Previously on Drag Race, Ru lost his damned mind and kept the vaguely talented Kandy Ho over the sassy Mrs. Kasha Davis.
After The Elimination
The ladies saunter in from the elimination, looking a bit exhausted. I suppose the challenges that go from performance right to judging must be extra-long. No one seems especially broken up about Kasha leaving. So much for old-lady pride, Ginger and Kennedy.
As she confronts Mrs. Kasha Davis’s mirror message, Kandy Ho opines that she has been hand-picked by Ru on high to be a lip sync assassin of older ladies. Violet’s face registers the thought we all universally shared, “Uh, sure, you go ahead and think that’s why you’ve hit the bottom twice.”
They chat about who won what DESPY award, and Violet admits to her new gal pal Fame that she was expecting the “Shadiest” award. She looks wistful about it. As much as she may come off as a mean girl to the other queens, they’re really wearing her down. “I just want you to know I’m going to be working on the way I come across,” she tells the group. Their responses range from dismissive (Katya) to mean (Pearl, flush from her win, in particular).
Fame expresses frustration both in the room and in the interview that Pearl pulled through in the DESPYs despite continuing negativity, in the latter saying, “I can’t shower positive energy on that shit – I don’t even want it near me.” For all of Fame’s failures so far – and they’ve been many – you can’t deny that she’s consistently flung herself into the competition. From bad jokes to bad dancing to bad tape on her brow, you can’t accuse her of not giving it her all.
A New Day!
Kennedy shows more energy dancing into the room than she has in any challenge so far. Max is wielding a twee umbrella.
Katya: “If you guys had to have sex with one other queen in this, who would it be?” The ladies giggle appropriately, while Max swiftly turns her back and married Miss Fame shouts, “Can I pick more than one?!”
“These girls – they’re all so VULGAR,” Max interviews. “I mean, they’re all very… [briefly mimes shaking her breasts, then in a deep voice] SEXUAL.”
Has Max met any drag queens previously? Not that Drag has to equal sexual promuscuity, but as a group the queens on this show are not exactly an uptight, innuendo-free bunch on the whole. When the words “top” and “bottom” come out Max waves her hands in the air as she continues to walk away.
Luckily, RuPaul’s video mail interrupts this debaucherous conversation. Her message is about wigs and the truth – very mysterious. Ru enters wearing a chocolate brown suit with a black shirt unbuttoned to the bosom with white (maybe alligator?) boots. She invites a veritable army of scantily-clad Pit Crew into the room, each outfitted in Justin Case briefs.
“I’m taking in the buffet right now,” Ginger interviews later, still seeing an echo of the lineup imprinted on her brain. “Every size and color, It’s like Epcot for the thirsty bitches.” Meanwhile, Max looks seriously annoyed by all the muscular flesh on display.
The game is called “Monster In Your Pants,” and has to do with getting men to pull scorecards out of their briefs until one of them produces a “monster” to kick them out of the game. Yeah, this is going to scar Max for life.
Katya interviews: “I have no idea what the rules of this game are, I don’t care what they are, just… when do I get to blow them? I can’t say that? [inaudible producer comment] I can’t say that, either?”
Fame wipes out with the monster on her third pull. Max is next and completely keeps his composure but monsters on her second pull. Katya monsters on her first pull and unleashes an impressive streak of profanity. Kandy monsters on her second pull. We get a montage of Violet, Kennedy, and Jaidynn getting monstered. Did no-one just stick with their points? Ginger gets on a solid streak of three high point pulls and freezes at 24! Pearl monsters on her third try.
Ginger wins by default!
For this week’s challenge, the girl’s will be acting (AGAIN) on “Ru Hollywood Stories” in an episode entitled, “Whatever happened to Merle Ginsburg?” Merle was a judge on seasons one and two whose memory has since been erased by Ms. Visage. They’ll break into teams of three to portray Merle, Ru, and Michelle to reenact different versions of Merle’s sudden disappearance.
It’s a RuDunIt! How did they not make that pun?! Ginger gets to pick her own team, and picks Kennedy (for acting, really?) and Katya (solid). Really, no Max? A little bit of shade there, girl. Then she gets to assign the other two groups!
A shady elephant would put all the acting challenge sure losers into one group and let them flounder, which would probably be Pearl, Fame, and Jaidynn.
She pairs Max, Violet, (girlfriend knows Max does not enjoy Violet’s company) and Kandy versus …. SURPRISE! … Pearl, Fame, and Jaidynn.
Seriously, Ginger knows what’s up when it comes to strategy on this show. She has her two biggest non-Max threats in her pocket. If Max wins, no big deal, it’s expected, but she’s going to have to work hard for the third week in a row to do it. And, the other group should crash and burn spectacularly.
Jaidynn takes charge of her group (good girl!) while Pearl offers goofy sight gags. Uh, maybe read the script first? Jaidynn interviews, “Well, what if we LEARN OUR LINES?” and then takes charge of making it so. Loving her.
Max insists her group have fun with it. “How do we feel about characters?” Violet is sick of memorizing stuff and thinks of the three characters she can do only do Michelle’s “Jersey thing,” and Kandy remembers nothing about Merle so must try being Ru. Max offers in interviews, “The attitude shouldn’t be ‘I don’t know how to do this’, ‘I’m uncomfortable with it,’ the attitude should be positive and excited.” I swear, Max might be the most positive contestant in the history of this show if we don’t count talentless dumbos who were also blithely positive.
Katya is chewing scenery hard as Merle in her table read. Katya interviews: “Ginger is going to be the evil villain, which is perfect, because she’s playing it like Ginger Minj as Danny DeVito as Tony Soprano as The Fonz as Michelle Visage.”
Ross Matthews is directing the challenge, I suppose to preserve the surprise for Ru.
Team Ginger is first with Merle’s story. Kennedy is only vaguely Ru-eseque in a conservative robin’s egg blue mother-of-the-bride dress with massive butt padding. Katya is Merle to the tee in a pukey pale violet pant suit, and Ginger looks like an actual Visage family member all in black with a corset, feathered shoulders, and a massive necklace reading “BITCH.”
Katya plays Merle kooky and if she just fell off the turnip truck, while Ginger just kills as a devious mean lady that isn’t really very Visagesque. Kennedy is not Ru-y at all, and Ross makes a scrunchy face at her.
Katya interviews (leaning in so close to the camera that she is completely out of focus): “Kennedy’s RuPaul was the weirdest fucking thing ever.” We cut to Kennedy being really fucking weird. She’s attempt to do Ru’s weirdball speech cadence from “lipsync… for YOUR life” on her lines but there is no rhyme or reason to where she pauses or emphasizes so it just looks like she’s having a stroke.
Team Maximum Violet Kandy is looking good for Michelle’s story. Max is a sadder and more mismatched Merle. Kandy is giving pretty solid Ru in a embroidered gold dress with a blonde up-do, but the hairline of the wig is messy as hell and her hair is showing beneath from multiple angles. Violet delivers the thin Visage sister in a jumpsuit with garters and a massive “ANGEL” necklace.
Max is playing Merle as a hunchback, and when Ross calls her on it she fires back that “Well, it’s not how I see Merle, but it’s Michelle’s side of the story, so it’s how she sees Merle.” Ross nods sympathetically. “You put a lot of thought behind this performance. (Max: “Oh, of course,” she says from her hunched position) Yes, you’re the Meryl Streep of Drag.”
Ross gives Violet a lot of direction, only some of which she seems interested in taking. Her resting bitch-face is great for Michelle, but this is the version of the story that’s supposed to make her sympathetic! Kandy is enthusiastic in delivering some Ru-ish but not strong on her lines.
Team Famous Fierce Pearl is like the cartoon of this threesome in their portrayal of RuPaul’s story. Jaidynn is serving fierce Rue in a spangled mermaid dress with a train and big frizzy hair. Pearl Visage is wearing a cartoonishly huge breast plate. Fame looks like Frankenstein crashing out of a Lane Bryant Easter sale in a peach sweater over beige blouse and a different color beige skirt. It’s the manliest and most mis-matched she’s ever looked.
Jaidynn is serving some spot-on Ru but she doesn’t know any damned line. Pearl hits her mark admirably and energetically, but Fame can’t even repeat the lines Ross is feeding her. She has the most professional meltdown you will ever witness.
In the most calm and even tone, she says, “I’m so struggling now, to be honest. This is like… honestly, the toughest day I’ve had here in this competition, and I’m … I like to be professional, and this is just embarrassing for me. I just, I want to do better than this and I’m hitting a wall. I wanna talk real when I’m, like, in a room of people and this is a chance of a lifetime, and I’m finding myself having a conversation with myself. … You know, I have not been to this place before, so I’m just trying to be funny!”
Later, she is tearful in her interview, not about her performance in specific, but the thought of not meeting people’s expectations of her. This is a master class on how Fame is stuck inside her own head, as the judges pointed out last week. She’s mulling over how to act, worrying about how badly she wants to be in the competition, probably being annoyed that Pearl seems to be doing well in this challenge … and the process has completely frozen her brain computer. Fame needs more RAM.
Kennedy doesn’t seem to know what sort of deathly look she’s turning out, despite other queens pacing the room with such obviously pre-assembled props as a wig with a knife permanently stuck through it. “I’m… burned? I kinda morphasize into a glamazon? Before that, it’s a night of hooking.”
Katya’s family is amazing about her drag, while Jaidynn’s best-friend mom isn’t okay with her sexuality – she hasn’t “officially” come out to her family despite being an out drag queen. Uh, is that mom really your bestie, then? She’s afraid of being disowned, which Violet immediately and viscerally reacts to. “THAT’S A REAL FEAR,” she proclaims and quickly retreats from the makeup mirrors.
Jaidynn cries in her interview. Her being out on Drag Race is going to change her relationship with her family, who still expect her to settle down with a nice woman. “In the end I just want to be accepted for who I am, and I just want people to know that gay is okay.”
Runway category is “Death Becomes Her” – how would your drag character die?
Katya, oh lord. She is in a gold sequin bathing suit and glittery sea captain’s jacket with a plush shark swallowing one of her legs from foot to thigh. “I’m summoning up my best Tara Reid in Sharknado. … I’m feeling my Shark Week fantasy.” It’s not especially high fashion, and the shark could have been cooler or bloodier. Yet, it’s very Katya.
Ginger Minj – wow, these are all going to be hilarious. She is in a lovely black velvet dress with a faux bear-skin coat with red glitter claws and a bear-head hoodie that appears to be eating her head. A sluice of red glittery blood has dried on her forehead, and she’s wearing an entrails-esque lacy red necklace. “I’m serving you baby bear realness, honey.” Could it also be a double-entendre for bare-backing? I love my humor with a little social commentary.
Kennedy Davenport is wearing what looks to be an inside out version of Coco Montrese’s inside out dress from the week when she was supposed to show off her best body part (her heart). It’s a glittery nude bodysuit with several gashes revealing glittery red fabric streams of blood, paired with thigh-high black boots and some sort of weird horse’s mane of hair. It might be the worst thing to ever appear on the runway? “After a night of hooking I got attacked, and thrown in the fire, and crystalized.” Oh, I forgot to mention her face is pale white and covered in rhinestones.
Max is serving maximum glamour in a white silk dress with a multi-layered train and ultra-pale flesh. Blood drips down from where her heart should be – she’s carrying it in a box. “She’s a jilted lover, she’s stuck in purgatory as a ghost because she committed suicide by cutting out her own heart.” As she opens the box you can see the blood has soaked through her gloves.
Kandy Ho is… I’m not sure. She’s wearing a black dress with a high cut that shows off her underwear. It’s covered in black embroidered roses and she has another hugely feathered shoulder thing on from her “I Hunt Muppets” collection. I think she’s a vampire? “I’m just a sexy vampire.” Nailed it.
Miss Fame slays it with her death look. She is in a silver dress that is just dripping off her every curve, and dripping off of it is red glitter blood running down from the knife that’s been plunged through her silver pincurled head of hair. High concept and utterly gorgeous – maybe her best runway yet. “I’ve been captured by the bride of the man I’ve been having an affair with, and bitch got me with a blade through the skull.”
Pearl is wearing a bra and panties with garters and long black gloves. Her midsection is bandaged, and she’s wearing a neck brace. She’s limping. It’s stupid. “All of my bones are going to give out at any moment and some poor janitor is going to have to sweep up my remains.”
Jaidynn Dior Fierce is in a orange prisoner cat suit that’s all torn up – it seems she was caught in the barbed wire trying to escape. The look is pretty flat – it doesn’t really have any detailing other than the wire, and the blood is just covering her everywhere without being much of a design element like the other girls had. “What had happened was I got put in jail, and then I tried to escape to go see my baby daddy, but I didn’t quite make it over the fence.”
Violet Chacki makes judge Ariana Grande scream for mercy and for lessons on how to get that look. She’s in a black corset and garters with her waist cinched down to what must be under 20 inches. An oxygen mask dangles from her neck, and she wheels the tank behind her. “I’m numb from the waist down, tuck included. I really could die.” It would be funnier if the gas tank was actually a vacuum spangled cleaner, which is how it initially read to me.
The Maxi-Challenge: Ru Hollywood Stories
First up is Team Ginger with Merle’s story. It starts as a lip-dub to Merle’s own narration, but eventually the girls take over. Kennedy is okay and a little off, while Katya’s loopy Merle is grand. Ginger is serving straight-up Danny DeVito – she looks like a lady but everything else she’s doing is reading dude. It’s not very Visage at all. Katya delivers every line with delicious dumbness. We flash forward to the surveillance camera catching Ginger Visage playing cards with the pit crew on a table of Katya in a fully arched back bend. But first there is an impressive fight scene! Kennedy re-enters the scene with a pretty solid take on shouting Ru. It doesn’t hang together all that well, but it’s hard to know if that’s script, performance, or editing at fault.
Team Maximum Violet Kandy has Michelle’s story. Michelle looks knockout gorgeous for her introduction. Kandy’s seemingly decent Ru comes off stilted in the edit, while Max’s hunchback Merle just reads as a flying monkey. Violet Visage is pitch perfect as a feminine but majorly New Joiseyish Michele. Max is chewing scenery like we’ve never seen before. It’s just too much. The surveillance camera finds Ru and Michelle in an oral sex binge with the pit crew. Violet Visage defends a wooden Kandy Ru from Max Ginsberg, who collapses to the floor. Violet was the only bright spot on this one, I hope she gets her due. When Ru asks her to be a judge she does this brilliant little smiling-with-the-eyes maneuver that is total Visage.
Finally, we have Team Famous Fierce Pearl telling the Ru’s honest truth. Jaidynn and Fame are just fine miming to Ru’s lip dub. Can we just talk about how fun it is to see Ru in drag just chewing scenery all by herself for once? Sometimes I wish she performed more on the show. When is the last time you saw her lip sync? Pearl is actually funny in her sendup of Visage as an evil Disney queen. Jaidynn is serving some real life Ru but can barely choke out a word at a time. And, now we see why Fame was having such a hard day – both her and Pearl’s lines are all non-sequitur gibberish! On surveillance, we get a nonsense scene of Pearl Visage with breasts flying free riding RuPaul while Fame delivers a full wheel equal to Katya’s. Fame Ginsberg has a few flubs, but she and Pearl mostly deliver the goods here right on through their bizarre jello wrestling match.
This was a really weird maxi-challenge.
Predicted Winners and Lip-Synchers?
Winning Team: Even with the offbeat-but-not-offbook Kennedy, Team Ginger took it mostly on the strength of Katya’s inane Merle.
Challenge Bests: Katya was indelibly dumb, but Violet gave her a run for her money as the best individual player. Despite it being a good performance, Ginger was a little too oddball and runs a distant third.
Challenge Worsts: None of the RuPauls were any good – Kennedy, Kandy, and Jaidynn are all in danger! Plus, the gagging they’ll do over Max’s hunchback could be good or bad.
Final Runaway? Winners: Fame Fame Fame. Violet’s cinched waist was amazing, but she didn’t push the rest of the concept far enough. Max was glamorous and high concept. Lip Sync Candidates are awful Kennedy, boring Kandy, and plain Jaidynn – who happened to be the challenge worsts, too!
Should Win? Violet nailed the challenge and the runway, but if they’re leaning more towards challenge they’ll go for Katya and her campier runway (which was very in-character for her, to be fair).
Should Lip-Sync? Kennedy vs either Kandy or Jaidynn. Will they throw Kandy to the wolves for a wooden performance and a Runway that was missing-the-point but otherwise fine? Or, do they hammer Jaidynn’s terrible line-reads and unglamorous runway? Based on the edit, I think Jaidynn is in danger.
Ru is in what would be a pretty simple emerald strappy dress except for it has a massive body-length gash of palm-sized chrome flowers splayed across it. What did she die from, exactly?
Our judges are the resurrected zombie of Merle Ginsberg, Michelle Visage in funeral garb, Ross Matthews in a tan blazer, and Arianna Grande who may just be wearing her own hair? “This is the best day of my life,” she breathes, averting her gaze from Ru’s hypnotic flowers. “I’m not lying.” I can’t tell if she’s crying or just wearing very glittery eyeliner.
Ru has made some decisions. Ginger Minj’s team wins and is all safe, and Katya wins the challenge with her Shark Leg!! Again with the quick win delivery. Kennedy is fucking safe. She better be thanking all that is glamorous and holy that she did not have to stand up there for judging.
Katya interviews: “I WON A CHALLENGE. I’M SO EXCITED. BODILY FLUIDS SPRAYING OUT OF EVERY ORIFICE.”
Merle didn’t like Max’s masculine take on herself, and Michelle is impatiently awaiting a non-gray look as demanded two weeks ago. Max takes it well, and Ross goes to bat for her! “If gray hair is your thing, it’s not a bad thing.” Okay, sure, but can we see it curly or with volume at some point? It’s always the SAME gray hair. Ariana loved the story of the look. Violet’s waist is 18 or 19 inches. Ariana: “You may have been playing a dead person, but we were living.” Michelle is quibbling over the accent being Staten Island instead of Jersey. WHATEVER, she was amazing. When it comes to Kandy, Merle is “over the vampire thing” and Michelle reads the bearded shading in the challenge and the (admittedly) awful hairline raggedly exposed beneath the otherwise perfect wig. Ross thought it was stiff.
Ru asks Fame how her head is, hoping she would have gotten the joke since last week. She answers honestly that she can’t hear a thing inside her gilded wig. Ross discusses the breakdown, and Fame says, “It was self-sabotage, my mouth is going and I’m like I can’t fucking shut up, I cannot stop my mouth” and as Ru tries to coach her she just blithely keeps monologuing. “I want to be present and get it out of the way, I’m a sensitive heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person.” She continues. Oh, Fame. I really have grown to love you. Ru really, really nicely explains that she needs to work on her listening skills. Merle is like, “Whatever, you are fabulous.” Ross thinks Pearl woke up, and Ru feels like her old self died. Michelle, shockingly, didn’t like Pearl as her, either. Michelle rightfully informs Jaidynn that her fashion is “a rung lower” than everyone else. Ross was frustrated with her not knowing the lines despite being so good.
In private, Ross reveals the “Michelle’s version of Merle” explanation of Max’s performance, and Ru is like “OH RLY?” Ross and Michelle fight over Max’s predictability. Ross didn’t feel Violet had comedy timing, but that didn’t come out in the edit. Ariana and Merle are dying over the cinching. Michelle thinks Kandy has flatlined and is all wrong, and Ariana doesn’t find her memorable. Merle loves Fame’s emotions and loved Pearl’s acting. Ross says about Jaidynn, “There were these moments of good, but to get there was so much work.” Merle thinks it was an okay performance for dinner theatre.
Here’s hoping that Jaidynn can annihilate Kandy in lip sync.
Max is safe. Pearl is safe. Kandy is up for elimination. Violet is safe after a dramatic breath from her oxygen mask (sure, no comedic timing there), and Ariana still cannot even deal with her waist. Jaidynn is up for elimination and Fame is safe.
(Jaidynn: “These are not my dance heels!”)
Oh, shit, they’re going to do an Ariana Grande song that isn’t “Problem” or “Bang Bang”!
Lip Sync: “Break Free” by Ariana Grande. Kandy wisely jettisons her feather creation during the intro, and immediately looks better for it. Jaidynn is immediately serving big choreographed body movements and huge lips. Kandy, as is her wont, starts subtly. To her credit, Kandy is serving some pretty accurate Ariana complete with ponytail. Kandy strokes her body while Jaidynn struts with hands on hips. This is Kandy’s best lip sync so far, but Jaidynn is giving a classic club drag lip sync, and while it’s not amazing I think it’s going to be enough to send home a lip sync threepeater. Both of them skip an obvious place for a split or death drop.
Ru has made her decision – Jaidynn gets another chance! Please have something other than a jump- or bathing suit left in your suitcase, girl. Kandy Ho sashays away. She left with some class.
Well, not really, but she gave it her best.