Oh, hell yes. My feelings about the early big, group lip sync challenges have been well documented. However, I am a sucker for a ball.
I particularly love a ball challenge when we have this many competitors. Thirty-three individual runways is a THRILL, and I think it’s a chance for these gals to show off who they are with far more flexibility than the sort of pre-written, pre-costumed schtick we suffered through last week.
Before we get to the supersized runway, the ladies returned to the work room, and the name of everybody’s lips was “BRANJIE.” That’s right, the ‘ho-mance between Miss Vanjie and Brooke Lynn is officially Drag Race CANON, DARLING, making the jump from stolen kisses on Untucked to acknowledged on the actual episodes.
The mini-challenge arrived tasking the queens to create a life-sized companion for the new RuPaul doll. Helping judge was special guest and All Stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel. Removed from all the All Stars scandal and blowback (#justiceforShangela), it’s nice to enjoy Trixie in all her Trixie-ness.
All of the girls did a decent job crafting characters and unique styles. Silky was a standout, serving a sticky-fingered character carrying lots of contraband while also, apparently, driving a donut truck. The win, however, went to Ra’Jah whose Starr-Kiesha Booty La’Rajah drove a bus and came with an extra-large cup of drank.
It didn’t, however, come with any sort of advantage for the main challenge: Monsters Ball. The girls needed to prepare lewks for three categories: Trampy Trick-or-Treater; Witch, Please; and Monster I’d Like to Freak. The final lewk was to be created in the work room, making it our second design challenge for the season.
With 33 ensembles to march down the runway, the majority of the episode’s runtime is dedicated to the fashion show. I’ll break down each individual queen’s runways in the rankings below, but let’s fast-forward to the judging, shall we?
It was immediately clear Brooke would be one of the judges’ favorites. They loved the drama of her mummified Trampy Trick-or-Treater, which she showcased while walking the runway completely on pointe. She probably got some bonus points for taking inspiration from Suicide Squad‘s Enchantress since model/actress Cara Delevingne was a guest on this week’s panel (along with a true Drag Race All Star, Elvira). The judges also loved Plastique’s three polished presentations, though Michelle worried she didn’t bring enough personality to the proceedings. Rounding out the top was Yvie Oddly, whose first showing as a trampy T-Rex ravaged the runway, but her M.I.L.F. was meh.
She still earned more kudos than Shuga, whose troll-inspired Trick-or-Treater didn’t translate, and her M.I.L.F. stood for Merkin I’d Like to Forget. It’s a shame, since her Blood Mary spin on witches was stunning. Silky received some slight criticism, mostly focused on the vagueness of her witch and shoddy construction on her third outfit. Ariel also found herself on the bottom as the judges had qualms with everything she showed.
Brooke took the win, while Ariel and Shuga were left to lip sync. Ariel really gave it her all, but she took a big spill that seemed to seal her fate. Bless her heart, she powered through the pain, but Ru still sent her sashaying away.
Finally, we’re down to our top 10. Let’s take a closer look at the lewks, and see where the queens stand in our rankings below.
- At this point, it appears Brooke Lynn is the queen to beat. She looked incredible for all three outfits. The simple mummy costume was elevated with big, bold makeup, and walking the runway on pointe was an inspired choice. (I actually think her choice to go flat-footed and give us the stereotypical mummy walk off the runway pushed the whole thing to another level of brilliance.) Her Enchantress had more presence and magnetism than Delevingne’s own. I think she looked great as a M.I.L.F., but I didn’t get any MONSTER, per se. It was dark, it was spooky, but was it a monster? Regardless, Brooke knocked it out of the park.
- That disappointing Voodoo doll aside, Yvie had a great showing. The T-Rex was so delightful, it transcended its lack of high-fashion flourish. I was particularly impressed with her Witch, Please interpretation, because it was true glamour. It showed she can do more than creative, crafty queen.
- I was shocked not to see Nina West place in the top this week. If I had to guess, I’d lay blame at her Trampy Trick-or-Treater, which was fun, but didn’t read trampy nor trick-or-treating. Still, I was tickled by her take on Witch, Please, and her M.I.L.F. was the most spot-on of the night. I hope she can stay out of her head and keep nailing these challenges.
- I still love Miss Vanjie, but I think we’ve hit our cruising altitude. There is some sameness to what she keeps showing on the runway. Her outfits are gorgeous, her makeup is perfect, but it feels like different colors of the same thing. The Victoria’s Secret Angel was good, but not particularly memorable. The best part of her witch was how she transformed from a feathery cape into the skirt, but we barely glimpsed it on camera. The headstone monster was cute, but it lacked the impact some of the other girls had.
- Ooh, Silky. Telling the judges you can only paint one mug is not a smart move. Versatility is the name of the game. Even if you’re not actually versatile, do like every other bottom on Grindr and LIE. The unicorn was cute, but still felt safe. She missed the mark with her Wiz-inspired witch, and that monster felt fully like amateur hour. Not her best. In fact, I’m starting to worry Silky might be all big bluster.
- Despite her top three placement this week, Plastique received the kiss of death from the judges. Michelle warning that she’s not showing personality does not bode well. The final makeup was unique, but everything else just felt like variations on pretty.
- Was A’Keria in this episode? None of her outfits were good (or terrible) enough to really register. My biggest beef was with her final spider outfit. Why not just add four extra arms instead of eight? I’d rather see her as part-spider monster than a monster with a giant spider on her back. It’s a small gripe, but it bothered me.
- Scarlet‘s Creature from the Black Lagoon couture far exceeded my expectations. It looked great on the runway. I also appreciated the beachy bog witch idea, but found it less exciting in execution. Her sexy pirate was just fine. Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t get her. I think she’s solid, but I’m not rooting for her. Maybe she’s merely OK, or maybe this is another Violet Chachki situation, and I’ve got it wrong. We’ll see.
- After last week’s fumble, Ra’Jah delivered three solid, if pretty unremarkable performances on the runway. Time is running out for Ra’Jah to score a MAJOR win (the mini-challenge this week doesn’t qualify).
- What happened, Shuga? Was this just a bad idea gone awry? That troll trick-or-treater was real bad, and her M.I.LF. was one of the worst we’ve seen on the runway. However, Bloody Mary was bloody BRILLIANT. She was unrecognizable, and the mirror presentation really sold it. Even her body language down the runway changed. It showed that she has potential. At least, she better, because she didn’t display a particularly strong lip sync.
- Despite even my own initial apprehension about embracing a self-proclaimed “Instagram Queen,” Ariel won my respect. She was not going to win this season, but she still showed she’s more than just a pretty picture. She knows who she is as a performer, but I don’t think she can give us any more than the Ariel we got.
How would you rank the queens?