Irene Hamdubois Helper

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 15, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which started out as a teeny, tiny show whose first challenge was filmed in the car park behind WoW opposite the Jim Hensen offices – which I’m not sure is a legit fact, but for some reason I think it is so let’s run with it – turned into a global phenomenon. Icons were born, legends were made, moments were gagged, we were left gooped and Ruple and Co. became bonafide Emmy powerhouses. But most importantly, it gave us back rolls, Alyssa’s secret, do-wa, Aja jumping from there, a confession to killing Judy Garland and a Snatch Game throwback to that moment, absolving said veteran of said murder. But that was then and this is now, as Season 15 is ready to take its lap. Sadly without chocolate.

Womp womp.

First to enter for this fifteenth (main franchise) crown was Irene Dubois looking like a ginger COVID virus and well, she is hot out of drag and is Bosco’s drag sister, so I love her. She was followed by Luxx Noir London looking like Bowie and Dynasty era Joan Collins had a baby whose hair was inspired by Ariana Grande. So again, I love her. As the duo got shady, Aura Mayari arrived and gave glamour as she vogued her way into the Werk Room and straight into my heart. And loins, out of drag obviously. Giving cousin IT by Cher from Clueless, we met Marcia Marcia Marcia and after she flicked her hair back to reveal she was rocking the iconic broken nose look, I live for her.

Though not as much as I love people clocking her as looking like (a) Jan.

As she was busy regalling her new sisters with her love of Ariana Grande and serving it on Broadway thanks to her BFA (like Jan, TBH), we were joined by Anetra who is giving off fun punk showgirl vibes and well, I love her energy so much and feel like she is going to slay. Which I hope isn’t the kiss of death because my support usually curses trajectories. They were joined by Malaysia Babydoll Foxx serving the sluttiest depression kitty I have ever seen and I love her. LOVE. She is charming, cute and has a voice like velvet. Princess Poppy arrived serving Art Simone’s twink sister in the best way possible. Though her sticking her ears inside themselves scares me because I’m a child. Then Sasha Colby happened and well, yeah, I stand by what I said earlier, crown her. Now. She was serving as a Hawaiian warrior queen and had the energy that she was ready to have fun and slay.

We then had Ornacia make her triumphant return and ugh, I LIVE. Wait, no it is Ariana Grande. Whistle tone queen, icon, legend and well, let’s just say, I’m as gagged as the dolls.

As Marcia started to hyperventilate, Ariana gave the dolls a hug and thanked them for bringing so much joy to the world. While Luxx in turn thanked her for Break Free which TBH, is correct. Ariana regalled everyone with tales of her previous time on the judging panel and encouraged them to take in every moment and enjoy the journey. Ru then stole her thunder, dropping by to welcome his newest daughters to the race and officially announce the doubled up prize. Oh but first, they would have to compete in a little throwback Mini Challenge doing a sexy photoshoot washing the car. With the Pit Crew, so swoon. 

The boys started spraying themselves as they washed the car before Irene dropped by and bathed in it, living her bukkake dream and TBH, that is the only way to do it. Luxx meanwhile got wet in all the wrong ways though thankfully still served. Aura was ready to touch them all and ugh, it was hot and I love it, while Marcia served good girl gone bad. Backstage Marcia was thirsty for boy Irene while Luxx was scared of her, meanwhile Anetra was drowning out in the carpark and had Ru cackling. Malaysia was heartbroken to ruin her good drag but hot damn did she serve while Poppy got her holes filled and Sasha tried to give supermodel, despite not loving the fact she didn’t get said moment.

As everyone dedragged they all clocked Aura as the trade of the season – including Aura – and were positively shocked that Marcia looks exactly the same in and out of drag. Talk turned to what the other group would look like before Ru interrupted them talking about Irene’s passion for  reading everyone to announce that she took out the win in the Mini Challenge. Much to Luxx’s surprise. Ru then filled the dolls in on the fact their first Maxi Challenge would be a little talent show titled One Night Only (said with jazz hands, obvi). And in addition to their individual performances, they would have to choreograph an opening number together.

The group quickly ventured backstage and talked through their skills, with Marcia pushing to take the reins in the choreography and while Aura tried to add to it, Mother Sasha quietly watched on, knowing that she would end up fixing whatever they came up with and get her new kids over the line. As the kids continued to fight back and forth for control Irene joined Sasha in asking one of them to just back out and let the other take the lead so they don’t get stuck with two different choreographies. 

As Group 1 descended into chaos, the crew reset the Werk Room just in time for Salina EsTitties arrived giving banjie energy and was totally jacked up on Mountain Dew and I live for it. She was quickly joined by Amethyst serving 2000 pop tween, claiming herself as the first viral TikTok queen to make it to Drag Race. Jax arrived ready to cheer the house down and called herself the Simone Biles of drag, so yeah, I stan. They were joined by Loosey LaDuca who looks like a campy, nice version of Sh3rry Pi3 in blonde. Which isn’t a read, despite how it may sound. Mistress Isabelle Brooks was up next serving short, goth Eureka and I love everything about her. Robin Fierce joined them looking like a stunning woman in tan and ugh, I love her. Oh and she and Amethyst have a past and while I was ready to ship, she told me I can’t, so that is that. We then got a double arrival as Sugar and Spice trotted in serving actual dolls and while Amethyst thought she was the TikTok superstar, these girls are the thing.

Though Mistress will not give them the pleasure of knowing she knows them.

As the dolls recovered from learning they are only bedroom queens, Sugar opened up about wanting to be part of the drag community and wanting friends which is equally sweet and heartbreaking. We then got another Ornacia entry, this time with the legit Vivacious who announced Ru’s arrival to welcome the rest of her daughters to the competition and put them to the test in their Mini Challenge, the drag race wind machine photoshoot classic. Salina was up first and served sex and speeding as her face blew away, Amethyst gave Timezone realness while snacking on leaves before Jax was all erotic, no auto. Mistress was smizing the house down, Loosey lived her Tippi Hedron fantasy through feathers while Robin was perfection, whether the fan gave her a beard or not. 

As the twins made it to the stage for their shoot, the other girls kikied about Sugar and Spice being inexperienced with Mistress opening up about how underwhelming they are to her. And while everyone reminded her they were cute and sweet, she felt like not knowing what wig glue is was a mortal sin. And well, I’m here for the shade. Sugar meanwhile was having fun on the bike, serving silly and ridiculous before Spice ripped off her wig against Ru’s advice, serving hairography with a shower cap. They rejoined the dolls as everyone dedragged with Sugar and Spice gagging over their sisters and praising them for looking so different out of drag. Mistress kinda admitted to reading them and threw down a challenge for them to impress her, while they just spewed talk at the girls, trying to make friends and well, I love everything about them despite myself.

Ru made yet another return to announce Loosey took out victory in the Mini Challenge, which emboldened her to declare she will be the first person to win every challenge. Which already ius not the case. Ru then gave them a spiel about the talent show before sending them off to the rehearsal space, where the other dolls finally appeared to be making progress. Well, until Ru dropped by to kiki and threw the two groups together. The factions lined up like the jets and sharks, ready for two to become one and put more choreographers amongst the queens before Ru announced that unlike last year, one of them will be going home before the end of the week.

After Ru departed the groups introduced themselves and sat down to get to know each other, with Sugar and Spice monologuing about their lives and while they annoyed everyone else, I love their lack of self awareness. Also Sugar kinda looks like young(er) Austin Butler minus the lingering accent work. Group 1 then got up to show their newest sisters their choreography with Mistress laughing through it with her soon-to-be-bestie Sugar. While Marcia tried to push through, Malaysia cut her off and then everyone started to fight before Mistress cut them off and asked them to focus on the task at hand because dancing is her weakness and she doesn’t want to bomb. Then she and Irene got sassy and Sugar and Spice started quietly laughing together.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls finally unpacking their gear and finding a station with everyone laughing it up and being silly. Sugar and Spice meanwhile just focused on beating their mugs because they take so damn long. Irene meanwhile measured up her wig against Luxx’s to confirm whether her entry was 40 inches. Defeated, Luxx then joined the twins to get ready, bonding over being social media queens and how it really is the only way they can start when they aren’t old enough to go to a club. Sugar then noticed Mistress and Irene were sitting together and was shocked that the enemies elected to get ready together, leading to the older girls explaining shade and how being a working queen works. Loosey, Anetra and Amethyst meanwhile were talking about their talents with Loosey opening up about her original song, while Anetra was keeping her cards close to her chest. Oh and then we learnt Irene is making ice water.

While Sugar and Spice were still nowhere near being ready to go on while everyone put on their finishing touches.

Ru, Michelle, Ross and Ariana took their places on the panel as the dolls made their debut for the opening number which was a campy, pageant delight and ugh, I’ve missed this show (in the two weeks we went without it). Malaysia meanwhile opened up the individual performances, lip syncing the house down to an original song and while it was repetitive, Bryce came out in gold speedos, so I love it. Spice meanwhile was silly and cute, having Ru and the dolls in hysterics, so well done babe. Luxx hit every line and lyric on her lip sync and was honestly just a delight. Though the gradual split really made me love her. Mistress went boxing for her lip sync which was a win when she pulled out a RuPaul chocolate bar and nearly slid off the stage.

Loosey gave us something different by singing live and while I wanted to live for it, to quote the great Coco Montrese, find a key. Anyone will do. Marcia danced her way into my heart as a horny nerd sexing it up for a portrait of Ross. Robin was energetic and worked every corner of the stage as we went back to lip syncs before Irene bombed, hard, while making a glass of iced water and while I knew what she was going for, that wasn’t it. Anetra then followed it up by bringing the house down as she duck walked all over the stage as she lip synced to her original song – Walk the Duck – before straight up moving into karate chopping through boards. AND THEN KICKING A BOARD IN HALF.

Poor Sugar had to follow that up and while her lip sync was fun and silly like the sweet version of her sisters, she didn’t karate chop. Despite that, the fact she and her sister served it wore down Mistress which is a great win. Princess Poppy meanwhile gave parasite puppet lip syncing realness and it was perfect, before Salina gave red carpet lip sync into street glamour before referencing Will Smith’s slap so if Anetra doesn’t Anetra, I’d say this was a win. Amethyst then won my heart lip syncing to All Around the World as a drunk mum with a baby tethered to her back before Aura gave a fierce lip sync and while she had all the attitude, it felt a little flat by comparison. Mother Colby then lip synced to Zombie in a straight jacket and ugh, she is perfection. It was moody, it was fierce, it was powerful and well, the kids best watch out. And then Jax came out and lip synced before skipping with her own ponytails, which is yet another win for me.

And that was before she backflipped from the back of stage to the front, proving she really is the Simone Biles of drag.

When it came to the Who Is She? runways, Irene came in goth alien dominatrix, Luxx gave glamour pastel vixen going from the races to the boudoir before Aura gave all black Rita Repulsa, in all the right ways. Marcia gave sexy pastel prep, Anetra was an iridescent warrior, Malaysia gave sexy angel lounge singer in the hottest club in heaven before Princess Poppy gave lollipop ballerina delight. On and then Sasha gave the ultimate flex, rocking the gown she won Miss Continental in. Salina gave blue jean baby, Amethyst was a slutty, lilac Sailor Moon, Jax was NYC street in all the right ways before Loosey gave a glamorous gown version of Britney in Toxic. Mistress was iconic in a bejewelled, red cowgirl corset, Robin was an ice queen in shimmering baby blue, Sugar gave slutty Belle and ugh, I hate that I love Spice gave the other side of the look – kinda – with whore Ariel.

Luxx, Aura, Malaysia, Princess Poppy, Sasha, Mistress, Robin, Sugar and Spice were all sent to safety before Irene was praised for looking good on the runway though read for giving absolutely no humour in her performance. Marcia received universal praise for giving humour and dancing perfection, though told to give more than a streak of lip gloss when it comes to make-up. Anetra rightly was universally beloved for being perfection from start to finish, despite only learning to duck walk today. Amethyst was read for showing the baby too early in her performance, though she was praised for looking cute. Despite her lack of padding. Jax too got wall to wall praise, particularly for rolling her eyes while effortlessly doing acrobatics meaning poor Loosey was read for her performance, despite looking stunning.

Backstage the safe girls celebrated making it through the first week, particularly Princess and Robin who were shitting their pants. Talk turned to who was the best with everyone agreeing Anetra owned the show, while Poppy lived for Jax. Robin in turn congratulated the twins for surprising everyone with their sickening performances, with everyone rallying around and finally welcoming them into the drag family. This turned into a conversation about the stigma about the social media dolls and while Luxx pointed out social is a live portfolio, Malaysia explained she only questioned if they could translate their talents to the stage. Talk turned to how great Sasha’s performance was, with her opening up about her trauma while praising her father for raising her.

The dolls started to open up about who they knew before the season which was only an excuse to bring up the fact Robin and Amethyst briefly dated back home. That obviously summoned the tops and bottoms with Irene praising the tops for killing it before Amethyst announced she is definitely in the bottom, though hopefully not against her sister Loosey. That led to Loosey breaking down, heartbroken to have bombed, leading to the girls rallying around and praising her for killing it and pointing out they really only wanted her to lip sync so she could make the performance bigger. That led to Irene admitting that she will totally be the one in the bottom with Amethyst given they just hated her performance.

After everyone agreed that Anetra would totally be winning, Ariana dropped by to kiki with the girls and literally gave them the sweetest advice and well, I guess I’m all in on being an Ariana stan now? She bid the girls adieu, leaving Irene and Amethyst to rehearse their lip syncs and get their heads in the game.

Ultimately Marcia and Jax were sent to safety as Anetra took out the first victory of the season while at the other end of the pack it was Loosey that was saved, leaving Amethyst and Irene to battle it out for safety to my girl Ariana’s 7 Rings. While Irene leant into her alien kooky aesthetic, it was clear the song was perfect for Amethyst and her general vibe. Irene twerked and gave sex, which sadly wasn’t enough as Amethyst was saved and poor Irene joined the Porkchop Club.

Backstage Irene was rightly disappointed to be gone so soon and not get to show the world more, though I reminded her – as I do each season – it is more memorable to be a first boot than saying a mid-comp queen, giving you an air of mystery and an underdog spirit. Which seemed to be the pep talk she needed, thanking me for always supporting her – I am Bosco’s drag great-grandmother thrice removed, so we’re family – as we sat down to smash a heart bowl of Irene Hamdubois Helper.

Not to be confused with Australian hamburger helper – which is essentially seasoned breadcrumbs – this tweaked version of Half Baked Harvest’s take on the American classic is near perfection. Packing a punch of spice (sadly without sugar) and heat, while velvety smooth and creamy, it is an easy mid-week number to warm the cockles of your soul in winter.

Enjoy!

Irene Hamdubois Helper
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
500g small shell pasta
2 cups beef stock
300ml cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Method
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onion for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the mince and breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned, or about 10 minutes. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the tomato paste, chilli and paprika and cook for a minute before stirring through the zucchini, carrot and pasta to coat. Stir in the beef stock and cream, bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low to simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Once the pasta is al dente, stir through the cheeses, adjust the seasoning – you’ll probably need more pepper, less salt – and cook until everything has combined.

Serve piping hot with some token parsley for the appearance of health and devour, happily.


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