Gentlemen, start your engines! If you want to play along at home, grab a season pass!
Last time on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Lots of lip-syncing, with the entertaining Katya defeating Sasha Belle in lip sync.
After the elimination
The ladies return to the workroom to see that Sasha’s message to them is “Love you, mean it” and then “Ging for the win.” The other queens are NOT pleased with this overt show of support, especially Kennedy. It’s been a long day, and everyone is looking pretty mannish at this point with their five-o’clock shadow. Violet’s cinching via corset is terrifying, she looks like Jessica Rabbit. I don’t understand where she keeps her kidneys and intestines.
I might have to transcribe all further Katya comments because she is so entertaining. “This week I survived by the skin of my fucking fingernails. It was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m gonna fucking murder that next challenge, whatever it is.”
Kennedy and Jasmine talk trash on Trixie’s group, who by Jasmine’s reckoning, “all look alike, they all the same height, and they all weigh like two pounds,” and later interviews, “Fame, Trixie, Pearl, and then there’s that tight-ass, long horse-faced Violet – them four just rub my nerves out. They don’t know shit about performance. All they wanna do is walk they asses in fucking heels and that’s not drag. … I don’t like shit about them young hoes, not the air they breath, not they bony-ass, slim, up and down pole bodies. I would love to send all of them bitches home in one walk. Especially Violet. Where your panties, girl? We don’t want to see that Barbie Doll mannequin pussy. Cover that ass up. Panties, bitch.”
Wow, tell us how you really feel! For someone living in a glass house containing a set of outfits bought entirely at Ross Dress For Less she should be a little more careful about where she hefts those stones.
Calling it now: Jasmine is going to be bottom two this episode and send someone home. Her lip sync is too on point, and her out-of-the-blue villain edit means something is afoot.
A new day!
Jaidynn is happy to still be in the competition and apparently has been complaining about her feet enough that it is the immediate topic of conversation for everyone in the room. I suppose that when one is an occasionally drag queen one doesn’t wear high heels for as many consecutive hours as one does on Drag Race.
We cut immediately to RuMail, which opens “To she, or not to she, that is the question.” Max looks like she just won the lottery. Ginger stares vacantly.vRu rides into the room on a three-wheel motorized scooter with a bright green suit I am dying to own over a black shirt with tiny white polka dots. The mini-challenge is about looking old to “release your inner golden girl” and form a silver ladies dance line called “Sissy That Walker.”
Yep: Max hit the jackpot on this one. She vaguely saunters towards the provided props, looking skeptical that they will have anything more suited to performing as an old lady than what’s in her own trunk.
The dancing begins. Ginger Minj looks like an old toad in a mumu doing a little shuffle. Mrs. Kasha Davis went a little heavy on the age lines and squats while shaking a sagging boob (she looked like a skeleton last week, too – I guess she needs quality time to blend well). Pearl nailed it to the wall (Katya: “Oh my god, is that Elaine Stritch?”) with a cane and silver sequin pants, although she doesn’t do much in the way of dancing. Jaidynn doesn’t look especially old and arthritically twerks. Trixie has so much lipstick on that it meets up with her blush and her pants fall down. Max is a old flapper dancing with one leg hoisted up on her walker.
Kennedy plays Mama from Mama’s Family and is maybe a little too good at dropping it like it’s hot for an old lady. Fame looks utterly silly in a head scarf and wobbles into a death drop that might indicate her actual death. Violet looks like your actually-hip aunt so legitimately that it is terrifying and even has the weird osteoporosis walk down. Jasmine Masters doesn’t look old or dance old, and is maybe wearing her best outfit of the show so far while clutching a loaf of bread. Katya… I can’t even accurately describe it. Wrinkled old mug with fried curly hair matted down on both sides of her head and thumb-sized blue eye-shadow blobs over completely dead eyes. She starts out hunched over a walker but then rises to shake her pendulous bosoms. It’s terrifying. Kandy Ho has a powdery wig on and dances around frantically like a very young drag queen from Puerto Rico.
Should Win: Violet and Pearl, wouldn’t be sad about Katya or Fame. (Hah: all the skinny bitches that Jasmine hates!)
Did Win: Max (well, no shock there) and Kennedy (whatevs)
What did they win? The ladies will serve as team captains of a pair of theatre troupes performing modern adaptations of “Romy & Juliet” and “MacBitch.” Violet is heartily amused.
Ru educates the gang: “The word drag was first used by Shakespeare as an acronym for “dressed as a girl,” Max is losing her shit right now, “back when all of the female roles were played by men.” Ginger seems shocked, but it’s impossible to know if that’s by the scandal of Ru’s statement or the idea that she might have to perform The Bard.
Max and Kennedy pick like so – Max: Ginger, Kennedy: Jasmine, M: Trixie, K: Katya (hmm), M: Kasha, K: Pearl (trying to create friction with Jasmine?), M: Jaidynn, K: Kandy … wow, leaving Fame and Violet to go last, one a potential deadweight and the other the fiercest competition to everyone. M: Fame (you’ll recall that she is not all about Violet), which leaves Violet (looking really sad) to Kennedy and potential sparks with Jasmine.
We also learn the runway category is Bearded and Beautiful, and you know that somewhere Milk is screaming and shaking her fists at the sky.
Kennedy’s team pulled MacBitch. Katya: “A crazy cheerleader parody of MacBeth.” Shh, girl, you need to say “The Scottish Play” while you’re inside the theatre! Pearl’s face as she pages through the script would suggest she is instead skinning a live fish. “What is the original name? [Producer: MacBeth] MacBeth? I don’t even know what MacBeth is, honestly, call me young, call me, like, illiterate, I’ve never seen MacBeth.”
Kennedy assigns Lady MacBitch to Violet, which is a poor move because it’s the lead role and Violet is going to slay it, but then Jasmine asks to be MacBitch and Kennedy flip-flops and makes Violet ghetto so people “aren’t in their comfort zones.” Okay, it’s gonna be like that? Smart move by Kennedy if she wants to try to knock Violet out early, although Kennedy interviews about Violet’s “stankface” despite this actually being a pretty nasty twist of the knife.
Ginger, as it happens, is as excited as Max! “I’ve done Shakespeare before. Plenty. And he liked it every time.” Max of course, has, “some legitimate Shakespeare experience,” as if we doubted for a second. Max turns into your collegiate student director in approximately five seconds flat. Fame tries to peg Kasha as the old mom and Kasha isn’t pleased. Fame is looking incredibly handsome today with some minor stubble (did they get an advance hint not to shave for the final runway?). Ginger helpfully suggests Jaidynn be Mercutia, leading to the awesome delivery, “C’Mon, House Cap… ulet?” Fame doesn’t seem all that worried about giving lines but Trixie is looking nauseous, interviewing, “some of these girls are looking like their Shakespeare is going to be shaky, dear.” We intercut to Fame being rather funny in her exaggerated line reads. Maybe Trixie is still a little bitter about Fame’s stilted performance in her group last week.
Back to team Kennedy, and both Violet and Kennedy are giving Jasmine (basically identical) direction. “More Regina George,” commands Violet, before flubbing her own line. Her ghetto girl is a bit lacking in sass. Kennedy interviews wordlessly in what I’m sure is already a popular gif. She has Jasmine and Violet switch characters AGAIN.
Oh my glam, the shade of it all! Katya watches the madness with crazy bug eyes. Kennedy won’t let the team run through again, and Katya continues to lose it in her interview.
Team Max arrives looking rather gorgeous in period drag. Says the director herself, “My team better learn their lines, but in case they don’t, I’ve learned them for them.”
Fame is cute but can’t say “Capulet.” Ginger and Max command center stage and are hilarious; Visage is dying in her director’s chair. Kasha overacts and Jaidynn, poor Jaidynn, seems to have just caught on that she is on stage. She claims she isn’t experienced in acting and Michelle delivers the familiar salvo, “Girl, you are a DRAG QUEEN, you are experienced in acting.” Jaidynn is already crying – like, not a little. Full on sobbing.
Max, AWESOMELY, grabs her by the shoulders and stares directly into her eyes. “Look at me,” she commands in a husky whisper which requires subtitles. “You kick ass, you’re still a bad ass performer, and you got this.” Michelle stares at her in utter adoration. “You got it, girl.” The whole thing gives me chills. Max, along with Ginger and Trixie last week, are a whole new caliber of professional team-players for this show.
They run the scene again and Jaidynn is fierce as hell. Huge acting, huge body movements, huge face, really terrific. Sasha interviews meanly about Jaidynn’s lack of preparedness, so maybe there are some more flubs we’ve yet to see. She says, “Now I’m thinking she may have just lost it for us,” despite last week’s group challenge not being judged as a group.
Team Kennedy arrives looking not quite as stunning, except for Katya who looks like the happiest girl at the Renn Faire. Pearl’s version of acting is as disinterested as her versions of everything else. She seems to be playing her queen as a dude. It’s confusing. Ru calls cut. “Pearl, is that your real voice.” “No,” she smiles wanly, “I deepened it for the character.” Violet is passable, and Kennedy and Jasmine do not seem to be able to recite lines. Jasmine cannot even get three words out in a row.
Can I just pause for a second? This is now the third consecutive season where we’re getting the “black queens can’t act” narrative. That’s possibly because it’s actually what has happened each time, but it’s still feeing contrived to me. Is it not a race thing, but an intersection of regional and class effects? Even if that’s the case, it’s not always true – Latrice was a killer actress as well as killer lip sync artist. Yet, since her it’s been just so damn predictable.
Okay, we’re back. Michelle tries to be helpful in pointing out the rhythm of the lines, but Jasmine cannot get her chompers around it. Violet serves an utter bitch-face of delight from above her frilled collar. Katya delivers a stilted line. Violet disrobes dramatically on cue. Jasmine again fails to speak three consecutive words and disrobes clumsy. Ru stage-whispers to Michelle, “What. Is. Happening?” Crazy-eyed interview Max opines, “It’s a domino effect … it’s a mess” while Pearl walks into scenery.
Ru: “Kennedy, did you rehearse your team? I have to tell you, in seven seasons of Drag Race I’ve never seen a car crash like this before. I don’t know what to tell you, ladies. This is not good.” It’s like when your teacher said, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.” You do not want to disappoint Ru.
Katya, who has obviously become this season’s narrator: “Everyone on my team is in deep shit right now.”
Pearl interviews that she is feeling “HORRIBLE” with as much feeling as she has put into anything so far. “Worst day of my life. Someone bring me a puppy. I want to die.” Kasha gives Jasmine a perfunctory pep talk. Jasmine interviews, “I know for a fact this dress I’m wearing is the best dress that every walked down the runway of drag race. EVER.” In the room she is also dripping with confidence.
Hold me, I’m scared. I mean, she’s seen everything Raja, Yara Sofia, and Trinity ever wore, right? Because I tend to think of that trio as the highest-fashion threesome with deep runs on the show, which says nothing for pageant girls like Phi Phi and Roxxxy and one-off amazements like Ivy’s photo dress or the stilts. Or Sharon. I could go on.
Fame and Trixie laugh incoherently at the mirror while Kennedy and Jasmine seethe with womanly rage. This narrative makes no sense to me at all. No one has been mean to either of them on camera. On one hand, you have Kennedy – the studied expert who has been incredible so far and has no reason to throw shade aside from being bitchy. On the other, you have her sycophant Jasmine – who is incapable at everything besides lip syncing and has every reason to throw shade if that’s her only talent.
Kasha and Ginger seem to be on their side as well, so maybe this is truly a young versus. old thing (except Kennedy is only 33). Is Kennedy this much of a mean girl, or is this a strategic play to surround herself with fodder? If so, she has vastly underestimated Ginger. Ginger interviews, “We call ourselves the bitter old lady brigade. We don’t mean any harm… unless we do.” Kasha is reasonable, musing that the younger queens don’t yet know how to take critique or fail. Ginger says people ask her why she takes drag so seriously, when “You’re not curing cancer!” She unfurls the story of a fan who came to a show with a diagnosis of two weeks to live, and kept on coming for another year. One day she did not show up and the queens learned she had been taken to a hospice, so the queens put the entire show on in the hospice.
Ginger for President.
Jaidynn goes on and on about her onstage meltdown to Katya (who frantically applies makeup) and promises she will lip sync fiercely if it comes to that. Is Ru really going to put her in the bottom two after she seemingly bounced back from her fumble when the other team was weak all around? I suppose Jaidynn hasn’t seen that trainwreck for herself yet. Of course, she is also the weakest fashion queen in the competition alongside Jasmine “This Dress Will Alter The Orbit Of This Planet” Masters. Jaidynn tries to coin an amusing phrase, but it’s no “god god girl get a grip” or “jesus is a biscuit,” if you know what I mean.
RuPaul is in a neon green catsuit with a black toga draped over it and a massive top-of-head ponytail like an exaggeration of Madonna from the “Express Yourself” video. It’s one of the most different looks she’s done in a while! She looks magnificent, and the judges howl when she hits her mark. Our judges are Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley in one of the ugliest sweaters ever knitted (pink with gold picture frames containing photos of gorillas), Kat Dennings, and Spice Girl Mel B!
Here comes our Bearded and Beautiful girls.
Max: Sickening. Satin boy shorts and a corset over a russeted long-sleeve gray blouse and leather gloves. Wriggly curls of plastic white moustache and beard that scream Dali jut out from her youthened face. “I’m trying to channel a little bit of Tim Burton, 1920s editorial, Salvador Dali(!).”
Ginger Minj: A little bit of a miss. Body-hugging floral dress with an insanely bejewled corset and a shaggy little black beard that looks, as Michelle points out, like a merkin. Her body looks fantastic, though.
Trixie Mattel: Slays it. She’s basically dressed as Conchita Wurst with a massive, luxurious beard over a gold goddess dress, toned down eye makeup (it’s beautiful), and a massive golden headdress which is actually two golden wings turned upward, each backed by an even more massive flourish of white feathers.
Mr. and Mrs. Kasha Davis: Eleganza! A massive feather boa shawl over a black halter-neck gown with a silver chainmail back and black & white Cruella DeVille hair. Her beard is a similar texture to Ginger’s, but better sculpted. The necklace is a bit distracting, a tangle of pearls and silver, and her posture is crappy.
Jaidynn Diore Fierce: Sort of a Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation thing but with gold accents and long split skirt. She has the same crappy black facial hair, which does not match her red wig in the slightest. Did they not give these girls any material for this challenge? As we get a closeup, it’s pretty much another one piece bathing suit that happens to have a belt and a skirt.
Miss Fame: Sporting her luscious red locks plus matching beard and tiny moustache over a rather plain red, pink, and maroon dress and tights. She calls it “harlequin,” but I would have had to stare for a while to get there.
Kennedy Davenport: Delivers the drama we’ve come to expect in a fur coat and a curvaliscious mermaid gown in navy and purple and matching elbow-length gloves. Her curves look their best ever, and her scraggly facial hair looks actual – if not attractive. Can Ru bear to send a queen dressed this well to lip sync?
Katya: Caberet Babe Lincoln in his tall hat and beard, a tuxedo top, and a slinky black dress bottom with the slightest of trains. It’s subtle, but it’s well-done.
Jasmine: drops a black cape to reveal a dress. It’s beautiful and draws “oohs” from the judges, but not greatest-of-all-time. It has a sort of boxy silver glitter labyrinth on black that flows down to dissolve into a silvery skirt at the knees, and an asymmetrical neckline at the top. Very Trinity K. Bonet. It’s the first time she’s looked good all season … except, her stubbly beard shading just continues up to her hairline for a solild inch before her wig begins. It’s odd.
Pearl: Delivering Milk, straight-up. This is a leather-jacket redux of Milk’s Pinnochio outfit, dressed up with a wobbly paper mache beard and a double-poof of curly white hair. I think she’s in danger.
Kandy Ho: Stealth assassin! After getting just one line all episode she comes out in a full-body, long-sleeved black dress with a frilled lace half-cape and an exaggeratedly long Fu Manchu mustache and beard. The cape hurts the beautiful silhouette a little for her walk, but when she puts her arms on her hips it creates a nice raven-winged shape behind her shoulders. Her hair is pulled tight on all sides for an asymmetrical top-bun, but the bun is a massive cube. It’s pretty great, and the judges seem to enjoy the hell out of it.
Violet Chachki: The judges gasp audibly. She’s in 70s style Charlie’s Angels curls with a matching period mustache and beard and a beautiful pink Princess poof dress with a silver underskirt. It’s lovely.
Team Max’s Romy & Juliet
Trixie is fine but not funny as the narrator, and her makeup is a little off. Fame is cute and says Capulets correctly. Max and her mom Mrs. Kasha are magnetic as Juliet and her mother – I couldn’t possibly pick one over the other. Ginger plays Romy a bit dudely. Jaidynn finds the humor in her line deliveries, though she’s missing some of the cadences. Max finds the valley girl drag queen humor in every line she reads, hitting the rhythm of the comedy again and again (but not too big). Ginger was a bit flat, on the whole, but didn’t flub anything except her death drop.
Team Kennedy Davenport’s MacBitch
Oh boy. Kennedy is a decent witch, but Kandy (who looks cute and sprightly) seems terrified to look up (perhaps her lines are written on the floor?) Pearl is as vague and manly as she was earlier. Jasmine resorts to being a robot to get her lines out. Violet is fine. Pearl misses an entrance by whole seconds. Katya cannot seem to remove her skirt on cue (she was hoping for the OTHER kind of wardrobe malfunction) but is the one person to deliver her lines with any kind of nuance so hopefully is safe despite a lackluster death. She’s also the best-painted. Violet gives it a little more effort, but the edit mercifully ends there.
Predicted Winners and Lip-Synchers?
Winning Team: Max, obviously.
Challenge Bests: Max and Kasha were perfect.
Challenge Worsts: Pearl, Kandy Ho, Jasmine, and Kennedy.
Final Runaway? Winners: This was a great runway. Trixie nailed it for the second week running. I think Kennedy and Kandy both delivered surprise and drama, and Jasmine did look good. Lip-Sync Candidates: Pearl, Jaidynn, and Fame.
Should Win? This is going to weight heavily towards the challenge, so it’s Max for sure – not only for the acting, but the pep talk. Mrs. Davis with very low odds for the upset – maybe she could have done it with a better dress.
Should Lip-Sync? Both Kandy and Jasmine probably eeked this one out with their dresses, while the judges weren’t as mad for Kennedy’s and she orchestrated that train wreck. I think that makes this Pearl vs. Kennedy.
With no preamble, Team Max is declared entirely safe. Max coos, “good job, guys!” Ru singles out Jaidynn with kudos for “working through your fears.” Max gets the deserved win and is awarded two delicious latex dresses. She is delighted.
“Team Kennedy Davenport – you are all up for elimination.”
Mel B says Kennedy’s runway is her least favorite of all the contestants, which causes Kennedy to guffaw. Not a Scary fan, I take it. Michelle asks “What the hell happened?” and Mel B – who you know has witnessed some trainwreck performances in her day, asks if she could sense something wrong in rehearsal. “Nobody knew their lines,” Kennedy drawls. “That’s pretty evident,” Ru snaps back.
Katya gets a pass for knowing and speaking her lines, and Carson thinks her runway shows “intelligent humor.” Mel B thought it was flawless. The judges think Jasmine’s gown is “unbelievable,” but Michelle calls her beard, “the most disturbing.” Jasmine replies, “I don’t glue stuff to my face, the slightest thing would break me out.” And girl, with the week I’m having I can feel you, but you do not want to be giving away any of the credit you got for that great dress. Michelle is speechless. Jasmine says her lines, “did not come out as they should have” and Ru mercilessly shuts it down, “you did not know your lines.”
This is scarier than the Vivienne Pinay & Honey Mahogany double elimination.
Karson thinks Pearl’s look makes a statement and likes that she used a non-hairy beard. Michelle found Pearl’s cheerleading coach “dead,” but Kat Dennings kinda dug it. Pearl apologizes as quickly as possible to get the focus off of her. Michelle loves Kandy’s contouring, and she and Ru think it’s pretty hilarious that she looks prettiest during the beard challenge. Carson liked Kandy’s nerd witch (oh, was that what it was?), so it seems she’s safe. Ru loved Violet’s Dior silhouette. Mel B thought Violet was flat (really?), and when Violet says it was a rough day Mel B just eviscerates her. This woman worked with Victoria Beckham, okay? She knows from rough days. Violet throws Kennedy’s lack of rehearsals right under the damn bus as she should. Kennedy says she’ll take responsibility as a leader, but not the “correction”?
Ru: I don’t want to hear any goddamn excuses. [Now actually yelling] BE PREPARED.” Jasmine interjects and Ru’s jaw clenches like a vise. “Make it work, make it work, fucking make it happen, I don’t want to hear any goddamn excuses ANYMORE.” She just used all of her negative energy for the entire decade. I feel awful for having seen that.
In private, Carson hated Kennedy’s scraggly facial hair and Kat cannot believe she didn’t rehearse it. Katya is consistently delivering. Kat finds Jasmine frustrating for getting in her own way but Mel really likes her and Michelle has only bitch face to say about that. Kat defends Pearl while Michelle and Carson savage her. Carson and Kat liked Kandy. Kat really hated Violet by not remembering her, and Mel cannot believe she didn’t know how to be a bitch.
I am shocked that they hated Violet so much, but maybe that means we’re cruising for a Violet vs. Kennedy lip sync? That would be my two front-runners against each other! I don’t believe for a minute Ru is going to put Violet on the line against Kennedy, though. I think she sacrifices Pearl.
Kandy is safe. Katya is safe. Jasmine is in the bottom two despite the dress! Violet is safe. OH FUCK YES. Kennedy was team leader and Pearl has been sleepwalking … and is safe!
Kennedy vs. Jasmine! Oh my word! This would be like Courtney vs. Joslyn! The Master and the Stan!
Lip Sync: I Was Gonna Cancel by Kylie Minogue (what, couldn’t spring for some Spice Girls?). As they begin they’re doing very equivalent arms and smiles, but Jasmine starts doing squat drops I would have thought impossible in that dress while Kennedy spins slowly. Jasmine’s energy is destroying Kennedy, who has been billed to us as a dancer. I guess it’s the wrong dress. She just keeps doing the same spin over and over.
Kennedy stays purely on the strength of her wardrobe so far while Jasmine sashays away. I’m very happy to see her go, though I’m shocked she didn’t win a lip sync.
Also, “No T, no shade, no pink lemonade,” is the only good catchphrase so far this season.
What did you think? Offer your reads in the comments below.