Thursday’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race reminded the Met Gala how camp is really done with a sickening series of soap-worthy slaps, gag-worthy returns and, of course, wigs on wigs on wigs.
The episode began innocently enough, with Ru challenging the queens to slap the crap out of one another for a fabulous monetary prize. And while some slaps looked more like awkward karate chops, the queens did Joan Collins proud — especially Canada’s sweetheart Brooke Lynn Hytes, who won the competition with a bite just as fierce as her bark.
That’s when s–t got real. RuPaul summoned six of this season’s eliminated queens — Plastique Tiara, Ariel Versace, Shuga Cain, Scarlet Envy, Honey Davenport and Soju — back into the workroom to participate in this week’s maxi challenge: Each contestant had to give a makeover to one of the returning queens, transforming them into a member of their own drag family. It’s a rodeo we’ve been to before, but given all of the unresolved issues between this season’s contestants, it was a rodeo to which I gladly returned.
As the winner of this week’s mini challenge, Brooke Lynn got to pair off the queens, putting herself with Plastique, A’Keria C. Davenport with Honey, Yvie Oddly with Scarlet, Nina West with Shuga, Silky Nutmeg Ganache with Soju, and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo with Ariel. And there was no shortage of drama in the workroom, from Soju admitting that she’s never walked in heels before to Ariel revealing that she didn’t leave her wigs for “everyone.” In fact, everybody was so busy fighting, I don’t know how they found time to get anything done.
Come runway time, however, some of the queens really turned it out. Maybe it’s because I expect so little of her, but I was actually really impressed with Vanjie’s work this week, and a part of me was surprised that she didn’t win. The silver lining, of course, is that Brooke Lynn — who did win, and deservedly so for somehow making Plastique look like her passable sister — will be taking Vanjie along for the ride. But they weren’t all home runs this week: Yvie and Scarlet’s shredded denim look gave Ru the blues, Nina and Shuga looked like Rainbow Brite characters lost at a Pride parade, and Silky and Soju’s ’70s-inspired
Then Ru did that wonderfully shady thing where she asked each of the queens who they would choose to send home, and the results were… kind of surprising, actually. Yvie, Scarlet, Shuga, Honey, Ariel, Brooke Lynn and Plastique picked Silky, while the other five — Nina, A’Keria, Silky, Soju and Vanjie — chose Yvie. For you math people, that’s seven for Silky and five for Yvie. Personally, I would also cast a vote for Silky; not only did she blame her lackluster performance on Soju (boo!), but she’s incapable of taking criticism and is sucking the fun out of the game.
So it came as no surprise that Silky had to lip sync for her life this week, facing off against fellow first-timer Nina. Neither queen wowed me with any sort of unique take on TLC’s “No Scrubs,” but I feel like Nina gave us a more polished performance. Silky was undeniably more physical, but none of her acrobatics (aka falling to the floor and sloooowly getting back up) were impressive.
Yet… somehow… Nina got the chop? I honestly have no idea what happened this week, so drop a comment below and help me make sense of it!