This season has so far caused two major controversies (to do with the competition, not its cultural politics of gender). The first huge upset was the elimination of Trinity K. Bonet over Joslyn Fox; and now this week fans got their knickers in a twist over the elimination of BenDeLaCrème over Darienne Lake. Indeed this season has lost much of its intensity due to the elimination of these queens who had the endurance to send home any of the remaining four, with exception to Bianca who is holy drag manna.
Looking back at this drag ball and the wedding dress challenge before it, I am still personally chagrined that Trinity was not still in the competition to dazzle the judges as well as give the competition more complexity. After all, why have one amateurish ingénue learning the ropes from Rupaul and Bianca Del Rio when we could have two? And how is it that Trinity could go home after that salacious lip-sync to “Vibeology” with Adore, which was basically the best kai kai since Raja and Carmen, when Ben got to stay after her shitty lip-sync to “Point of No Return”? I could wax nostalgic for days about Trinity K. Bonet, and now that we have seen the drag ball I have an even more fantastical imagination about how Trinity could have presented in those categories. Her banjy girl in the “Oh No You Better Don’t” video was the most authentic look of all the queens (rap performance aside); her Nicki Minaj in Snatch Game was halfway to executive realness; and her Rupaul-inspired runway look could have competed in the glitter eleganza category as emerald chic. But I digress...
Before this week’s Glitter
Ball the trajectory of season six was pointing Ben towards the top two, and the
way the cards were laid out she really seemed to possess the raw goods to give
Bianca a run for her money. I only meet the judges halfway on their critiques
of Ben this week. I know that this is top five so the scrutiny is bound to be
more involved and thorough, and I also understand that Ben deserved to be in the
bottom two this week given how the remaining contestants averaged across all
three looks. However, the judges reacted to Ben’s effort in this challenge as especially
weak when it was merely not as good as the three better queens. Ben’s banjy
girl was about as off the mark as Courtney’s, and her business look was about
as strong as Bianca’s. Michelle deserves mad respect for the care she puts into
her criticisms on this show (she has received a wave of hateful comments this
week over the elimination of Ben), but it is startling that she did not pick up
on the citations in Ben’s business realness. It was His Girl Friday meets
Chinatown, meets motherfucking Mildred Pearce! You don’t get more business
savvy than that!
It is fine that Ben is in the bottom two, as the judges are correct that her eleganza was basically a rehash of her looks from Scream Queens and Drag Queens of Comedy. Furthermore, she tends to go for a fortified gladiator structure in her bodices that is not as cute as she wants to be. Nonetheless, the detailing of the rose quartz in her eleganza look deserves recognition.
I am comfortable with Ben going home on account of two significant problems I have with her: the rigidity of her aesthetic in terms of silhouette and paintjob; and the fact that she is a boring lip-syncer. Courtney was on the button with her remark that Ben dances like a rubber chicken: she is trying to give Celine arms but just comes off like she is doggy paddling in the shallow end. Say what you will about how lip-syncing is weighted in Rupaul’s evaluation of queens, but at the end of the day you are going to pay door cover to see a queen who you know will turn it the fuck out on a stage. Ben has twice not brought it, whereas Darienne lip-syncs like rent is due.
I honestly wanted the exact final four that now remain in season six—just not like this. To elaborate, weeks ago we had imagined Darienne could surprise us a couple more times, given the strength she had exhibited in the first half of the competition. All that materialized, however, was one tight stand-up gig and some fun wig switches. To boot, her performance in the Glitter Ball might have been the worst of the season. Hence viewers are stunned that Ben went home while Darienne stays in this competition for another week because while Ben has exhibited a wide array of skills and talents, Darienne has been almost consistently lacklustre by comparison. I do believe this was Ben’s time to go home, but I also feel that Darienne should have joined her. A double elimination would have been a more appropriate decision on Ru’s part this week, both because we know—and I know I said the same thing last week but this time I am certain—CERTAIN—Darienne will go home next week (remember her last music video?), and because neither queens deserved to participate in the final challenge. Furthermore, that Kelly Clarkson lip-sync is not re-watchable. At all.
Four queens left! Let us rank ‘em the house down on the next page.