Tops and Bottoms: Power Ranking ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Episode 4 — RECAP


This week's mini-challenge asked competitors to look at an extreme close-up and decide if it was a "biological woman or a psychological woman." (A serious aside: RuPaul has been criticized for throwing around the word "tranny" and often conflating drag queens and the trans community. While the wordplay around the weekly "she-mail" is innocent enough, tonight's inspection of lips and crotches and wondering "female" or "she-male" felt a little more insensitive than usual.) 

The main challenge set the queens up to perform Shade: The Rusical! Over the course of two acts, they tell the story of Penny, a new drag queen in town who succumbs to the evil of Fish Oil. (Don't think too hard about it.) It's a lot like last season's ballet challenge, but with live singing. 


See who should be Broadway-bound in our Power Rankings:

1. I think the judges were dying to make this about Adore vs. Courtney (Idol vs. Idol Down Undah!). In the quest to make this all about the established singers, they missed the real star of this show: BenDeLaCreme! Her performance was just hammy enough, and, considering the competition, I thought her outfit on the final runway was cute and right for her character.

2. Good god, gurl, Adore, get your look together. Yes, she warned us upon arrival that she wasn't trying to be as polished as the other girls, but, come on, take a note. Cinch your waist! If she's going to come out looking like a corn dog in a ball gown week after week, I fully expect Michelle Visage to descend onto the runway with duct tape and Saran wrap and cinch it her damn self.

3. You guys, can we talk about something? Everyone keeps saying Courtney Act is such a great singer, but … honest to Kylie, I'm just not hearing it. Her performance in the ru-sical was cute, if not a little basic. (How else would you play the wide-eyed, innocent newcomer?) Her runway look was gorgeous, as usual, but if she wasn't so pretty, I wonder how successful she'd be.

4. I still can't quit you, Bianca Del Rio. Had she been given a meatier role, Bianca would no doubt appear higher in this week's list. Tonight's runway look — inspired by Tony Awards glamour — was a little close to her best drag look we saw last week. It kept us from seeing another side of Bianca. I love a gurl who tells it how it is, and Bianca's ability to dish it out to the ladies' faces (and not just in interviews) only endears her to me more.

5. Once again, Joslyn, proves to be more clever than she lets on. I literally laughed out loud (LLOL'd) when she let out her booming butch queen voice during rehearsals. (Maybe if she followed that instinct during the final performance, she'd have ended up in the top.) I also love how she didn't miss a beat when RuPaul asked where she was going to get her inspiration for the manly queen. ("Bianca Del Rio.")

6. I'm a sucker for a red-carpet baby bump, so I appreciated Milk's final ensemble. However, Milk's singing voice fell the flattest. Her acting was great, if you watched the whole thing on mute.


7. I think the judges were a little harsh on Darienne Lake. Maybe it was the edit, but it didn't seem like she had much to work with. When we caught her on screen, she was always engaged, serving face, fully committed.

8. Oh, Gia. Poor, dumb, Gia. She couldn't even understand a fart joke. A fart joke. In an episode entirely dedicated to musical fruits, that was the moment that stunk the most. Then, she didn't know what the Tony Awards were? Unacceptable. As Bianca (accurately) opined: "Being fish is not going to win this competition." Her runway look was stunning, but it's her stupidity that just leaves me stunned.

9. Even though it was Darienne who was criticized for fading into the cast, I think Laganja's performance was far more forgettable. She skated by last week's acting challenge too, despite a totally bizarre accent. Divisive as her personality may be ("OKRRRR!" "MAMA!" "YASSSSSS!"), she clearly has a lot of skill. Besides her awful first runway look, her subsequent ensembles have been great. Plus, we know she can dance. 

10. One of my least favorite reality TV tropes is the contestant who isn't sure she wants to be here. Once they start kvetching about the challenge and barking at the choreographer, you know it's just a matter of time before they're sent packing. That certainly seems the case for Trinity, who gets more and more dispassionate each week. She came back to life with one helluva lip sync, but can she sustain that energy for Snatch Game? (You just know she's going to pull out some humorless Beyoncé impersonation next week.)

11. The judges were right. It was just time to say goodbye to April. The performance was all over the place, but, worse yet, that final gown was hideous.


How would you rank the queens this week? Who do you think the remaining girls should portray in next episode's Snatch Game?


  1. Mike says

    Bianca and Ben delaCreme are the two racehorses here. I can’t believe how unshady Milk is every Untucked. She basically sits there and struggles with lines and comebacks. Continuous blank look on the face. From her look I’d expect another hilarious Bianca but it’s not there, which doesn’t bode well for Snatch Game.

  2. Sam says

    Can we just talk for five minutes about how crazy laganja got in Untucked?

    I was just contemplating letting her in a little after her nice breakthrough and then she just went nuts – it was toddlers and tiaras but with a grown ass man.

  3. Theo says

    I agree, Ben DelaCreme are Bianca are the whole package. I started out liking Milk, but she doesn’t have much of a personality. I think Courtney is over rated and full of herself, Adore is sloppy and the others are pretty forgettable. Laganja doesn’t bother me, I think her look is cute and she is a good dancer.

  4. Moz's says

    adore won the singer vs singer. Good thing Courtney is pretty

    trinity totally rocked the lip sync

    Gia is a dumb, and i bet will either reveal she is transitioning or planning on transitioning to a real female

    Laganja was a immature narcissist. All the others sympathized with her but she expected the rest of the untucked to be about her

    the tops are Bianca & Ben da le creme

  5. Pablo says

    April was dealt a bad hand. Her wardrobe and make-up was always ahead of most of the other queens. If you watch her in her lip syncs and her expressions in the challenges, she’s very talented. I think it’s just harder when there is that language barrier and you have two acting challenges in a row.

  6. Matt says

    Did you see Courtney Act in the audience on Dancing With the Stars, sitting with Chaz Bono. No one sitting around here probably had any idea she was not a biological woman. She is the most convincing drag queen I have ever seen ever.
    That said, if you want to know how great she is, just ask her.

  7. Ryan says

    Totally agree Bendelacreme and Bianca are the ones to beat but I love love love Darienne Lake. I think she just got dealt a poor role and was distracted by how awful Gia is. I’m also really starting to like Joslyn and have been saying “Gasp” for the last week!!

  8. Shine says

    This is the first season that I haven’t selected a clear stand-out. I was feeling very impressed with myself that I called the last 3 winners to my social circle, and wanted to continue the streak, but this year I’m stumped.

    I’m really disappointed with Adore so far. As far as I’m concerned she created an expectation by cinching for her ‘main photo’ before the season started, and then stopped doing it. Her ‘best drag’ mermaid outfit would have looked SO MUCH BETTER if she cinched. I know she’s polish remover, but c’mon!

    The ‘psychological woman or biological woman’ game was offensive and I didn’t need this article to point that out. Chescaleigh on Youtube has a great video about why she took down one of her earlier videos with the same theme. The gamification of guessing someone’s sex vs. their gender presentation is not funny or ok.

    Nobody here mentioned that the runway aspect had NO THEME whatsoever, and they didn’t show any runway walking either! What the F***?! Imagine season 3 without seeing Raja walk… Why would RPDR remove that?! It’s so important to me, maybe it isn’t to you all because none of you are complaining about it. But that’s something I look forward to every show, even moreso than the main challenges. I want to see them stomp the runway, and taking that away takes away some of my interest in the show. I would have thought that with all the Paris Is Burning references floating around on that show all the time, they wouldn’t have removed runway themes & runway walks. *le sigh*

    I loved the way Joslyn handles Gia on Untucked. Gia IS coming accross elitist; it was disgusting to call Joslyn “garbage” for not having the same budget for drag that Gia seems to.

    I feel bad for Laganja. I think that moment was something she was waiting for, for a long time, and her emotions clouded her judgment regarding the behavior of the others. I think Laganja was a little right that they used her moment to segue onto themselves when they could have been a little more supportive and focused on her. But on the other hand they were supportive of her, and they all have their own stories to share TOO, and it’s not all about Laganja, and they weren’t being shady as Laganja said (I think it was her emotions clouding her judgment and caused her to think that).

    I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Bianca and Milk. They both pleasantly surprised me and are growing on me.

  9. HankNYC says

    Love our hometown girl Bianca! So nice and refreshing to have one of the queens to be able to dish, be beautiful and keep up.

    Ben is fun as well, we’ll see how she stacks up, if her 50s persona can get thru all the challenges.

    Adore is a messing child, screaming I’m a star – honey don’t tell us – show us. Laganja is another bratty child.. Milk – what a cute handsome man – but his drag choices are a mess, always throws some wrench in that screws with things.

    Part of this competition is to be able to transform and be many things and have the flexibility to adapt to any situation as Ru has.

    Gia so far has only shown one side – shallow fish. Trinity thinks it is only a beauty pageant as well – you have to be able to laugh at yourself and sometimes be grotesque and camp it up – not just fish it up.

    I liked April – but these challenges were tough here at the beginning and got her and the others out early. Some really need to listen to the critique and not argue so much. If you didn’t come here to be judged, why did you come to the competition.

  10. Joe says

    Sorry, but Laganja’s need to pull it back to her and be the center of attention really struck me wrong. The queens already put Laganja’s family drama front and center in Untucked episode 1 or 2 when she cried about losing a strong connection with her Mom. Now it feels like Laganja is forcing the “drama” of it all and playing it up for tv. If Laganja needs hours to talk about her feelings and have everyone prioritize her emotions, she came on the wrong show. This isn’t Dr. Phil.

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