Drag Race season 10 episode 12 recap: ‘I watched Drag Race for the first time and cried like a baby’ A newbie’s hot take
With more puns than diamantes, my first Drag Race experience was one of bemusement, awe and surprise.
Within the first ten minutes of watching I can’t help but ask: have I entered some weird, sequin ridden alternative universe where the gays have taken over? Am I the only queer on the planet who doesn’t like sequins? Can I even be queer if I don’t like sequins?
I try to ignore this lingering sense of existential dread and try to focus on the episode. However, this is an overload of the senses. I appear to have been plunged into the series’ semi-final. Ru enters the dressing room and tells the queens that, for this week’s challenge, they are to each pen and record a solo verse for his new anthem “American”.
Aquaria is the first to take to the studio. Despite the confidence Aquaria expresses, her vocals are a source of entertainment in themselves. It appears that I have walked into a show that is both America’s Next Top Model and X Factor, complete with all the cockiness and duff notes you would expect of the latter.
It is humbling to see how some of the queens physically improve in both ability and confidence throughout the episode. Asia expresses nerves about the challenge, and her vocals are initially wooden and robotic. Yet, by the end, are strong and confident. Kameron initially (who I can infer has controversially survived three final dance offs) appears timid, ultimately has by far the best vocals.
By the time it comes to the final performances after we see tears, stress and many mistaken steps in the rehearsals, all performers pull it out the bag.
We have Aquaria, the sexy senorita in red strutting her little legs across the stage like some sultry mistress luring us into her den. We have Asia who originally appears subtler in her performance, before lurching into energetic ecstasy. We have Eureka smashing it with Britney-style attitude. And we have Kameron with unparalleled musicality.
Quite how any of them managed to perform so astonishingly in those heels will remain one of life’s unanswered questions.
Beyond the infectious campness of it all, this is an episode that is political at its core. All girls come sashaying on stage and sing “I am American just like you too.”
It is a song that effectively says, “we’re here, we’re queer, and we ain’t going anywhere.” Ru tells us at the episode’s outset that “every time I bat my false eyelashes I am making a political statement.”
In retrospect I perhaps shouldn’t be so surprised that a show about drag queens has a political edge, but after all I had heard about the seasons’ flamboyancy and campness, this nod towards drag’s political agenda took me by surprise.
And if I was shocked to be confronted with a sprinkle of glitter-tinged politics, I certainly did not expect to find real life tears flowing from my eyes towards the episode’s conclusion.
After all the performances are complete, Ru asks all the contestants to give advice to their younger selves, producing photographs of all contestants at a young age.
With feelings of lostness and isolation being a key theme throughout the speeches (with Eureka and Kameron getting especially caught up in the moment), these are sentiments that will be recognised by all members of the queer community.
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While it was a little unsurprising when Ru announces that all four queens will make it through to the final, it was a decision that was well deserved.
All queens came out fighting, and with not a single dance move, hair nor eyelash out of place.
With all contestants giving the performance of a life time and looking equally as stunning on the run way, it really was impossible to distinguish between the talent on display.
This has been an hour of bemusement, joy, tears and self-revelations. Did I expect to well up at a show in which one contestant (Eureka, naturally) would appear dressed as a dictionary? Certainly not.
While you may not find me tuning in every week, my first Drag Race experience has undoubtedly been one that I will not forget anytime soon.