RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race Season 2 Episode 5 Recap

Photo: VH1/WONDER WORLD

Hey, remember the 90s? You know, 20 years ago when life was just a little simpler? Or at least we all think it was now because it’s the curse of nostalgia? RuPaul certainly does. That’s when she got her break and met Frances Bean Cobain. Perhaps that is why this week’s theme for RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race is “I love the 90s”. Or maybe it’s just because every week has to have a theme and this seemed like a good theme. No matter.

Luckily Ru’s famous drag queens also love the 90s, and not just because some of them were the most famous then. (Some others were just buying their first CDs around the turn of the century, a fact that makes me feel as old as dust.) Each queen this week is tasked with picking out a ’90s banger and—you guessed it— perform a choreographed lip sync to this number. Honestly, I think I’m starting to hate lip syncs, and it’s because of this show. I’ve seen so many aggressively thin, perfectly polished ones. I miss the messy, fun, weird ones. Could someone give me Manila Luzon’s “MacArthur Park”? What about “Sorry Not Sorry” by Brooke Lynn Hytes and Yvie Oddly? Or literally one of Silky Nutmeg Ganache’s killer cuts? I miss thinking that the lip-syncs are charming portrayals of actual drag performers rather than mere indications that the actors and singers are good at taking the lead.

I’ll admit there’s a bit of personality to some of these lip syncs, but honestly, I’m bored. Great drag queens become great drag queens because they’re charismatic and spontaneous and they just have that certain something. These performers are great at their profession, but does that mean they’re good at drag? There’s literally only one queen on this show who I think might even consider doing it after the fact – Donna Bellissima, for those wondering – though I think part of their career maybe could benefit from a few fun club dates.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s go ahead with Celebrity Secret Drag Racebecause if we don’t start, we won’t get to the end, when the shit actually happens.

First up this week we have Poppy Love, who loves the Spice Girls, a band he says are “the greatest girl band of the 90s”. Life was crazy for Poppy in the 90s, with girls everywhere and constant threats of being followed, but instead of somehow integrating that into his performance, he decided to get away with it. tackle the role of the five Spice Girls in a single performance. Maybe I say that because I would have liked a drag performance in Backstreet, but Poppy’s “Wannabe” was meh. While the reveals were a fun idea, Mel B’s costume was literally just a leopard bathrobe, and the Posh Spice was some kind of sequined ruffled number with sleeves? Give these girls credit. Poppy’s Ginger was good, and that’s lucky, because he had the wig on the whole time, but the reveals left me a little cold. Luckily he knows how to dance.

Next up is Donna Bellissima, who tells us she’s upset to be the only contestant who still hasn’t won a challenge, sealing her fate as the winner of this week’s episode. (It shows drag race works.) He kind of forgets the fact that in 1999 he decided to quit conversion therapy, though that somehow plays into his choice of the Chicks’ “Sin Wagon.” Apparently the song was released around the time of the performer’s coming out and it made her want to live her life? Either way, Donna is living her best life in a red leotard and mesh dress, and she’s two-stepping all over the stage with her cowboy hat-clad dancers. I love his rendition of “Sin Wagon”, as do the judges.

Chakra 7 wants to “come with a little crazy,” which apparently means painting herself blue like Juno Birch and wearing a Dee-Lite dress. She tackles “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and there’s a story where she’s kind of a lunch lady? I didn’t quite get it, but there was a big gold spoon she could use for a mic and a lab coat. I think if you want to do a full lunch you need a big gray wig or a hairnet like Chris Farley in ‘Lunch Lady Land’ but that wouldn’t be as cute I guess so little imported. Ru and the jury seem to think she was having fun up there, but not really. I thought Chakra delivered a well-acted, well-danced performance, and her lip-synch was on point, but I’m not sure she’s a very funny person. Is it cruel? I mean, she shot to fame on a very standout sitcom, but that could just mean she’s great at delivering lines and timely faces. I haven’t seen any evidence yet, neither on stage nor behind the scenes, that she really is a cutup, and I wish I could.

Chic-Li-Fay gets downright sexy with her “Arabian Nights” performance of “Genie in a Bottle.” (For the record, I couldn’t find anything “Arabian Nights” about it, except maybe the actual lamp.) She says she’s going to do the choreography in super high heels, and I think they’re flashing on some lucite spikes, but then when she comes out she’s in big black clogs. I thought they were making the outfit heavier and I didn’t understand the switch, but they never explained it, so now I think I’m crazy. The judges love Chic’s performance, just like they love all of the performances this week, because no one is going home.

Before we get to that, we have Thirsty Von Trap and his version of Britney Spears’ “Crazy.” Ru didn’t understand his script last week with Katya, even though Thirsty thought they killed him. Because of that, she decided to expand the story this week, which she does with a bound and gagged guy, blood-splattered aprons, and a meat tenderizer. She calls him “Crazy” “the princess of pop meets Sweeney Todd‘, and even though it’s perfectly fine, the judges want more. They want it to be less adorable and more ridiculous, with Ru explaining that she’s fallen into a common trap that hot young acts can get caught in. “It’s hard when you look so sexy,” Ru says. “You want to play from that angle, but the crazy one is the one we want to see.” Thirsty concedes “there’s always room for go further” and leaves the stage.

After a brief recap, everyone reunites on stage again and Ru tells Poppy, Chic, and Thirsty that they are safe. As for Donna and Chakra, Ru says, “This week you weren’t good…you were awesome.” Their frowns reverse and Ru tells them that they will lip sync for the win. They’re doing Cher’s “Believe,” and it’s okay. Donna gets sultry and she knows every word, and Chakra does the most. I prefer Donna’s brand of emotion in this case, probably because it’s more true to who Cher is, and Ru agrees, giving Donna her first win.

Just as it looks like Ru is about to wrap up, she reminds everyone on stage with a shocking twist: she says it’s become too difficult to judge their solo lip-syncs because they’ve “reached a level of excellence in drag”. That’s why she decided (?) that from this moment on, there will be no more secrets. She asks each queen to reveal themselves, and that’s where we cut to the credits. Everyone looks gooped and gagged, including the Queen Supremes. I have no idea Why knowing who they are would help the jury better critique their same old lip syncs, but i’m not against just eliminating all those damn revelations now, especially since anyone with google and half a brain knows who they are all behind all that makeup. Then again, I wouldn’t put this beyond the drag race team for it to be a disappointing misdirection. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out next week.

• It’s interesting how the show airbrushes (SPOILER ALERT!) AJ McLean’s tattoos. There are quite a few of them and you can never really see them, so kudos to the makeup team. Kill him as always.

• Does Chakra 7 wear Snag Tights? Anyway, I wish they weren’t thigh high, because I feel like I can see non-blue skin on top of them and that kind of pissed me off come out of the illusion.

• Juju says Chic-Li-Fay’s performance “smells like sex”, while Brooke Lynn says Juju “smells like poppers”.

• Three-fifths of this week’s songs are from 1999, which is barely the 90s. Just saying.

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