Welcome back, Drag Racers!
It’s clear from the beginning of this week’s episode that, Roxie Hart-style, the name of everybody’s lips is gonna be Vanjie!
As the queens discuss last week’s elimination, they gush over the show-stoppingness that is Alexis Mateo’s drag daughter, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo. We even get a bonus clip of Vanjie’s exit last week and RuPaul and Michelle Visage cracking up as she Vanjie’d down the runway home.
But, the show quickly pivots to drama (as it should!), with Monet X Change believing she should’ve been in the top for her suds-inspired look. Texas queen Asia O’Hara calls Monet “delusional” and everyone agrees that they didn’t really “get” Monique’s look, which was a discussion topic in last week’s Untucked, as well.
Untucked features even more prominently in this week’s hangover drama when we revisit the supposedly similar makeup looks between Miz Cracker and Aquaria. That’s when we get what we really came for. In a moment of pure iconography, The Vixen jumps in as Aquaria is running for Miss Congeniality and says, “No, too vague!” and brings receipts for everything Aquaria said about Miz Cracker when she wasn’t in the room. The Vixen is truly living up to the promise she made in Untucked when she said she didn’t like Season 9’s “kumbaya” vibes. When Aquaria backs down rather than going for Cracker, Vixen calls Aquaria “scared” and “sad!”
Overall, this (probably manufactured!) Aquaria/Cracker drama makes Aquaria look sour at Cracker’s success. As I said in last week’s recap, if this doesn’t end in a lip sync face-off, the producers done us wrong.
This week’s mini challenge is more no-down than hoe-down. As a way to promote RuPaul’s song “Lady Cowboy” from the album American#NowAvailableoniTunesthe queens have a country-themed jamboree. Asia O’Hara and the Vixen win, but kudos should indeed go to Eureka, who brought the funny (without a fatsuit!) and Blair St. Clair, who was the only one who went the more refined debutante country route in her look.
Turns out the winners of the mini challenge are also the team captains for this season’s lip sync musical, which is one of the strangest challenges in Drag Race history: PharmaRusical, a lip sync musical about drag-oriented pills that enhance your butt and stomp out internet trolls.
Off the bat, the teams seem a little unevenly stacked. On Team Vixen, there’s Kameron Michaels, Miz Cracker, Monet X Change, Blair St. Clair and Mayhem Miller. Last week’s winner, as well as two of the remaining top three from last week, are in this stacked team. On Team Asia, you have Aquaria, Monique Heart, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Yuhua Hamasaki, Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams and Eureka O’Haraonly one person from last week’s top and one from the bottom two!
But, it’s a new week, who knows what will happen, right?
The usual kinda drama dominates once the teams break up. Asia clashes with Eureka over Eureka’s assertive personality. Meanwhile, on Team Vixen, Vixen decides the roles without much team input, leading the contestants’ faith in their captain to waver.
Another reason this week’s episode is great: Alyssa Edwards returns. As the choreographer for PharmaRusical, Drag Race also makes an excellent argument for why former contestants should come back. It happens all the time on Top Model! I would love to see Bianca Del Rio do a stand up challenge or, as I’ve said to friends before, Jasmine Masters lead a viral video challenge.
Around the rehearsals, you start to notice that Eureka’s leg injury is taking up a lot of screen time and that she’s getting more frustrated and down on herself. That’s not great for Eureka, who’s a 10 on the personality scale.
Whereas Asia’s group seemed to have fewer heavy hitters, they actually showed up with choreography, as opposed to Team Vixen, which showed up on the struggle bus. Most disappointing is probably Blair St. Clair, who is supposed to be a Broadway queen, but who ends up getting one of Alyssa’s best reads. She says Blair’s “Legs are rickety like Pinocchio.”
While the girls get ready for the runway, Dusty Ray Bottoms frustrates me for considering a return to his Roy Lichtenstein visage(!) after Michelle so thoroughly read him last week. Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams shares a heartbreaking story of how she was teased in her hometown for being a person of size. Kalorie says people threw food and bottles full of liquid (probably pee, he thinks) at him as he walked home.
On Team Asia, it’s clear that Eureka knows approximately none of the words from the lip sync. Also in trouble is Kalorie, who fails to stand out and at one point delivers her lines from *behind* an entire line of girls.
As for the actual music, some of the numbers and names of the drugs“Trollvada” for instanceare fun, but a little too capital-S silly, even for Drag Race standards.
Andy Cohen returns on screen during Team Vixen’s routine and Kameron finally gives us a little glimpse of their personality, even if it does veer into Milk “Bitchelor” territory.
On the runway, the category is Very Best Drag. Asia O’Hara goes full pageant to great returns in a sparkly diamond pink dress and flawless wig. Yuhua Hamasaki’s afro wig feels a bit weird after her black girl mix up and her blue body suit isa bodysuit? Dusty Ray Bottoms gives an understated Beetlejuice look that works!
Monique Heart’s runway doesn’t totally work on a conceptual level, but there’s still a gag worthy reveal. Kalorie’s outfit this week is a definite step up, taste-wise, from last week’s runway, but is still not a stand out from other girls. Eureka’s catsuit, like Ru’s last week, is another underscore on the influence of Michelle Pfeiffer’s catwoman on all modern drag.
Aquaria’s green, bull-inspired look is another conceptually different one, but doesn’t tick too many of my boxes. The Vixen’s outfit isn’t the best, but her runway look sellsit like a million dollar dress. Miz Cracker gets an “A” on the runway for not only wearing a stunning outfit, but for sowing up for the assignment of donning a signature look: she sports cracker-shaped square hair.
Unfortunately, Mayhem’s “best drag” is not better than her drag last week, even though it is still pretty. I was pretty tough on Blair last week, but her fringe-and-diamonds look is actually a stunner. Kameron makes a repeat trip to the garden for her look. After last week’s astroturf look, she goes full Butterfly Effect. Can we talk about Monet X Change’s look? Monet may be my favorite queen in short hair ever and her ruby red dress is drop dead gorgeous.
Team Vixen wins, and The Vixen is the first queen of the season to triumph in the mini- and maxi-challenges of the week. Between “Too vague!” and this, she absolutely ran away with the episode.
Asia gets good notes on her performance and look. Yuhua impressed the judges during the challenge, but her lackluster runway look gets read for filth.
Kalorie’s critiques are actually indicative of a larger truth that the most recent RuPaulGate also dusted up. This whole episode, Kalorie has spoken about the personal benefits of drag. She talks about Kalorie as a persona who has helped him feel more comfortable in his own body. But Drag Race is not drag, and is less about the art form’s personal benefits and more obsessed with concept and quality. As such, Kalorie, a queen who has benefitted much from the art, gets read for other criteria on the stage.
It’s very important that I bring up what a good judge Padma Lakshmi is for a guest judge and what a GREAT judge Ross Matthews is always. Give him a raise, Ru!
Eureka gets read for her performance and says that, while her bodysuit isn’t great, it’s the best of the bodysuit bunch. The judges think Aquaria’s look is great, but they didn’t think she played geriatric very well.
Once again, I’m upset that the critiques came up after they eliminated one team, as I would’ve loved to see how they liked the individual performances of the winning team. I mean, we have 90 minutes, people!
When it comes down to it, Kalorie takes her second trip to the bottom two and Eureka takes her first trip there in either season. (She was never even bottom 3 before!) Seeing how much time was given to Eureka’s leg injury and Kalorie’s struggles with his weight, this bottom two makes sense. Unfortunately, that means both of the season’s big girls have to compete against each other, just like the two Latinx queens had to compete last week.
The two duke it out to “Best of My Love,” and Eureka really kills it, finding both the emotion in the song and the humor in the performance. Whereas Kalorie wiped the floor with Vanessa, Eureka seems to dominate here. In an easy decision, Eureka stays and Kalorie walks away.
• References to Untucked seem to be even more on the table than before now that it airs live on VH1. Look for drama to be back-referenced more liberally.
• Miz Cracker says that “once upon a time,” she and Aquaria were friends. Um, was Aquaria a toddler at the time?
• I love Monet calling The Vixen the “whistleblower” of season!
• This was a dud of a mini-challenge, but it’s nice to see them back in the mix.
• Andy Cohen revealed that it takes most housewives three hours to prepare for their reunion specials.
• “Sitting on a Secret” namedrop! MEOW, BITCH!
• Aquaria’s head constantly bobs back and forth during her camera commentary like she’s Trixie Mattel imitating RuPaul.
• Very Much Here for Alyssa Edwards’ Charlie Hides shade.
• The Eureka/Kalorie friendship is :hearts emoji: forever!
• RU BROUGHT UP PADMA LAKSHMI’S ROLE IN GLITTER AND I SCREAMED!
• Is “Flaccida” a reference to Pearls “Flazeda?”
• Dusty Ray Bottoms sometimes gives me Thorgy Thor vibes. Anyone else? MEOW, BITCH!