It’s episode five of RuPaul’s Drag Race and this week, the queens strut the runway in a dazzling array of fashions for the Bag Ball. As the episode opens, Kandy Muse and Tamisha Iman have words after Kandy points out that Symone is her strongest competition.
Tamisha vehemently disagrees, stating that every queen in the room is her competition. Kandy is earning her title of spiciest competitor of the season, with Rosé flat-out calling her “sriracha.”
In the mini-challenge, we get our first quick drag of the season as the queens have a mere 20 minutes to turn back time and introduce us to their inner children in the “Baby Got Back” challenge. Yes, it’s as weird as you would think it would be.
After LaLa Ri twerks her way to her first win, Ru announces that the queens are bringing the “Bag Ball” to the main stage. The dolls are tasked with creating three separate looks: Mixed Bag, a punny look based on bags, “Money Bag,” a “boss bitch” look that screams opulence and “Gag Us with Your Bag-us”, which is a “high fashion, show-stopping look created entirely with bags. Queens like Gottmik, who actually went to fashion school, Rose and Utica were excited to show off their sewing skills and others, like LaLa and Symone, were visibly unnerved that they had to create a look on their own.
36 fashions, some hits and some misses were presented to Ru, Michelle, Carson Kressley, and returning guest judge Nicole Byer (did someone read my tweets?) Gottmik again took top honors, with Rosé and Utica also getting kudos from the judges. In the bottom were Joey Jay (who wore wigs for 2 of her looks!) and LaLa Ri, whose homemade bag dress made her look like a bag lady. The pair lip-synced for their lives to “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX and LaLa proved to be a force of nature that Joey couldn’t match, and she was the one to sashay away.
This Week’s MVP: LaLa Ri
Her last bag ball look may have been epic (as in “epic fail” according to Ru), but LaLa Ri gave us the full “LaLa Experience” on this episode. She was truly the “most bouncing and misbehaving baby” in the mini challenge and her multicolored cheetah print “money bag” look got kudos from the judges. She is an Atlanta girl and is an unofficial drag daughter of Tamisha’s, who said that LaLa is an “Iman at heart.” LaLa helped inform some of her uneducated sisters (who didn’t watch Pose or Paris is Burning) about the ball scene by enthusiastically strutting the faux runway and getting 10s across the board from her fellow queens.
Despite the fact that there is a fashion challenge on every single season, LaLa cannot sew, and, fortunately for her, Utica comes to the rescue, helping her thread her first bobbin. Of course, it doesn’t matter, because LaLa takes to her bags with a glue gun (and we all know how this is going to turn out before she hits the runway.) On the runway, she sold all of her garments even if they weren’t the judges’ favorites. She donned a skeleton bone-covered black gown to become a literal “bag of bones” for her “voodoo realness” mixed bag look. Her cheetah print dress and bald head she wore for the “money bags” look made an impact and then…oof. The show stopping look she made with pastel-hued gift bags definitely failed to make the mark and she found herself in the bottom two, facing Joey Jay in the dreaded LSFYL. She tore up the stage (and her bag outfit) as she blazed through “Fancy”, proving she has what it takes to be a true lip sync assassin and keeping in the competition to slay another day.
LaLa’s personality and talent were enough to earn her MVP status this week, but she touched our hearts when talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, telling the queens she lives close to the Atlanta Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed. In an emotional confessional, she tearfully said, “It’s scary you can be killed just for the color of your skin.” Here’s hoping we get to see lots more from this peach. Let us pray.
The top three of this week could all really claim runner-up status his week, as Gottmik’s autopsy look, pinstriped and sparkly boss bitch jumpsuit and Joan Jett-esque punk rock ensemble were stunning and Utica again referenced the fabulous Carol Burnett and created a wondrous garment out of sleeping bags, but Rosé slayed in her three looks. Her bagpipe look was a revelation (and not only because we discover she’s actually Scottish) and her tribute to Bette Midler in Big Business made me smile so much. Her silver “fembot fatale” look gave us a chance to see her sewing skill and creativity – do not sleep on this queen, as she is one to keep an eye on.
Best line of the episode: Nicole Byer
I am not going to lie, if Ru would like to keep Nicole as a permanent judge, I would be incredibly happy. When Symone came out in her Diana Ross-inspired look, complete with enormous boobs that brought new meaning to the term “fun bags”, Nicole quipped, “I didn’t know old Michelle came in black.” Tee-hee-hee indeed.
Until next week, everybody, just remember that if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an “amen”?