RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE SEASON 5: AND THEY'RE OFF!
XL was jam-packed last night for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 launch party. I was deejaying the affair so here's a blow-by-blow recap. Sugga Pie Koko and the cast of Friday's regular dragstravaganza Hot Mess opened the marython with a demented Lion King number that brought the house down. Hot Mess has made Sugga a bonafide NYC drag star--she's totally unique, crazy. So talented that even the sublimely artsy Antony of Antony and The Johnsons' fame was wowed by her when he caught her miming to a medley of circuit hits at Wigstock years ago. This opening number was expertly choreographed by previous Drag Racer Milan. Former contestants Manila Luzon, Carmen Carrera, and Morgan McMichaels were on hand to cheer them all on along with Mobwives' Big Ang and transsexual icon Amanda Lepore.
Bianca Del Rio was on fire as usual in the role of deliciously hateful and filthy emcee. She's so quick-witted that I laugh even when I don't get all of her jokes! (I'm serious.) I'm forgetful bordering on senile and know few contemporary pop references so I do miss a lot--but the crowd ate them up. After one queen who worked a wind machine during her number Bianca quipped "That fan is the only thing in here that'll blow you!" Contestant Vivienne Panay's bra slipped during her number and Bianca noted that it looked like "Her boobs had gone South for the winter." To another girl who wasn't the most scene-stealing, she smirked "You know SHE ain't gonna win." The place howled! I was essentially Miss Del Rio's "straight man" and got in one or two lines in between her constant reminders that I'm old, fat and a whore. As if senility would force me to forget my core qualities! Bianca did ask me where Mimi Imfurst had gone, since Mimi had djing earlier that night in the same spot I was and wearing a dark wig. I replied "I am Mimi--I just changed my wig and lost weight."
(ALL PICS BY JEFF EASON)
(ALL PICS BY JEFF EASON)
Snooki and Jwwow were on hand to co-host this event. I'd met them in their room at the Out hotel, which is adjoined to XL, and they seemed genuinely sweet. Snooki took to Bianca immediately and admired her foundation garments, yet she was reluctant to acknowledge me for some reason. Maybe because I need better foundation garments. Maybe? Or maybe just a diet. Or both. F#ck you all! But when the drinks kicked in later and Bianca had intimidated her enough to warrant a talk to the hand "Whatever, bitch!" moment, Snooki became fixated on me and tried to drag me onto stage to dance. Even though I wasn't playing any music. I tried to explain to her that my toe was broken so I wasn't up for dancing--to no music. Earlier, Snooksters had also been similarly grabbing at a publicist from LOGO. We all know that type of party girl--the "clutcher", whose heels are as high as their blood's alcohol level. But who wants to see a sober female reality star, anyway? Both Jersey Shore cast mates seemed to have been coached to say things like "You all are amazing" and "We can't wait for Drag Race", but the crowd wasn't exactly expecting scholarly essays from them. Both were very good sports. And with a gay crowd, the girls didn't have to look too hard for steroid users. They just probably wouldn't be looking back at them this time!
The lengthy revue show featured Drag Race winners from the first four seasons although Bebe had backed out. Miss "Cameroon" will always be the first winner so she's entitled to skip a cattle call gig like this. First up, Tyra Sanchez. She's huge, beautiful and wore a gorgeous 1940s meets disco perm wig that was also massive. Along with her trademark realistic breast plate. Tyra's pleasant and very laid back. But until this glamazon hits the stage, you could her shyness could come off as standoffish.
Season 3's winner Raja performed Crave You by Flight Facility, a song so cute that I'll now start playing it. Looking like an asian Vanessa Williams in an late 1960s Cher wig with a Pocahantas flair, she was cloaked in a dark, slinky gown with a puffy, white wrap which Bianca described as a tampon. The crowd beat the walls for her as she sulked around the stage, drink in hand, getting ready to work the runway as only she can. When she put the drink down, the crowd knew she was about to march. I have to fuss with a variety of ridiculous props and custom-made tracks for my own act, but all that flawless bitch has to do is strut. The song really doesn't even matter. If we weren't such good friends, I'd be forced to hate her! Also on hand from LA was Detox, who is known as Detox Icunt when she isn't appearing on RuPaul's Drag Race. She slayed the crowd with an inventive rendition of Starships' Nothng's Gonna Stop Us Now from the Kim Catrall vehicle Mannequin. You might say she put the "man" back in Mannequin as she collected tips in her clutch purse between striking jaunty poses, looking like another 80s classic: Anjelica Huston. This 80s classic didn't recognize the movie or the song--but Detox is from Hollywood, natch!
Sharon Needles interrupted the Jersey whores from the Jersey Shore to storm the stage and the joint exploded! She has a rare ability to connect with people and this cheering crowd was no exception. Hawking her new cd which comes out in a few days and features Amanda Lepore, Jayne County, and The Scissor Sisters, she performed a dance number from it. It sounded good, although I couldn't quite make out the hook's lyrics. She also plugged her boyfriend Alaska (aka Alaska Thunderfuck), who competes on the show this season, claiming that her own win last year proved that "smart and interesting" drag can prevail. Bianca wasn't too impressed by Sharon and began to needle her with a tongue so sharp that the crowd literally gagged. I had to suggest that Miss Del Rio lighten up just a little since Sharon had been kind enough to name her debut album after Bianca. It's titled Hail, Satan. I'm RuPaul's former roommate, so I know for a fact he'd be very proud that his devil's handiwork of promoting a demonic transvestite show for mainstream audiences has literally spawned Satan, who spawned Ru to begin with. So it was a family affair of sorts!
Alaska's very fun number, a comical live cover of My Girl by the Temptations, was indeed smart and interesting. I'm unable to go into details about each contestant's performance since the show was so long and and most of us had only just met so I don't know all of their names yet! New York was represented by three queens including the lovely Ivy Winters, who performed a nutty striptease to an Ella Fitzgerald scatting ditty in a cute ensemble she'd made. I cannot take my eyes off of Roxxxy Andrews and I'll be watching the show just to see what she looks like out of drag. Her eye make-up is unbelievably spectacular and to the max! I've ogled her Facebook pics like a tranny chaser over the years and lately she's been doing this new nose contour which drives me absolutely wild. It's slightly Streisand! And her costume reveal revealed that she has a real woman's ass--complete with cellulite!
Coco Montrese is a friend of mine from Las Vegas, so of course I'll be rooting for her. She proved last night that she doesn't need my help. The pint-sized diva has an enormous stage presence and has all the polish of the Las Vegas showgirl (currently appearing in Frank Marino's glitzy Divas Las Vegas) that she is. Penny Tration is this season's big girl and she did a very credible lipsynch of Gloria Gaynor's I Am What I Am in the evening's sparkliest fabric. Though it was an updated circuit mix, the number was so old school that I think it may have even revived a few t-cells in the crowd. Which is sickening! Or perhaps a better word is unsickening?
Season 5's theme is goddesses, which you can't really go wrong with. This was confirmed after the trailer showed Ru in regal gold and white flowing attire, birds flying out of the contestants' hands and a variety of stunning new graphics. There does seem to be a greater emphasis on beauty and realness among this batch of bitches. Or maybe this younger crop of queens has been watching and studying the padding and contour that many of Ru's contestants are known for. San Francisco's first ever entrant, Honey Mahogany, didn't need any padding and stripped down to just pasties! Kentucky's Monica Beverly Hills even looked more "fishy" out of drag than in! Some precision lipsynchers in this crew of painted ladies--this is going to be quite the heated contest! Alyssa Edwards is a professionally trained dancer and proved that she's not only stunning, but that you don't mess with Mesquite, Texas--where she hails from.
Lots of wig-slinging, lots of Beyonce in last night's show. It seems like someone would ask who is doing what before they put together a show this long. Otherwise, you get a mini-concert of someone who is already played out , in my opinion. But I guess to many young queens, dressing and dancing and lipsynching to Beyonce remains the very pinnacle of doing drag. I don't see it, but the much of the crowd seemed to know every note and hit of even the Queen B's live recordings. But if you must do impersonate her, why not do her most recent and best song ever--LOVE ON TOP? Or fumble with your imaginary earpiece and get the words wrong in a spoof of "Oh Say, Can't You Sing?" from the inaugural? I don't get it but as Bianca reminds me, I'm old. And this packed, dynamite show was just the teaser to ensure that my old ass will be watching Season 5 this Monday night! Also, next Friday night Hot Mess celebrates it's one year anniversary at XL with the return of one of the hottest messes of all time, Tan Mom!
PIX ON QUEERTY: QUEERTY
PIX ON QUEERTY: QUEERTY