The dirty (baker’s) dozen competing in Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race finally shared the screen on Friday, and regardless of who actually won or lost, we can all agree on one thing: This was the night that America fell in love with Heidi N. Closet.
The Powers That Be may hate her drag name — Ru even took the time to explain how difficult it is to pronounce — but anytime Heidi got a spotlight, be it on the runway or on the set of a fake reality show, the judges couldn’t stop singing her praises. I’m not necessarily predicting that she’ll land in the Top 3 (or 4?), but Heidi serves as an important reminder that you shouldn’t judge a closet by its door.
OK, on to the episode. In what may have been the shadiest mini challenge in Drag Race herstory, Ru asked Widow Von’Du and Jaida Essence Hall to rank their fellow queens based on first impressions. For the record, here’s who they each consider their strongest (and weakest) competition…
Widow: Sherry Pie, Jan, Dahlia Sin, Rock M. Sakura, Aiden Zhane
Jaida: Gigi Goode, Brita, Nicky Doll, Jackie Cox, Crystal Methyd, Heidi
But Aiden and Heidi ended up getting the last laugh, as Ru revealed that they would join Widow and Heidi as captains for this week’s four-team maxi challenge. (Thus began the Week of Heidi!)
And the shade continued as the captains assembled their teams: Aiden recruited Sherry and Brita, Heidi enlisted Jackie and Gigi, Widow picked Nicky and Crystal, and Jaida selected Jan and Dahlia. There was already something about Rock that made me want to reach through my TV and give her a hug, so that feeling only intensified when none of the queens chose her to join their team; she ended up tagging along with Jaida.
This week’s maxi challenge was to write and act out an audition for World’s Worst, a reality show for “wannabe performers with big dreams, outrageous backstories and no talent whatsoever.” It actually turned out to be a really fun American Idol spoof, though I feel like the name was more of a nod to Ru’s short-lived CBS competition show World’s Best. (For the record, if the World’s Best judges panel had consisted of Ross Mathews, Charo and freaking Ornacia, CBS definitely would have renewed it for a second season.)
And on the runway, a buttons-and-bows theme inspired a surprising variety of eccentric looks, from Heidi’s “delightful” Pinocchi-ho getup to Nicky’s oversized hair button. But it was Sherry who emerged the winner of this week’s challenge, due to… reasons. (I don’t think we really need to elaborate on her victory, do you?)
Despite the aforementioned hair button, which the judges appreciated, Nicky found herself lip syncing against Dahlia — whose impressive runway look apparently wasn’t enough to redeem her low-energy performance in the challenge — to the tune of Ariana Grande’s “Problem.” Frankly, neither contestant seemed particularly engaged in the battle. If I had been in Ru’s wig, I would have sent them both home, especially after allowing two weeks to go by with nary an elimination.
But I’m not in Ru’s wig. She is. And she chose to send home Dahlia Sin.
Your thoughts on Season 12’s first elimination? Vote for the queen you would have sent home below, then drop a comment with your take on the episode.