By FRANK RIZZO
There was Amethyst killing it on her first Lip Synch-For-Your-Life—and triumphing—after making the ultimate faux pas of wearing sneakers on the runway.
Then there was Robin Fierce, trying to be her glamiest in a photo shoot while straddling a blazing red chopper with a nearly naked hunk behind her, as a flockful of feathers stuck stubbornly to her glossed face.
But most of all there was Loosey LaDuca, winning challenges both maxi and mini, withstanding waves of covert and overt bitchery and proving herself to be one tough Connecticut cookie in the 15th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race which crowned a new super-queen in mid-April when Sasha Colby took the crown.
Connecticut drag fans were stunned when it was announced in December that after 14 years and nearly 200 queens from around the country—there would finally, finally, be Connecticut representation in 2023.
But few would have imagined that there wouldn’t be just one queen from the state but three—and four if your count the New York-based Jax who grew up in Darien.
But alas, from this nut-megadose of talent, each eventually sashayed away, though Loosey came this close to the Final Four before having to pack her bags and head back to Ansonia. Still, she emerged as Connecticut’s queen of queens, branded a song and a slogan, and proved she could deliver big time on the national stage.
So, what did we think of Season 15 and the Connecticut glamour gals? Well, allow me to spill the tea. (Spoiler alert though: Details of the season are discussed but if you’re a true fan, none of this is breaking news.)
There wasn’t one Land of Steady Habits drag:
Watch each Connecticut queen make their entrance in the workroom in the opening episode and see that this trio reflected their own individual essence, rather than a group dynamic style of pageantry, performance or personality.
Just check out the appealing quirkiness of “resident meme queen” Amethyst from Bristol—and with less than three years of performing. Though her stay was relatively brief, this “baby queen” still shone with her off-beat humor and witty confessionals, demonstrating from the get-go that she deserved to be there, too. She also got makeup contouring tips from Michelle and RuPaul confessing that “I’m a nose queen and I love your nose. It’s gorgeous!”)
Then, consider the allure of Hartford-based Robin Fierce (“Connecticut’s great diva, darling”), so classy, so cool, so mysterious: an enigma wrapped in fabulousness. The “tea” that an earlier tryst with Amethyst was a tantalizing tease in the early episodes, but dammit, there was no drama, mama; they’re just friends now. And soon Robin would join Amethyst at the exit after confessing that she wasn’t a gambler.
Then there was Loosey, the last Connecticut queen standing, so polished, so professional, and often just pissed—though her Joan Rivers, Dolly Parton and other comic portrayals were such a hoot.
And yes, I’m now claiming Jax as a Connecticut queen, too.
And who wouldn’t want that cutie as their wing-queen? Jax was a fireplug of fun and spirit—and gymnastic dare. Flips in heels? We can now check that Drag Race firsts box. This lovable performer had an infectious glow that didn’t require any additional makeup. Also note that both sporty Jax and Lucy—a construction worker by trade—showed that having muscles does not preclude you from looking divine.
Best lines and moments:
“Take a breath,” Ru advised a hyper-enthusiast Selina EsTitties who urged the hyperventilating performer to calm down and focus her energies. Sage advice from the queen of cool.
— “Smile,” Ru told Anetra, an amazing and stylish performer who listened to Mama and turned the “bitch resting” face to fab-friendly — and made it to the finale.
— “So who’s working in Connecticut now?” asked Jax when then third queen from then state arrived. “No one,” deadpanned Loosey.
— Loosey denying her arch rival Luxx Noir London the teacher that she most wanted for the make-over challenge. It was a savvy move, revealing a significant weakness in empathy and taste in Luxx’s otherwise stellar run. (We also hope Luxx leaves that white patent leather cap behind, which made her look like the doorman at an Apple Store. It was a glaring gaffe in what otherwise was a stylish queen.)
— When a store security tag was accidentally discovered on Luxx’s fur coat. Oops.
As always, there were questions about editing.
Sometimes the editing showed that Loosey was a queen always on edge whereas anyone who knows her understands that yes, she’s strong-willed, strongly opinionated and, well, just strong, but not authentic? Loosey may not come across as cuddly, but she had to fight to survive and triumph—and clearly she was laser-focused on the win, perhaps too much so. But it seemed the producers needed someone to be cast darkly and wanted to make her narrative a bitter one. Blame it on the edit, as they say.
Mistress was a shrewd player.
Gotta give props to her—and so young, too, to be such a savvy manipulative player. But it was painful to see how Mistress Isabelle Brooks triggered Loosey so much. At least we saw a glimpse of Loosey’s authentic self when she shared her touching story about growing up queer in Ansonia. And what a fabulous family, too, which we saw in the “Untucked” room.
This season came at a pivotal time in drag and LGBTQ+ rights.
With legislative campaigns by conservative lawmakers across the country to curb the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, this season seemed even more important in showing the real world of drag, nicely displayed in the “Wigloose” the Rusical. (And can’t Ru get better writers for these limp scripts? Try as these queens do time and time again to make it funny, it always looks like heavy lifting.)
With its move to MTV, the show had a rushed feel.
Yes, there were the backstage glimpses of “Untucked,” and the dishy post-show analysis with the hysterically funny Bianco del Rio and sweet exit interviews of “Unpacked” (where I really appreciated Michelle’s warm interviewing skills). But this season it seems viewers—and queens—got shortchanged with the mini-challenges, the shortened table talks with RuPaul and the oh-so-brief critiques and “squirrel talk” with the judges. It diminished the season, with some episodes clocking in at way under an hour, and dealing with 16 contestants. I kept thinking of the thousands of dollars the queens paid for these gowns with so little airtime to model their creations. Yeah, “Unpacked” helped—but not enough.
Is Loosey NYC-bound?
Maybe it’s up to Rocko, Loosey’s Yorkshire chihuahua. In a post-elimination interview with Michelle, our local hero hinted that she’s ready to “Let Loose”—and check out her Spotify number—on a larger stage. But we hope she remembers her Connecticut roots, too, because we love Loosey.