Let’s do a wellness check: how is everyone? It’s been one week since we all watched Mirage lose the lip sync to Geneva, successfully ending a promising journey on Drag Race as she wept before taking her leave. It’s hard to watch a Queen who garnered quick adoration leave the competition so early on, but it’s much harder to watch fans act like degenerates on the internet towards another competitor for simply being part of the lip sync against someone they were rooting for. The internet is already full of insanity, so to watch LGTBQIA+-identifying audience members harass and pester the absolute hell out of Geneva Karr because she won the lip sync disgusted me. It’s horrifying to watch non-white Queens suffer abuse from a group of fans whose very accounts are used to preach solidarity with individuals in their own community before layering hate onto Queens on the show. It happens every year, without fail, to drag queens who are on the biggest drag competition show in the world living out their dreams, while people on the internet try to ruin it for them. Our Queens deserve better.
When the competitors get back to the couches in the Werkroom – the ones that are just on the other side of the room, you know the ones — they all get over the elimination and it’s time for another time-honored Drag Race tradition: the Queen who believes that safe isn’t good enough for the performance she’s been giving so far. I think I’ve known for weeks who this Queen was going to be, but it has now become obvious to the entire group who it is, none other than Q. The spirits of both Jan and Loosey LaDuca have been reincarnated this season in Q, who hilariously complains about being safe yet again moments after everyone has seen Mirage’s lipstick message and celebrated Plasma’s win. I could not think of a better time for Morphine to ask Q about what’s clearly bothering her, only for every Queen present to look apathetic with Plane Jane cutting in to announce that, at the least, she will not be the one seen buying into the Drag Delusion this season.
After a quick mini-challenge won by Sapphira, Ru reveals to the group that they will be splitting into three girl groups to provide verses to different songs off of Ru’s newest album, Black Butta, the editors including a quick snippet of the titular lyric as a preview of what’s to come. The captains of the groups are Sapphira, last week’s winner, Plasma, and last week’s lip sync winner, Geneva. The groups are as follows: Sapphira, Dawn, Morphine, Q performing “Star Baby”; Plasma, Amanda Tori Meating, Xunami, and Plane are doing “Courage to Love”; Geneva, Mhi’ya, Nymphia Wind, and Megami will be whispering to “A.S.M.R. Lover.”
Amanda is proud to tell her team that is a lyricist, which she immediately backs up with a catchy batch of off-the-dome lyrics to the tune of their given song. By the way, you might have noticed that Plasma chose Plane to be on the same team as Amanda, which I am convinced was the result of a producer right off camera with a cue card saying, “PICK PJ!” but maybe there’s another explanation. When the editors decide to give us a moment’s reprieve from Amanda and Plane’s drama, we hear a little of Megami’s feelings on being the last to be picked. It really isn’t surprising that she feels terrible about being the odd woman out, and it’s genuinely moving to hear her vulnerability about how isolating it feels to be picked last, a thread easily traceable to feeling left out of social functions. Nymphia does some yak impressions and alludes to her love of bananas, an obsession with potassium that’s beginning to wear on her fellow competitors.
The Queens rehearse in their girl groups to nail down choreography, which Amanda makes known is another talent of hers. Nymphia starts handling her group’s choreo to the surprise of the other groups, Sapphira labeling her as a girl that “hides her talents,” which the other Queens repeat and latch onto immediately. It feels like the other competitors truly think of Nymphia as a machiavellian mastermind that belongs on The Traitors instead of Drag Race, which is in a category of comedy all its own. I’m not discounting Nymphia’s intelligence, it mostly just speaks to the paranoia that reality show competitions instill in the players. As a viewer, it’s difficult to imagine her rubbing her hands together in her sequestered hotel room as she plots the next days happenings that she’s carefully put into place, cackling as she looks out into the night from her window, but that’s apparently what this series has made the other Queens believe.
While the Queens get ready the next day, Q waltzes over to Plane to clear the air about her comments after last week’s elimination. She’s being reasonable in addressing her concerns and Plane makes yet another rude comment about Amanda, causing Ms. Meating to immediately fire back at Plane. Sapphira, in natural mother mode, attempts to understand Plane and becomes inquisitive towards the perception of Plane in her hometown of Boston. Watching Sapphira deal with this is genuine but also funny, Plane admitting that her delivery and lack of compassion towards others’ feelings in the moment might be worth looking into. I could watch hours of Sapphira walking to each Queen and calmly attempting to put them together into the best version of themselves they can be, like every contestant is Lady Bird and Sapphira is the calmer version of Laurie Metcalf. The only thing better than this is her series of talking heads so far in the competition, which have proven to be a highlight.
The girl groups take the stage, with several standout lyrics like Plane Jane’s “don’t break my heart, just break my back!” delivered with a candor indicative of the truth behind the lyrics. The girl group challenge used to be at the end of the line for the Queens, looking back to “Read U Wrote U” when season 2 of All Stars gave audiences the greatest girl group verses we could have perceived at the time (and Roxxxy Andrews had one in the song as well). There is no definitive outlier of the Queens, though Q is clearly struggling with the choreography and doesn’t look comfortable with the performance. This is one of the many reasons it’s important to watch out for the Drag Delusion that seeps into the Queens when they’re convinced they’ve elevated the competition enough to be considered more than safe each week. You never know when a challenge is going to come up and humble you.
Ts Madison and Icona Pop join the judges panel this week. The theme of the runway is “Faster, Pussycat! Wig, Wig!”
A quick rundown of the runway:
- The glamorous cat scratches plus the wig Morphine is wearing both complement her face
- Another incredible look from Q, which she reveals later is another one of her hand sewn creations
- Sapphira manages to keep elevating herself every week
- While Dawn looks great, I’m glad Michelle challenged her to diverge from the elf ears
- I thought Plasma was Pit from Super Smash Bros
- I can see the vision Amanda was going for, but it really didn’t work for me
- The swagger that Xunami exuded walking down the runway was a feeling I wish we could bottle and sell en masse
- Plane Jane is my favorite look of the week!
- Geneva doesn’t really offer her personality in her runways, which could be the reason there’s such a disconnect
- Not sure what was going on with Mhi’ya’s makeup but the concealer under her eyes was too light
- Megami reminds me of Adore Delano in the specific way she goes against norms to create her own version of things, which can work sometimes and fall flat other times
- Another week, another runway from Nymphia that shows how comfortable she is with annihilating the competition with fashion
After Team Geneva takes the win, it’s time for everyone’s favorite question from Ru: “Who should go home tonight, and why?” The majority of the Queens choose Amanda, unsurprisingly, with Dawn going against the grain to label Q as her biggest competition. Once the Queens start picking one of the others, that Queen is going to get dogpiled so no one has to ruffle any feathers by picking someone else. The bottom two are chosen, giving us the first great lip sync of the season as Q goes up against Amanda Tori Meating to Icona Pop’s “Emergency.” I must say, I laughed heartily seeing Amanda stand ready to perform in her bird nest outfit. The two battle it out, with Amanda showing off her dancing talents with an energetic performance while Q opts towards a more comedic performance, but both are great. In the end, Amanda Tori Meating is sent home, leaving Q for another week to wonder why she wasn’t in the top.