The event I feel like I’ve been waiting for all year has finally landed; the return of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But unlike the seasons before it the queens running for the title this season are All Stars – past womens on the show who’ve sashayed away, vying once more for The Crown. A collation of the best of the best (although some would argue to the contrary) is reason enough for me to give up existing outside of my RuPaul’s Drag Race bubble over the next six weeks, cancelling plans with people on a nightly basis unless they’re interested in partaking in a viewing of the latest episode. When Drag Race is on I live and breathe the show for its entire season, and hold onto the past episodes of the most recent season like they’re handwritten love-letters from an Ex. Returning home from work I immediately start playing the latest episodes of both Drag Race and the behind the scenes drama of Untucked (not simultaneously). By the third viewing I am discussing with either my amazing friend Michelle or the imaginary person that sits next to me the behavioral patterns of the girls and by the fifth viewing I can generally tell you what most of them are going to say next. This show is more than just The Greatest Television Program on the Planet. It’s so much more; the cult status of the show’s following is now up there with the likes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent of the effortlessly stunning, flawless and Iconic RuPaul makes for radiant television and the girls competing themselves – whether you love them all or hate a couple – makes for furthermore flaw-free T.V.
Bolting home for a new season leaves me anxious. The minutes between leaving work and getting home are made up of me, lip synching for my life to “Glamazon” in the car as I drive dangerously, ready to snatch pedestrians who dare get in between me and Life. Once I’m inside the house and have thrown all of my belongings into a dark corner, I sit back, press play, and as that theme music blares through my Television speakers, I feel everything else disappear. What overdue phone bill? What friend nightmare? What even are problems when a new season of Drag Race starts? All I can think about is sequins, sewing machines and padding – as far as I’m concerned, when Drag Race is on, the only problem in life is waiting six more days for the next episode to air.
Glued to my TV, the rubbish of 9-to-5 fades away as the contestants begin to flutter in, the first being Miss Congeniality herself Pandora Boxx (S2), rocking a fitting outfit that even impressed next contestant Latrice Royale (S4), who was also voted Miss Congeniality of her season, and also too the great Yara Sofia (S3), who came storming in announcing she had come as Puerto Rico’s Jail Barbie, screaming louder than Charo within the first few minutes of the show. Shannel was one of my favourites from Season 1 and her theatrical outfit as she entered the workroom slayed my entire existence. Wiping the floor clean with the three before her, Shannel asks if the girls whether they like her couture. Brilliant television and we’re only a couple of single digit minutes in.
Raven‘s “cocktail dress” – as Pandora so lovingly put it – left little to the imagination but was a smidge of a let down, right? Don’t get me wrong she looked fierce as always but the outfit was not on level with the dragstravagance of everyone elses. Alexis Mateo from Season 3 sauntered on down next; admittedly I was not the biggest fan of her eye-piece. It just took too much attention off her costume and actually drowned her out, I definitely know Alexis is better than that and it’s as simple as ditching the face-patches yo. Seasoned professional and Series 4 favourite Chad Michaels sashayed on through the workroom next, wishing everyone a “Happy Hunger Games” before pulling some Sharon Needles comedy through an earring. I found it cute that Raven made mention of Chad perhaps being a little bitter about her Season 4 loss, particularly seeing as Season 4 was not that long ago, but moreso because it seems Raven’s forgotten the adorable message she left Miss Tyra Sanchez on the workroom mirror when she wasn’t crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. To paraphrase, for those who don’t remember, it was something like “Keep reaching for the stars because you’ll never be one.” Cute!
Manila‘s picturesque outfit came complete with a cigarette wielding hand-headpiece, a stunning highlight of a look that was very quickly ruined with Manila talking and immediately laughing at the girls. All in jest, but it’s a testament to the kill-kill-kill attitude Manila has towards the competition, one that is further proved when Untucked airs – but we’ll get to that later.
Season 3′s Mimi Imfurt caused a rumble amongst the contestants when she revealed herself as the next competitor with Manila even joking her casting in the series was because “somebody needs to go home first.” Ouch! Nonetheless the call was swiftly overlooked as the earth trembled, lighting struck and the heavens opened up, shaking out the most angelic of all its Drag Queens.
LIVING LEGEND MISS NINA FLOWERS. Painted and hair TO THE NINES. Spilling hot tea all over myself in a shaking mess, I had no idea things were going to be getting SPICIER.
LIVING LEGEND MISS TAMMIE BROWN WALKS IN. I am actually writing the rest of this blog post to you from the grave because I am actually dead. BYE!
Queen JuJuBee must’ve gotten Raven’s memo about dressing down, even admitting to the other girls she felt like she worked in the mall compared to the others outfits. She made up for it though and left me not at ALL coping with her admision to loving LIVING LEGEND MISS TAMMIE BROWN, even going as far to say her lip maneuvers make her “queef.” And just on another note, I am still unhappy with the derp-face Manila pulled when LIVING LEGEND MISS TAMMIE BROWN WALKED IN. I don’t get it, Tammie is brilliant?! I really understand the aesthetic of Tammie and the way she carries on as well; it’s this vaudeville of classic Hollywood homages rolled into one. Brown really investigated the eras in which she pays homage to the most and I admire that aspect of her drag so much because it shows that, in order to get to where she wanted to be, she needed to do the research, watch the movies, fall in love with the era and school herself. There’s a true art to Tammie’s drag in the sense that it is not just about a look or a way she walks, it’s about everything. What she says, how she says it, how she reacts; how she works her sex appeal; everything about Tammie is on point, and she is more than a welcomed addition in this All Stars series, thank you Manila!
The twelve Queens barely got to kiki when a SheMail arrived on the screens. RuPaul then emerged to alert the goyullls they would be working together in teams; judged as a duo, critiqued as a duo and sent home as a duo if one and/or the other fucks up. At first I was upset, particularly as this meant we were in for a short season and I would have to return to a Drag Race-less bubble in just over a month, but also because I felt it was a little unfair. That said, if it weren’t for this particular rule we wouldn’t have such genius team names as we do. May I present to you, the All Stars cast of 2012.
Team Latrila (OKAY I NEED A LIE DOWN NOW I CANNOT)
Team Rujubee (R.I.P. ADEM WITH AN E)
Clearly, this is serious shit Ladies & Gentlemens, because now there are TEAM NAMES.
The task at hand for this week required the newly-formed duos to work on a magazine photoshoot spread, wielded and crafted by themselves. The main task involved working on an opposites-attract image, all whilst thundering black rain pelted down upon their faces. Here is Flawless Living Legend Tammie Brown being Flawless and Legendary before the shoot began.
And here she is after, being Flawless and Legendary.
Runway-wise, although Yarlexis’ look really was San Juan Romy & Michelle, I honestly felt Pandora and Mimi’s campy presentation trumped it. Yarlexis completely got confused with 80% of the brief behind the task and delivered probably the worst photos as. Chad and Shannel looked like they were ready for Prom: Beyond Thunderdome (ie: Fucking Amazing), but the best looks of the night were definitely Team Brown-Flowers and Team Latrila, the latter who came out as Dragytubbies, Manila completing the ensemble with her very own music video clip playing on her stomach. A stellar touch. Rujubee slayed as well and were in turn selected by Ru and the judges alongside Latrila as the week’s best players.
Speaking of the judges, it was lovely to see Rachel Hunter again. I distinctly remember disliking her through the 1990′s but I was genuinely thrilled to see her on that panel. Not as thrilled as I was by seeing LIVING LEGEND MICHELLE VISAGE.
The laugh that bellowed from Miss Michelle Visage as RuPaul basically floated across the runway is my new ringtone.
The lip-sync came down to Team Mandora versus Team Shad, with Mimi and Chad lip-syncing for their teams respectively. Here is a photo of Team Shad looking quite pleased with their decision.
After a battle to Paula Abdul‘s “Opposites Attract” (which Chad said was “not a duet” but so very clearly is), Team Mandora were asked to Sashay Away whilst Team Shad were asked to celebrate their triumph at the back of the stage with the other girls. As sad as I was to see Pandora and Mimi go (I was really rooting for Mimi and wanted her to do so well this time), I was relieved that two of my all-time favourites got to spend another week inside my Drag Race bubble. I also think that this pairing is that of legend too; and although I feel like this competition probably belongs to Rujubee, Team Shad and Team Latrila have a seriously strong chance as well because their duos really are dynamic together.
A lot of nutso went on during Untucked, with Willam from Season 4 appearing in the Gold Bar, brandishing a pink, furry box. I was disappointed, as I’m sure Willam was too, that Raven didn’t recreate this celebrated Hollywood movie scene with her as she opened the box and allowed Raven’s hand to creep in.
Willam announces to the four safe girls that they must play a round of KILL, MARRY OR FUCK. As Willam rattles off each All Stars name, Manila is quick to “kill” everyone (“Of course I’d kill Tammie Brown!”), showing off her competitive streak once more. Raven then proudly announces she would quite actually happily fuck Tammie Brown, an admission that is bizarrely met with a great deal of question amongst the other other queens. Needless to say, Raven was not in the slightest bit bothered that nobody else agreed with her.
But the real crazy emerged when everyone was shouting at Mimi Imfurst – and not because of the argument that was unfolding but rather because this is what Tammie Brown was doing whilst everyone else was arguing.
And here is Alexis’ reaction – whilst an argument specifically between HER AND MIMI is happening – to Tammie’s “I’M ACTING!!!” outburst.
The power of Living Legend Miss Tammie Brown.
All in all, a RuPer sized premiere for what is going to be the wildest 6 weeks of Television in years.
Watch RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race, Mondays at 9/8c on Logo, or stream the episodes from the Logo website.
Here is a playlist of about 55 tracks comprised of 100% Ace Pop that is – mostly – from 2012. Let’s have a look at some of the songs on this Very Good Playlist Even If I Do Say So Myself. If the above widget isn’t working (or is curiously not displaying 55 tracks) then point your browser hurr.
PURPLE CRUSH – Basic Bitch
Brooklyn duo Purple Crush are a big favourite of mine. Their 2011 EP “Welcome 2 The Underground” was one of my most played last year and, if I ever decide to finish my 2011 year round-up’s, a number of songs (including this one) feature throughout that end of year songs list. You should also take a gander at their excellent homage to Madonna’s “Reductive” moment from earlier in the year and also their GREAT cover of Fischerspooner’s “Emerge.” One of the brightest emerging acts (ho ho!) in Pop.
FLORRIE – Shot You Down / To The End / Every Inch
Florrie, as featured in my fun new banner next to Queen Madonna, has released what is by far-and-away the most exciting bunch of pop songs of her career. The frantic soundscapes of “Shot You Down”, to the no-prisoners rave-up of “Every Inch”, to the monumental “To The End” – her defining moment – Florrie is a properly amazing pop star and with each release she trumps herself greatly.
MADONNA – Gang Bang / I’m Addicted / Love Spent / I Don’t Give A
How different a campaign Madonna’s “MDNA” would have been with “I’m Addicted”, the superior dance moment, as its lead single. “I’m Addicted” is the best, freshest thing Benny Benassi’s produced since “Satisfaction” and could have given Madonna the club-pop crossover hit she deserved with this album. Even the Nicki Minaj feature “I Don’t Give A” would have made for a better, more striking first single than “Give Me All Your Luvin’”, which – all things considered – failed to do what it should have for Madonna on the charts because it was the wrong single. The singles should have played out with “I’m Addicted” as the first, “I Don’t Give A” as the second, “Gang Bang” as the controversial third and “Love Spent” as the albums final single. “Love Spent” is one of the most underrated Madonna songs in a very long time; the fact that it contains two completely different choruses has seemingly been lost on its critical detractors. It’s also the most lyrically vulnerable song on the album. And the thing that I love the most about “Gang Bang” is its obvious tribute to that iconic early 2000′s German Hard Trance sound. People teetered with German techno from the 90′s but nobody has really taken direct inspiration from that truly golden era of early millennium rave and that is something Madonna needs to be commended for. The song itself is a little like Madonna doing Neils Van Gough’s stadium-rave anthem “Pulverturm“, but with a lot more vitriol and anger. It’s also the most experimental and forward-thinking thing Madonna’s done since the American Life record and is said to be the final single from the MDNA era.
VAN GO LION – Glow
Portland duo Van Go Lion are another of my big favourites from 2011. This song in particular encapsulates everything brilliant about their pop songs and their “Body Moves” EP from last year is something worth chasing up. Big things coming for them in 2012.
VAN SHE – Sarah / Coconuts / Radio Waves I & II / We Move On
“Sarah” is Van She’s big Fleetwood Mac moment from their incredible sophomore album “Idea of Happiness.” Vocally Nick hasn’t sounded better and on a production front this is their grandest moment to date. A massive review of this excellent album is on the way, I just have to get it right y’know? There’s a lot to say about an album as good as this one, and the other four tracks amongst this playlist that are lifted from the record are a great sample of what to expect when you eventually invest and Buy The Album.
PET SHOP BOYS – A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi”
I’m not the biggest fan of PSB’s new single “Winner” but this B-Side is where the money is at. Non-apologetic classic Pet Shop Boys pop. How Very.
GOSSIP – Move In The Right Direction
After “Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)”, this is the Gossip at their very best. A stomping pop song with Xenomania on production credits – not exactly a terrible fusion is it? And the album “A Joyful Noise” delivers exactly what it says it does on the tin.
ICONA POP – I Love It
Imagine if this had been the new Veronicas single instead of “Lolita”? Get this on Australian radio at once.
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS – Lonely Hearts Club / Teen Idle / Valley Of The Dolls / Fear & Loathing
Marina’s “Electra Heart” is one of 2012′s best records and these four songs are a great slab of the cream of the crop to be lifted from it. “Lonely Hearts Club” sounds like it’s been ripped right out of a 1980′s Molly Ringwald movie, “Teen Idle” is pretty much the most incredible thing Marina has ever penned, “Valley Of The Dolls” is eerie with its end-of-the-world talk and Illuminati undertones therefor making it one of the most interesting and captivating pop creations of the year, and then there’s “Fear & Loathing” which, funnily enough, seems to follow similar themes. A full (and completely schizophrenic – you’ll understand what I mean when it goes online), rather lengthy piece reviewing this complexly wonderful album is on the way.
LADY GAGA – Scheiße
Shoulda been a single, my god. The best moment during Gaga’s epic Born This Way Ball.
NO DOUBT – Settle Down
I am here for this song and comeback, yes I am. This is 6 minutes of bliss.
WILLAM BELLI & FRIENDS – Let’s Have A KaiKai / Love You Like A Big Schlong / Chow Down / The Vagina Song
The break-out controversial star from RuPaul’s Drag Race and literally every TV show ever created is also one of the best pop stars to come from the series. Willam’s update on the Scissor Sisters song “Let’s Have A KiKi” manages to outdo the original, her stunning tribute to Selena Gomez and Enormous Cocks is truly touching, her collaboration with Vicky Vox & Detox, a take off-of Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” that lyrically pays tribute to Chick-Fil-A Chicken, is Current, and of course “The Vagina Song” which really speaks for itself. I am a proud Willam Belli Stan and I will not Rupologise for it.
CASSIE – Queen Of Hearts
How has this not been the biggest Urban single of 2012?
LANA DEL REY – Off To The Races / Blue Jeans (Kris Menace Mix) / This Is What Makes Us Girls / Radio
I had the honour of seeing Lana live a couple of weeks ago and then the extended pleasure of meeting her afterwards (Full review with photos incoming) and I can’t get her out of my mind. “Born To Die” is obviously the album of the year and the tracks I’ve picked from the record for this playlist don’t even do the majesty of the whole record justice. If you haven’t yet, then you should. Lana is EVERYTHING.
ROGUE TRADERS – Girl In Gold
This flawless tribute to Deborah Harry is a truly lost gem from the Rogue Traders incredible final album “Night Of The Living Drums.” Second only to “In Love Again” as the bands finest creation.
SANTIGOLD – Pirate In The Water / Fame
Santi’s new album “Master of my Make-Believe” is a revelation, but these two tracks in particular are the records biggest slabs of self-assured Jamaican-tinged punk-pop. “Pirate In The Water” is the lighter pop moment but “Fame” is the lyrical clencher.
THE PRESETS – Youth In Trouble (Green Velvet Remix)
This incredible remix of an already bonza dance song from Australia’s very own is hopefully a nice example of the kind of anti-radio dance music the band started out creating. In its original form, “Youth In Trouble” is this acid-house rave explosion that is exactly the kind of rave I want to be hearing in 2012 and exactly the kind of rave Australian radio weren’t expecting from the boys. An inspired club-cut.
SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM – Really Want To See You Again
Connie & Angus bat it completely out of the park once again. Lifted from my favourite Album of 2011.
SANDRA BERNHARD – Perfection
I’m not entirely sure what this electro-infused Chicks On Speed-esque dance bomb is all about but it came on at the end of Sandra’s excellent stand-up album “Everything Bad & Beautiful” and I just had to share it.
KATHY GRIFFIN – I’ll Say It
The theme-song from Kathy’s new talk show is all kinds of fun and literally makes Carrie Underwood completely redundant. Bitch bye! There’s a MIAMI MIX (!!!!!!) on its way too which you can hear in this video of Kathy & Gloria Estefan singing it together on stage. Amazing.
The playlist also features songs by Muscles, Azealia Banks, The Saturdays, Garbage, iamamiwhoami, Justin Bieber, Queen of Hearts, Loreen, Ricki-Lee, Nicki Minaj, Kylie Minogue, RuPaul and Jessica 6. Each month (or so) I’ll attempt to create a new playlist to share with you on the blog; let me know what you think!