In perhaps the season's most difficult challenge to date, the contestants of RuPaul's Drag Race were asked to create a parody of one of RuPaul's songs as well as an accompanying music video.
Despite some initial tonal challenges in the recording studio, the results were impressive. A standout was Jaidynn Diore Fierce, who nailed an impersonation of the last season's winner Bianca Del Rio in "Get Ready to Clock," a spoof of "Sissy That Walk." However, in the end, Kennedy Davenport won the challenge for her performance in "I Got Paid," a cutting satire of the commidification of drag inspired by "Let the Music Play."
In a move that left many Drag Race fans scratching their heads, RuPaul asked Trixie Mattel, one of the show's strong comic performers, to sashay away, after lipsyncing against the gorgeous yet perenially slumberous Pearl.
The Advocate spoke with Trixie about her surprising elimination, song parodies, and her hometown in Wisconsin.
The Advocate: How did you prepare for RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Trixie Mattel: I cried a lot. Then I shaved my whole body. But I decided to keep the eyebrows. I think it makes me more mysterious.
You were the team leader this week! What inspired the “Tan With U” parody of “Dance With U”?
Well, I love stupid. I always say I'm like the knock-knock joke of drag. And singing about the joys of extreme tanning sounded super dumb and fun!
Your group had some challenges during the recording of the song and video. What was the most difficult part of the process?
I would say the most difficult part of the process was rehearsal. I love Miss Fame, but as a newer performer, it might have been more helpful for her to take cues instead of try to direct them. Also, when we recorded the video, we weren't given direction on how the shoot would be structured. So after I delivered my line into the camera, I confidently walked offstage and waited for my next cue. Then the judges looked at me crazy like, "Why are you walking away?" and I was like, "Because I already finished my section of the song."
If you could go back in time, is there anything you would change about the song or video?
Nothing! I loved it. I think it's funny. They didn't show two hilarious moments: One — I peeled the skin off of Katya's shoulder and ate it. Two — I sprayed myself with tanning oil and then choked on the fumes. I guess they left those parts out so I appeared less involved in the video?
What is your favorite song parody of all time?
I barely even remember that “Boy Is A Bottom" [by Willam, Detox, and Vicky Vox] was ever a real song originally.
You and Pearl were close. You described her as someone you would want to be BFFs with. What was it like to lip-sync against a friend?
It was rude. It shouldn't have happened. After seeing the episode, I don't even understand why I was in the bottom.
Were you surprised by your elimination?
I was literally shocked. My parody video was funny — I came up with the concept and wrote a lot of the lyrics — my green runway was beautiful, and I slayed in my lipsync! So even after watching the episode, I still don't understand it. Maybe I stumbled into some unflattering fluorescent lighting.
Looking back on the episode, would you have done anything else differently to avoid elimination?
No! I loved everything I did. I suppose I might have asked more questions before filming the video so that I didn't appear "disoriented" when I kept exiting the set.
Was there a Drag Race challenge or a skill that you were disappointed you didn’t get to show the world?
My RuPaul Snatch Game is some serious shit, because I love his speech cadence and his army of puns.
Who is your favorite among the remaining queens this season?
Katya is not only beautiful and hysterically funny, but she's also like family to me.
You and Max went to school together! What was he like then, versus today?
He was even more reserved. Max is the type that doesn't feel like he needs to be talking all the time. So people say he's "quiet" or "shy." But he's really as easy to talk to as anyone.
What are the must-see destinations of an LGBT visitor to your hometown of Milwaukee?
Me at Hamburger Mary's! Also, the oldest gay bar in Milwaukee — This Is It! It's like the gay Cheers. There's bowling alley carpet and everything!
What first attracted you to drag, and what inspired your drag name?
As a child, I wasn't allowed to have girl toys. And I had a rough relationship with my stepdad. I have always used comedy to work through hard times. So looking like a little girl's fashion doll but spitting off-color jokes is exactly what I have always wanted.
What do you think are the qualities and skills required to be America Next Drag Superstar?
Drag is a small business. You need to be unique. Why would someone call you to show up and put on a cat suit and perform a top 40 song? They can get a thousand other queens to do that instead of you.
What should a drag queen always keep in her purse?
A pistol. It's not loaded. It's just for scaring people.
What’s next after RuPaul?
Well after episode 4 of Drag Race, I've learned that I'm not funny, I can't sing, and I can't lipsync. So I might transition into corporate law or something.
Why did the drag queen cross the road?
Because she was prematurely eliminated and had to catch the Greyhound back to Wisconsin.
Thanks, Trixie! Watch a special YouTube message from the contestant, "I'm Going to Be Just Fine," below.