«It IS RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!» On The Niceness of Season 9 of Drag Race

We are reaching the end of the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and much has changed since the early days of zero budget, questionable music choices and Vaseline on the camera lens. Now, the reality TV series to find America’s Next Drag Superstar is an Emmy winner, with the most recent season changing broadcasters, moving from the LGBTQ cable network Logo to the more mainstream VH1. Ratings are at an all-time high and the show has never been more visible in the wider (straighter) public consciousness: RuPaul just made the cover of Entertainment Weekly and was part of the Hollywood Reporter‘s reality TV Emmys round-table, alongside Leah Remini and Kris Jenner, not to forget the guest judge appearance in the season’s premiere of a certain Lady Gaga.

The season finale will, for the first time, decide between four queens instead of three, as RuPaul could not bring himself to eliminate anyone in the penultimate episode. This moment of generosity felt organic — this year’s top four are uniformly strong and cover a fascinating range in the drag world — but also highlighted a problem many dedicated fans had with this season: For some, season 9 was just too damn nice. Everyone apologized for shade gone wrong, tight friendships were formed and never challenged, and even the reads felt softened. As one queen joked during one of the season’s many emotional moments, «It is RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!» Many fans felt this betrayed the appeal of the show, where shade is thrown left and right and the competitive wit forms a backbone of drag’s style, as featured in Paris is Burning.

The best of Drag Race can be found in its full-throated embrace of theatricality. You can’t make a show about drag with Kardashian challenges and constant references to yanking your dick backwards with duct-tape and not be wholly aware of that. One thing that the show does better than anything else in the reality genre right now is use its own artifice to further its aims. This is a reality TV show that never forgets it’s a reality TV show. The behind the scenes crew are referenced frequently, and in one episode included in a main challenge; RuPaul’s constant name dropping of sponsored content, episode hashtags and his own music (now available on iTunes) offer one of the more daring drinking games in contemporary pop culture; and the interludes to Untucked, the aftershow that shows the behind the scenes gossip between the queens during the main challenges, show the cameras moving and crew prepping for filming. It’s easy to spot the strings pulling the narratives in place, and audiences embrace the facade, because that’s what drag is, as well as reality TV. Susan Sontag’s pioneering essay on the aesthetics of camp noted how it was a way of consuming pop culture «in quotation marks». Here, Drag Race is pop culture in a hashtag.

All of that can create thrilling TV — like the glorious read of Serena Cha Cha in season 5’s Untucked or Alaska’s meltdown in All-Stars season 2. But now, we’re 9 seasons in, and every queen on that show has seen those episodes. They know how the game works and are less willing to let the veil slip. With the inherent performativity of drag in the context of this show comes the weight of expectation. Much of this season has focused on issues affecting the LGBTQ world — Charlie Hides breaking down in tears recounting the loss of a number of friends during the AIDS crisis, Sasha Velour talking about eating disorders, Peppermint’s difficulties while travelling to Russia as a trans woman — and emphasised the show’s standing as a pillar of the community. Alongside that is the show’s awareness of how it can and must appeal to younger viewers as a potential lifeline. The importance of this cannot be downplayed. Representation matters, now more than ever in an America living under the rule of insidious homophobia and transphobia, and that’s a reality that weighs heavily on the bejewelled wig of every queen this season. The necessity to harbour a safe and open discourse has come before some catty jokes.

Reality infringes on the filming of the show in several ways (the queens are mostly cut off from the world during production), but when the material comes to air, there’s a whole new level of the messiness of the real world to deal with. Social media plays a major part in the show, which leverages that online buzz to great effect and brings a potent brand of youthful enthusiasm to the table. Like any fandom, there are good things and bad, but there’s always been something sad about a show that preaches acceptance and community having a fanbase so toxic. Many queens have talked about receiving harassment and death threats from over-zealous fans because of a perceived slight or incident on the show that put them in a bad light. The artifice of the show is evident but the goings-on are still real enough for some to take it very personally. Any queen with the villain narrative, however weak — Phi Phi O’Hara, Darienne Lake, Roxxxy Andrews — has admitted to receiving countless death threats, particularly if they are seen as slighting a fan favourite. This season, both Alexis Michelle and Nina Bonina Brown received such a barrage of abuse that they were forced to briefly lock down their social media accounts. Their crime: Lasting longer on the show than season stand-out Valentina. This is an issue that came up in the season reunion, with both Alexis and Shea Coulee calling Valentina out for her seeming refusal to call her fans off, and it’s a bigger issue the show has tried to deal with. That’s easier said than done, and hardly helped when the site in question is more concerned with the shape of a user’s profile pic than whether or not it contains Nazi material. All a queen can do is play the positive game and hope they don’t cross the one contestant elevated to deity by the fans.

There have been moments that echoed back to the shade of episodes past. Both Alexis Michelle and Eureka had the burgeoning of villain narratives, but Eureka’s was hampered by an early exit, pre-empted by apologies to her fellow queens, while Alexis was too painfully self-aware of her own insecurities to come across as a fun antagonist. Both she and Nina Bonina Brown had evident issues with self-esteem and anxieties, with the latter open in interviews about her struggle with depression. The show, as empathetic and carefully controlled as it is, still stumbled in depicting Nina’s issues in a manner that fully conveyed their seriousness and didn’t just paint her as a Debbie Downer. The other queens tried to tread carefully, but as humans are prone to doing, sometimes patience wears thin, and so the feud story is formed. The natural inclination of the reality TV mould is to push such elements into an easily categorised narrative: Alexis the «bitch», Eureka the Hater, Nina the misery guts. Combine that difficulty with a group of queens who can’t drop the knowledge that they’re being filmed for a million viewers and the tone feels very different from seasons past.

Perhaps that’s why this has felt so calm and friendly and more muted compared to the show in its prime. That’s not to say it’s been a bad season: The queens have been strong, the challenges fun, some of the lip-syncs legendary, and the emotions very real. Any of the four queens in the final would make a worthy winner of the crown (although my money is on Sasha). During the reunion, the tension amongst certain queens was palpable, and it was hard to deny the effect severe public scrutiny and unreachable expectations had on them. For 40 minutes, the veil dropped. There’s no misery or shame in RuPaul’s Drag Race embracing such a practiced form of niceness, but one can’t help but feel that it didn’t have much of a choice either.

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Khloe Kardashian Claims She Got Scammed By A Friend

khloe-kardashian

I wish I could say this was a story about the person who convinced Khloe Kardashian to transfer that much fat into her booty, but this is about an entirely different, less obvious scam. Last Thursday, Khloe took to Twitter to call out a friend for allegedly stealing from her.

Khloe didn’t provide too many details; she simply asked her 23.9 million followers what they would do if they found out a friend was stealing from them. She then asked if she should get the law involved or let God deal with it.

She also let it be known she’s not talking about Malika Haqq.

Sources provided TMZ with a few more details. They say Khloe has accused her former friend of charging tens of thousands of dollars in designer clothes to her credit card and never giving them to her. She also believes high-end designers were sending her things, but they were kept by said friend. Khloe has reportedly talked to lawyers about the situation, but her friends are urging her not to sue, because it would “ruin” the friend’s career.

Khloe and TMZ haven’t named names, but it’s a little obvious who this “friend” might be. Late in April, the Kardashians fired their longtime stylist Monica Rose and they all unfollowed her on social media. Monica was credited with overhauling Kim Kardashian’s busted satin-and-big belts wardrobe into the neutral hooker eleganza we’re used to today.  Kim recently claimed on Watch What Happens Live that Monica had nothing to do with her style transformation.

A few days after it was reported that Khloe had fired Monica, Page Six said that she was thinking about suing her ex-stylist.

I’m side-eying the “friend” for trying to scam clothes from Khloe, especially the free ones that were sent to her. The Kardashians are so money-hungry, I bet they can smell a free shirt from 200 feet away. Ironically, someone is accusing Khloe of stealing from them. Cosmo says an independent designer named Destiney Bleu has recently accused Khloe’s Good American clothing company of ripping off her bedazzled designs.

Why is Destiney Bleu acting surprised about all of this? Of course Khloe would attempt to capitalize on someone else’s success. That’s extremely on-brand for her.

Pic: Instagram

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If You’ve Ever Lost a Friend, Lady Gaga’s Tribute to Her BFF Will Make You Weep


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If there’s one thing we know about Lady Gaga, it’s that she has a big heart. On Friday, the singer paid tribute to her best friend, Sonja Durham, who sadly lost her battle to cancer earlier this week. Along with a heartwarming black and white Instagram photo of Sonja and her husband Andre Dubois, Gaga penned a beautiful note about her late pal. Her message reads as follows:

«Watching one of my best friends in the world show unfathomable courage, strength, and positivity while battling cancer has really changed my life. Thank you Sonja for inspiring me and all of us everyday with your joy. I love you so much it brings tears to my eyes just to think of all the years we’ve spent together backstage running the show, taking care of each other. You are one of a kind. I’m so proud of you. And you and Andre, your unbreakable beautiful love is what life is all about. You can see it in this photo. Wanted to share this with the world and show them what true beauty looks like. ❤#grigiogirls #sonjadurham @sonjad7777 I love you girl. I love you so much.»

Gaga famously wrote «Grigio Girls» off her Joane album about Sonja, and at Coachella last month, she touched hearts with her «Edge of Glory» tribute to her.

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Brad Pitt Is «Devastated and in Shock» About Friend Chris Cornell’s Death

Chris Cornell died by suicide at age 52 on Wednesday, and the Soundgarden frontman left behind a wife, three children, and many close friends and collaborators. One of them, Brad Pitt, is reportedly «devastated and in shock» about the sudden loss. «He is trying to process the loss of two great friends,» a source told E! News on Thursday, also referencing the recent death of former Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Brad Grey. «This has hit him very hard.»

Brad and Chris came together along with fellow musician Sting in January for the ROCK4EB! charity event, which was held at a private estate in Malibu, CA. Brad welcomed his friend to the stage, telling the crowd, «I get to introduce a very, very good friend of mine and someone I’ve known for quite a while, and I’m a huge fan of, Mr. Chris Cornell.» When asked about his favorite musicians in a 2004 interview with Cinema Confidential, Brad said, «I’m a big Chris Cornell addict, anything he does,» and he was spotted at one of the rocker’s LA concerts in 2009.

It hasn’t been the easiest few months for the Allied star, who has been «keeping the ship afloat» and «figuring out the new configuration» of his family since splitting from wife Angelina Jolie last year. In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Brad cryptically said of his situation, «I’m not suicidal or something. There’s still much beauty in the world and a lot of love. And a lot of love to be given. It’s all right. It’s just life.»

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Rob Dyrdek Mourns the Sudden Death of Friend Christopher «Big Black» Boykin


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Christopher «Big Black» Boykin passed away at age 45 on Tuesday, and his Rob & Big costar and close friend, Rob Dyrdek, paid tribute to him in a beautiful way on social media. Shortly after the news broke, the professional skateboarder shared two photos of him and Christopher on Instagram along with a touching note. «My heart is broken. I don’t want write this post,» he wrote. «I don’t want to believe that this is reality. I am so thankful for you. We truly were brothers that lived an unexpected unforgettable adventure. I just can’t fathom that it would end so suddenly.»

🙏🏼🙏🏿

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Rob expressed the same sentiments in a series of tweets. «You will forever be in my heart,» he wrote. In addition to Rob’s posts, MTV also released an official statement. «MTV is deeply saddened to learn the news of Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin’s passing. He was a long time and beloved member of the MTV family and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time.» While no other details have been released at the time, Christopher is survived by his 9-year-old daughter, Isis.

I am so thankful for this moment ..thank you for being an amazing human being and brother.

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Jason Momoa Shows Off His Muscles With an Equally Large Friend

We have been over this before: Jason Momoa is a very large, very sexy man. But we also could talk about that fact every single day for the rest of our lives. You too? Good. The Aquaman actor showed off his famous muscles when he stepped out with his personal trainer in Australia on Wednesday. Jason, who has been married to Lisa Bonet since 2007, proved that he could probably knock you over just by breathing when he flexed his muscles for photographers with the equally large Mada Abdelhamid. The two men then grabbed a bite to eat, where Jason, who made the table and chairs he was sitting at look like children’s toys, appeared to joke around with a waitress. BRB, draining our bank accounts for a trip Down Under.

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Review: ‘My Friend Dahmer’ is a Chilling Look at a Serial Killer in the Making

There’s no question that we have a cultural fascination with serial killers. We’ve made them popular in TV and film from The Silence of the Lambs to Dexter, podcasts such as My Favorite Murder or Last Podcast on the Left, or even the slew of wonderfully trashy airport authors like James Patterson or Mary Higgins Clark. Our love of serial killers in the media is intricately tied to the love of horror films; they expose a darker side of humanity, they allow us to explore our fears and some of our dark desires by proxy, without any transgressions on our part.

My own fascination with serial killers led me to My Friend Dahmer, a graphic novel by cartoonist Derf Backderf, which depicts his recollections of his high school classmate, Jeffrey Dahmer. My Friend Dahmer doesn’t just tap into our interest with serial killers, but it also checks off a very specific subset of that fascination: the answer to how someone could do something so heinous. How could Jeffery Dahmer go from awkward teenager to someone who murdered and cannibalized seventeen men? In both the graphic novel and the film adaptation, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this week, we get some insight into just that.

Ross Lynch does an excellent job of portraying the young Jeffery Dahmer, an awkward loner who collects roadkill in part to satisfy his obsession with «what’s on the inside» and in part to escape his chaotic homelife, where his unstable mother, Joyce (a terrific Anne Heche) is constantly at odds with his father, shunning Jeffrey for his younger brother and acting erratically as a result of mental illness and an addiction to pills. During his senior year of high school, Jeff finally finds himself accepted by a misfit group of nerds, who form The Dahmer Fan Club and encourage him to act out and throw epileptic fits in the hallways of school and in public for laughs.

But the connection, while important, is also superficial and for Jeff it also comes too late. He begins secretly spiraling into darker behavior, obsessing with a neighborhood jogger (Vincent Kartheiser) whom he is sexually attracted to but whom he also wants to harm. Unable to accept or express his sexuality, Jeff begins drinking heavily and giving into his more murderous impulses by harming small animals. As graduation approaches, Jeff finds his life splintering even further, until he finally crosses a line from which there is no return.

My Friend Dahmer is a faithful adaptation of the graphic novel, bringing to life in chilling detail not just the more disturbing behavior that took place in Dahmer’s teen years, but also the very normal experiences as well. As Backderf’s shows in the book’s epilogue, when news of Dahmer’s arrest broke, his wife called to tell him the news and asked him to guess who had been arrested and Jeffrey wasn’t the first person he thought of. It shows us that there are secrets we all hide, hidden layers we keep from even our friends, and how the people we think we know could also be strangers to us.

My Friend Dahmer deftly exposes how terrifying it is to peer into the darker side of humanity and to know how easily it rubs elbows alongside the more mundane. We feel more comfortable thinking of men like Jeffrey Dahmer as relics of the past, allowing time to glaze over the horrors and muddy them until they feel fictional but My Friend Dahmer is a reminder that serial killers are not horror movie villains but they are as real as you or me.

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Bama Chick Throws Viscious Knockout Punch To Her Male Friend

Alabama’s spring game is today and that means I’ve perusing the internet all afternoon looking for Bama content from Tuscaloosa. I mean this is like a religious holiday for them, so I’ve been searching Twitter and I’ve been exploring Instagram for some Bammers to do something wild.

I didn’t see anything all morning from Bryant-Denny or T-Town until I came across this IG video with absolutely zero context. It’s just a short, six second clip of one Bama fan (chick) absolutely blasting another Bama fan (dude) in the face and knocking him out cold.

Instagram Photo

The beauty of it is the no context. I don’t want to know what these bammers were up to, I just want to enjoy the show. And what a show it was. That guy might be dead. We might actually need to check up on that.

Also, it was fun posting this throwback this morning

Instagram Photo


Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

Our Old Friend Cody Lampl Stopped By The Friday Show To Talk Playoff Hockey & Show Off His New Tats

I know 99.9% of you have no idea what the hell is going on with this post, so let me do a short introduction.

I’ve been living in suburban Toledo (I know, exotic) since giving birth to BC nearly 10 years ago. I was just going about my business being a national sports site when one of the local Fox Sports Radio guys (Chris Burns – originally from Atlanta) heard about BC through the Twitter grapevine and somehow learned that I lived in the area. They wanted me to come in on July 3rd or 4th. Can’t remember the exact date, but local ECHL god Cody Lampl was also on the show. He would soon leave for a hockey gig in Germany’s AHL-level league and I hadn’t seen the guy until this morning on the show.

The Toledo Walleye open their ECHL playoff run tonight so the Morning Blitz (@BellinoNBCflew Lampl (@CodyLampl32in from Idaho to do the show, then we’re going to do a bar pregame show before tonight’s puck drop. And then again Saturday before Game 2.

And now, since Facebook Live works as it does, we’re going to put the shows out there for fans to watch. Lampl’s a real Hockey Hockey Guy. You know what I’m saying.

Again, I’m sure you don’t really care, but this is my local life. Have some fun, hang with fan’s of the site and give them an event that gets the juices flowing. Doesn’t really matter where you live in this business. Matters how much fun you can have.

Business is boomin’.


Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

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