RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons brought queens from Seasons 2-5 of the popular Logo reality program, RuPaul’s Drag Race, to the House of Blues stage February 7. While scores weren’t kept, these queens were doing a lot more than lip-syncing for their lives—the evening’s entertainment ran the variety show gamut, from sung performances to swallowing … fire. (Get your head out of the gutter!) Read on for highlights from the night chock-full of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.
1. Pandora Boxx slayed the audience with stand-up. Her Carol Channing impersonation during Season 2’s Snatch Game (a parody of The Match Game) let us know that Ms. Boxx is quite the comedienne. The queen performed a lengthy comedy routine, which had the crowd (of mostly gay men and their female friends) in stitches. A few gems:
On the straight girls in the audience: “I love the straight ladies because they love their drag queens, they love their gay boys and they’re the only ones who love the f*cking show RuPaul’s Drag U.”
On the straight guys in the audience: “I love how people point them out. He’s right there! GET HIM!”
On her fifth-place stance during Season 2: “Because that’s what you do when you don’t win Drag Race. You release an unsuccessful single.”
2. Mimi Imfurst was quite the pleasant surprise. After Imfurst’s initial appearance onstage, Michelle Visage and Sharon Needles informed the audience that the queen was a replacement for Season 5 contestant Willam Belli, who didn’t take the stage in Las Vegas due to “an injury.” While Imfurst’s parody of “I Will Survive” fell flat—I’m chalking this up to an overload of terrible dick jokes—she had the audience howling with a raunchy rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” A somewhat-safe-for-work taste: “I heard that you’re hitched again. That you found a bitch, who is young and thin. F*cking c*nt.” … “I hope you get syphilis and herpes, too.” The queen also pulled off a pretty convincing illusion of the Brit singer-songwriter—are you reading this, Frank Marino?
3. Ivy Winters kinda stole the show. Host Michelle Visage’s introduction of Winters says it all: “We’re taking you to a Vegas reality. We’re taking you to Cirque du So Gay!” Drag Race devotees learned in Season 5 that Winters had some interesting talents, and the queen exhibited them throughout the night—first performing a lip-sync to Little Mix’s “Wings” in stilts and a butterfly costume with giant wings, then juggling and swallowing fire (!) set to David Guetta’s “Titanium.” While most of the queens delivered entertaining performances, Winters was the only one who brought some serious Vegas flair to the stage. Props.
4. Seasons 3 and 4 didn’t really bring it. Manila Luzon reprised her alien-monkey character, Tweaker, from Season 3’s “Queens in Space” episode, aptly lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s recent “Venus” single. Nostalgic, but not that exciting without Boobarella and the Twinbots by her side (and I say this as a serious Luzon fan).
Season 4 champion Sharon Needles brought her signature, haunting aesthetic to the House of Blues, even emerging from a coffin at first and donning some seriously hideous mask at the start of her final solo act—different from the other queens, yes, but typical and expected from Needles. The queen is known for over-the-top shock factor, and it just wasn’t there Friday night.
Season 3 contestant Carmen Carrera’s lip-syncs were quite provocative, but pretty lackluster. Here’s hoping she spices her acts up next time she takes a Vegas stage. My suggestion? Take the teasing up a notch or two—doesn’t a drag burlesque act sound fantastic?
5. If I had to pick a winner … Ivy Winters’ Cirque-esque acts definitely give Season 5 an advantage, but Alaska Thunderf*ck’s sung performances definitely tipped the scales towards last season’s crew (Season 6 begins February 24 on Logo). She successfully opened the night with a hilarious original, “Your Makeup Is Terrible,” and continued delivering the laughs with a rendition of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself,” evoking mock-pity towards herself while the projector screens aside the stage showed a video of the queen asking audience members to tweet her (at @Alaska5000, by the way). Shameless self-promotion, yes, but I (and the crowd) loved every minute of it. Detox’s second appearance, a Blue Man Group-esque act involving the queen covering herself in paint, was also something off the beaten Drag Race path and a nice Vegas nod to include.