10
Mar
09

Shannel, No. 6

Shannel    
I’m beautiful, dammit!
[www.poptower.com]

Oh, Shannel … Say it ain’t so. A sixth contestant has been cut from RuPaul’s Drag Race. And she was wronged!

I’m a little mad at her for giving up the fight. Her “I don’t want to be here anymore!” was a major disappointment for me. Week after week, she has taken harsh, often meaningless criticism with dignity and respect. Even tonight, Santino said she’s “saying everything right,” but she’s just not connecting with him. What does that even mean? I think it says more about the judge than the contestant.

It’s hard to say how much her announcement affected the judges’ decision. I think it was honest exasperation, not a strategy. And who could blame her? You can see it in this week’s “under the hood” and, sadly, her exit interview. What more can she do?

When she got pitted against Rebecca in the lip synch, she put up a fight again. I think she saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I did. And maybe I’m no judge of these things, but I think her performance was better than Rebecca’s.

Maybe it all went wrong when she lifted up that dress and shook her little butt. That and the Hannibal Lecter-esque lip-smacking earlier on, which was met with the sound of crickets chirping, may have been just a step too far. Oh, I wish she’d just hold back a bit and let her talent carry her forward. Instead, she always resorts to a trick: snakes, juggling, those assless chaps. I picture her as a trained circus animal, with Merle Ginsberg tossing her lumps of meat after each jump through the fire hoop.

Everyone wants to ditch Rebecca this week — even 47% of the audience! I wanted her to get far, but her time has come. She was so overrated during the vogue-off. Shannel characteristically pulled a cartwheel out of her ass, but her posing was better. I thought the whole drag ball/vogue theme, a nice nod to the drag history, would have given an advantage to the more seasoned of the girls. But that Rebecca has nine lives, and I think RuPaul has a soft spot for her.

The best part of the vogue-off was RuPaul’s commentary: “Paint your face, honey!”

“Face! Face! Face!”

“Why you all gagging so? She bring it to you every ball!”

This was a tough episode: swimsuit, evening gown, and business suit. Forget about Miss America, honey. And these ladies aren’t even ladies! Plus, these colors were truly awful — more Froot Loops than mango mojito.

The inclusion of Charo was a stroke of genius on so many levels, not the least of which was a welcome lightening of the mood. I don’t know where she went, but I’m glad she’s back! (Looking strangely the same as the last time I saw her — on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!) Who can resist her? She even got the pit crew to dance. I wish to god she had stayed on as a judge, but the flamenco diva magic ended far too soon.

The runway question, “Why should you win?” was a telling moment. Bebe led with a dignified answer: “There is pride and dignity in dressing up.” Nina said she wants to inspire others. Shannel answered like a politician, saying a lot without ever really answering the question: “I love myself,” essentially.

But I hate, hate, hate Rebecca’s answer. When someone asks why you should win, you need to have a real reason, something personal and meaningful. I want to make my grandma proud. Or I need the money to buy a house for my mom. But the best Rebecca can come up with is “I want this.”

That’s not a reason; it just restates the question: I want this because I want this. OK, obviously she’s working hard. This is not easy. So, let that be her reason. It would have been better if she’d said simply, “because I deserve to.” At least that speaks to the competition, not just some childish sense of entitlement.

Line of the night: RuPaul’s repeated declarations of “Extravaganza eleganza!”

Charo, on the dance: “Be careful. Spooning leads to forking.”

Charo, on the posture: “Even if you don’t breathe, nevermind. If you drop dead, you drop dead with class.”

Charo, on the walk: “Uno, dos, uno, dos. I am the biggest bitch in the world.”

Nina: “How am I gonna place a mango in an evening gown?”

RuPaul, to Shannel: “Yes… something to wash down the fava beans.”

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