Let’s Kiki About RuPaul’s Drag Race! Episode 11 – Queens Everywhere

20 Min Read
RuPaul's Drag Race Queens Everywhere
Photo via VH1

It's the semi-finals…finally! If you even remotely pay attention to RuPaul's Drag Race on the internet, you probably already know who the top four are, so this episode kind of feels like filler. It's been a long season and I'm ready for the finale. I think the better way to experience this episode is to make it a drinking game and drink every time you hear Yvie‘s infectious laugh. Just a suggestion.

After the lip sync that launched a thousand “mehs”, everyone is bummed that Nina is gone and Silky is understandably shook, but still blames Brooke Lynn setting her up with Soju in the makeover challenge. A'keria points out that the two queens who were called out in front of the judges as the ones who should go home are still there. Yvie says she's proud of what she's done and what she represents in the top five.

Everyone who didn't lip sync is surprised that Silky and Nina weren't both sent packing. Brooke said she was “underwhelmed” with Silky's performance, especially after she kept talking smack about how she wanted to lip sync for her life, a sentiment echoed by A'keria. Silky says she was reminded that the “greatest gift from God” was forgiveness and said she'd like to get to know Yvie after the competition and the two made up. Aww. And as a parting shot before the credits, if you didn't think Silky's lip sync wasn't enough of a hot mess, she also broke the heels of her boots while she was performing. Yikes.

It's a new day in the work room and Michelle greets the queens to tell them about their last challenge. A'keria says she doesn't look as mean when she's not at the judges' table, and I agree. Michelle and I are the same age and I am jealous of how great she looks. You go, girl. But I digress. For the final maxi challenge, the queens have to record a rap verse for Ru's new dance track, “Queens Everywhere” and take on the “most ambitious choreography of the season.” With the exception of Brooke, this has not been the season for dancing queens, so I sense danger. At least we have Todrick Hall here to coach the ladies, not the sassy Yanis Marshall from the “Trump: The Rusical” challenge. The queens will also sit down with Ru and Michelle for an episode of their “What's the Tee?” podcast. Michelle helpfully points out that the show has provided padding to help the gals with their looks…and we all know exactly who this was directed at.

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The queens get to work on their lyrics for their verse in the song. A'keria says they were asked to write eight bars, but she has two pages (and no idea what eight bars is.) Yvie says that rap is “the art of telling your truth”, adding that “you have to be confident” about it. Vanjie says she pretty much raps every day her own hype man with some Dirty South flavor and wants to inject a little ballroom into her lyrics. She feels confident and is excited about the challenge. Silky admits she's never rapped before (much to Vanjie‘s surprise) but wants to pay tribute to the big girls with her lyrics. Brooke says her verse is a tribute to Canada because she wants to represent her country. Yvie jokingly asks if she's going to sing “O Canada” and points out that Brooke's so excited about the challenge that she's either got a strong game face or is completely delusional.  Silky is still on her “Brooke is shady” tour. Let it go, girl. Vanjie says she knows she has to “slay this challenge.”

Vanjie is the first to record her verse and meets with Todrick, who is rocking a hairdo that is making me crave a black and white cookie from the Publix bakery right now, and Ru's producer for the track, Markaholic (which I'm assuming is a stage name.) Vanjie's first attempt fails to impress Todrick, who points out that “‘spin' and ‘bitch' don't rhyme”, to which Vanjie snaps back with, “Nicki Minaj gets away with it, why can't I?” She then records some ad libs and seems to feel like she killed it, noting, “So far, so good, so hood.” Meanwhile, A'keria chats with Ru and Michelle on the “podcast”. I occasionally listen to “What's the Tee” and I would love to think that Ru records every episode in drag – and that's how I picture her when I listen. During the interview, it is revealed that A'keria is raising her brother's two-year-old child, due to some “legal issues”. This revelation makes me like her even more.

Yvie heads to record her verse and says that when she was in trouble as a kid, which happened a lot, she would write “angry little raps” about her chores. Todrick loves what she wrote but fears she's going to have a problem getting all of the words out and still be able to breathe. Todrick wants her to dip into her creepy side and add some mystery to her delivery and Yvie obliges. Todrick seems happy with the results. Silky heads over to chat with Ru and Michelle. She says she started drag in college, she went to an all-male school in Indiana and was asked to represent her school for some sort of drag show. Michelle asked about Silky's educational background, as, as we know, she's got a BA (in something) as well as an MA in organizational leadership, which she says has not helped her out when dealing with the other queens in the work room. She goes on to say that the other girls didn't like her because she's loud and talks too much and pointed out that just last week, some were surprised that she was still in the competition, but, since she's on her forgiveness kick, all is well. 

Brooke is now in the studio with Todrick and she's…umm…enthusiastic…? She's never rapped before but she's giving us the two fingers – even though she has no idea what that means – and has decided her rapper name is going to be “Feminem.” Okay, that’s clever.

Yvie joins Ru and Michelle for a chat. When Ru asked if she was surprised to still be in the running, Yvie said she's dealt with the negative voices in her head but, in the end, thinks that she knows she deserves to be there. When Ru brought up the other girls saying she should go home last week, Yvie said that based on judges’ critiques, it was a “fair point”, but said some girls were holding a grudge about something she said and that it “hindered any friendships.” Michelle offered her this sage advice, “Allow yourself to be a little more open to other people.” She added, “If you let them in, they’re going to love you for who you are.”

Silky works on her verse with Todrick. She tells him she wants to represent the big girls and then gets hilariously tongue-tied while spitting out her lyrics. She gives it another go and impresses Todrick with her “emotion and swag” but points out that she needs to annunciate her words. When she paid attention to the words, she was “more accurate and less fun” and Todrick told her to find a happy medium. 

It’s Brooke’s turn to chat with Ru and Michelle and Ru immediately asks about Branjie. Brooke says she has hooked up with her fellow queens before (“nothing serious”) but has never had a boyfriend. WHAT? Michelle gives him the slightest hint of a side eye at that response. Same, girl, same. Brooke said she felt confident coming into the competition, but since it’s not all about looks, admits she’s felt stupid and fallen on her face, but is learning to let the fear surrounding that go. He said that in the ballet and pageant worlds, there wasn’t room for “artistic interprement.” That’s cuter than “Feminem.” I love me some Brooke.

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A’keria is last in the studio and she has some dope lyrics, but as Todrick noted was serving them like she was “delivering an Easter speech at church.” Todrick offers her some good advice, but A’keria doesn’t look too confident. Vanjie is last to chat with Ru and Michelle. Before being “blessed” with a second chance at drag superstardom, she was working at a makeup counter in Tampa. She is from Florida by way of Puerto Rico and picked up her accent from her (gorgeous) mom. Ru (of course) also asked her about Branjie and she said she’s open to dating after the show (hoping Brooke said the same thing or “I’m gonna whoop her ass.”) Vanjie said she’s grown during her experience “well-roundedly…and all that jazz…” I am going to miss my weekly dose of Vanjie’s confessionals.

The queens all head to the stage to work on their choreography and Vanjie is wearing a hat that looks like it’s decorated with bits of the outfit that got her eliminated last season. The dance lessons start and there’s a lot of tentative moves and missteps. A’keria is definitely not in her element, asserting that she is not a dancer. Todrick works with the queens one-on-one and, while Vanjie looks like she’s picked up the moves, her eyes are downcast. Todrick tells her to look out at the crowd like Beyoncé would. Brooke moves beautifully but is definitely bringing more ballet than hip hop. As she put it, she was giving “Julia Stiles in Save the Last Dance” and promises Todrick that she will “put some stank on it.”  Yvie and Silky are next, and you can see how they fared in this clip:

A’keria is up last and you can tell she’s having a really hard time. Todrick says she needs to get out of her hear and work harder than the other girls, telling her, “Even if it’s wrong, just try to hit something.” That’s my life motto. Todrick then lays another surprise on the queens. They are going to do this lip syncing, dancing extravaganza in a one-take video (a la “Kitty Girl” from AS3.) The queens all look terrified and I am scared for them.

The queens come into the work room on elimination day and are greeted with cocktails from famed bar Micky’s in WEHO. Yvie says the drink “tastes like West Hollywood” and now I have to know what that tastes like. Silky says she’s loud and overbearing at tines but thanks the queens for accepting her for who she is. Yvie also thanks the queens for accepting her “gritty and nitty” (whatever that is). The queens recall their most memorable moments of the season. A’keria’s was the L.A.D.P. challenge, Silky’s was playing Oprah in “Trump: The Rusical” and Yvie’s was the farm to runway challenge. Of course, they all won these challenges, which sent Vanjie off on a “tortoise and hare” rant, ending with “don’t sleep on the turtles! Sometimes the turtles win the race.” And, of course, we talk Branjie, which goes a little something like this…

It’s time for the last runway of the season. Ru is serving us Glenda the Good Witch realness. Violet is definitely her color and I live for this wig. This week is “just family” on the judges’ panel – with the return of Carson Kressley. Ru debuts the “Queens Everywhere” video and…it’s good. A’keria surprisingly kills it, as does Silky (despite giving us all a look at what’s going on under her skirt.) Yvie is definitely MVP, doing a really impressive backbend walk. Brooke and Vanjie, while doing well with the moves, just are kind of flat. It was no “Kitty Girl”, but it was entertaining, Check it out for yourself:

On the runway, category is “Best Drag.” Brooke Lynn goes full ballerina, on pointe, in a bedazzled white tutu. Silky looks the best he has all season in a nude illusion beaded gown and a wig she could have mopped from A’keria. She finally is wearing a corset, and it makes such a difference. Vanjie is serving “Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, Latina style” in a full-length green brocade gown. It’s a lovely gown, but is it really “best drag”? Yvie comes out in a ruby gown and, keeping with her brand, has three eyes, three boobs, three fingers on each hand and three cheeks. I kind of love this look. A’keria wins in my book with a stunning beaded gown, complete with a bugle beaded fringed skirt. Gorge.

The judges love A’keria’s runway look. As for the video, Todrick said he was worried before he saw it, but said she was in it. Michelle also complemented her performance. Carson said he loved how she experienced growth from challenge to challenge. Todrick loved Brooke Lynn’s look, saying it reminded him of Sahara Davenport. Carson also liked it but wasn’t sure it was the best representation of her. Michelle said that although she had the moves down pat, something was missing from her performance in the video. Ross missed the “passion” and Carson wanted more “sass.” Silky said it took three people to get her into her gown. Todrick said he loved working with her and thought she did a great job. Ross said her performance was filled with “passion and fun.” Michelle said she needs to think about being as pulled together as she can be. Carson told Vanjie he appreciated seeing her other, glamorous side but Ross said he was bummed that she didn’t kill it in the video. Michelle also called her out for “barely” lip syncing. Ru told Yvie she never looked more beautiful. Carson loved the combination of beauty and camp and said it was his favorite look of the night. Michelle said her performance was remarkable and Todrick said her lyrics were so strong that they created choreography specifically for them.  

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Ru told the queens she was proud of each of them and then, as it’s a tradition on the second-to-last episode of Drag Race, they had to offer words of advice to their younger selves. A’keria told her 10-year-old self to be true to himself and love who he was, even though it wasn’t always going to be easy. Brooke told her two-year-old self that he is perfect and wonderful just the way he is…and to stop dyeing his hair so much and over-tweezing his eyebrows. Silky told his six-year-old self to let the world see his truth and live the life he wanted to live. Vanjie told his six-year-old self that while he might feel misunderstood, it gets better. Yvie told his four-year-old self to not to build walls and keep being himself.

After more discussion among the judges, Ru tells Yvie that she is the winner of the challenge. Also in the top four are A’keria and Silky. This, of course, will break up Branjie. Brooke and Vanjie are lip syncing for their lives to Aretha Franklin’s “Pride: A Deeper Love.” It didn’t reach the levels of Brooke and Yvie’s epic lip sync (but what could?) but it was pretty great. Brooke did it all en pointe, which ever fails to impress me and she was delivering a passionate performance. Vanjie was also good, but it seemed like she wasn’t all there. Ru agreed, sending Vanjie off to All-Stars 4 (you know this is happening), but not before Vanjie leaves the runway more memorably than she did last time. Next week, THE FINALE! See you then!

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