Welcome back, Drag Racers! It feels like weeks ago that Shania Twain filled the guest judge role on the show then quickly fell from grace after revealing to the Guardian that, had she had the opportunity to vote, she’d have voted for Trump.
Kameron Michaels comments that with Mayhem gone, she’s the only quiet girl left, to which Monique responds that it’s time for her to speak up. I think a lot of viewers feel the same and guess what this week’s episode will take care of that problem.
In fact, this week’s episode, as I’ll explore throughout this recap, feels like a turning point of the season. Mayhem Miller’s elimination felt like the first time there was no “filler queen” to send home. Now, with only 9 queens to balance, the camera lends ample time to each queen’s story. Kameron Michaels and Monique Heart benefit most from the extra screen time, which is a net positive. Michaels had almost no screen time previously and too much of Heart’s earlier edit was about her own feelings of being robbed.
Each week, the mini challenges grow increasingly bizarre, and this one is no exception. Conceived, or at least co-sponsored, by some fetish website, this week’s mini challenge finds the queens blindfolded, sitting on various objects. The queens guess what the object is by rubbing it in between their thighs and on their butt. This is some Princess Valhalla Hawkwing shit! (Anyone else get a United States of Tara reference?)
The girls have to sit on a fax machine, a porkchop, marshmallows, fish, a cake, a bag of chips, an eggplant and a traffic cone. I’ve seen a video of someone sitting on a traffic cone and cake before and it was porn! Not to mention each of the queens and RuPaul make sexual innuendo the entire time. I have so many questions. Were they told about this before? Did Drag Race pay for their ruined pants? This is some shit up with which we will not put.
Asia O’Hara wins this week’s mini challenge, but the win nets her no competitive privileges except for bragging rights. Contestants form their own groups. Eureka, Kameron and Monet X Change band together for Team Body. The other contestants comment that, given Kameron’s non-vocal demeanor, Eureka’s penchant for hysterics and Monet’s two consecutive trips to the bottom, the team seems on shaky ground. But, they get the challenge early they come up with the term “proportionizing” about dressing a drag body at any size.
Asia, Monique and Aquaria are “Team Face” and Ru is quick to point out that Aquaria is an Instagram queen. Here, Ru brings up some of the best advice she’s given in ages. Asia O’Hara may be a makeup expertise, but she shouldn’t rely on expertise and throw fun out the window. Monique smartly picks up these “nuggets,” as she calls them, and says she’ll use them to get the win.
Miz Cracker, The Vixen and Blair St. Clair are “Team Hair” and their team are focusing on synthetic wigs. Each of the queens have experience working with wigs professionally, but they seem a bit flustered when it comes to the mechanics of panelry. And you know what happens when you do panelry the panel comes back to bite.
RuPaul visits Team Body and Kameron Michaels gets her moment in the sun talking about being a muscle queen and how she’ll discuss feminizing masculine bodies for drag. Asia O’Hara raises an issue with Aquaria’s communication skills, especially after RuPaul announces that a live audience will grade each panel and grade each queen individually.
Monique Heart gets more time to bring up her own trials this week. Compared to other queens, she says, she deals with a lack of funds, meaning her runways are often a little less polished. Kameron talks about his gym body and how other queens often poked fun at her for her “boy body” and the struggle to find acceptance as a muscle queen. In private, I’ve thrown shade at people who thirst for Kameron over all the other girls, but her struggle is valid and she expresses herself well here. She talks about her own struggles without feeling too “woe is me and my muscles.” Monet shares that she has never told her parents, who live in St. Luica, that she is a drag queen. She also says that the fear of rejection hovers over her if she were to tell them.
Team Body AKA Team “Proportionzing” stuns during their presentation. Kameron doesn’t have too many jokes, but is able to convey her message effectively. Monet X Change talks about her juicy booty and how to make a big breast illusion. While their presentation is about body, the panel takes a political turn due to an audience question. Surprisingly, Eureka handles the question very well and the audience seems smitten with Team Body.
Monique Heart brings two scoops of charisma as her panel’s moderator. Aquaria is able to land some jokes, as well. Asia has a talent for coming off as relatable and she brings tons of charm, as well. Now, let it be known that the Drag Race editors are master storytellers. A small workroom bit about Monique’s laugh finally makes its way to the runway, when Monique laughs on stage during her presentation and elicits laughter from the judges, as well. The team’s only clear stumble happens when Aquaria and Asia O’Hara decide to save time by alternating attention between the two, leading to a breakneck pace between sentences and beauty tips.
Team Hair decides to go with a “wigaholic” theme, pretending that they’re all in “Wigaholics Anonymous.” The setup comes off as a little say it with me p r o b l e m a t i c, and the fake bickering back and forth starts to feel more negative than light-hearted. One of the worst part of their presentation is that it has the least “how-to” expertise compared to other panels.
The hats runway has plenty of “Wow!” moments. Kameron goes space age Lady Gaga. Monet X Change gives a stunning Sunday church lady look. Aquaria gives Roger Rabbit realness. Monique Heart’s garment is not the best constructed of the week, but her hat is the most crafty and creative. ASIA O’HARA SLAYED MY ENTIRE LIFE WITH HER DANDELION LOOK. Miz Cracker wears a beautiful-fitting dress and a hat made of hair (also seemingly Lady Gaga-inspired). Blair St. Clair’s look seems a little Dallas or Designing Women-inspired. The Vixen’s hat look is based on the “floppy classic black and white beach hat” and seems like a better concept than actual look.
Team Body takes the win and each member are the week’s top 3. Team Wig takes the L and each member is in the bottom 3. Team Face is safe, but before they leave the stage, RuPaul gives Asia O’Hara a special shout-out, saying she did very well this week.
The judges praise Team Body for their “proportionizing” schtick and their ability to blend entertainment and information. Monet X Change finally gets the praise she deserves for both her outfit and her performance in the challenge. Kameron Michaels, despite her quiet personality, also gets positive notes. And Eureka, it turns out, won the audience vote for best queen. She is also wearing a stunning houndstooth Carmen Sandiego number.
Unfortunately, the judges picked up on Team Wig’s tendency to bicker rather than relay information on the wig. They also bemoan the lack of a clear moderator who would be able to set and keep pace.
During Team Wig’s critiques, Blair St. Clair gets deeper about her personal trauma and how it has influenced her drag aesthetic. During his critique, Ross Matthews comments that Blair’s drag persona often comes off too saccharine, to which Blair responds that her bubbly drag persona comes from a dark place. She was raped at a college party and it was her first sexual experience. In the moment, Blair’s vulnerability draws tears from both judges and fellow contestants.Standing next to Blair, The Vixen comforts the Indiana queen, holds her hand and tells her she loves her.
Eureka walks away with the win, clinching a second win in a row on the show and making her sure to be at the top of next week’s INTO power ranking, after her first time at the top of the list this week. While Eureka rises to the top, Blair St. Clair and The Vixen land in the bottom and lip sync to Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out.” The lip sync is pretty good, if not as iconic as some of the earlier lip syncs this season. The Vixen triumphs pretty easily she works the entire stage, keeps moving and gives you plenty of hairography. Blair plays the lip sync like she’s doing Ethel Merman, looking like she’s belting an 11 o’clock number, rather than a peppy R number.
• Notice how the girls had no idea what “Sitting on a Secret” was? The song aired during AS3, which hadn’t aired when they were filming season 10.
• Summing up her lack of expensive gowns, Monique Heart gave us the phrase, “I came to this competition with glitter and Jesus!”
• A lot of people were not playing the game well this year. Eureka has been to DragCon and been on panels before. I get it that people think she’s annoying, but she had the best experience! Know how to play the game!
• How many alerts do you think Katy Perry’s phone got while the queenswere talking about wigs?
• Once again, Ross Matthews elevates the judges table. GIVE HER A RAISE!
• MizCracker:“I smell a merkin.” The Vixen:“Well, I’m African-A-merkin.” WHEN WILL SHAKESPEARE?
• Was Kumail Nanjiani’s “Carmen Sandiego” joke about Eureka about her loud outfit or her size??
• “She gets her an Uber executive, honey!” UBER better cut Monet X Change a check.
• ASIA O’HARA SLAYED MY ENTIRE LIFE. I was so happy that RuPaul gave her that safe shout out.
• The show didn’t give too much airtime to the friendship between Blair St.Clair and The Vixen, but seeing the camaraderie between the two was really special.
• Iknow he’s married, but I am in love with Kumail Nanjiani.