'RuPaul's Drag Race': Really, you brought THAT queen back?


Image Credit: Aaron Young for Logo

At the end of last week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ru announced that she was giving the judges a chance to bring back queens that they felt had been axed too soon, so I ran a poll in my post about the episode, asking: “Which queen should return to RuPaul’s Drag Race next week?”

When I last checked the results, Shangela (33 percent), Delta Work (26 percent), and Mariah (12 percent) were leading the way. And somehow, Carmen wasn’t a option in the poll (sorry, maybe that was a subliminal mistake that adds up to who I didn’t want to see back?), but surprise: Carmen was indeed who judges Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, and Billy B. decided should return. “I’m back, bitches!” she shouted after coming through a door to the work room. But in so many ways it was like, really, you’re bringing Carmen back? Ugh, what a disaster.

And, truly, that’s what bringing Carmen back was — a disaster. Why? Well, first of all — and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen it yet — she did get sent home at the end of the episode, just like two weeks ago. And as fun as the hour was — the dunk tank! the safe-sex cheers! the straight jocks doing drag! the sweet love story between Alexis and her straight jock! (see pic) — the “bringing a queen back” thing really felt like just a gimmick to extend the season by an episode and pimp out Carmen Carrera more.

Like, after a season that was so defined by the three big girls, who truly had their own panache and style and attitudes, the judges decided to bring back the icky, never sweet Carmen? Like, no. I was hoping it’d be Delta Work. As much as you all wanted (as evidenced by the totally inaccurate poll results) and I wanted, we pretty much knew Shangela wouldn’t return. But that’s OK: She’s got other things going on anyway.

“Is your head back in the game?” Ru asked Carmen when she returned. And honestly, no it wasn’t. Alexis assigned her a straight jock that had a sick, muscly body because she knew it’d be hard for Carmen to resist putting it on display. The jock looked ridic, wearing barely anything. But even more ridiculous? When Carmen got on stage to lip sync for her life (opposite, Raja, shock of all shockers…sorta?) and stripped her panties off. Granted, production thankfully blurred her bits, but I don’t think we needed that. I was 99 percent sure there was no way that the judges were going to send Raja home (she’s been the front-runner this whole season!), but when Carmen’s bottom went, I knew it was all over for her. Good riddance. That whole lip sync situation made me even more uncomfortable than when Mimi Imfurst went insane during her pre-exit lip sync.

Really, with the whole Carmen thing, I think I wanted some justification from Michelle, Santino, and Billy: Why did you bring her back? What did she do that was so great? Why did you feel like she wasn’t quite done with Drag Race yet? I get the body thing, but personality is important in drag, too. I’m happy to listen to reasons about why she’s wonderful — I just haven’t really seen any yet.

The funniest part of the night? When the gals were teaching the straight jocks how to deal with their twig and berries while dragging. “Are we gonna have to teach these boys how to tuck?” asked Manila. The looks on those boys’ faces were priceless. There was a funny moment with Carmen, too: I know it’s the oldest one in the book, but I loved when she asked her straight jock: “Does your family know you’re straight?” Tee hee hee.

A couple other genius quotes from the evening. Margaret Cho, upon introduction: “I was raised by drag queens, like some are raised by wolves, so I know drag.” And then, when she talked about Alexis: “You are giving me Kardashian — I am keeping up with you.” And then, Ru, later, when talking about the safe-sex cheers: “Actually, I’m wearing a condom right now.” Honestly, is that even that funny? It struck me at the moment and still makes me sort of giggle right now as I typed it, but it’s really such a silly little thing to say.

Even though I don’t love her either — slash, I don’t love-love any of the queens in the final four — Manila did deserve to win. But why does no one talk about how she overdoes the Asian thing? I guess that is her signature, but like, do something else for once. We get it! You can do Asian! Wow!

Drag Racers: What’d you think of last night’s episode? Were you as disappointed as I was that they brought Carmen? Which queen would you have rather seen? Who are you rooting for in the final four?

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

More from EW.com:
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ cast-off Shangela quietly cast in NBC pilot ‘A Mann’s World': Here’s the scoop
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race': A super-sad elimination. Plus, A Poll: Which queen should return next week?
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Alexis Mateo makes a patriotic splash!
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: All hail Shanglea Laquifa Wadley, queen of comedy!
‘RuPauls Drag Race’: The queens confuse couture with shoulder flair
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: How ‘Precious’ was Stacy Layne Matthews last night?
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Does Raja have this season locked up already?
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: It’s all about the big girls this season
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Is any show on TV more cracked out than this?
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season premiere: Can you believe RuPaul brought [spoiler] back?!?
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Q&A with America’s Next Drag Superstar Tyra Sanchez
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ sashays into third season
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on PopWatch

Comments (181 total) Add your comment
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  • amelia in portland

    I hoped Ru would bring back Carmen because I knew she would bottom (hehe) out. As far as tonight’s competition, it was great fun but I think Raja and Carmen could have done soooo much better and because of that they had to sing for their lives! Not a memorable synch compared to last week unless you’re dying to see Carmen’s ass. This is the first time I’ve actually seen Raja cry! She wants to be there but I’m hoping that Alexis takes the crown. TEAM ALEXIS here! Kudo’s for Manilla. Now about those jocks…..lol

    • ZemJ

      Team Alexis!! Love her. I guess there’s no point in complaining about Carmen being brought back since she was only back for a hot minute. I was happy to see Raja taken down a peg. Raja was cool when he was doing makeup on America’s Next Top Model, but I can’t stand him on Drag Race. He is so catty.

      • Myla

        They are all catty, which makes it really fun to watch! Keep it Real Shangela? Manila? Alexis? Yara? Mimi? Watch “Untucked” which shows their conversations in the Lounge. Even Delta was catty!

      • Blake

        Um, Alexis was catty with Shangela all the time. Don’t be a hypocrite!

      • gary

        Stop complaining about Carmen coming back, she is pretty, charismatic and has a hot boddy and she does not even need to perform. She was back for just a moment but she made it memorable. I think people are JEALOUS of her. Go Heathers (Carmen, Raja, Delta, Manila), if people talk about them it’s because they are jealous.

    • Tom

      I don’t think Manila deserved to win. Alexis and Yara were much better. There seems to be an invisible hand helping Manila, all the challenges she won, were at the expense of someone better than her getting robbed of the price. In this case was Alexis and Yara, when it was QNN it was at the expense of the superb work of SHangela.

  • Joel

    How on earth did Manila win? Once again, I wasn’t impressed with her Asian look, but more important HER CHEER HAD ZERO TO DO WITH SAFE SEX. A diaphram will stop pregnancy, but not STDs including the HIV virus. It’s like you asked her to advertise an oven but got a billboard for a toaster, then rewarded her with a win. WTF?

    • Adele

      I think she won because of her jock transformation. Even though Alexis’ “sister” looked way better, that guy was petite and feminine. The guy Manilla had was a DUDE and he looked good in drag.

    • MollyS

      Manila won because she really did get a great transformation out of Matt aka Fuschia, and her cheer was actually better than a lot of the others. Just telling someone to ‘wrap your d***’ or don’t ‘bareback’ is only one part of safe sex. Safe sex, yes, is about preventing STDs but also pregnancy (for hetero couples) so it was a good cheer.

      • Joel

        Uh, who is the target demo for this show? Oh yeah, heteros. NOT. It saddens me to think some young, impressionable gay kid is going to go have sex with a diaphram and spermicide (no mention of a condom) ‘cuz this show told him that was the right thing to do. It’s misinformation like this that spreads HIV.

    • Tom

      Manila won only because someone in the production (Michaele Vissage among others) is rooting for her. It is pretty obvious how MV cheers for everything Manila does.

  • stephen

    Me and my co-workers were hoping Delta Work would be coming back.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      It should have been Delta

  • Joe in Philly

    For some reason (I assume she has video of Logo honchos in compromising positions) they’re hyping Carmen. It started when Logo gave her a NewNowNext award nomination when this season of Drag Race had barely started. Totally unwarranted.

    Best line of the night: Ru to Raja’s saying she and her jock both liked old movies and that was their pattern: “What old movie did you pattern him after? Tarzan?”

    • Bobby’s Robot

      If there was a video of Logo honchos in compromising positions, they’d probably turn it into a reality series.

    • tcc

      They (LOGO people) did the same thing for one of the talentless losers on that NYC househusbands show. I know shameless self promotion and being gay walk hand-in-hand but so many real members in the LGBT entertainment community are far more deserving.

    • Tom

      Manila and the rest of the “Heathers” did a terrible show yesterday. Alexis and Yara were clearly above the rest. I agree: Manila, Carmen and Raya have a “extra friendly” hand helping them.

  • ger

    Good “riddens”? Good god. And isn’t Manila half Asian?

    • bjs

      dear…it is spelled “riddance”!!!

  • calebin2004


  • Melly

    Holy Jesus, Raja’s and Carmen’s LSFYL was just awful. As for the rest of this drag make-over episode, it did not compare to last season’s transformations of the old queens, but it was def. good. Loved how supportive all of the jocks were and also how Alexis’ jock was flirting with her!

    • Bobby’s Robot

      Yeah, it was nice to see the that the jocks were in on the fun, and game to go for it (especially since I assume they volunteered).

    • gsm

      That LSFYL was hot as hell. Raja worked the stage AND they served it up especially at the end. ENCORE!!!!!

    • Eric

      that was the WORST LSFYL ALL season. Rather the send no one home I would have sent then BOTH home. RAJA was god awful this week.

  • Nono

    We were hoping for Delta Work to return, and equally shocked when the overplayed “Heather” waltzed into the room.

    Such a shame that Raja and Carmen failed so miserably at transforming their jocks. But didn’t you get a kick out of Michelle’s comment that Jujubee had returned (after seeing Carmen’s jock in drag for the first time)?

  • J3w3ls

    Ru should have brought back Raven to take all these @#*% down. The show would have been on and popping with the last two standing Raja and Raven!

    • Blake

      OMG! That would have been the best thing ever! Wish Ru and Logo could come up with something as clever!

  • Tony

    I talked last week about how this season has been utterly disappointing, and the decision to bring back Carmen is just another disappointment to add to it all. Not only does Carmen have no personality whatsoever, but her looks are extremely overrated. Maybe she has a nice woman’s body. I can give her that. But face? Not so much.

    Like I said last week, I could care less who wins at this point. I was just hoping that they would have brought back Stacy or somebody that could have at least injected some life into this season again. I’ll keep watching because, well, there’s nothing like this on TV, but if next season is as unwatchable as this season has largely been, they’re going to lose me. Same thing happened with American Idol. There was nothing like it on TV for years so I watched, then it got stale as hell, and now I don’t feel compelled to watch anymore, even with the new judges. Don’t lose me, Drag Race!

  • Me

    Tanner, do you even watch the show? Manila doing Asian has been an ongoing issue most of the season. The one time she did something different, the judges didn’t like it & told her to stick with doing the Asian thing. So of course she’s going to continue. Then again, I shouldn’t expect much from someone who’s been hyping up Shangela so much. I never saw a drag queen that can’t do makeup & have such crappy fashion sense. I was so glad they didn’t bring him back this episode!

    • L

      Thank you! To even think this show is hyping Carmen when we had to literally endure that talentless monster Shangela is laughable. And for you to be uncomfortable about the LSFYL…good lord, every time I stumble across this column I wonder why you are recapping this show.

    • Adele

      Wow, I was coming here to write this EXACT post. The only difference was that I thought they should have brought Mariah back. While she didn’t do much when she was here, she was by far the prettiest queen and I would have liked to see her try to do SOMETHING. And I thought she went home early.

    • besimon

      Good one L. The reason Manila does Asian is because she is Asian. Did Juju Bee overdo Asian in her season, Tanner?

    • Mike

      Thank you! Tanner is the WRONG person to be reviewing this show, his obvservations seems totally inaccurate. I’m starting to wonder if he is Shangela’s agent or something.

      The show is MUCH better withtout that no-talent mess Shangela on it.

      • Blake

        Yes, how did Tanner get assigned to write for Drag Race? Obviously a Shangela and Alexis fan and shows favoritism, which is wrong. And now Tanner is bored now that his favorite isn’t in there. Don’t they have anyone else that watches Drag Race to write instead?

    • gsm

      Not to mention it was a FAMILY RESEMBLANCE challenge. Therefore, the ASIAN family resemblance. eyeroll. No, this kid might be watching the show but he is utterly clueless.

  • Jim

    This season has been unbearably long. First, the PSA week where no one went home and now the return and second departure for Carmen. The show is losing steam and the challenges this year have all been lame. This may not be the final season for RU PAUL’S DRAG RACE, but I don’t plan to come back next time as the concept is already stale and the queens are no longer entertaining.

    • DeeDee Holliday

      I was hoping it was Delta Work.

      Such a waste of space and airtime for Carmen.

      I’m TEAM MANILA!!!

    • Belle

      Yes, this season is definitely “DRAGGING” Along! But seriously, at this point can’t we just cut to the chase and crown someone already.

      • Josh

        I can’t figure out how they managed to get so many drag queens with little to no personality this season. And the personalities that are there lack in just about every way.

      • meToo

        @Josh, these drags have no personality?? I think they have very colorful personalities (Manilla, Raja, Shangela etc…) And this season the emphasis is put on the Runway not the shenanigans going at the workroom.

  • Daniel

    Funniest moment for me was when Sharon Osborne asked, “What [is barebacking]?” Upon hearing the answer her look was priceless, “Ok …. well see I learned something today.”

    • MollyS

      That made me laugh so much. I love Sharon Osbourne!

  • Buffy Freak

    What a complete waste to bring Carmen back…technically this was her third chance since she should have gone home the week that Ru didn’t make anyone sashay away.

    And even after being allowed to come back, Carmen did the same thing she’d done all season…she showed off her body, lip-synched terribly and had no personality whatsoever. How or why they gave her a NewNowNext nomination is beyond me…

    • CJ

      No. Yara Sofia was the one who would have gone home, not Carmen during the PSA challenge.

      • Buffy Freak

        Well I don’t know who would have gone home and I don’t think you do either unless RuPaul told you personally….but IMO Carmen should have during that challenge. She was a one-trick pony all season. All Style and zero substance.

    • MollyS

      It was pretty clear that episode that Yara would have gone home to anyone that watched it. Not that I think she should have, because I love Yara and would love a Yara/Manila finale (even though oh-so-perfect Raja will probably be in it). I agree though, Carmen should not have gotten so many chances.

  • caliban821

    Have to agree about Carmen. She did such a lazy job on the lipsync. If she just made an effort she would have beat out Raja who doesn’t excel in that area. Loved the jocks, fun challenge. Tired of the heathers/boogers bs. It’s no longer funny just pure arrogance. That’s clear after hearing the jocks talk about the terms

    • Era

      If you watch video of Carmen performing, that’s all she really knows how to do.

    • gsm

      RAJA doesn’t excel in that area? LMAO. Real life doesn’t lie. YouTube. Try it out. Not to mention, RAja drove that LSFYL and put Carmen in a ~reaction mode the entire time. She owned that stage and gave Carmen something to play off of. Why don’t you hetero folks stick with something you understand? HEATHERS v Boogers is a JOKE. And a typical LGBTQ type of read. eyeroll.

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