Let’s Kiki About RuPaul’s Drag Race! Episode 11 – ‘Bring Back My Queens!’
Last week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, we had to bid a bittersweet farewell to Shuga Cain. As Vanjie erased her mirror message, she noted that she’s had to lip sync the past two weeks and vows to stay out of the bottom two.
After turning in some less-than-stellar looks in the facekini challenge (where the judges said she looked like a roach) and her sloppy look during last week’s magic performance (where her pads were visible), Silky said she was embarrassed and her pride was bruised.
Despite this, she said she’s not going to give up. Nina feels great after (deservedly) winning the magic challenge but said she has no intentions to rest on her laurels. With the top four looming, Nina is aware that it’s anyone’s game. She’s right.
The next day, Ru, in a jaunty cowboy hat, introduced this week’s filler…I mean, mini challenge. It’s time to bring back a tried and true Drag Race tradition, the “Slap Out of It” (said in a Cher voice) challenge. And, since Ru actually made contact with Asia O’Hara last season, the queen-testants will be taking their aggressions out on each other.
All I have to say about this challenge is that the insults were far better than anything we heard during the reading challenge earlier this season. Here are some highlights:
A’keria to Nina: “Get the hell out of Brooke’s ass, that’s Vanjie’s position now.”
Vanjie to Yvie: “You’re always playing an ugly Naomi Smalls.”
Brooke to Silky (after a hug): “Ooh, you feel just like a waterbed!”
Brooke to Yvie: “I love your head. It reminds me of my testicles after two hours in the bath.”
Yvie to Brooke: “I don’t know a whole lot about Canada or the people in it, but, judging by your Snatch Game, neither do you.”
Ru declares Miss Brooke Lynn the winner and, in addition to nails, lashes and a wig, she gets to take charge of the maxi challenge. For this, Ru says she’s arranged a “playdate” for the girls with some of her favorite queens. Of course, this is the time in the show where the eliminated queens return. Well, some of them: Shuga, Plastique Tiara, Soju, Ariel Versace, Scarlet Envy and Honey Davenport (with a beard…making me feel some sorta way…oh hell, he’s a hottie.) Silky says she feels “bamboozled” about the return of the queens. Vanjie yells that she doesn’t like games (like Uno or Monopoly) and worries that their return might not bode well for her, as she fears one of them might replace her.
The challenge for this week is for the remaining queens to make one of the eliminated queens over to make her look like part of their drag family. Ru then tells the top six that the returning girls are only here for the makeover – they aren’t returning to the competition, which puts everyone at ease. The makeover-ees (is that a word) also wear comically huge pink foam mittens to ensure that they can’t beat their own mugs. Since Brooke won, she gets to make the teams and, to her credit, she does it pretty diplomatically. She chooses Plastique and matches Nina with Shuga, Yvie with Scarlet, A’keria with Honey, Silky and Soju (actually, this was a little shady) and Vanjie and Ariel.
The queens all get to work and after asking how Vanjie is holding up, Ariel asks about the wigs she (mostly) mistakenly left behind. (See the Untucked episode after her elimination if you’d like to know more about “Wig-gate.”) Ariel said she left one wig for Silky, but the rest were supposed to go home with her. Whoops. Vanjie hopes that Ariel can keep her eye on the prize and focus on the challenge, not on her mopped wigs.
As thee queens work on their “family looks”, Yvie tells Scarlet that she’s got a strong concept for theirs – they are from the same “denim tribe.” She’s hoping Scarlet can tap into her “odd side” and Scarlet says she likes to get weird. I can totally see this. Yvie puts Scarlet into a (truly) distressed denim ensemble and headpiece and Scarlet once again struts around the work room like she did when she was runway testing her “Creature from the Black Lagoon” look. Vanjie knows the stakes are high and wants to make Ariel “the pretty one,” tailoring one of her gowns for a custom fit. Silky is upset that Soju launches right into “cyst chat” while the pair try to come up with a look. Soju also apparently has tendonitis and can’t wear high heels. She tries on a pair of heels and stomps across the work room floor. Oof. I am starting to feel a little sorry for Silky at this point.
Ru comes to check in with the queens. A’keria (from Texas) says that Honey (from New York) have different aesthetics – pageant queen versus fashion queen, but knows she can work her “A’keria magic” for the win. Brooke says she picked Plastique because her walk is very important to her and the two are about the same height and build. I feel this was Brooke’s subtle way of saying “because we are the prettiest.” When Ru called Brooke out on pairing Silky and Soju, she denied being shady but then said that she felt Silky would have a struggle with any of the girls. Me-ow.
Ru then visits Silky and Soju, who are going for a “disco queen” look. Ru brings up the judges’ complaints of her magic outfit from last week and wants to know how she will avoid a repeat performance. Silky says she’s still got to figure that out. Silky is obviously frazzled, but she is out for redemption. Ru asks Nina how she’s going to keep up the momentum from her win and Nina says she’s just going to “bring me.” (Fun fact: there are 17 children in the House of West.) In keeping with her commitment to activism, Nina is wearing a rainbow hued outfit and has Shuga wearing an outfit inspired by the trans flag. I really wish I could borrow these looks for my sister and I when we go to New Orleans Pride next month. Call me, Nina.
As the queens continue to prep for the runway, Soju asks Silky if she really paints on her brows with a Sharpie – and then looks shocked when she finds out she’s going to have Sharpie brows as well (much to the amusement of the other queens.) A slightly indignant Silky says it’s “an honor” to have your makeup done by her. Scarlet said she was surprised Silky was still in the competition and felt she might be over her head. She added that she was also “kinda” surprised that Vanjie was still around after some of the scathing judges’ critiques. A’keria hears this and vows to say something. Drama!
The next day, the makeovers commence. A’keria makes good on her promises to “clear the air” and first brings up “Wig-gate.” A’keria called out Plastique, who said she and Ariel were “best friends” and Ariel left her some wigs. Ariel insisted she left the wigs behind by accident, and accused Ra’jah about waking off with her favorite one. Filler much, Drag Race? I don’t know about you, but I am not down for this manufactured drama. A’keria then asks Scarlet to confirm what she said he day before about Silky. Scarlet confirms she said it and says the judges hold her to a “different standard.” Vanjie came for Scarlet as well, saying she should have gone home after the first dance, as she can’t move. Yvie chimes in as the voice of reason, asserting that Silky has had a lot of help from the other queens. Is this episode long, or is it just me?
Bring it to the runway! Yes, Ru looks amazing. And, in addition to Ross and Michelle, Lena Waithe and the hilarious Wanda Sykes (who, to be honest, is kind of wasted here) are the guest judges. The teams hit the stage for the “Drag Family Values” presentation. Here we go…
Yvie and Scarlet are actually working well together. I had a suspicion Scarlet could match Yvie’s oddness. Yvie says Scarlet’s look is the first one she created and that she’s wearing a redux of that look. As someone who lives in denim, I kind of love their aesthetic – complete with denim nails.
Nina and Shuga are, according to the judges, giving us “Insane Drag Posse” (Michelle) “Skittles and Chiclets” (Wanda) and “these outfits fit them to an LGBT” (Ru). Nina is in a blonde wig, Shuga in shocking pink and I fear their look might be a little too costume-y for this runway.
A’keria and Honey (who shaved that beard…pity) are serving citrus realness in yellow and orange gowns with Texas-sized blonde wigs. Obscure late 70s/early 80s reference of the week: “The Landers sisters are still going strong.” God, I love you, RuPaul.
Silky and Soju are giving us “Studio 69” (h/t Lena). Ru says their outfits remind her of when Nell Carter was on the Cher show (never happened, I Googled, but that would have been epic.) Soju managed to walk in heels, but Michelle clocked Silky for her “messy” pads.
Vanjie and Ariel gave us a modern take on Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (as Ru pointed out “two little girls from glitter rock”…I need to have a movie night with Ru sometime.) Vanjie’s pantsuit and Ariel’s gown – both in red – are lovely.
Last but not least, Brooke Lynn and Plastique are just stunning. Velvets, sequins, old Hollywood hair…everything.
It’s time for the judges to weigh in Lena loved Yvie and Scarlet’s denim look, but Ross struggled with the construction of the garments, saying they looked a little “crafty.” Wanda said it looked like Scarlet was wearing the scraps of Yvie’s scraps. Lena and Wanda loved the message of Nina and Shuga’s look, but Michelle said Shuga was “lost.” Ross said the outfits were more costumes for a Pride parade and not outfits for the runway. The judges loved A’keria and Honey’s “simple but effective” pageant drag, Lena loved the 70s element of Silky and Soju’s look, but thought it read a little too Halloween (which Wanda agreed with.) Michelle said Soju’s makeup looked like it was applied with a Dremel and pointed out Silky’s padding problems. Ross said she felt a little lost to him. Michelle told Vanjie that she made her “so proud” and loved the family resemblance. Lena called them stunning and Ross said the looks were so well-executed. Michelle told Silky that Brooke knew what to do with an Asian sister and Ross loved the Brooke and Plastique storyline. Lena said the pair took her breath away.
After the critiques, Ru asked the queens who they felt should go home. Yvie said Silky has gotten the same critiques a few times and hasn’t really taken the advice to heart. Scarlet agreed. Nina said that based on the current critiques, Yvie should go home. Shuga thinks it’s Silky’s time to sashay away. A’keria says that based on “overall growth”, Yvie should be sent packing while Honey says that Silky’s outfit was the “least polished on the runway.” Silky, not surprisingly, picked Yvie and Soju followed her lead. Vanjie said Yvie and Ariel said Silky. Brooke didn’t think Silky’s look was finished and Plastique said she felt Silky fell short on the runway.
As the eliminated queens watch from backstage, Ru tells A’keria she did the Davenport family proud and welcomes Vanjie back to the competition – they’re both safe. Brooke Lynn once again emerges triumphant. Nina and Silky end up in the bottom two and must lip sync for their lives (the first time for both of them). The song is “No Scrubs” by TLC and at first, it’s pretty even, but once Silky has an (underwhelming) wig reveal and works the whole stage, things aren’t looking good for Nina. Ru seemed less than impressed with the whole thing. She summed the performance up with a resounding “Meh.” I tend to agree and, for a moment, I thought there might be a double elimination, but Silky squeaked by, promising to step it up next week. But, even though my fellow drama kid sashays away, you can rest assured she’s taking home the Miss Congeniality title this season.
Next week, we find out our final four and there’s another choreography challenge (and the return of Todrick Hall!) I’m thinking we are going to see Brooke Lynn, Yvie, A’keria and Silky in the finale (sorry,. Vanjie.) What do you think?