Up until the very last moment of last night’s RuPaul’s Drag Race episode, I refused to believe anyone was going home this week, let alone two queens. I’ve been fooled too many times before by chocolate bars, lip sync battle royales and Ru’s whims throughout this seemingly never-ending season. But, indeed, this was our Red Wedding, and two queens were finally sent packing.
Before we get to that, there’s a roast to be had, and this year’s target/honoree is Ross Mathews. We’ve got a funny bunch of queens this season, so this should be great, right?
Not quite. Like Snatch Game, this week’s Drag Race proves once again that maybe it’s time to retire or retool some of the show’s signature challenges. Fourteen seasons in, they’re no longer season high-points. Instead, increasingly savvy queens seem to spiral by over-strategizing or trying to perfect the formula for a good performance.
In some ways, Twitter (and probably to a lesser extent recaps like this) is partially to blame. What makes a good Snatch Game or Roast? Prepared jokes! No, loose improv! Be yourself! No, be a character! Be mean! Not that mean! Like art generated by A.I., these queens take in all these inputs and what comes out … isn’t quite right.
Our more comedic queens — Willow, Camden, Bosco — are fine, but still not gut-busting by any stretch. Like DeJa’s winning Snatch Game, they’re clearly the top performers of the week, but no one landed a joke that will be remembered after this season. Bosco’s best line, “Ross isn’t a top, he’s a blouse,” is a solid joke, but one I’ve heard before. (My favorite being from queer comedian Oscar Aydin.) Still, Bosco’s energy at the top of the show started things off on the right foot an earned her the win.
Willow and Camden brought their personalities to their roast (odd and cheeky, respectively), but the biggest laughs were no more than hearty chuckles. It’s a shame Camden didn’t heed Michelle’s and guest judge Dulce Sloan’s advice about a joke that involved Ross’ cavernous bussy. (Can I say bussy in print?) It’s a bold move to ignore the judges’ input when you get it, and it’s likely what cost Camden this week, despite a stunning “Tu-Tu Much” runway.
Worse yet, DeJa also shook off suggestions for her set to her own detriment. DeJa’s penchant for dad jokes was her undoing, and the weak material immediately fell apart on stage. Daya too struggled to find her stride, offering overly-long intros to punchlines that fizzled.
Jorgeous came into rehearsal defeated, and that’s how she stayed through the performance. To her credit, she tried to keep the standard roast cadence, but she was clearly uncomfortable. The judges could tell she was not having fun the whole time. Nothing worked. Everyone, including Jorgeous, couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Maybe it all would’ve been better with a two-drink minimum?
With the material and drama barely at a simmer, the episode doesn’t deliver any real excitement until the very end. After giving Bosco a much-needed win, Ru sent Willow and Camden to saftey. Angeria also made the cut, despite her comedy being poorly-written, but well-delivered. (Her flawless lime tu-tu gown also helped.)
That left Jorgeous, DeJa and Daya in the bottom. Ru wasted no time telling us there would be only one told to shantay. Ok, but then the other two lip sync against each other? No? They check if they have a golden Skittle? No. They’re both sent to the Pork Chop Loading Dock? Not this time.
Yes, Ru actually follwed through and finally thinned the herd a bit. The three queens bopped around to Olivia Rodrigo’s break-up banger, the grammar defying “good 4 u.” Three-way lip syncs are not typically my favorites. Having that many bodies on stage limits what each queen can do. If I’m being honest, Jorgeous was where my eye was drawn the most, though the song fit Betty best. (DeJa clearly was the most out of her element with this one, and it’s pretty obvious she’s one of the queens sashaying away.)
But which other queen got the chop? After weeks of disappointing performances, even Ru’s love of Jorgeous wasn’t enough to keep the promising young queen around.
Although it felt like we were never going to get there, we’ve finally got our final five, but who makes it to the top four? Check out our rankings below, and leave yours in the comments.
Yes, Willow is still my pick to win it all, but this was another week where I went in really excited to see what she was going to do, and what she did was … fine. It was fine. Her roast wasn’t nearly as consistent as Bosco’s, though I do think her jokes were more interesting and had some higher highs. Extreme plastic surgery runways always tickle these judges (game recognizing game?), and Willow was no exception this week. She’s playing a very smart game.
Maybe I’ve been hard on Camden (as one commenter was quick to point out recently). The roast wasn’t nearly as exciting as her turns in The Daytona Wind and Moulin Ru, but it was constructed and delivered with the poise and professionalism we’ve come to expect. I’ve been most skeptical about her runways, but this week she nailed the assignment. Of course, this should be her category, considering her ballet background. Michelle rightly pointed out what a difference the big, glam hair made for the overall presentation (versus, let’s a say a more traditional, ballet chignon bun). If she can keep bringing the same polish to the runway she gives her performances, she’s in good shape.
Don’t call it a comeback, but maybe we call it the Bosco Bounceback? Things got downright scary for the Seattle queen the last few weeks, but here she came barreling back. She finally gave us something different on the runway, and it was killer. It was like a ballerina from the Netflix Fear Street series, and I lived. I’m sure all the horror gays were gagged. (And you know they’re into getting gagged.) Plus, having Bosco make it to the finals helps justify the otherwise brain-numbing chocolate bar gimmick.
The top three feel like a lock, but the fourth spot could easily go to Angeria or a determined Daya. My money’s on Angie for her consistently beautiful runway presentations and infectious personality. Next week is a music video challenge, and we know choreo isn’t Angeria’s strong suit. If she can carry her segment on her charming presence, she should slip into the top four.
You gotta hand it to Betty, she’s nothing if not driven. Ever since securing her return to the competition following an early elimination, she’s been ruthless. Her singular focus easily placed her as this season’s villain, but, especially over the course of the last few weeks, she’s proven herself distinct from Crystal Methyd. I’m impressed with her ability to make any role stand out, and she clearly saved some of her best runways for the end.
We had to say goodbye to Jorgeous at some point, and I think even she knew this was the week. Undoubtedly, her time on the show already has boosted the Jorgeous brand, and Ru’s near-constant fawning will absolutely translate to more gigs and exposure. There’s no doubt she’ll turn up on an All Stars season sooner rather than later.
For a queen who fancies herself a comedian and seamstress, DeJa did not have a great showing this week. It’s wild to me she didn’t know those jokes weren’t going to work, especially when they didn’t work for the other queens in the werk room, nor for Michelle and Dulce in rehearsals. The runway dress looked like a leftover from the season 13 cast promo photos. If Ru was looking to clean house this week, DeJa almost made the choice too easy.
What did you think of the episode?