Tag Archives: Shangela

ULTIMATE GRAND SUPREME – ALYSSA EDWARDS

Alyssa Edwards

When the new cast for RuPaul’s Drag Race was announced I knew it would be one crazy ride! There were plenty of hungry newcomers dressed in heels I had never heard of but there were a few seasoned professionals who I knew would bring the noise. I was right! Front and center is pageant puss Alyssa Edwards showing how and why she has made such an impact in the competition world of pageantry. When queens walk the walk, they should talk the talk. Madame Edwards does just that as I interview her in-between gigs.

When it comes to getting the true Tea from the sources themselves, no one helps out like All Starr Management! My dears Natasha and Bob get me in and provide the means for these special Dolls of RuPaul to share their sordid stories and express themselves as only queens can. Well, hell… let me allow Alyssa the time to tell it like it is! When she talks we definitely listen. And remember, “It’s not personal, it’s drag.”

Alyssa Edwards

Steven Michael  - Great meeting you in L.A. recently with Bob Taylor at Micky’s during the featuring of RuPaul’s Drag Race girls from season 5. Love seeing you Dolls go at it on Drag Race. It’s a real fun season because of you seasoned pros. I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes, let your hair down and answer some questions for your super supportive fans! Tell it all… No Tea.

Girl, we have a lot in common. I’m a choreographer and grew up dancing the workshops and competitive dance competitions like Tremaine and Showstopper. I’m guessing you did, too! Tell us about your dance background and how your passion plays into Alyssa’s performances.

Alyssa Edwards

Alyssa Edwards – “I stepped my first foot onstage at the age of 9-years-old (I believe). The one thing I remember most at the conclusion of my first group dance was: This Is WHAT and Who I AM destined to do and be. My love for the stage grew intense as studying, performing and competing were my happiest and most memorable moments of my childhood. I realized a few short years later dance would become more than just my passion but my first love and life.”

“I won my first student choreography award at the age of 16 and began student assisting thereafter. I opened Beyond Belief Dance Company which only existed in my most fascinating dreams. A dance space where students could unite and express themselves through the art of movement. By mere trick of fate and with the help of a few of my students’ parents this dream became reality in 2004. I am living my passion as an educator mentoring the youth of today and the future of tomorrow, a choreographer and artistic company director.”

“Upon discovering the art form of female impersonation I found myself very intrigued. I loved playing dress up with my four sisters and entertaining a large crowd was my addiction. Alyssa’s performances are built around just that… ‘Getting My Life’ every time I take to the stage! My dance training and arts background has been my foundation for many of my talent productions and gigs! I am blessed with the gift of dance and creativity which I will forever be thankful.”

Shangela - Alyssa Edwards

You’ve mentioned putting Shangela in drag for her first time. Who put you in drag for the first time and who have been your inspirations? I believe you’re a bit old school like myself.

“Growing up with several women, as a ladyboy I loved to play in the cosmetics! As I grew older I found an interest for makeup. I put myself in somewhat drag and pranced on into the club feeling extra fishy and ultra glam! I look back at those pics and just smile. A dear friend of mine Alan McCune assisted me in the cultivating of my drag beginning. He was a fantastic makeup artist and believed in my potential. It was Alan who introduced me to Laken Edwards who would take me under her wing as one of my drag mothers. Laken was a successful pageant queen with a skilled etiquette of style and carriage.”

“I terrorized the town as a young gay boy playing dress up turning out the amateur shows. I met another individual who would play a key role in the building of my character. Whitney ‘The Eyes of Texas’ Paige. Along with Laken, my drag daddy Mark and my grandmother Miss Manny, I had acquired the ultimate gay family to mentor me! My biggest inspirations are the style of Joan Collins, the grace of Ginger Rogers and the presence of Linda Evangelista!”

Alyssa Edwards

My dear “Mister Sister” Kimbol Purkerson always told me that you and I reminded him of each other. I competed against Tandi Andrews at Miss Gay USA decades ago. She of course won and I most definitely did not. Care to share your pageant resume? I know you’ve had a few moments that have gone down in drag history. Anything you’d care to share in your very own words or want to clear up?

“Living in the south, drag is BIG, glamorous and to make it one must be top notch! Pageantry is borderline a must to get your act noticed! My very first newcomer pageant was an epic fail during crowning. However, that showing gained me some recognition. People enjoyed my talent and saw the potential. I competed the following year to win that big hat and received my first gig as a member of the up and coming elite Edna Angels show cast. I went on to achieve numerous titles as I was addicted to pageantry and competition. Each experience was an invaluable piece to my puzzle.”

I am a former:
Miss Texas America
Miss Texas Continental
Miss Texas FFI
Miss Gay USofA
Miss All American Goddess

“I achieved a long term goal after five attempts placing 2nd-alternate and 3rd-alternate twice as Miss Gay America. This was a dream of mine that was very near and dear to my heart. This journey was a hallmark of my life and career however it was not my destiny. I was crowned October 31, 2010 and released of my duties Jan. 1, 2011 due to ‘Conduct unbecoming of a Miss Gay America.’ In every working relationship there are kinks that require adjusting but in this situation I simply was not a good fit. Our differences as adults and the decision to relinquish my title never changed my respect for the leader and creator of the wonderful world of drag pageantry.”

Alyssa Edwards

I know with your contract at RDR you can’t allow much regarding the show but what did you find as the hardest part of filming the show?

“This experience as whole in a nutshell challenges and pushes one to the extreme outer box! Rewarding in so many ways to see the potential meeting a new level. Difficult, intense but most of and above all memorable. One of the greatest paths I have been fortunate to walk. I can say I DID IT!”

Out of past seasons, if you were paired up with someone like the Dolls were in RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars who would you want to team up with and why?

“DUH! The One and The Only… Shangela Laquifa Wadley! Not only are we colleagues, friends, fellow entertainers but we are family! We are the dynamic duo full of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and most importantly in my eyes TALENT! Always keeping it real and having a great time at it! We both know our strengths and have learned to embrace our weaknesses. The Sequel Baby!”

Alyssa Edwards

What do you think the casting agents saw in your video audition that caught their eye in wanting to see more from you? Any advice for young squirrels wanting to get on the show? Had you applied before season 5?

“In the casting process it’s most crucial to simply be ‘Who You Are!’ Your uniqueness is what’s desirable. Stand out amongst a crowd and deliver your character in a matter of minutes. Keep it real, be sassy, be funny, take it up and reel it in… It’s ALL about you! Whether right, wrong or indifferent, believe in your ability and potential. I had auditioned prior before finally truly being myself on my audition tape! Never give up and remember it’s free to audition. Get on that tape! I believe the casting agents recognized what I recognize about myself: My confidence, my flaws, my talent, my characteristic traits and most definitely my C.U.N.T! My advice: Don’t Dream It… Be It”

Alyssa Edwards

You’ve been on the pageant side of things in the drag industry for years and now you’re having a surge in popularity because of the show regarding bookings, fees and exposure. The opportunity really is priceless. Have you come across any of your sisters in the community that have changed their ways towards you either wearing green on their sleeves of envy or bouts of cattiness? How do you handle the haters?

“RuPaul’s Drag Race has Ru-volutionized the drag industry. Ru has taken this somewhat underground scene and has made an exciting mainstream extravaganza! It’s like watching the largest pageant from the viewing of your own home every Monday night… I live the House Down Pumps!”

“I don’t reward nor entertain negative naysayers. Debbie Downers, Bitter Betty’s and Negative Nancy’s are UNINVITED to the Party! And I thank you all.” (laughs)

Alyssa Edwards

What are you doing on your time off? How do you let your hair down, when and where?

“I am a busy gal, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! In my spare time I love a good scary movie or chick flick! I also enjoy low-key nights with close friends chillaxing! I am a very sweat pants, t-shirts kinda guy.”

Who keeps you grounded? Have you found that people are trying to be all in your world that served crickets before? I figure people would be coming out of the woodworks pining for your attention.

“The beauty of life keeps me grounded. I am blessed to have these opportunities and I remind myself quite often. My studio kids take me to a place that gives me hope and drag inspires me in a million ways. All the world is a stage and I am humbled I am living my life on one of the worlds largest.”

Alyssa Edwards

Watching yourself on Logo TV, have you been overall happy with how you’ve been portrayed? Were you nervous going into production?

“I have learned in life, and this experience has aided me in laughing at myself and not being such a critic. It is very hard to truly get to know who I am and what I am about in this televised competition, other than I am highly competitive. I have enjoyed giggling at my ridiculous nonsense as it’s all in fun! Life is too short to not savor these moments that are sometimes a once in a lifetime.”

Alyssa Edwards

The most recent episode of Untucked, which I always say is where the real story is, gave us a battle of wits and wisdom vs. youthful ridiculousness. You seasoned vets shredded Miss Cha Cha. It continued on and on. So… she was getting on your nerves, huh?!

“So basically you are implying the old vs. the new! (smiles) She actually was not getting on my nerves too much, it was just an intense situation. We had been working together all day and it had been a long day of work! Miss Cha Cha is quite the talented and quick witted young entertainer with a well-lit road ahead. When you get a bunch of fabulous queens in one room after many hours of fierce drag, alcoholic beverages and opinions, it can get out of control! We all were about to pull each others eyelashes off!”

Would RuPaul come and visit you girls like Tyra Banks would on America’s Next Top Model or were you locked away from everyone and everything? What did you find yourself doing when you weren’t ruining drag in giant aquariums or cruising the underwear-clad Pit Crew?

“In my moments of ‘Me’ time throughout this experience I found myself journaling about my existence. I believe our book of life is already written and the story is now being read aloud.”

Alyssa Edwards

And finally… What’s the song YOU would choose to lip-sync for your life if given the choice?

“The one song if I could chose to lip- sync would be my theme song…. ‘The Glamorous Life’!”

“Always and Forever, Alyssa Edwards.”

THANKS MY LADY! Looking forward to having our readers find out more about you! Best of luck with the rest of the season of RDR and look forward to seeing you again soon. Stay in touch if you make it to Palm Springs and we’ll have you over for a home-cooked meal and cocktail. XO

Follow Alyssa Edwards on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her on Logo TV every Monday evening! WHURQ, Sister!

L.A. GAY PRIDE 2012 AFTERTHOUGHTS

We’ve done Gay Pride in many places with sun drenched faces from Amsterdam to Atlanta to numerous visits up the way in West Hollywood. However, we tend to skip the festival and save our minimum $40 ($20 a piece to walk around aimlessly) because once you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all. Rainbows in stained glass, rainbow kites, rainbow flags, et al. You get my drift.

Unless there’s a grand performance one’s dying to see then my advice is skip the festival dogging baby strollers and invest that money into enjoying the city afterwards and away from the crowds. Especially if you’re visiting from another town and have done it all before. My Tea, perhaps not yours. If not, have fun at the festival, show your LGBTQ proudness proudly and be patient waiting in the lines for watered down margaritas and dry chicken on sticks. Just saying…

Our dog sitters, confidants and good friends John and Rob headed up I-10 with us for a day in Los Angeles of pride, pictures and a casual comfortable walk up Santa Monica Blvd. with an entire community of love and life scattered among WeHo hotspots. After a spin thru Little Tokyo (or Japan Town) for sushi to go from our gem Nijiya Market we quickly found parking in front of Newsroom Cafe on Robertson and walked up to the thumping of gay club music on blast poring out of The Abbey. They had never been to Christopher Street West so it was fun sharing the experience with them.

My bestie Brian met us on the corner with his friend Johnny while we began a non-agenda stroll against the parade and then across to Z Pizza for a slice and Micky’s for a cocktail. A pricey one at that and the bartender didn’t even get it right. I thought Tune in, girl as we walked off $26 poorer. The floats were aplenty with scantily clad men and transsexual beauty queens in beaded gowns. The Luxor of Las Vegas represented from Sin City by passing out fans to the revelers while NBCs The New Normal was promoted by colorful rubber bracelets. Shangela was perched atop one float for Micky’s while Ongina walked with her boys in spiked heels. You go, girls!

The four of us had a wonderful time seeing friends and soaking in the Southern California sunshine. On the way home we stopped through Joan’s on 3rd between Orlando and Sweetzer for delicious cupcakes, chorizo and kitchen goodies for Jacques. Traffic allowed a quick commute back into the warm desert. We were back home safely and in the pool with the dogs before the afternoon disappeared into the evening. Another great day trip into the City of Dreams gave us all rejuvenation, relaxation and remembrance of why we live in the quiet town of Palm Springs.

Happy Gay Pride month to everyone! That is unless your city, like ours, holds Pride outside the particular month of June. If so, then read this again then. It truly transcends time.

(Random unsuspecting hottie at Micky’s. Say Cheese!)

ENGINE’S REV ON RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE 4

Thanks to Logo TV Online, I was able to see an early viewing of the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race a.k.a. RDR and this season is starting off with all the ego drama and catfighting one Main Stage can contain. Front runners the petite posing beauty Kenya Michaels and America’s favorite Cher impersonator Chad Michaels seem to be steering the pack of queens towards the title “America’s Next Drag Superstar” and the prize package including fabulous makeup, gay travel and a cash prize of $100K (reported earlier in my blog as being $125K – sorry!)

After the queens arrived one by one, we meet the characters and stories that got them on national television. There’s overly confident borderline obnoxious cocky Willam basically telling the rest to press it back home because she was taking the crown home. Old friend Latrice Royale from Ft. Lauderdale discussing how going to prison changed her life.  Extremists The Princess and Sharon Needles bonding over painting faces while Princess expressed her physical desire for Needles. Well, like a dear sister from Atlanta Amber Richards, may she rest peacefully, once said, “If you can’t F! your sisters who can you F!?” Other stories unfold as does the season.

RuPaul comes out and says Hello! to the Dolls personally as the Pit Crew from previous seasons bring out a wooden box on wheels. Camera pans to the girls and some are quite nervous. And surprise! Out pops Shangela for another try at the crown! Well, not exactly. After some quick witted dialogue about this being a new year and the possible apocalypse, Ru shoves LaQuifa’s head back in and off she goes into her budding career. Halleloo! The sweat beads stop their fall down contestants faces and the Dolls prepare for their first lap around the racetrack.

Latina mamma Jiggly Caliente won the Mini Challenge consisting of the Dolls maintaining their modelesque composure on a rotating platform while the sexy Pit Crew spray them down with fluorescent paints. Yes, apocalypse. Or, “RuPocalypse” as it was called. Reality show staple Mike Ruiz snapped his camera lens and photos we made, even ones of the girls who nailed the ground from their imbalance. It was Drag Queen roadkill off to the sides of rubble and dismay.

The Main Stage Challenge led the divas into a deserted location filled with zombie drag queens including former All-Stars Raven, Pandora Boxx, Shannel and Ongina holding fabrics and supplies for the perfect apocalyptic haute couture. Cue eerie music and fog. Back in the workroom sewing began and creations flowed. The Mistress of the Dark Elvira found her perfect place on the judge’s table besides mainstays Seduction lead Michelle Visage and the sassy but fashionable Santino Rice back for another season of judging. RuPaul strutted down the Main Stage runway and CUT!

Thanks Logo TV for pulling the plug just at the climax! UGH. I’ll be watching it for reals tomorrow (Monday) night but it sure was good getting a sneak peek. They weren’t going to give it all away… I’m dying to see who will “Lip-sync for their life!”

…flash forward to the premiere…

Watching it live on television gave it more layers we couldn’t catch watching it online. On the Main Stage runway, some girls simply got by while others soared. As I predicted, Sharon Needles won the challenge while Florida based Alisa Summers and New York’s plus-size Barbie doll Jiggly Caliente found themselves in the bottom two lip-syncing to Britney Spears’ infectious Toxic. In the end, Jiggly was clearly the winner as she nailed her words standing directly singing to the judges. Alisa took the more casual approach to a bored strut around the runway while insecurely glancing over at Caliente who was turning it out. Way to go, girls! We’re off to a fabulous season!

Until next week… We have Untucked!

HALLELOO! | THE SHANGELA INTERVIEW

HALLELOO! | THE SHANGELA INTERVIEW

Like the detectives that Shangela would watch on television in Murder She Wrote and CSI, the breakout star of Logo TVs RuPaul’s Drag Race is the self-proclaimed “Nancy Drew of Drag.” As she offers, “It’s because I keep it real, and I don’t shy away from getting to the bottom of the truth. Halleloo. So if there’s a stunt, I’m gonna do the research and call it out.”

In the land of opportunity, drag entertainer Shangela knows first hand the reap of award for jobs well done. No matter that she was the first eliminated Doll in season two of RDR. Surprise! Shangela was back for another try at becoming “America’s Next Drag Superstar” in season three! Fitting me in her very busy schedule, she tells the tale and spills the tea for me and thee. Just read…

Steven Michael (for The Bottom Line): What’s something that your bios never tell?

Shangela: That I do my most creative thinking in the shower! I wish there were waterproof post-it notes so I could write the ideas down when they immediately come to me. Maybe it’s something about the open pores/open mind combo.

I agree. Showers are wonderful for opening the thought process! I saw you win California Entertainer of the Year. Well deserved, I must add. How was nationals? And how did you get started doing drag?

I started as a backup dancer for a lot of titleholders in Texas. Alyssa Edwards, my drag mamma, was the first to paint me. Winning the California EOY pageant was one of the greatest nights of my drag career. It was my very first time competing in a pageant (nationals were only my second!) and I remember sitting backstage with the other girls barefoot in our gowns making each other laugh to keep each other from puking from nervousness. I placed first runner-up at the national EOY competition! I love pageants!

How did you feel initially when RuPaul asked you to come back to season three?

I auditioned for the third season, so it’s important that people know I didn’t just get a free pass back into the competition. I was so thrilled that Ru thought that I had worked hard enough over the past year to once again compete against the best queens in the country.

What was the real feeling in the room when you popped out of the box in the premiere?! We viewers are at the mercy of television editors and writers.

During the first episode, it seemed like most of the girls were excited to see me in the competition. Everyone was really nice to my face and most of that was genuine. I know that not everyone was happy but as more of the queens realized what a competitor I was, then came the real shade.

Is there something else that went down between you and Raja in real life? It really seemed there was more to the story. What’s the true tea, boo?

Raja is actually my baby’s daddy and he owes me back child support, and as Laquifa would say, “Bitch betta have my money!” Just kidding! We knew each other from living in L.A., and both recognized what fierce competition each other would bring to the table. That led to some heated feelings and lots of frustration, but today I can honestly say we’ve put that behind us and are moving ahead!

Do you regret the drink throwing incident with Mimi Imfirst? Passions tend to run thick especially backstage.

I don’t regret that moment, because at the time it was rooted in real emotion. She had said a very serious lie about me on national TV, and in my mind I was thinking, “What if the editors only use her saying that I have a sugar daddy, and don’t include me letting the world know it’s a lie?” But I don’t condone or encourage that type of behavior outside the Interior Illusions lounge, and Mimi and I actually laugh about it to this day. It surely made for good TV.

Yes it did, indeed! When you headline and the other RDR girls are there performing too, how do they treat you now the show is over?

We’re sisters. No one can truly identify with what we go through today, unless you were on the show. We bond over our similar experiences in being clocked at the grocery store or stranded in airports.

Describe the biggest challenge while filming the show. What really put a girl through it?

For me, it was being cut off from any communication with my family. I’m very close with my grandma and mom. We stayed off-site alone under close supervision when not filming. The producers wanted all interactive moments to be caught on camera.

Was it as cliquish as it looked from our seat? It got very high school, at times.

Yes, it became a little cliquish, but that’s life. People hang out with those they identify most with, but I’m lucky to say that after the show we all really got to bond. I love all the girls, but I’m closest with Alexis, Yara, Mariah and Stacy Layne Matthews.

It was amazing to us to see you get bullied by your peers because that’s what they did to you backstage and on stage, for that matter. How did you stay so strong?

I was shocked at first, too! I mean I know it’s a competition, but you can see the reaction on my face during the cake challenge runway read-down. I had no idea how personal the attacks would get. You’re not always going to be most popular with everyone, especially when you’re a strong competitor. I hope people can identify and draw strength from the way I stood up for myself and refused to go down without a fight.

Thoughts on the winner? Was it who you thought would win and will you be coming back again next season?

I was rooting for my sista Alexis Mateo for the overall win. We’re family! Raja consistently turned it on the runway. I think she’ll have a great reign as this year’s winner. And who knows, I may be back again on Season 4, 5 and 6 until Ru finally writes me that big check!

Future plans, both near and far away? Pursuing the comedy I hope! Where does your natural humor come from?!

The show really opened up a lot of doors and projects for me. I recently shot my first TV pilot called A Mann’s World, created and directed by Michael Patrick King with Don Johnson, Ellen Barkin and Mario Cantone. We’ll find out if it goes to series soon, so let’s keep our fingers crossed! Also, I’ve been doing more stand up comedy. I was the opening act for Mo’Nique at Milwaukee PrideFest in June. My humor comes from my experiences in life. And don’t we all live some crazy lives?!? Also, I’ve always enjoyed hearing people laugh, especially my grandma.

A final moment you want to share with your fans and followers?!

I hope to have inspired someone out there with my journey on RuPaul’s Drag Race. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing something. If you’re passionate about it, work hard and believe you’re a winner, you can be SICK’NING! Stay in touch with me on my website http://shangela.com or Twitter at @itsshangela. And check out some of the cool new Halleloo gear that I’ve been designing like t-shirts, wristbands, tank tops and more!

2011 © The Bottom Line

RUPAUL-A-PALOOZA

It was two Carmen’s looking lovely, some silicone titties on a boy and a bunch of “her-story” via musical numbers and much needed performing. If I could say just one thing that RuPaul’s Drag Race needs is more performing since that is what queens do. Have them lip-sync not only “for their lives” but more often. Show us the drag in drag queens. OK, stepping off my soapbox now. Judges Jody Watley and Carmen Electra joined a very randy Michelle Visage who flashed her titties under a pixelated blur unexpectedly as she read Alexis for wearing her popular silicone breastplate that the boy queens like to wear now. Oh, I am getting way ahead of myself.

“RuPaul-A-Polooza” was the show’s theme and as Manilla Luzon won the Mini Challenge of musical chairs to a mega-mix of RuPaul you-fill-in-the-blanks music dressed in heels, she also delegated the order of choice for the Main Stage Challenge which gave Shangela, I’m calling her “Shangie” now, time to stir the pot of shade and dra-ma dra-ma-ma. We squealed here at home watching her smile curl like a Cheshire cat as she gave Carmen the idea that maybe Manilla, fellow Heather, had motives about choosing her next to last to a choose style of music to vocally perform of Ru’s latest song “Superstar.” Let the Lady Boy Music Festival begin! Oh, back up. If you’re sober or don’t drink, sorry. Enter Absolut with cocktails. Here drink this. Repeated product placement ensues. Love it!

The rundown of musical stylings for the Dolls happened like this… Manilla chose Disco for herself and did alright. Loved her Afro! Raja chose second and grabbed Punk, and won. Yara picked Pop and showed body for points. Alexis naturally chose Hip-Hop and was coined as “Strip-Hop.” Complacent Carmen tried to pull off that she was happy with being stuck with Reggae but was tragic and ended in the bottom two. Shangela ended up with Country and also made believe it would have been a favorite choice. She also dropped to the final lip-sync-off on the main stage again Carrera.

Cher’s “Believe” was the final number and even though Carmen is sickening to look at, very lovely, Shangela won that hands-down even without her perfectly placed “death-drop” at the end. At the beginning of the episode Carmen and Yara were wondering why RuPaul gave the two of them another chance last week. Vapid Carmen naturally replied that the other contestants should be seeing her as a threat. Shangie commented in her confessional, “Can someone just slap her and wake her up?!” Fierce. Final 5.

ALL-AMERICAN DRAG RACE

On last evening’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ru had America on the brain! With Delta Work’s timely departure last week the Heathers were very sad, especially BFF Raja who was really torn over Delta not Working out last Main Stage Challenge in the previous episode. Good riddence. Just saw her at local drag palace Toucan’s and what you see is what you get. Same gold stretch leggings and souvenir bikini t-shirt worn on RDR. Yawn. Sorry, I’m sure she is lovely and all… But she is not America’s Next Top Drag Superstar so move along and leave room for what the show can offer as “The Top Children… in the United States of America.” RuPaul’s words. Not mine.

The Mini Challenge had the girls turning an ordinary bra into “something glamorific” using beads, stones and the like. Some were cute. I liked Carmen’s the best. Some others were not so cute. Shangela. Um, no girl. Didn’t work this time, boo. Raja name-checked Samantha Fox and received an extra point or two from me for that. Manilla Luzon won the challenge and the Dolls were off to work on their Public Service Announcements for our troops fighting for our country. What would have happened if one of the girls had really popped into military registration or on base dressed like that?! I Do Ask that you Don’t Tell Me how it went. Get my point?! Exactly, but whatever…

On the main stage we see each contestant’s PSA and their I HEART AMERICA runway realness. Drag Queen Ice Princess Johnny Weir and model Cheryl Tiegs were added as judges next to Santino Rice in some wicked bicentenial drag and Michelle Visage’s pouring-over ta-tas. They were milkiest. The PSA rundown trickles as follows: Shangela was funny but was clocked for being slightly canned with what she was doing. Carmen was painted, as usual, but acted really crazy stripper in a blue bodysuit who couldn’t find her pole. Yara Sofia did some scattered dialogue that didn’t go far. Manilla did comedy in a fried blonde wig that looked like frayed yellow yarn and ran her mouth about different cultural foods. Raja didn’t do much other than look stunning in her pin-up drag and smile a lot. Alexis had the most heartfelt challenge during it all as she shared her longing love of someone that had to leave to go fight the war. “BAM! BAM! BAM!” she called out in-between a series of posing for your nerves and her wishing that her soldier come home safely and soon.

When it was all said and done, Alexis definitely had won the challenge. Chick can paint a mug. Always in her look. After being clowned on for looking bored (dead-on complacency) Carmen slipped into the bottom two with Yara who looked lovely on the runway but as mentioned before her PSA was a hot mess. The girls lip-synced for their lives and were both safe since America is the land of second chances and opportunities. In this judge’s opinion, Carmen won that challenge pumps down. A Spanish version of “Mickey” was the tune and even though they both turned it out, I believed Yara to be departing. But alas, she was saved.

During Untucked, Alexis clowned on Raja and her “crooked-looking eye” (her dish, not mine) and Shangela clocked Manilla was holding a dog during her PSA talking about Chinese food. “Ho was holding a dog!” she snapped. In the Interior Illusions Lounge it looked like Yara was trying to squeeze into the Heathers’ clique by sharing dish and tea on Shangela. As we see on next week’s preview, it may be that the Heathers’ demise may be sooner than one planned. Ascension within the ranks is abound and we’ll be watching.

FUNNY QUEENS

This week’s installment of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Start-Your-Engines) kicked off with the opening montage (love that damn star crown) and away the girls drove into their Mini-Challenge. The library was open and reading commenced as the “legendary children” (Ru’s words, not mine) “Threw Shade” – or read (pronounced red) each other for filth. Some did a really good job. I wondered how I would fare with this challenge. I can definitely read but the pressure of immediate snapping, watch out. I assume that whatever is on your mind works. By this time I bet they were very over each other so maybe it was easy. All of those personalities clashing. The Heathers vs. the “Boogers” (The Heathers words, not mine.) Whew. Try keeping up. I am.

Shangela gets the win and also has the advantage of preparing the order of the other girls’ comedic performances for the Main Stage Challenge. Each Doll has to prepare a stand-up routine and I was with Raja when she said it wasn’t something she was looking forward to. I’m very funny (me) but as agreed it’s all about timing and one can fall flat very quickly. Two of the Queens really felt the pressure and found themselves in the bottom two even after coaching from Rita Rudner (looking good) and judgement from Arden Myrin (love that blonde from “Chelsea Lately”) and RuPaul in a piece of lovely hair that looked like it had been flat-ironed straight. Delta Work and Manilla Luzon. Yes, 2 Heathers! Cue gasp.

Of course Shangela played her cards the way a puppeteer would his strings. She smartly stacked the cards in her favor and away from the Heathers. Sorry chicks. All four of you would have done the same thing but would have you been as smart about it?! Doubtful. This moment gives the confident Shangeloo a chance to say “Haleloo!” Rightfully so. The other girls did come at her with knives and the competition is really starting to heat up. Accelerate Dolls or get off the track.

The Main Stage Challenge served nerves under pressure as they each stood before a live audience of fags and fag-hags (no judge, no tea) and performed comedy. Raja was first and did a look from Carrie and was funny. Her mug was beat! She looked really good other than the bloody paint. Carmen wanted to be fat allegedly and won the praise of Rita on loan from Las Vegas. Alexis easily got away with inflatable tits. The crowd obviously would love it, and did. Shangela put herself fourth and came out as a “Post Modern Pimp Ho” (her title) and didn’t want the crowd to “clown her for her cliff-hangers” (again, her brilliant words.) Translation: Please don’t read for her toes that hang off the front of her shoes. Shangela WORKED it! The crowd was eating out of her hands. Luzon faltered in a stunning canary showgirl costume that went well with her dated Sesame Street jokes. Yara came running out fast on her knees and the crowd snapped. She was very funny as a little Latin person. A very nervous Delta really blundered and as we learned during her mini-breakdown (“Pick me, Pick me, Pick me”) backstage during Untucked she was ready to go.

It was her time to go and after a tough lip-sync to save lives, Manilla rightly stayed and the Heathers hovered over a leaving Work. I like Delta as a performer from what I’ve seen on the show. From what she has decided to show us on RDR or what the editors have intended on showing us is up to them and we can only go by what we are shown. There were times she really bothered me with her negativity and bullying. I know drag queens must be tough, but with each other?! Many around these parts know her personally and speak highly of her. I don’t know her at all, here locally. Delta’s closing words were that she was happy to be losing to a Heather rather than a Booger. Again, her words, not mine. If you watched then you can make your own judgement. No tea, Boo. That’s just mine. Happy people are happy.

ANOTHER ROUND OF RUPAUL

Catching up on some blogging and can never let another lap of the Logo TV original series RuPaul’s Drag Race go by without some words its way. Let’s get into it… The Mini-Challenge consistsed of the Dolls posing naked with or without a drape of sheer fabric for a profile portrait, finding their light and manuvering that sheet. Some worried it out while others mugged for your nerves and served naked realness. The already-comfortable-with-her-body Carmen Carrera won the challenge with front-runner Raja, a close second, I assume.

The Main Stage Challenge had the “Top Children, of the United States of America” sewing a piece of couture runway realness inspired by a cake that winner Carmen passed around to everyone as another perk of her win. She admittedly took care of her “Heathers” which has become Delta Work, Raja, Carrera and Manilla because as they described they were the pretty ones. I threw up in my mouth when I saw the high-school antics that played out into Untucked afterwards. That’s where the real story is going on. DVR that stuff, honey. Halaloo! Of course that left the others to fend for themselves by helping one another. This ate the Heathers up! How dare someone ask for help and how dare someone help another?! This is a competition, they cried. Shut your face and be concerned about yourself. If they weren’t so worried about the others, they wouldn’t be so worried about the others. (Man, the show editors know what they’re doing. These girls piss me off. Mission accomplished.)

The judges were Eliza Dushku from Bring it On (love her!) and someone who escapes my mind this early in the morning but should come to me soon. Alexis Mateo faltered with her cheesecake inspired quilt skirt and dropped into the bottom two. Cue gasp! Stacy Layne Matthews slid from her reign on top last week to lip-syncing with Mateo for their lives. Unfortunatley, Stacy’s poor choice in red stretch velvet didn’t leave much to the imagination of things to come and she was sent home after the final showdown. Raja won the challenge with her chocolate decadence and I agreed. Yara’s mug was beat and she looked beautiful while Shangela could still use some help with make-up advice.

And while on the subject of Shangela, and I’ll only go into this for a bit before heading into work. Yes, she is young and still needs a lot of experience to gain before really shining as America’s Next Drag Superstar. However… There’s no need to gang up on anyone like they, Raja and Delta Work, did. Period. I was going to say during Untucked but we don’t see everything that happens and editing can only do so much. The producers aren’t putting words into their mouths by computer generation. The budget is going into the prize money not CGI. Sorry, ladies. The cattiness I saw last evening made me slightly sad the “queens” are acting as immature and ridiculous as some have this season. Yes, it “makes for great television.” But it does not make for good stereotypes of drag queens and gays in general.

Shangela held her own as her “teammates” sat by quietly idle and I give her hugs for that. It seemed that Alexis sat there in shock of possibly going home. It’s hard to make assumptions about how someone is in reality not on reality televsion by what we see. I don’t really know these girls but what I’ve seen from some of them I don’t care much for. Stay strong, Dolls.

THE RACE HEATS UP

Oh, here come the girls with another lap around RuPaul’s Drag Race track. The Mini-Challenge this week consisted of a game show version of something Ru called S__t RuPaul Says where “The Best Children… in America” (or is it country?!) had to answer funny fill-in-the-blanks. After each queen had to “Swish on Down” and compete in teams of three, Delta Work wins and overhears Shangela saying she would love to call home which was the award for winner. Madame Work decided to pay it forward and give her phone call to Shangela making her boo-hoo-the-hoo. She in turn paid it forward to Stacy Layne Matthews who was having difficulty coming up with her Snatch Game celebrity impersonation and needed help. It IS about getting along… isn’t it?!

There’s obvious uneasiness in the workroom from last week’s win where Manila Luzon won with her over-the-top portrayal of an Asian reporter that allegedly offended many who didn’t win the challenge. Hmm. Imagine that. Miss Luzon name checks Margaret Cho as her inspiration and the others aren’t buying it. Tensions continue. Contestants prepare. Absolut sponsors.

Their Main Stage Challenge for the evening consisted of the girls dressing in character realness and giving the missing answers on the ’70s game show Match Game. This, of course, is sprayed with a flamboyant twist calling it Snatch Game, with model Amber Rose (need to do a Google search on her) and actress Aisha Tyler as judges. No one got any answers to match but doubtfully that’s the point since RuPaul said, “Who cares!” as she threw the indexcards when announcing the winner where there was none according to score.

Highlights of Snatch Game: Alexis Mateo’s lesbian-inspired-pregnant Alicia Keys, Manila’s insane Imelda Marcos and growing pile of shoes, and Raja’s crazy-ass Tyra Banks with psycho-eyes (that was not “smizing”) and no foam pads giving any body. Thinking back, I really didn’t think Raja was on her Tyra mannerisms that we see on camera during ANTM but they do know each other well. He did look good though. However, it is Miss Stacy Layne Matthews (you have to say the entire name out) that turned OUT her Monique from Precious! Glad she listened to Shangela and lost the Anna Nicole Smith idea after Ru wasn’t feeling her non-commitment to it. Lowlights of Snatch Game: Everyone else. Oh, but I did appreciate the humor in Carmen’s imitation of J-Lo with her “Handler List” of being approached with a “compliment, compliment, question” before anything.

On the main stage, Alexis dazzled with a lovely beaded piece, Raja felt tribal warrior realness (no body) while deserving winner of the challenge Stacy Layne Matthews rounded out the top three. Bottom two included Delta Work and “not Mildred Fierce” Mariah. Her Joan Crwford was tired. The lip-syncing for lives included Jody Watley’s “Looking for a New Love” and that’s what decided it in the end. Mariah didn’t know the words and Delta did. End of discussion.  Another lap complete. No runway carnage.

Afterwards during Untucked we learn that Carmen can’t keep her stories straight (lies talking out of her ass) about being BFFs with Jennifer Lopez or not, Delta continues to dog Stacy Layne Matthews about being tired and not worthy of competing, and Raja and Shangela have past history that is obviously interfering with them as both friends and competitors. Manila decided to sneak around and eavesdrop on the other girls which naturally caused a big stir among everyone and it got incredibly awkward. Mariah was backed into a corner and bowed out, not so gracefully. The competition is truly heating up!

THE DRAG RACE CONTINUES

I let a few weeks and needing-to-go-quicker-than-other contestants depart before starting to blog about RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lap Three… Translation: Season 3. Last evening after the opening montage of Mike Ruiz airbrushed-for-your-nerves imagery of Madame Ru herself, the doors open to the main set and front-runners Alexis Mateo is playfully pushing Shangela through the doors as the others fall in accordingly. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, perhaps. They did win the challenge a few weeks ago when they were twins. Priceless twins with their hair attached at the ends. Hopefully a friendship has been forged, for reals.

After the She Mail arrived via video, RuPaul entered and had the girls create a scandalous moment captured on the red carpet. Larger than life Stacy Layne Matthews and Carmen Carrera won the Mini-Challenge and became team captains in the Main Stage Challenge of delivering the news for QNN, the fictionalized and campy news network. Debbie Mantenopoulos coached the anchor gals and weather chicks with their dialogue and character. Each team filmed the final take to be judged on the main stage. Some soared and others faltered. I believed that it indeed was close but I felt Shangela’s gossip girl realness was ever-so-slightly better than Miss Manila Luzon’s over-the-top portrayal of a crazy Asian reproter interviewing Kristen Cavallari, which was indeed very funny. But Shangela had the campy savoir faire that the character needed. But no go, and she was obviously disappointed after hearing she could go to any station, do her thing and be great. Alexis had immunity and was safe, along with Raja, Delta Work dressed in something horrible and blue, a naked but painted-for-the-gods Carmen, et al.

I thought Stacy looked great on the runway but ended in the bottom two with India Ferrah whose weather girl caused a dark storm of wrong. Luckily there was no lifting other queens above heads and placing them elsewhere like in the prvious week and no fight broke out on stage. Just two professional entertainers “lip-syncing for their lives,” owning the runway… or not. Stacey was clearly the winner with her confidence of standing proud and singing her song. India felt it necessary to become quite mobile in hopes to gain attention from judges Chloe Sivegny and Michelle Visage over Miss Matthews and heard the dreaded “Sashay away.” Stacey was safe for another week and India bowed out gracefully.

The show opens doors many queens would kill for. Even though someone is eliminated and doesn’t win the $75,000, the exposure and publicity is worth so much more. I’m still Team Alexis Mateo in this camp. And you?!