel queens. RuPaul does like her Black Barbie queens, as evidenced by the wins of Bebe Sahara Benét, Tyra Sanchez, and Bob the Drag Queen (who does fall in line with that description for me–wouldn’t you count Viola Davis as a Barbie?), so Shea Coulee could certainly end up following in that tradition.

Valentina

I hope one day Valentina’s fans start calling her La Valentina, because she’s a true Diva in every sense of the word. Well, except for being mean; of course I haven’t seen the show, but she doesn’t strike me as a malicious queen. What she does strike me as is humble, graceful, and gracious to her fans, which is how our Divas used to be back in the day (if, for some Divas, only in their outward appearance to the public).

Valentina really embodies that Diva persona in the best possible way, so much so that it does take me back to my childhood in the ’90s, when you would see these larger-than-life singers like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and Celine Dion and say, “Yes, that’s how a superstar is supposed to be!”

Of course, I’m using examples from my very narrow perspective; clearly, Valentina’s true love lies in showcasing the divas of her childhood and of her background, like Yma Sumac, Isabel Pantoja and Selena Quintanilla, to name just a few. Valentina said in her “Meet the Queens” interview that she tries to bring that telenovela, over-the-top dramatic style to her drag, and she certainly does, and for me, it’s the most comforting thing ever.

Also, she’s Boulet Brothers approved: She won a live stage version of “Dragula” two years ago, so if she can get the Boulet Brothers’ stamp of approval, then that means she’s definitely got some skills up her sleeve.

Aja

For me, it’s really going to come between Valentina, Sasha Velour and Aja for the crown. That’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it. Aja really has something special that gives her the X factor, and I think it’s her ability to tie today’s drag trends and direction to past influences, like The Fifth Element, singer La India and John Leguizamo’s drag-filled one-man comedy acts from the early ’90s. We haven’t even talked about her intense voguing yet, or her ability to perform to any song, whether it’s by a man or woman, whether it’s rap, R&B, salsa, what have you.

Many have tried to read her for looking a lot like Naomi Smalls, but could it be the no breastplate thing is just coming into vogue now? As I wrote above, Aja’s just as much about trends and trendsetting as she is about showcasing her varied pop culture influences and knowledge in her performances. I think she’s been able to combine everything we’ve seen from recent seasons and make something one-of-a-kind. It’s that alchemical ability that just might allow her to snatch the crown.

And just for good measure, here’s the act Aja was referencing in the John Leguizamo mix, “Manny the Fanny.”

Aja not only entertained me, but she taught me something new and increased my love for John Leguizamo ten-fold. Of course I’m going to root for her.

Who do you think will be in the top five? Who do you think will win? Give your opinions below!

“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 2: Did Michelle Visage Go Overboard?

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The question of the day is this: Did Michelle Visage need to flay Adore Delano like that during the judging portion of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars? Couldn’t she have just said “Adore, this look isn’t working for me?”

To refresh everyone, let’s check out some video of the horrid proceedings:

First, I want to know what you think. Tell me your opinions in the comments section. Until then, I’ll go over what I’ve been mulling over and maybe we can reach a consensus.

The fact that Adore dresses grunge isn’t anything new. She’s been dressing like this for years now. If we go by what was said during the deliberation portion of RuPaul’s Drag Race All StarsAdore and Michelle have been arguing about it for years now, also. Which leads me to think that Michelle’s outburst shouldn’t have been all that warranted. I mean, Adore clearly isn’t going to change her aesthetic. Secondly, why have this kind of outburst on national television? That kind of a spat seemed like something that was just a cut above vicious. It almost seemed like a planned attack, particularly after Michelle saw Adore singing in that black sequined (or as Roxxxy Andrews would say, sequinced) boxy, oversized minidress.

The fact that the ordeal obviously embarrassed Adore on the national scale is one thing; that by itself is something to tsk-tsk Michelle about. It’s also something everyone can identify with; who wants to be embarrassed in front of your peers by someone you respect? It’s another issue that the spat hit right at Adore’s personal battles revolving around confidence. At the time, I don’t think Michelle realized just how deep she had cut at Adore. Getting your point across  when you’re mad is something that no one really knows how to do well, but sometimes even our worse attempts are better than just going for the jugular. That’s really the thing about it: Michelle went straight for the jugular. Did she think doing that would finally get Adore to wear a corset? Maybe the other question should be is if a corset is really worth all of that hand-wringing and nastiness. I mean, doggonit; it’s just a corset. If actual grungy women don’t wear corsets, then why should Adore have to wear a corset to dress like a grungy woman? I mean, IT’S GRUNGE.

There’s the argument that Michelle wanted Adore to step up her game if she’s on All Stars. I get it. The black dress and gloves didn’t help matters. But what I personally think Michelle has been trying to say (despite never using the right words for this) is that she just wants Adore to be a little more thoughtful and purposeful with her aesthetic. The main reason why Adore keeps getting the critique of being sloppy or lazy from other queens outside of the show is that the aesthetic, while making sense, doesn’t always look like Adore is in on the joke. Sometimes, it just looks like she’s just wearing a shirt and jean shorts. The whole concept isn’t always brought together into a cohesive look. Despite Adore being a part of the grunge, Riot Grrrl look, some tailoring might be needed to really take the look from “real girl” to “drag queen Riot Grrrl realness.” I think for Michelle, the element of drama and eleganza is gone because Adore doesn’t play to that. If Adore could meld just a sense of that eleganza magic with her aesthetic, then Michelle would probably leave her alone.

Maybe she’s already left Adore alone; after Michelle started receiving tons of hate from RPDR and Adore fans alike, Adore tweeted for folks to leave Michelle alone, that they had filmed that well over a year ago and that she loves Michelle. Clearly, some tough talks were had at some point for the two to get where they are now, because what we’re seeing now is Adore at a rough spot with Michelle and, if rumors are true, Adore walks out by the second episode. I’d be interested in knowing how they patched things up, and how Michelle is taking the backlash now (because while what Michelle did was questionable, it’s not as if she should be subjected to hate either).

Overall, I think Michelle just had a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment, but it seems odd that it would happen during filming. I’m not saying anything, I’m just sayin’ drama makes for good TV.

What did you think, though? I want to hear what you’ve got to say; I’ve been discussing this all day and I want to know other folks’ opinions on this wildly divisive moment so early in the All Stars season.

Interview Rewind: Sahara Davenport ("RuPaul's Drag Race")

Like so many fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and of drag queens in general, I was extremely sad to learn about Sahara Davenport’s death in 2012. When I was still running Moniqueblog.net, I had the chance to speak with Davenport about her then-latest single, “Go Off.” After getting off the phone with her, I’d hoped I’d be able to catch up with her again in the future. Here’s my interview with Davenport.