Episode One – Rumble on the Runway
The show gets right down to business this season. There’s no lingering over the empty Werk Room. One quick shot, and then Miss Fame comes slithering in, looking like Vivacious’s dinosaur, only with a couple million years (and thousand dollars’) worth of evolution. Miss Fame is quickly followed by Ginger Minj, who describes herself as a “glamor toad.” She does look a bit squat next to the willowy Miss Fame. So does Jaidynn Diore Fierce, who enters in a rainbow cha-cha outfit.
Violet Chatchki is next, with a pretty purple dress and pretty lavender hair. Max covers her entrance with a newspaper. The headline reads, “MAX HAS ARRIVED!” Max describes herself as “old Hollywood glamor.” Her dress suit has a 1940’s charm, and her sad hair makes me wonder if she’s gone into a Norma Desmond decline. Katya stomps in, basically wearing the Russian flag.
Number seven is Jasmine Masters, who is prepared to bring a party and chew the scenery with her enormous teeth. She’s like that loud neighbor on Good Times. Eager to join her is Mrs. Kashia Davis, who looks like Liza Minelli. She’s followed by Trixie Mattel, who also enters with a newspaper in front of her face. It makes sense, though, because she’s painted a truly frightening clown face. It deserves the extra special reveal.
Kandy Ho is this year’s Puerto Rican queen — although she seems to have no trouble with English. Unfortunately, I’m getting a whiff of Phi-Phi O’Hara bitchiness about her. I don’t want to pre-judge her attitude, but I’m worried she’ll turn into the season’s villain.
By the time Pearl enters, the party’s in full swing. She describes herself as a “robotic Stepford wife,” and has drawn a black chin-strap to frame her face. Interesting choice. I’m not quite sure I get it. Kennedy Davenport causes an immediate sensation when her two-foot tall hair flounces in. Jasmine just about has a fit, she’s so excited to meet Kennedy, who is her idol.
The next arrival is Sasha Belle, in an orange and white dress, toy shotguns blazing. She tells us that she’s been studying the show and figures she knows how to win this competition. Finally, Tempest DuJour, comes in with a shock joke, opening her legs and dropping a plastic baby doll on the floor. ala the “Every Sperm is Sacred” sketch from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. Kandy Ho immediately asks how old she is. See what I mean by bitch vibe?
Now that the show has had time to think about the She-Mail segment, the call has been changed, “Ooo! She already done got herses!” RuPaul appears on the screen in baby form. With an animated mouth, like Space Ghost.
The cosmetics sponsor this year is Anastacia. I hope I’m spelling that right. It’s amazing how many boutique cosmetic companies there are in the Drag World with enough cash to buy this show for a single year. There are also new judges, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews, replacing Santino Rice. I guess it takes two of them. One to wear hats, and the other to be glared at by Michelle Visage.
The mini-challenge is a doozy. The queens have to immediately show two outfits, a spring look and a fall look. Although Kathy Griffin has been announced as the guest judge, it’s not her, but Alaska, who snarks at the queens on the runway. I think is the first time the show has ever had an alumni judge. Alumni judges! It’s a trend in 2015!
The standout look of both season is a clever jumpsuit Violet wears. It flips from a black to red tartan pattern, drawing a gasp from the judges. Trixie’s spring outfit is a nicely vintage Mod mini-skirt. Miss Fame’s first outfit makes her look like Jessica Rabbit, hourglass figure and everything. As far as I can tell, nobody wins the challenge.
Afterwards, RuPaul introduces the Pit Crew, who enter the Werk Room buck naked. Their privates are, of course, blurred. But RuPaul does observe that the newest fellow in the crew is Jewish. The reason for the nudity is that the main challenge is not “do something with some crap we give you,” as in previous years, but to create a piece of resort wear that tears away to show a nude illusion. Okay, that kind of explains the Space Ghost baby, since RuPaul famously says that “we’re born naked. The rest is drag.”
RuPaul does the Werk Room rounds, and we learn that Tempest DuJour is a repeat auditioner. Also, she used to be 400 pounds. Adopting children made her realize that she wanted to be healthy more than she wanted a bucket of chicken. Tempest is, I think, the oldest contestant ever at 46. She is also a costume designer.
Kandy Ho, as it turns out, does not sew. But she loves to show body. So, she’s got that going for her. Jasmine explains that she’s working on a “cocoon,” for her resort piece. RuPaul looks more and more bewildered the more Jasmine talks and finally wanders away.
On the main runway, RuPaul has decided to wear her own nude illusion. It’s a light blue gown with more cutouts than fabric. Michelle wears a bejeweled unitard reminiscent of Darienne Lake’s Jewel Ball gown.
Katya is first, and quite fierce in her thigh-high red boots. There is much blurring of her front and her back, which makes me wonder how well she tucked. She gets gasps when she bends over. Sasha Belle is wearing an old lady girdle, which is not attractive. Although it is bejeweled. Tempest has hung tacky gold jewelry everywhere to distract from her droopy white bodysuit she has on. Trixie looks like a doll — seriously not going for realism, this one. Jasmine is wearing one of those shower cabanas you occasionally see on Survivor. When she emerges from it, she’s got on a lot of fringe to cover the nude. Max does a Sharon Needles-like polio victim, stumbling down the runway on steel crutches. Violet does more of a striptease than a tearaway, and she didn’t do much illusion. She looks real — and not exactly female. But not exactly boy, either.
As it turns out, Violet wins the challenge. The bottom two are Kandy Ho and Tempest, who complains about the age crack Kandy made earlier. Kandy shrugs and points out, once again, the Tempest is old. They lip-sync to RuPaul’s “Geronimo,” which is a high-energy dance track. Which favor’s the 24-year-old Kandy much better than Tempest. It’s understandable when RuPaul sends Tempest home.
Tempest takes the dismissal with a few tears, but also with dignity. She reminds us that even coming in last is an achievement, and leaves a mirror message about following your dreams for the others to find.
Logo TV hasn’t put up the full episode yet. I’ll come back with the video when they post it. Also, Untucked is going to be online only this season. They’re supposed to upload it by 9:00 am (EST) on the WOW presents channel. We’ll have to wait until then for all the T!
What did you think about the premiere? Do you have any favorites yet? Let me know!
Wow. This is ten thousand times better than last year’s show. More, um, naked than ever. One advantage of putting it on youtube is that we get to see their nude illusions unblurred. What they’re wearing is not a bunch of pixels, but hand-painted bodysuits. We don’t get a full set, but just an l-shaped couch and a table with drinks behind the set.
And then we get what fans have been asking for, simple conversation. No fake reaction shots or soap-opera drink-sipping. Trixie celebrates reaching her goal of not going home first. They talk about their first impressions of each other, and amicably discuss who they thought was annoying. They groan about how much pain they are in — especially their penises. Some of them are looking forward to the new judges, but Jaidynn is disappointed that Santino is gone. Pearl is not.
Then the top seven comes in. Kennedy calls the added judging painful. Sasha says they were asked to name the “weakest link,” so they talk about who they all found unimpressive. The names that come up are Pearl, Tempest, and Sasha. Sasha, because she’s generally uncreative, and because she completely flubbed the nude illusion. When she explains that she didn’t understand the instructions, the others are not buying it. But they haven’t gotten tired and stressed enough to fight about it, so it’s kind of sweet.
We see them finding out over Skype that they’ve made it on the show. They talk about the reality of the show, and how it compares to what they dreamed it would be. Then the stage manager gives them a five minute warning, and we see a touching moment as Sasha and Tempest help each other practice for the upcoming lip-synch.
After Tempest is cut, we watch her wait for her exit interview, and watch the others wait until she’s done to re-enter the Werk Room. I love this new look. I hope it’s not just for this “born naked” episode, but that it carries on through the season. It’s a lot more fun to see the reality of the backstage world than it was to watch the manufactured drama of the past few seasons. Bravo, World of Wonder!