It’s only fitting that Friday’s Drag Race welcomed a Star Wars actress as a guest judge, since the episode’s final twist is bound to leave fans divided.
The latest maxi challenge paired each of the remaining six queens with a Drag Race superfan, as assigned by last week’s (and this week’s!) winner, Miss Jaida Essence Hall. And as RuPaul would come to point out during the group’s runway critiques, Jaida played fair, assembling some really solid duos that built genuine emotional connections. Heidi N. Closet (or should I say Heidi Aphrodite?), for example, convinced her drag daughter to bare her legs for the first time in two decades. Two decades!
For the most part, this whole episode felt like a celebration of talent. Jaida and her daughter were the picture of perfection in matching red pageant gowns, Gigi and her daughter froze out the competition in stunning opposite-colored coats, and Sherry Pie had everyone hungry for what she and her daughter — a fellow waitress at the House of Just Desserts — were serving up.
But no one got the judges talking — mostly with questions — like Crystal Methyd, who turned to Bert and Ernie for inspiration in this week’s challenge. What could have been a game-ending mistake ended up being a stroke of brilliance, from the fashion-forward ensembles to the dramatic features. (I loved the way Crystal’s daughter used that Troll-length hair during the superfans’ lip sync segment.) Check out the full runway below:
After congratulating Jaida and sending the other queens to safety, Ru commanded this week’s bottom queens, Heidi and Jackie Cox, to face off to the tune of Alex Newell’s “Kill the Lights.” What ensued was a high-energy disco diva showdown between a dark horse on the rise and a former frontrunner desperate to salvage her reputation. Heidi went big — big moves, big faces, big hair — while Jackie opted for a focused-yet-frantic comedy routine that Michelle Visage compared to late comedian Gilda Radner.
And the queens’ hard work was Ru-warded with four of the best words a contestant can hear on this show: “Shantay, you both stay.” But was that the right call, or did one queen clearly outperform the other? (I would have voted to send Jackie home.) And considering both queens have now been in the bottom multiple times, did they really earn the save?
We’ll let you weigh in via the poll below. Then drop a comment with more of your thoughts on this week’s Drag Race.