Reality Check: No drag crown for Alaska but plenty of praise

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After unsuccessfully auditioning for "RuPaul's Drag Race" four times, Pittsburgh's Alaska (Justin Honard) made the cut this time and proved she belonged by reaching the finale. The winner was announced on a Logo reunion show Monday, but there would be no crown for the University of Pittsburgh grad.

Still, it was all good.

"It's been a real joy to watch you blossom, and you walk in no one's shadow," said host RuPaul Charles, referring to the fact that Alaska is in a longtime relationship with Sharon Needles (Aaron Coady), the Season 5 winner.

"You are a force to be reckoned with."

Another queen with similar drag sensibilities, Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer) was declared the winner. "Seattle's premier Jewish narcoleptic drag queen" received a prize of $100,000, a year's supply of cosmetics, a luxury trip and the esteem of her well-coiffed peers.

• Things blew up real good on the premiere of "Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius" last week (Discovery, Wednesdays) and for an encore this week, things got really messy. The episode opened with a reveal: ousted engineer Joe Caravella and a succession of eliminated contestants will ultimately have the chance to re-enter the competition.

Good thing because Pittsburgh's Joel Ifill was next to go. The teams were charged with creating anti-missile defenses on the cheap ($20,000) and happily, the missiles in question were carrying payloads of only goopy orange stuff.

Red team had its tensions but worked out a system that shot ball bearings at the missiles. It failed. But Blue team, using the equivalent of big metal whirlybirds, never got off the ground. So it was judged an even bigger fail.

Team members blamed Mr. Ifill for not properly tightening the blade on one of the devices, and they had a point. On the other hand, it was clear that -- secure or not -- these things weren't going to launch because they were too heavy.

Red team leader Gui Cavalcanti, who designed the device and appeared to accept little input from the other engineers, moved on in the competition.

Mr. Ifill did not appear too brokenhearted, jesting, "You just cannot destroy a legend. So I am going to come back and come back swinging."

• Bridgeville native and "Survivor" winner Jenna Morasca will be part of Entertainment Weekly's new channel on Sirius/XM. Ms. Morasca will join EW writer Dalton Ross each morning from 8-10 on Channel 105. It launches May 28.

The two will discuss a roundup of pop culture on the live show, which will include celebrity interviews and listener feedback.

In addition to the live show, Ms. Morasca will host the audio version of the magazine's "Must List" each Thursday at 8 p.m.

• Amateur chefs with "a fiery passion for cooking" can apply for MTV's new reality show, "Food School." Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Go to for details.


Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.


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