After last week’s shocking, devastating RuPaul’s Drag Race, this week’s lighthearted romp felt like a bit of a palate cleanser. And thank goodness for that, because I don’t think I could take another week of heartache.
I’ve been reflecting a lot about last week’s surprise elimination (which if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m about to spoil, so go back under whatever rock you’ve been hiding for the last week). It wasn’t so much that I was enamored with Valentina, although I was. I also adored BenDeLaCreme, but wasn’t nearly as shook by her elimination. It was watching Valentina clearly crumble on stage that was the perfect visual representation of so many of our greatest fears (and regrets). Who hasn’t chased a dream or goal and then failed spectacularly when it mattered most? Maybe not at the same scale, but it’s a feeling that resonates to the core.
Little time is spent mourning the loss of the Latina star. Instead, we’re catapulted quickly into another one of Nina’s shame spirals. She turned out that lip sync, but no amount of praise is getting through to her. All the other queens are over it, and, gurl, so am I.
A new day in the workroom means a new maxi-challenge, and Mama Ru is there to introduce this season’s makeover challenge. We’ve seen vets, husbands-to-be, LGBT activists and more in previous seasons, but this time we’re going to genderflip the Drag Race crew. And, be still my throbbing tuck, they are a handsome bunch!
Shea and Sasha get to assign the girls their crew members, but honestly they’re all winners. The guys are not only comfortable with drag, but their experience on the show also helps them understand what makes good, quippy TV. They’re game for anything the gals throw at them, and they even throw better shade than a lot of the gurls in the room.
Sasha has a ball with daddy Duncan, the tough guy associate director with a heart of gold. Trinity wants to make sure her (exceptionally handsome) partner, Rizzo, has that signature tight Taylor tuck. (I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.) Peppermint is paired with Sarge, a burly cameraman and former military man. Oh, you wanted a twist?! He’s the most natural in drag. He’s got the look, the attitude, the wit. I’m obsessed. #TeamSarge
Nina is off with her partner deciding now’s the time to learn how to sew when she’s got two lewks to churn out. Oh, honey, no. After wasting probably too much time, she reconsiders.
On the runway, the gals need to strut their sisters out, then perform a lip sync to RuPaul’s track “Click Clack,” which I guess is just mostly repurposed from the far superior “Peanut Butter.” Trinity’s showgirl worth ethic translated nicely to a performance as tight as her tuck, earning her the win. Sasha shined as well, her focus on her partner keeping her from getting too in her head. Shea stumbled with a sloppy sister and Nina failed to fully realize her vision, landing both in the bottom two.
Shea turns out her lip sync to Demi Lovato’s 2k15 bop “Cool For the Summer,” but Nina can barely bolster an effort greater than Charlie or Kimora before her. Her heart just wasn’t in it. Hopefully the remaining girls have enough ambition to turn around this season’s lip sync stinkers.
Nina sashays away, leaving us our final five. How do hey stack up? Check out our ranking below, and leave yours in the comments.
1. Some winners never land in the bottom two, but more often these shows like to see a frontrunner sweat so it gives the viewer something to root for. I suspect that’s the case with Shea. Yes, Bae was a mess, but that hardly seems like enough to sink her chances. I wonder if the gown forced her to hold back some tricks in the lip sync, but even without kicks, splits and flips, Shea twirled the runway down. My money’s still on her to win it all.
2. Sasha continued to impress this week, and for the first time it felt she could really win this whole thing. Her high-fashion, high-concept schtick seamlessly served humor on the runway. It felt like she and Dunatella were having the most fun in their lip sync, and that gag where they spelled out LOVE then VELOUR was the perfect little wink.
3. Trinity Taylor has more than proven she’s a real threat. She might be a pageant girl, but I’ve been thoroughly sold on what a multidimensional performer she is. I admire her commitment to her tuck, but I admire her commitment to her performance more. I wonder if she pushed that to the forefront of her brand I would’ve been a fan sooner.
4.I can’t disagree with the judges that Peppermint and Winter Green’s ensembles looked hideous together, but they were both cute separately. More importantly, their energy complemented one another splendidly. Peppermint is such a lovable queen, and I wish she and Sarge could take this show on the road.
5. I’m completely soured on Alexis after weeks of bad behavior. The judges were right to clock that Party City space invader outfit (though was it just me or did Rye Anne Stardust look a lot like Jaymes Mansfield?). My gut says she’s next to go.
6. Oh, Nina. What a sad mess this was. I’m usually all for her unique style of drag, but this was sloppy. Michelle nailed it; it was arts and crafts. Maybe she wasted too much time attempting to sew, but their whole runway performance was just so joyless. I hope Nina watches this back and learns to love herself, I really do. At the very least, I hope she watches it and stops overusing that hacky “Sue me!” joke.
How would you rank the queens?