This week, the queens all bring some sporty spice to the runway on RuPaul’s Drag Race, as they showcase 3 different looks as part of the “Ball Ball.”
It’s (finally) our first chance to see the queens take part in a sewing challenge and, much to my delight, the mini-challenge gives us our first quick drag competition. Ru instructs the queens to “take a swing, miss thing” and bring three looks to the runway: Lady Baller and Basketball Wives – which they can serve with their existing wardrobe and Balls to the Wall Eleganza, which they have to create from scratch.
There’s a lot of ferocity and fashion to cover, so let’s dive into the top moments from the episode.
Drag Race has used its platform to deliver relevant messages in the past, like the importance of voting (and it’s really important now, people) and, of course, acceptance and inclusion. Ru introduces this week’s mini-challenge, which is dedicated to Debbie Harry’s pet environmental cause, the preservation of the bee population. As I mentioned, this mini-challenge gives the dolls a mere 20 minutes to serve up their best bee looks, with lots of yellow and black fabric, wings and antennae, brought out by members of the Pit Crew clad in beekeeper togs. (Ru cracked that it was the most clothes he’s ever seen them in.) Commence quick drag!
Once the queens served up their bee-st bee looks, Ru told them to “get in formation” and they began doing the “Beehive Jive.” This brought back memories of the Maypole dance from Drag Race UK, as the queens buzzed around to “Flight of the Bumblebee” until the music changed to Ru’s song “Freaky Money” (available on iTunes), giving each bee a chance to show off her freaky moves. Widow gives us flips and splits as does Rock M, Jackie and Heidi twerk (Heidi also has “Bee-Lieve” written on her panties. Nice touch.) Nicky and Jaida gave us sexy Bee-yonce moves, and Aiden served “Bee Arthur” (or a bee version of Edith Piaf, according to Nicky.) But, thanks to her flips and fashion, Gigi was declared the winner. She and the bees (well actually The Honey Bee Conservancy) got $2500.
Heidi. Just Heidi.
There have been a few contestants in Drag Race her-story who have had to alter their stage names for the show, like Alaska (because “Alaska Thunderfuck” is not ready for prime-time TV) and Drag Race UK’s Crystal (who had to lose her last name of “Beth” because, drugs).
This season, due to (what we can only assume would be) copyright infringement, both Brita (Filter) and Jan (Sport) had to alter their names for the show. Those edicts were passed down by the producers, but one queen has had her name unofficially changed for the duration of her time on the show. Ru (and Michelle) have never liked the name Heidi N Closet, and this week, during the bee mini-challenge, Ru announced that “I will never say Heidi N Closet ever again. I’m just putting that out there.” True to her word, Mama Ru stuck to her guns and I guess she will be just plain Heidi for the rest of the season.
For those of you (like myself) who thought you were the biggest Drag Race superfan, you have got nothing on this week’s guest judge, Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones. She may have been late to the game, but if you follow her on Twitter (and if you’re not, you should go do that now), she hilariously live tweets every episode and, when Ru invited her to be a judge on the show back in 2018, her reaction was priceless.
We knew we were in for a treat as she strutted down the runway in a Diana Ross-inspired blue sequined jumpsuit. As Ru walks down the runway (looking stunning as always in purple sequins) Leslie is singing along and (presumably) live-tweeting from her phone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ru more entertained, and she and Leslie just laugh and laugh. And, on the judges’ panel, her excitement was absolutely infectious (see number 7 below.)
I loved this runway and I think more people would watch sports if the players were dressed like these queens. Jackie gave us a sparkly lacrosse look, inspired by Amanda Bynes in “She’s the Man”, Nicky had a black rhinestone bodysuit (which she didn’t get clocked by Michelle for) topped with jewel-encrusted football shoulder pads, serving “quarterback from the Lady gaga planet”, Aiden was adorable in a “League of Their Own” look, Rock M also came out in a bodysuit, and things got interesting when it was revealed that her hairpiece was a tetherball.
Jaida looked cute in a sequined basketball uniform (and zero basketball skill) and I loved Bita’s puffy baseball sleeves. Crystal reminded me of an extra in the bowling scene of Grease 2 and toned down her makeup) and Jan was he love child of Cruella DeVil and a soccer ball. Heidi gave us golf course realness. Widow gave us an elegant equestrian, complete with hobby horse and Gigi gave us a Heathers-inspired croquet player, decked out in red plaid.
Basketball Wife Realness
While the first looks were pretty on-point, the fashions were kind of all over the place here. Jackie wore sheer, net white bell bottoms with a matching halter top (giving me variety show era-Cher).
Nicky was glam in a red ostrich coat and a beret (but of course!) Aiden, in a leopard mini dress and huge hair, said she was channeling her inner Peg Bundy. Rock M also toned down her makeup and glittered in a golden dress. Jaida looked elegant in a lacy burgundy ensemble and matching fur jacket. She definitely gave me the most basketball wife of the bunch.
Brita wore a chartreuse dress she said was reminiscent of Kim Kardashian’s Thierry Mugler gown from the Met Gala if this is what’s she’s referring to, it’s a stretch.) Crystal pays homage to Paris Hilton (and pulls it off) and Jan is in a rhinestone tracksuit and custom “Janel” bag. Heidi looked cute in a white dress, but it wasn’t anything special. Widow also wore white but wore it better in a billowy peplum top and matching pants and Gigi looked fabulous in a snakeskin trench coat, which I totally covet.
Balls to the Wall Eleganza
Now, we get to see the results of the queens’ work. Jackie worked her 1960s aesthetic in a gorgeous turquoise gown with disco balls in her hair. Nicky serves Copacabana realness in a corset covered in colorful koosh balls and a fringed skirt. Aiden made a corset with black and white pom poms, going for that referee meets Bettie Page look. Rock M had an awkwardly constructed dress covered in a wide array of colored pom poms.
Jaida gives us a bubble bath fantasy, Brita attempts a pineapple, but the judges are seeing corn. Sorry, but Manila definitely did it better. Crystal gave us a vibrant Carmen Miranda look and Jan gives us “the DNA of the Blue Man Group.” Heidi is a “space alien with meticulously-placed balls.”
Widow described her look as “Wakanda forever and Christmas with Cindy Lou Who” and I couldn’t have described it better. Gigi again showed why she’s a force to be reckoned with in the construction area, as she dazzled in a short white dress decorated with colorful balls.
Best. Judges. Panel. Ever.
I said it earlier, but no one has ever been more excited to be on the judges’ panel as Leslie Jones. I think she injected a much-needed boost of energy to the judges and the jokes were flowing throughout the runway presentations.
For example, Heidi’s gold outfit brought us “Whore! I mean, fore!”, “She’s giving me a Tiger woody” and ‘She’s definitely a ho in one.” The best line came from Leslie, upon seeing Widow’s polo player, who sad , “She done already had horses.” Can we have Leslie on the panel every week?
Rock M vs Brita
This week’s winner – no surprise – is Gigi. The bottom two this week are Rock M and our misguided pineapple, Brita. The pair perform a lip sync to “S & M” by Rihanna. Leslie mouths to Rock M, “You got it”, but, from the first note, she’s kind of sunk. She makes an attempt to remove her cumbersome skirt and spends the first verse of the song struggling to tear it away from the top part of her dress while Brita gives it her all. Once Rock M fixes her dress situation, she leaps to the ground for a number of splits but it’s too late and we must say farewell to our anime queen.
I don’t know about you, but I had an absolute ball watching this episode (thanks, in no small part to Leslie Jones) and I can’t wait to see what’s next for these amazingly talented queens. Until next week, everybody say LOVE!