Disclaimer: I don’t have a prior knowledge of the history of ‘drag’ and its culture and I’m only bringing in my limited knowledge of reality TV shows particularly America’s Next Top Model so apologies in advance. Timestamps for scenes and snippets of conversations have been included so if you want to read ahead, make sure you are also watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix.
Vogue-Off Mini Challenge
I’m all for Nina in this challenge and to be honest, once again, a bit surprised that Ru favors Rebecca in this round, only second to Nina. Nina and Shannel seem to be really good competitors in the Vogue-Off. But who am I to say who’s going to win or not. This is my first season after all.
Nina eventually wins the challenge and gets to pick the Absolut Vodka Fruit Flavor that she’s going to represent and assign the other flavors to the remaining contestants.
Main Challenge: 3 Looks Representing the Absolut Vodka Fruit Flavor
Uno, dos, uno, dos, I’m the biggest b**** in the world!Charo
At this part of the competition, more time is spent on the drama going behind the scenes. Cuts and edits are peppered with scathing remarks about each other. Then again, as an audience, I also know that these lovely ladies have only responded to questions and their responses may have been edited, cut, restructured so they appear more hurtful to spice things up. Yes, editing videos surely is enlightening.
- I am surprised that Bebe has been allowed to wear the attire she was wearing in the first episode. Backtracking a little, I can hear an audio cut inserted in the portion where RuPaul explains the mechanics of the main challenge and it appears that it is in fact allowed.
- Nina’s dress looks stunning. Among the contestants, she is the only one who has gone for the CEO look.
- Shannel’s and Rebecca’s executive realness look similar to me. Perhaps the idea behind this main challenge is to make it appear like a pageant. The questions and the answers are so scripted I cringe just thinking about them. Whoever does the editing of this program has done Shannel dirty. It’s appears as if either she has not understood the question correctly or a big chunk of her response is cut.
- Bebe is giving me that #bodygoal, toned body, sculpted legs. She’s a marvel to see.
- I’m in awe of Nina’s creativity. When swimsuits nowadays are all about showing curves and skin, she adds a gossamer cape and makes the whole look ethereal, sophisticated, and classy.
- Shannel really has that gorgeous look of a confident woman. I love how uniform the overall look has been, from that oversized hat to the ribbons around her feet. That slurping, it doesn’t sit well with me, though.
- Rebecca looks like a darling on this one. She has transformed from that lady who didn’t know how to walk on a runway to this charming woman in an eye-catching one piece suit.
- The raspberry hair ornaments are nicely made but I don’t think they complement Bebe’s evening dress. Also, I’m not a fan of the satin lining of the armholes. It would have looked better bare. Also, the rose ornament does not go well with the entire look. It feels like the dress was meant to be simple but too many things were happening at the same time. But I’m not a seamstress nor a fashion designer so take my words with a grain of salt.
- Nina has managed to incorporate mango peels into her dress, the collar and the belt. By now, I’m used to Nina’s wide belts so It does not surprise me to see that one on her. Among the four, her looks have been pretty consistent to what she is trying to portray as a woman: classy and dignified.
- Every detail in Shannel’s evening gown screams “extravaganza.” Her puff sleeve that, as Merle says, can be like a pillow when she’s sleepy, the elegant cut, the little tassels (which her bathing suit also has) , the feather head dress, the silver shoes, the chandelier earrings and her expressions…
- Among the four, Rebecca has come out as an ethereal goddess with her yellow evening gown with the light hair ornaments -Are they butterflies? They look like butterflies- and the flowing satin skirt. I’m just not a fan of her bodice and the whole lemons she added.
Verdict and My Reaction
I agree with all the judges’ comments on the each of the contestant’s strengths and weakness apart from their, particularly Santino’s, feedback on Shannel. The fact that a person appears strong and confident does not mean they aren’t authentic. This makes me pose one question: in reality TV shows, what character do they want to win? When judges often select a meek competitor because they want him or her to exude more confidence while putting another competitor down just because they can’t handle her confidence and they think it’s far from authenticity bothers me.
Shannel has decided to step down. The strongest possible competitor has stepped down. If I were the producer or scriptwriter, I’d absolutely go for Shannel, Nina, Bebe and throw Ongina as a dark horse to make the competition more edgy. But hey, this show has run for 12 seasons and even has an All Stars version so I guess this episode did well for other viewers. And who knows if Shannel stepping down was part of the script as well.