LOADING ...

It Took RuPaul's Drag Race 10 Years to Honor Cher, But it Was Worth the Wait

Megan Reynolds Jun 20, 2018. 11 comments

Chad Michaels would be proud. I feel relieved and quite pleased to say that “Cher: The Unauthorized Musical” on last night’s RuPaul’s Drag Race was a delight, through and through, and was certainly not the disaster it could’ve been in unskilled hands.

At this point in the game, halfway through the season, it’s truly anyone’s game, and this is when this show finally picks up. When the stakes are raised merely because everyone in the room is so talented, the contestants enter some sort of fugue state where they compete as if it is their last job on earth or they allow their inner saboteur to take over.

This week, a Rusical that features live singing (yes!), Todrick Hall (all right), choreography (!!), and the seven remaining queens’ interpretation of Cher through the ages, from ‘60s Cher to ‘90s comeback Autotune Cher. We do believe in life after love! I mean it. Thankfully this maxi-challenge meant a very delightful mini-challenge during which harkened back to the finale of the second season: an acting challenge that saw Ru fake-slapping Tyra Sanchez, Raven, and my sweet Jujubee. It was funny that time, but this time, it was funnier, because when RuPaul went to fake-slap Asia O’Hara in the face, he actually... hit her by accident???

Please feel free to remember this moment by watching it here. I will watch it at least once a week.

Before Rusical and runway, we must, very briefly, talk about the Vixen, whose penchant for drama and willingness to scrap with everybody and anybody that gets in her way has sustained her to this point. It’s not that the Vixen isn’t talented—she is, very much so—but her personal inner saboteur combined with what Asia accurately clocked as insecurity and a sense of injustice that stems from life as a black, queer person in America conspire against her. These circumstances made for a lot of unresolved anger that has, as we’ve seen throughout the season, been directed at a person who represents that privilege, at least in the Vixen’s eyes: Eureka O’Hara. Race has long been the elephant in the room on this show and it’s really something to see it dealt with not on Reddit, but on the show, where it belongs.

“Sometimes to be strong, you have to be a little soft,” Asia tells her—a sweet way to let the Vixen know that she sees her.

This maxi-challenge was solidly fine; the runway, much better. Category is: Glitterrific. Let us see what there is to see, yes?


Perhaps the lesson of this week’s episode is “Don’t sleep on Kameron Michaels like you have been for the entire season because it seems like she might be a contender.” Her ‘60s Cher struck the correct balance between Jack from Will and Grace’s Cher, Cher the real person, and a horse. I wasn’t wild about it, but I recognize its competence. Her runway look, however, is stunning? A sparkly gold lamé jumpsuit! This cape! Pay more attention to Kameron, I guess!

Listen, Monét X Change is a trained opera singer and so the singing portion of this week’s proceedings went smoothly. As ‘70s Cher, she managed to make some sort of beautiful chimera out of Cher’s essence and eau de Monét—a crackerjack performance that would’ve landed her in the top had this sparkly black bodysuit been a teensy bit more together. Something about the editing at the top of the episode after Monét told the girls that she thought she deserved to win the Snatch Game made me think for a brief second that she was going home. I am glad she is still here, but come on babe, please step it up just a smidge!!

To the Vixen’s point, the Cher that she was tasked with doing is not a Cher that is as universally recognizable as the other Chers. Her ‘70s Cher look is the look from the Jackson 5’s performance on The Cher Show, which is a reference that feels sliiightly more esoteric. Regardless, her Cher was not great, though her runway costume impressed me with its ingenuity, creativity, and the sheer force of will the Vixen has to complete Hercluean tasks, like making a structured gown out of construction foam dipped in glitter.

Here’s Aquaria, two ways: dressed in what Lady Gaga would’ve worn to this year’s Met Ball had she attended and doing some version of Cher that, for someone born in 1996, is pretty good. Michelle Visage said it was like Madonna at the Brit Awards, which is not an inaccurate statement, but I must say that Aquaria continues to surprise me, despite myself. Also, she made little eye veils that she covered in rhinestones for her runway look and the effect is truly something special. ENHANCE.

This is the correct amount of extra. Thank yew.

There is nothing positive to say about Asia O’Hara’s movie star Cher, so I would much rather shift focus to her runway look, which proves just how much of a little glamour weirdo she truly is. This sparkly clown bodysuit with editorial shoulders is brilliant, as is the hat, the makeup, and the hair made of what I believe is paper. Aquaria may turn looks, but money cannot buy quirkiness, creativity and a sense of humor, okay! She ended up in the bottom two because her Cher was atrocious, but mark my words: she will win this thing.

Eureka’s homage to Cher’s Bob Mackie-designed fishnet bodysuit from the video for “If I Could Turn Back Time” is great and her performance, once she warmed up, had some bite despite the fact that singing in public is one of her personal triggers. The runway look was really spectacular—a disco ball, a statue tiled in shards of glass, what the Kim Kardashian perfume bottle should’ve actually looked like. It was perfection!!

In this episode we learned that Miz Cracker grew up with no money and with no access to pop culture, meaning that she came into learning about so many things way later in life. Her Autotune Cher looked good, sounded decent, but didn’t impress the judges, but her runway look? This gilded skull—reminiscent of Ornacia—was puking glitter onto her body and her beautiful face and it killed. When will she win a challenge? Soon? Yes, please.

Your winner this week: Kameron Michaels, girl! Your bottom two: Asia O’Hara and The Vixen. This lip sync, to “Groove is in the Heart”—a perfect song—was really no contest. Asia O’Hara is the best part of this program—the den mother, the beating heart, and the bitch who will outperform you after giving you an Oprah talk in the workroom, and do so while dressed as what can really only be described as a fashion clown. The Vixen gave it her all and then some, but her pluck and sheer stamina were not enough. To Chicago she must go, but she returns a star.

Next week—we’re going to Breastworld!

11 Comments

Other Megan Reynolds's posts

Now That Baskets Is Over... What Was Baskets? Now That Baskets Is Over... What Was Baskets?

Baskets, an FX show that ended Thursday night, is a program that, like many in the overcrowded prestige television space , I know only in passing. The ads for the most recent season—its final one—briefly plagued the subway station by my workplace: a melancholy Zach Galifianakis in clown makeup, gazing softly into the middle distance in a way that...

I Could Watch Bernie Sanders Play Competent Softball on a Loop Until I Die I Could Watch Bernie Sanders Play Competent Softball on a Loop Until I Die

Bernie Sanders put his Brooklyn stickball training to good use on Tuesday by playing a fairly competent game of softball at Iowa’s Field of Dreams. Generally, these kinds of events feel forced, but please tell me if you don’t see a soupçon of fun and whimsy in Uncle Bernard’s astonishingly capable softball skills.Swing for the fences, Bernard. That’s a...

Pig Beach Is Dead Pig Beach Is Dead

Near and around the site of Ja Rule’s ill-fated Fyre Fest lies Grand Exuma, an island in the Bahamas that is home to a clutch of feral pigs and their small, feral piglets. These pigs have lived in relative peace, eating food thrown to them by tourists and rooting around in the sand and whatnot, but I regret to...

Look Who Decided to Show Up to the Party Look Who Decided to Show Up to the Party

Hi Karen. I see you decided to show up, for once. Glad you found some time in your busy schedule to join us. Were we waiting for you? Not at all. I just put the spinach dip back in the oven to ensure that it would be hot and bubbly for you, just how you like it.Yeah, yeah, I...

Suggested posts

'Can We Say Penis at the Mall?' My Drunken Afternoon at a Shopping Center Drag Show 'Can We Say Penis at the Mall?' My Drunken Afternoon at a Shopping Center Drag Show

Some of my earliest memories are of watching MTV footage of Tiffany Darwish on her 1980s mall tour of America in my middle of nowhere Louisiana living room. She sang from balconies to hoards of screaming teenaged fans in far-off, exotic sounding places like Paramus, New Jersey, red mane fluffed to a feathery, ginger halo, collar of her jean jacket...

Michelle Visage Evicts Her 'Toxic Sacks of Silicone' Michelle Visage Evicts Her 'Toxic Sacks of Silicone'

Michelle Visage’s breasts are at least as delightful an element of RuPaul’s Drag Race as Ross Mathews, and next time we see them (Visage’s breasts, not Ross Mathews), they’ll be sans implants.Visage recently told People that she had her implants removed and endured an agonizing-sounding four-week recovery because she worried they might be exacerbating an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s...

Shuga Cain Is Self-Assured and Sparkling Shuga Cain Is Self-Assured and Sparkling

Shuga Cain is a RuPaul’s Drag Race anomaly: at 40, she’s the oldest contestant on Season 11, but she’s only been doing drag for two years, having ditched her corporate job in a blaze of glory to immerse herself full time in the nightlife of wigs, contouring, and sequins. In Drag Race’s past, queens over 35 (or even 30,...

Aja on Their New Album, Box Office: 'My Only Competition Is Myself' Aja on Their New Album, Box Office: 'My Only Competition Is Myself'

Drag Race alum Aja may be best known for their unbridled opinions, excellent ensembles, and the ability to dip from great heights, but performing in drag for Aja was just a stepping stone towards their larger goal of becoming a rapper.Last week they dropped their debut rap album, Box Office, and stopped by Jezebel to discuss the meaning behind the...

Miss Vanjie...Miss Vanjie...Miss Vanjie...Is Back  Miss Vanjie...Miss Vanjie...Miss Vanjie...Is Back 

The Drag Race queens have been announced for Season 11 and I spy with my little eye a familiar face.Miss Vanjie...Miss Vanjie...Miss Vanjie...has returned to the competition after getting eliminated first last season and milking her 10-second walk-off by somehow coining the season’s most iconic line. The new cast includes a Denver “shock queen,” a doctoral candidate in philosophy,...

Gia Gunn's Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent Make Drag Race Worth Watching Gia Gunn's Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent Make Drag Race Worth Watching

On Friday’s season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars , the bewiggèd host told the contestants that if they could “harness the power” of their “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent,” they’d “rule the Drag Race hall of fame.” I’m pleased to report that Gia Gunn disregarded RuPaul’s advice entirely, unleashing her cunt on every queen in the workroom.Upon...

They Look Great They Look Great

VH1 just released the first 14 minutes of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season four, premiering this Friday, and I’m pleased to report that the budget is there.Not the show’s budget—god, no. They’re still filming in that ceilingless workroom with the finest “brick” walls Jo-Ann Fabrics could furnish. I’m talking about the queens. They look great! Check out all...

Manila Luzon Is an All-Star Forever Manila Luzon Is an All-Star Forever

Manila Luzon, the Los Angeles-based drag queen who came this close to winning RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3, is back this Friday for her second appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars. Luzon, best known for her hot glued outfits and black and blonde striped wigs, came through the Jezebel offices last week to talk about All-Stars Season 4, her dream...

You Guys Really Like RuPaul's Drag Race Huh You Guys Really Like RuPaul's Drag Race Huh

RuPaul’s Drag Race is really fucking popular, Entertainment Weekly reports. Reddit released new data on Tuesday ranking the most discussed television shows on its various subreddits, ranked by how many unique pageviews that show’s subreddit got in the 2018 calendar year. VH1's Emmy-winning drag reality show came out on top with 8.8 million uniques on the r/rupaulsdragrace subreddit, beating...

The Best Looks From This Week's RuPaul's Drag Race The Best Looks From This Week's RuPaul's Drag Race

This was the week in which the queens were tested in their acting skills—the episode which, despite Michelle Visage's decree that "girl you are a drag queen, you are experienced in acting," inevitably ends up in a shitshow of epic proportions. And this season, the tragedies were literally Shakespearean, as Ru enlisted the queens to do camp takes on...

Language