It’s taken five episodes – but we’ve finally gotten to a choreography challenge. Sam Brooks power ranks the fifth episode of House of Drag.
It feels strange that it’s taken until halfway through the season until we get to a choreography challenge — nay, any music challenge at all. As a performative artform, drag is more aligned to musical performance than any of the things the contestants have been asked to do thus far — stand-up comedy, a photo shoot, even sketch — and it’s nice to see the contestants in their natural element.
As with all competitive reality shows, there’s the inevitable shift in the fulcrum: the early episodes are more rife with drama, because there are more contestants and more competition, but the latter episodes, with fewer contestants to fill the time and presumably fewer people messing up, can feel slack and rudderless.
Only now does House of Drag‘s 22-minute runtime start to make sense; the pack is finally thinned out enough that we can actually spend time with each contestant and get to know them. It might not be the most exciting episode as a result, but it feels like the most cohesive and robust episode thus far.
Enough of that, though! Onto the power-rankings!
ELIMINATED: Vulga Titz
Vulga falls right from the top to the bottom this week, after a disco performance that’s funny as all hell but doesn’t feel very tightly choreographed or adhering to the actual genre she’s been given — disco.
Combine that with an outfit that sits way below-the-par set by the rest of the contestants, and it’s sad but not surprising to see Vulga go. We’re halfway through, and at some point, you have to start sending home even the good queens. Seeing as this show started doing that last week, anything seems to go now!
She might be gone from House of Drag but she’ll always have the most memorable name in drag. I’ll never forget you, Vulga Titz.
4. Bunny Holiday
Leidy Lei made an on point, if mean, assessment: “She’s trying to fuck with me and clearly it’s because she’s a shit dancer.”
Bunny Holiday continues to get the villain edit, and it seems less like its the edit, and more like the heel fitting Cinderella’s foot just fine. Because no editor in their right mind is going to leave a contestant saying, “Mine’s too fucking easy” alone.
Now that the competition is thinning out, and that the frontrunners (Hugo Grrrl, Lola Blades) seem to be mostly professional and cordial people, Holiday’s surliness and readiness with ill-deployed shade sticks out even more. Back that up with a shakily choreographed routine (though I’d argue that ‘country’ is not a genre of dance, but a genre of music) and it can’t help but feel like Holiday is being kept around for the drama she provides, and I imagine her staying next week and even the week after because of it.
3. Leidy Lei
It’s taken five episodes, being in the bottom twice, and a few unfortunately racist jokes, but Leidy Lei has finally emerged as a contender. Top four is nothing to sniff at, and in this episode at least, due to some heavy-handed narrative editing which had us falsely expecting to be at the bottom of the pile, she absolutely killed the choreography.
Was it K-Pop? No.
Was it entertaining and polished? Yes.
Was it fun to see her triumph? A little, yeah!
2. Lola Blades
Blades delivered a polished routine this week, and we even got a bit of her backstory as well — she grew up in the country where everybody knew she was gay before she did, and for her, drag is a unique form of self-expression. As she says, “I give more of me when I’m in drag.”
She gave more this week, and I’m excited to see her kill whatever challenges are thrown at her in the next few weeks of the competition. She’s yet to stumble or fuck up, and unless she gets into her own head, I think we’re looking at one of our top two, if not our winner.
WINNER: Hugo Grrrl
Hugo Grrrl was the only one this week who truly matched up their personality with their genre and showcased not only their personality but their talent well. It’s nuts to me that he didn’t win the week, but it’s hard to resist the appeal of the underdog narrative.
Competence, talent and cordiality will always beat out a propensity for drama, at least onscreen.
Keep on keeping on, Hugo.
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