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?