REVIEW: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season 6 premiere

Ru

For devotees of RuPaul’s Drag Race, one of the joys of each new season is discovering the hot new term of the year: “Eleganza extravaganza” and “hunty” are memorable one that played out for a season then wafted into the ether. But in addition to “fishy,” which has lingered (the way fish do), the word for the 6th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which kicks off tonight, is “sickening.” And for fans, that’s just what it is.

Ru is back, of course, as are judges Michelle Visage and Santino Rice, but there are some shakeups: New members of the Pit Crew for one (brought to you by Scruff, no less!) and a “divided” season premiere that may become the standard for future reality competition shows. Divided how, you ask? Well, only half of the 14 queens on this season compete in the season opener; the remaining half-dozen-plus won’t show up until Episode 2 next week. Which means your chances of being cut — and the focus on you — are twice what they usually are. No coasting, girls … you gotta work it from out the gates.

For fans (including yours truly), it’s a boon to spend more quality time with each queen early in the season and establish favorites, whether it Adore (bitchy but delightful) or Ben DeLaCreme, and the competitions are just as intense as ever. Best yet is guest judge Adam Lambert (sporting some sexy whiskers).

The season premiere conflicts with the premiere tonight also of Dallas, but that’s the great thing about cable — you can always DVR one or catch the replay a few hours later. Whichever you do, figure out a way to watch both … and as Ru would say, don’t f*** it up.

And read about former contestant Alyssa Edwards in this week’s issue of Dallas Voice.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Logo announces cast for Season 4 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

The new season won’t kick off until late January, but Logo has already announced the 13 contestants competing on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race … and none are from Texas.

Of course, that was true last season, too … until Shangela made a surprise return in the season premiere, so don’t write anyone off yet. But it looks like the producers concentrated on Chicago, Florida and the Caribbean more than Texas. Joining Ru again will be judges Santino Rice and Michelle Visage, and the winner gets a healthy $100,000 cash prize, plus the title of top drag superstar.

Here are the contestants, and their cities:

Dida Ritz, Phi Phi O’Hara and The Princess (all from Chicago), Kenya Michaels and Madame LaQueer (both from Puerto Rico), Alisa Summers and Lashauwn Beyond (both from Tampa), Latrice Royale (Fort Lauderdale), Milan and Jiggly Caliente (both from New York City),Chad Michaels (San Diego), William (L.A.) and Sharon Needles (Pittsburgh — who wins my award for best drag name).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Last chance to see ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at Dallas Opera

This week, we have an interview with soprano Pat Racette, who will be doing a special cabaret concert for Dallas Opera season ticketholders Wednesday, but not the planned full-scale opera she had been set for. That means you have to wait until the spring for the second production of the TDO season. But there’s still time to catch the last performance of its season premiere, Lucia di Lammermoor, which will be performed Sunday at 2 p.m. As I said in my review, it’s a marvelous show. Visit DallasOpera.org for tickets. Heck, maybe even sign up for a season and see Racette perform.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Bitter, sweets

NUP_144817_1361It has been a surprisingly long time since a “classic” Top Chef series has aired: Almost a full year since something other than All-Stars, Masters or Just Desserts. And I have to say: I miss the original, where up-and-coming chefs with lots of talent actually compete to see who’s the best. (Later in the fall, it will return — set in Texas.) But, like a heroin addict settling for Methodone — not as good, but a compromise replacement — the new season of Top Chef: Just Desserts will have to tide me through. It’s not the real thing, but it’s close enough.

Well, more or less. Top Chef and Project Runway have always stood out because their contestants have real skills — you sense the producers sincerely want the best, not just those who make the best reality television. (What’s A-list about the A-Listers?) Increasingly, reality competition shows rely on crazy incompetents and arrogant bastards (or bitches) to keep the conflicts alive.

This season of Desserts seems to backpedal on that promise , with Craig, pictured lef, the flamboyant newcomer tp pastry, throwing a wrench into the plans of more seasoned chefs, including Dallas’ Lina Biancamano (she who creates the confections at Stephan Pyles, also pictured). The deal with the self-centered Melissa, who you know will stay around too long just to offer viewers a villain.

The season premiere, which adds superchef Hubert Keller as a judge, doesn’t have the spark of last season (yet), and it’s not clear yet who will add the most enjoyable camp factor. But I take my fixes as they come. It’ll last me til Top Chef: Texas; I just know it will; it’s gotta.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Premieres Aug. 24; airs weekly on
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 19, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas