Let’s Kiki About RuPaul’s Drag Race! Episode 10: Dragracadabra

19 Min Read
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Photo via VH1

I have returned from Las Vegas and had the pleasure of seeing India Ferrah, Coco Montrese and the OG queen, season one’s incomparable Shannel at Drag Brunch (if you’re ever in Sin City, I can’t recommend it enough.) And now, back to your RuPaul's Drag Race recap. Last week we had to say goodbye to the beautiful Plastique Tiara who sashayed away last week after that (awful) reading challenge (it was bad enough that Ru might consider closing the library for good) and “L.A.D.P.” improv challenge.

After Plastique’s elimination, the queens returned to the workroom and Vanjie noted how pretty Plastique’s handwriting was before wiping her farewell message off the mirror. After landing in the bottom two last week, Vanjie assured us that she “wasn’t done fighting” and can’t figure out exactly what the judges want from her. A’keria was congratulated for her win and Silky was chuffed that the judges thought she was a roach. Of course, as she pointed out, “roaches don’t die, we multiply” and says she isn’t dying in the competition. Brooke Lynn feels great after her redemption as a naked, trailer park vegan. Nina was annoyed that she didn’t acknowledge her help in the challenge. She said that she made sacrifices that maybe she shouldn’t have, knowing that her scene partner is “in it to win it.” Yvie pointed out that Brooke Lynn, Silky and A’keria are leading the pack with victories and A’keria said that the queens who were falling behind need to step it up.

Ru, in an un-Ru-like black suit (love his boy look this week) enters for this week’s mini challenge. No quick drag this week, but a whole lot of Pit Crew members clad in skimpy underwear. As much as I like a boxer brief on my man, I will admit that there was some delicious eye candy on display here.  And, hey, the Emmy-winning Delta Werk is on hand to, as she put it, “check out the set.” I adore Delta. And I digress. The name of the game is “Balls to the Walls” and in it, the queens, paired up with a fella from the Pit Crew have to transport balls of various sizes across the room into a waiting basket – but they can’t use their hands. Ru draws cards to determine how the two can connect to move their balls (head to hip, hip to hip, shoulder to butt, you get the gist.) It’s a fun game and Ru’s got jokes (“Ass to Ass Disco Ball…that’s the name of my new album”) and it’s pretty obvious that Vanjie knows how to handle some balls. Silky, who hasn’t been extra for a minute or so, literally picked up her Pit Crew guy to get her balls moved.  It wasn’t enough for her though, as Vanjie gets the win. Her win is to put together the two teams for this week’s maxi challenge.

This week, the queens need to “razzle dazzle” and put on a magic show in front of a live audience. Vanjie picks her team first, choosing Silky, A’keria and Yvie, which leaves Brooke Lynn, Nina and Shuga as the other team. They need to learn some tricks, come up with a team name, compose some “captivating patter” and create a magical look. Nina is confident about putting a show together and warns, “Look out David Copperfield, I’m about to reappear in this competition.”

As soon as they start planning, Team Nina is already overthinking their storyline. Brooke Lynn is worried that they’re taking too long to get their act together and Shuga is worried about Nina’s tendency to second-guess herself. Over on Team Vanjie, the queens quickly divvy up the tricks and come up with a catchy team name, “Da Black Magic.” Silky said the team was definitely “Team Personality” and admitted that she was living for the upcoming “failure” of Nina’s team.  

Ru pays the teams a visit. When he asks Brooke Lynn why she thought Vanjie didn’t pick her for her team (Ooh, Ru, need a spoon for that pot stirring?) Brooke said she didn’t want their “romantic connection getting in the way of their work.” That was diplomatic. She added that they had a “situationship”, whatever that means, and while she has slipped Vanjie her tongue several times, she’s yet to slip her the pinkie finger. That’s when you know it’s love.

When Ru asks if anyone on the team has any magic experience, Brooke says she can make her eyebrows disappear, so this ought to be an interesting challenge. Ru reminds Shuga that she’s not won a challenge (which I’m sure she appreciated). Shuga knows she was overshadowed by Silky in the last challenge and promises to come in like a “wrecking ball” this week. Over on Team Vanjie, Ru poses her the same question about not picking her showmance partner. Vanjie says she’s just looking out for herself and she’s thinking with her head, not her romantic bits. When this team is asked about their magic experience, A’keria says she’s made some men disappear and Silky pointed out that she can go “from trucker to woman” in a mere 20 minutes, so that’s enough magic for her.  Ru asks Vanjie what scares her about the challenge and she says she doesn’t want a trainwreck, which is what her and Plastique delivered last week, Ru offered the advice that planning is the key to avoiding another disaster. Vanjie assures Ru that she is listening to the advice. Let’s see if this ends up being the case.

The queens meet with Las Vegas magician Kyle Marlett to learn their tricks. As far as magicians go, he’s certainly no David Copperfield, but he’s patient, as he tries to teach the queens tricks that can be found in any kids’ beginner magic trick set. A’keria is up first, with the sword swallowing trick (with a balloon subbing for a sword…and since I am a curious person, I found an online tutorial to explain how the trick is actually done.) Silky is up next, attempting to do the vanishing milk trick. Yes, it’s an easy trick, but Silky (obviously) doesn’t get the trick pitcher, so hilarity ensues. Dirty, dirty hilarity. Kyle has to remind Silky that this is a more family-friendly show.

Team Nina is up and Kyle teaches Nina a bottle and glass trick that is reminiscent of something Mat Franco did on America’s Got Talent in 2015 (go on, find out how it’s done.) Nina says she wants to get the routine down, while building the character of a “Chris Farley-esque magician.” Damn, I love me some Nina. Yvie notes that the opposing team has humor and rehearsed lines and is starting to feel nervous. Shuga learns how to make scarves appear in a tin (I couldn’t find a tutorial on this one, sorry). Shuga is excited that her trick is so easy, allowing her time to develop character and pizazz. Meanwhile, Silky falls asleep, much to the delight of the other queens. Brooke learns one of the “hardest tricks”, making a card levitate (again, here’s basically how it’s done.) Brooke initially is not happy with this trick. Nina is worried about Brooke going up against “Team Personality.”

Yvie, on the other hand, is concerned about her team’s lack of structure and script. She thinks they need some pre-written jokes. A’keria thinks it should be more of an improv situation, as does Silky. Yvie is tired of fighting but insists that they need more structure. Vanjie finally concedes and they put together a scripted introduction to their act.

It’s elimination day and Vanjie says she knows that someone is going to disappear (“Bippity, boppity, bye!”) Shuga said that their team practiced the night before and are all much more confident about their performance. A’keria is having a bad day and is worried about her team. Silky added that they had to change up their whole act because it was just too raunchy. In this week’s (obviously producer-prompted) getting ready conversation, Silky asks the queens what they would do if they could really perform magic. After Brooke gives the pageant-ready answer of achieving world peace, Vanjie alters the question – what would the queens change about the competition so far if they had magic powers? Shuga would have burned her troll outfit and Vanjie said she wouldn’t have packed “46 swimsuits.”

It’s challenge time. Ru hits the runway, looking gorgeous (do I have to say this every time?) Guest judge Gina Rodriguez is me (if I ever got to be a judge), visually gasping as Ru steps on stage. In addition to the “Ru-sual” suspects, Michelle and Ross, Gina is joined by 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford (slightly random, but she and Ru are now Netflix buddies, so I will allow it.)

Team Nina, a/k/a “The Mighty Tucks” (love it), hit the stage. There’s “Shuga Shablam A la Kazaam” and “Bubbly Brooke”, but “Naughty Nina” is nowhere to be found. Shuga suggests she might be at “football practice”, which got a laugh from the judges, before revealing her behind a door trick. These queens deliver a polished set, with witty dialogue, choreography and Nina. Kills. It. I have already taken to yelling out “MAGIC!” at random moments during my day. Shuga executes her trick well, but simply can’t compete with the personality exuding from Nina and Brooke. Brooke, by the way, turns a soap bubble into a crystal and becomes the victim of a box trick (and we get an “I’m very attacked!” reference.) I loved, loved, loved this act.

Now it's time for Da Black Magic. They open with a trick where A'keria disappears from a wraparound curtain and is replaced by Silky. Yvie Oddball, Silky Vanishing Vanjie and Azakazam (spelling?) introduce themselves and tell the audience that they travel from BBQ to BBQ, practicing their craft. Not where I would have gone with this, but, hey, I'm not a contestant here. 

Yvie does a bra reveal trick, but her delivery is kind of stiff and not Yvie-like. Silky executes her milk drink perfectly and as only Silky can – loud and energetic. While the tricks are being performed, you can hear the cross talk between the other queens which you can tell is improvised, but it's fun nonetheless – if not occasionally awkward. Vanjie does a trick with a paper bag with ketchup that changes to mustard and then disappears. It's okay but the accompanying story drags a little. A'keria also nails the balloon trick (but since we all know how it's done now, is it any surprise?) For their finale, the queens levitate Vanjie. Overall, both teams were good, but the Mighty Tucks were definitely more polished and put together. I'm sure Ru and the judges will agree.

It's time to bring it to the runway. This week's theme is “Caftan Realness.” Silky comes out in a sheer orange gown with three balls of hair on her head, giving us a “Mahogany fantasy”. Yvie is serving “100% enlightened monk realness” in a hole-enhanced yellow gown. Her head sparkles with glitter and a crown and she showcases her flexibility by putting her hands together as if in prayer behind her back. I love it. A'keria showcases a pantsuit with butterfly wings. It's not a caftan, girl, but she looks great. Vanjie is modeling something from the “Jackie Stallone collection”, serving “white lady on vacation” in a cheetah print gown and matching turban. Brooke Lynn is in a gorgeous, sheer purple gown, reminiscent of Studio 54 and Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City 2 – with a gold Wonder Woman-inspired bikini underneath. Gorge. Shuga is in a faux fur accented caftan, giving us “Anna Karenna-no she betta didn't”. She sheds the fur to reveal a “spring fruit fantasy” and then she gives us yet another reveal with a short sheer top over a striped swimsuit. Nina looks amazing too in her “Elizabeth Taylor 70s” caftan. The judges' comments included “Lady Bunny never looked so good.”  “Meet you at the Regal Beagle” and “Mrs. Groper.” Ru wonders if her references are too old. Not for me, they're not- and I appreciate her efforts to educate the children.

Welcome to “Caftanistan” and the judges' critiques. Silky gets props for her outfit, but Michelle isn't crazy about the lashes. As far as her magic performance, she received kudos for her connection with the audience and her personality, but Michelle said she looked messy, pointing out that you could see the outline of her hip pads. Yvie got complements for her chic runway look but was told her magic performance was flat and tense. Ross noted that she looked like she wasn't enjoying herself. Yvie asserted that her team should have planned things out better and felt the improv didn't work, claiming that she wrote the intro and ending for the act. The other girls begged to differ. A'keria got called out for her non-caftan. She said she Googled and discovered there's kaftans and caftans and some had pants. No one is buying this and Ross is unusually disturbed about the whole thing. Vanjie has Michelle's favorite caftan but her magic act fell flat. Michelle said she didn't get much from her performance and there has been no character development, adding she felt like she hit a wall. Vanjie (in tears) said she was listening to all of the advice she's received, but Michelle noted her “lack of elevation” in her performances.

Brooke was captivating, and all of the judges loved her “delicious” ensemble. Her team delivered realized characters, choreography and laughs. Shuga got complements for her first caftan from Michelle, who said her subsequent outfits were “progressively not as cute.” Her Mighty Tuck performance paled in comparison to Nina's and Brooke's and had difficulty landing her jokes.  Nina had a winning runway look and everyone loved her magic performance – especially how she was able to keep up with Brooke on the choreography. She was hysterical, energetic and commanded the stage. Her schtick was (allegedly) as funny as an SNL skit (which I'm wondering if this is really a complement anymore.)

Nina wins the competition and Vanjie once again is faced with a lip sync for her life against Shuga. They perform Mary J. Blige's “No More Drama.”  It's evident from the start that this is Vanjie's performance to lose and she does bring the drama.  Sadly, it’s time to say farewell to Shuga Cain, but I am sure she’s not heading back to the working world anytime soon.

Next week, it’s a makeover challenge where the remaining queens must work their magic on the eliminated girls. Is this going to shake things up and see the return of some of the ladies who have already sashayed away? Find out next week…and, until then, everybody say LOVE!

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