RuPaul’s Drag Race got a rush delivery of DRAMA this week, and the queens are starting to CRACK. We’ve got a dramatic unconventional materials challenge. We’ve got the Joker origin story of Daya Betty. We’ve even got an Untucked so hot they had to cut into the main ep. It’s a lot to unpack. Let’s get into it.
After Jorgeous’s definitive lip sync victory last week, there’s not much left to resolve. (The girls couldn’t even be bothered to read Orion’s overly long mirror message.)
There’s also no time to spare. Ru introduces this week’s challenge to create a runway using random junk Michelle Visage allegedly bought late night on Amazon like Miranda Hobbes, and we’re off to the races.
It’s a whirlwind in the Werk Room as the ladies start tearing open the boxes and divvying up the trash from the slightly-more-useful trash. Willow is at immediate disadvantage given her troubles with her fingers, but she manages to scrounge around the leftover wreckage for pieces to create a nightmarish children’s toy.
As soon as Willow reveals her idea, Daya Betty swoops in to tell her in no uncertain terms that SHE is doing a babydoll something and she will NOT change it.
It’s the earliest sign of Daya’s full heel turn. She’s already maniacally focused on landing in the top this week, spending the majority of the episode muttering to herself about how THIS IS WHAT SHE DOES. SHE’S NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS. SHE SHOPS AT THRIFT STORES.
It’s exhausting, but it’s just the tip of the rapidly crumbling iceberg. What really pushes her into full mental meltdown is a visit from Ru and Carson. It starts with a familiar impulse. You know, a queen is safe for weeks on end and starts to resent even the bottom-ranking girls for their one-on-one time with Ru. It’s resolved for most queens by either using it as motivation to snag a top win, or it proves to be a curse as their long-awaited time with the judges is a bottom placement (if not a lip sync).
For what it’s worth, Daya at least disrupts the usual narrative. Instead of sweating it until she hits the runway, Daya seizes the opportunity to cut to the chase and ask Ru directly for some feedback.
It’s perfectly reasonable, but it’s a reality show no-no. These visits are about laying the foundations for the episode’s subplots; save the drama for the runway!
Unfortunately, Daya gets exactly what she asks for. Carson and Ru read her for being too close to her drag inspo, Crystal Methyd. It’s the same criticism they had when she first faced elimination earlier this season. As much as she tries to shrug off the comparison, she struggles to define the differences between them both in her confessional interviews and in her live Lady Macbeth breakdown. Crystal’s a clown … but Daya is also funny! Crystal is playful, Daya is “also still a good party fun time.” Ok, gurl! I’m just saying, if it walks like a Crystal and it talks like a Crystal …
Lady Camden gets promising early reviews from Ru, but she gets an important note, too: She needs a bigger lip. As inexplicable as some of Ru’s feedback/behavior can be at times, she’s absolutely right on this one. Camden is also hungry for a win after weeks of strong performances. She’s got a great vision, combining strips of an inflatable kiddie pool to create a pastel bodypiece adorned with coordinating netting flowing behind. It’s great.
The judges have some concerns over Maddy’s non-descript character costume and Angeria’s fabric choice. However, it’s Jorgeous that once again seems to be in the most danger.
She can’t quite get a furry piece of fleece to work, and she finds herself scrapping the whole thing and scrounging in Angeria’s leftovers at the last minute. She quickly throws together a printed shower curtain with some cookie-cutter accents instead. It’s rough enough for the other queens to really worry about a bottom two finish, because they’re sure they’d be up against the newly minted lip sync assassin, Jorgeous.
On the runway, Jorgeous sells the hell out of the garment. Here is all that sexy confidence the judges have been waiting for, just wrapped in a Wet Seal knockoff of Kerri’s Versace dress from two weeks ago. Her shining personality is definitely enough to keep her safe, in my opinion.
But it’s not up to me. Ru thinks the whole thing is worthy of this week’s win, despite it being literally thrown together at the last minute into a body suit in Michelle’s least favorite color. Look, I love Jorgeous too, but this is insanity. I can’t imagine there will be much of gay twitter left standing after this, possibly one of the most off-key judges’ calls in herstory.
The win would’ve made much more sense on Lady Camden, whose pastel angel outfit turned out downright heavenly (and she smartly applied a larger lip to address Ru’s criticism). Or even Angeria, who walked a flawless, elegant LBD down the runway that looked just as good as any poly-cotton blend would. They both get top marks, but fall short on the win, thanks to Ru’s obsession with Jorgeous.
The judges get it closer with this week’s bottoms. Maddy absolutely whiffed the challenge, cobbling together a lopsided mess that she tries to pass off as the next “Coat of Many of Colors.” The judges can barely muster pithy comments as they rip it to shreds. It’s just plain bad.
DeJa gets slightly dinged for crafting cheap accessories from gold doilies, but the judges are gaga for her Grecian-inspired dress. Filling out the bottom is surprisingly Jasmine, a queen whose always looked stunning on the runway. The problem here stems from over-embellishing — a problem we’re seeing the judges harp on time and time again this season. (Because, you know, drag is about RESTRAINT … )
In truth, it doesn’t seem nearly as egregious as, say, Maddy, but that’s where we’ve got to duck into this week’s Untucked. Usually, I don’t cover the Untucked in these recaps, but USUALLY they don’t edit it into the main episode, so I’m making an exception.
Backstage, Daya is already seething assuming it’s Jasmine in the top, and, in her mind, she only wrapped some fabric around her waist. (It makes her face crack after JORGEOUS is announced the winner even sweeter.) But the real meat of Untucked is between the week’s presumed bottoms, Maddy and Jasmine.
It all starts because Maddy attempts to make a bold, brave proclamation that she’s staying, she is staying, and you, and you, you’re gonna love her, or whatever. I get that it’s supposed to be about self-empowerment and not a direct threat to Jasmine, but it’s kind of hard not to take it that way.
Jasmine then proceeds to completely destroy Maddy in truly epic fashion. Maddy is trying to cover her insecurity with bravado, but Jasmine is dismissing her so thoroughly, it’s borderline cruel. Jasmine flat-out tells Maddy she is not worried at all about this lip sync. She is not pressed, in the slightest. She doesn’t miss a beat, and Maddy is left obviously shook. Am I on Jasmine’s side here? Am I becoming a villain? All I know is I couldn’t help but yell GET HER in support throughout the whole exchange.
By the time the queens return to the runway, Jasmine is practically salivating, hungry to rip Maddy limb from limb. The lip sync is to Beyoncé’s “Sugar Mama,” an absolutely killer track for this.
Maddy is fine. Better than expected, even. But it’s just no contest. Jasmine acts like that cavernous studio is the friggin Super Bowl halftime show, murdering the choreo and slamming her body on the floor. It’s like using a mastercrafted samurai sword to slice deli salami. It’s gorgeous, but a tad overkill.
And thus ends Maddy’s run, and we’re already down to less than 10 queens. Let’s see where they stand in our rankings.
- Angeria‘s excellent Drag Race run continues this week as she created one of the most stylish and ready-for-the-runway garments. She also is gunning for Miss Congeniality by saving Jorgeous with some last-minute fabric options and giving us a goofy moment when she needed Kerri to explain what a step-and-repeat is. As Michelle said, I keep waiting for this bitch to fall, and she’s just not falling.
- The edit had me worried for Willow this week, but she brought her freaky vision to life. She tends to have the clearest concepts each week, and it makes me really excited to see what her twisted brain comes up with next.
- There wasn’t much Bosco this week, but what we saw was solid. If anything, she was a more worthy top choice than the eventual winner, Jorgeous.
- Huge week for Lady Camden. Ru was so right about the bigger lip. She looked gorgeous on the runway. The upgraded mug and fantastic fashion on the runway bumps Camden up to a solid top four, even if her angelic outfit was robbed of this week’s win.
- No hate for Jorgeous, a beautiful queen with a lovable personality and serious dance skills, but this was not her week to win.
- Well, we’ve got our season villain in Daya Betty. She came in hot already popping off on DeJa at the top of the episode, and she slipped further and further into her spiral from there. It’s clear that she really doesn’t know how to differentiate herself from Crystal Methyd. Her weird puppet outfit and makeup were solid, but … could’ve been worn on Crystal in season 12.
- Kerri is thankfully stepping up and taking Kornbread’s spot as talking head queen. She added some levity to the proceedings with little jokes and extended metaphor. She got a few opportunities to share more of her background this week, both with Ru and with the other girls in the Werk Room. I just wish her outfit came together as beautifully as her narrative did. Instead, she must’ve just barely missed the bottom.
- I didn’t have as much of a problem with Jasmine‘s lewk as the judges did, but, then again, “too much” tends to be my whole aesthetic. Jasmine still packs plenty of talent, but the judges tend to run hot and cold with her. She made a fan out of me on Untucked keeping it truly 100 and letting Maddy know she’s no match in a lip sync.
- DeJa‘s Grecian gown was gorgeous, but not pretty enough. DeJa is a seamstress, so this was her challenge to blow out of the water. After surprising in acting/comedy challenges, it was a big letdown to see her slip backward. She needs to give us something to get excited, especially up against queens like Angeria, Willow and Jorgeous that push all of Ru’s right buttons.
- In some ways, it’s a shame to see Maddy go. We barely scratched the surface on what it means to be a cishet drag queen, and she’s already gone. At the end of the day, was Maddy qualified for this contest? Or was she cast primarily for being straight? Jasmine was right. She shouldn’t have worried about Maddy, because Maddy frankly was just not on the same level as the other girls. I’m not convinced she was unqualified because she’s straight (though I’m not convinced that’s not part of it), but, regardless, even the judges couldn’t pretend to take it seriously. I can’t shake the feeling we’ll finish this story with Maddy on an upcoming All Stars season.
How would you rank the queens?