Welcome to this week’s recap of the now world famous “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race!” In the premiere last week, our contestants were less celebrities and more…people who seemed to be walking by the soundstage. Let’s see who they manage to grab this week.
My name is Daniel Trainor and I take the concept of celebrity very seriously, so yeah, this show is on thin ice with me.
And my name is Sam Stone. Fame is actually a drug and I should have been sent to rehab decades ago.
Let’s get into it!
DT: First, we’re introduced to our guest mentors: Alyssa Edwards, Trinity The Tuck, Asia O’Hara. The three hypothesize about who our celebrity contestants could be. They throw out a bunch of wild names. Pee-wee Herman! Kylie Jenner! Sally Jesse Raphael! Three names that have never been in the same sentence before.
SS: Except in the game of Fuck, Marry, Kill I play in my head every night while I fall into a deep and dreamless slumber.
DT: Instead of any of those household names, we get…..a Basketball Wife?
SS: Loni Love is not a basketball wife, she’s a comedian and a book writer and maybe also she’s maybe a life coach? Seems like she has a lot of balls in the air.
DT: Basketballs? Anyway, we’re introduced to Loni and Tami Roman (who is a b-ball wife), which is FINE. But then, absolute legend and queen Vanessa Williams walks into the werk room. Suddenly this is all worth it. A celebrity! The concept is saved!
SS: Vanessa Williams enters with a look in her eyes that says “I would run over a human man with my car if that’s what it takes to win this GODdamn game.”
DT: To kick things off, our three ladies are tasked with getting into Quick Drag to promote something called Schwing.
SS: Alyssa, Asia, and Trinity all focus their energy on unintelligible squawking as the celebs sprint around and rifle through clothing racks and mullet wigs to create the “macho man quick drag” look that Ru demands.
DT: Vanessa immediately pulls out her tracks, which made me proud to be an American.
SS: Without hesitation, Tami snatches her own gorgeous and expensive five-foot wig off her damn head and the queens scream so loud I’m worried that they’ll implode in on each other.
DT: Loni ends up looking like James Harden after emerging from his quarantine bunker. Wow, a basketball joke in a Drag Race recap. I’m a revolutionary.
SS: Sorry, I briefly fell asleep while reading that sentence – where were we? Oh right. Tami looks like a Venice Beach MC Hammer and Vanessa has bravely chosen a preppy vibe which, for me, was hot.
DT: All three make as many broad dick jokes as possible, but Loni makes the best and broadest dick jokes of all, securing the win in the challenge.
SS: Loni gets to choose her mentor, picking Trinity. She matches up Vanessa with Asia and Tami with Alyssa.
DT: RuPaul introduces our Maxi Challenge – a Rusical called “Twerkin’ 5-to-9,” a title that probably could have used a second pass.
SS: But first! A segment I’m quickly learning is pivotal in these episodes: the celebrities choose their drag names.
DT: Tami goes with Miss……………..Shenita Cocktail, which is actually genius? Loni picks Mary J. Ross, which I will say is, uh, less strong. Vanessa chooses to call herself Vanqueisha De House, which I’m too terrified to pass judgment on!
SS: I before E except after Vanq.
DT: Our celebs head to the mainstage to learn their Rusical choreography (a phrase which fills my body with dread) and it’s clear that while Loni is not a dancer, Vanessa and Tami are aggressively tall enough that any kind of movement looks choreographed on them.
SS: Despite her height, Tami is nervous about performing drag. She’s creating stakes for the audience, and we crawl towards it like an oasis in the desert.
DT: Back in the werk room, Loni gets emotional about all that “Drag Race” has meant to her over the years. It’s a very nice moment, which RuPaul graces with as much sympathy as a Madame Tussauds wax figure. Put your hand on her shoulder, Ru! God damn!
SS: I actually stan an emotionally unavailable fracking queen!
DT: The women see themselves in drag make-up for the first time, which really amounts to just a little bit more eyeshadow for Tami, a lot of contouring for Loni and a bold lip for Vanessa.
SS: It was weird seeing these beautiful women go through a full drag transformation and come out the other end looking like…other beautiful women. And isn’t that the essence of drag? Looking beautiful, and then putting on makeup and still looking beautiful? God, I love art.
DT: Dolly Parton herself has the briefest possible video cameo, and then it’s time for our Rusical performance! Vanessa lip syncs as Dolly, and actually gives a very decent drag performance because she is Vanessa fucking Williams.
SS: Tami is Jane Fonda flinging her aerobic moves all over the stage. In her shiny fluorescent leotard, it appears Tami has moved past her shyness. Loni has the final verse, and performs some kind of Lily Tomlin/Missy Elliott mash-up. “Glee” could never.
DT: I actually thought the Rusical was pretty good! After the performance, it’s runway time. Vanessa comes out draped in flames.
SS: Vanessa looked…hot. It’s actually incredible to be a comedy writer, and be able to write groundbreaking jokes like this. You’re welcome, culture.
DT: This will be our final recap together. Sam, sashay into traffic.
SS: Shantay, that hurt my feelings!
DT: Tami’s look was hard to wrap my head around. Miss Shenita Cocktail was blinding in thousands of pounds of sequins and her slow runway walk reminded me of a nervous bridesmaid.
SS: Mary J. Ross is looking pretty in pink for her runway look, but listen, girlina, if you’re gonna cinch your waist to hell you can’t wear a dang robe that hides it! Where is the shape? Where is the body? Where am I? Help!!!!
DT: After our ladies clod around the runway, we head back into the werk room where “Loni’s boyfriend James” makes a surprise appearance. “Loni’s boyfriend James” is greeted with absolutely zero enthusiasm from Loni herself.
SS: Daniel is quickly revealing himself to be a “Loni’s boyfriend James” truther. Vanessa Facetimes with her daughter and Tami video chats with her supremely unimpressed husband, and then it’s time for our final lip sync.
DT: “Celebrity Drag Race” lip syncs are so interesting to watch because none of the contestants really understand how drag queens lip sync, so the whole affair is a sexy mixture of self-consciousness and confidence – reader, I can’t get enough!
SS: All three ladies look, if not terrified, then at least like they’re actively trying to erase this memory as it’s taking place, and before you know it, we’re ready to crown a winner.
DT: Just like she always does, Vanessa takes the title. I’m not saying she didn’t deserve it, but it also felt like there was a stipulation in her contract that stated “I’ll do it, but I’m not losing to a Basketball Wife.”
SS: And with that, we’ve somehow watched another entire episode of “Rupaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race.” God bless us, every one.
Daniel Trainor is writer, podcaster, son and friend from Los Angeles, California. Originally from Michigan, his love for all things pop culture started early, once using pancakes to bribe his way onto the Oscars red carpet bleachers with his mother. In addition to writing for AwardsWatch, he is an huge sports fan and hosts the LGBTQ sports podcast “Same Team.” One day, he hopes Jane Krakowski will win an Emmy.
Sam Stone is a writer and actor based in Brooklyn, New York. He writes humor, culture, and travel among other things, and spends his free time reading about all those things. You can find him on twitter @sam_the_stone or on Instagram @samstone000.