Wed. May 27th, 2020

TV Rucap: RuPaul’s Drag Race S12 E4 – Balls to the Wall

After Dahlia’s steely exit last week, the girls return to the Werk Room to decompress after Nicky Doll survives her lip sync. Brita and Jan are disappointed that they were not among the top three queens of the previous week; Aiden feels vindicated that everyone in her group was either safe or won the challenge after Sherry Pie and Brita ganged up on her, blaming her for not leading them at all. Crystal thinks that she served light makeup on the runway, and was shocked to be dressed down by Michelle Visage. The first challenge is over and done with: many of the girls are feeling like they have a lot of work cut out for them, others are happy with their progress, but shit just got real, and all of the girls are starting to feel the pressure of needing to well in the competition.  

The girls’ first (mini) challenge for the week is to “raise awareness for the world’s declining bee population” by getting into quick drag, and dressed like bees, shake their asses a bit. It’s one of those dance mini challenges that is just kind of filler: it’s not the Puppet or Reading challenge, so it’s one of those mini challenges that gets two minutes of screen time, and the winner’s name feels like it has been pulled from a hat. Gigi Goode ends up winning, and she is awarded with a $2,500 prize. 

Now, it’s time for the good stuff: piquing their interest by asking them what sports and drag have in common, and answers his own question by telling the girls that they both have competition, colourful outfits, and balls. Why y’all gagging so? She bring it to you every BALL! This week’s Maxi Challenge is a Fashion Ball, and they will be walking in three categories: Baller Girl, Basketball Wife Realness, and Balls to the Wall Eleganza! Balls to the Wall Eleganza is a a design challenge, where the girls must prove that they have more than just the taste to pull a garment from a rack, and that they have the eye, vision and skills to produce a look that is going to make us all eat it.

Some of the girls are very experienced when it comes to making their own garments from scratch: Gigi Goode is the child of a costume designer, and Nicky Doll (a self-proclaimed Fashion queen) is excited to redeem herself after her trip to the Bottom Two in the previous week. Others like Heidi N. Closet have constructed maybe one garment ahead of this competition: how is it possible that queens even still audition for this show without knowing how to sew, knowing how many design challenges there will be? Jan grew up playing soccer her entire life, so of course, it’s a welcome playing field. All the gurls better manage their time, get ready to serve some lewks, and bring it to the runway!


Jackie Cox: A literal red jersey and shorts (but glittery), but it’s elevated with Maple leaves and a player name that reads “BEAVER 1.” The Canadian references are so cute! 

Nicky Doll: Serving Lady Gaga at the Superbowl Halftime show, with rhinestoned shoulder pads and thigh high boots.

Aiden Zhane: Ooh! She is serving up A League of their Own! The wig and the glove are great, but the dress is a little simple. 

Rock M. Sakura: What a slay! This look is so much fun: her wig has literally become a tether ball! LIVING!

Jaida Essence Hall: Probably bound to be the most literal take on this theme: she’s wearing basketball shorts and a jersey, but that it’s so literal means that it’s a take that has to be nailed. And she really does: it would be easy to be overwhelmed by such a masculine silhouette and styling, but she emerges looking cute and feminine. Extremely well done!

Brita: Love the baseball sleeves. The rest? Not so much.

Crystal Methyd: She stopped serving Crystal Methyd and started serving Jackie Cox! It’s a good look: maybe consider sticking to that?

Jan: A young Cruela De Vil as a deconstructed soccer ball? Yes please!

Heidi N. Closet: Golf look. Love her in a visor! IDK about the argyle and a mismatched plaid though? Overall, pretty good, though!

Sherry Pie: The hip pad accents and belt are nice, but the rest of the look feels unfinished, a little cheap, and the font on the dress is ugly. The purse is cool!

Widow Von’Du: This Equestrian look is kind of fun! But it also just looks super cheap, and the toy horse head on a stick is too juvenile.

Gigi Goode: Heather has arrived! Every detail is perfection: the hoop earrings, the straps on the shoes, the tease of the wig, the cut of the garment at the end of her torso? Sublime! But also super fun!


  • 1.     Gigi Goode
  • 2.     Rock M. Sakura
  • 3.     Nicky Doll
  • 4.     Jaida Essence Hall
  • 5.     Jan
  • 6.     Jackie Cox
  • 7.     Heidi N. Closet
  • 8.     Crystal Methyd
  • 9.     Aiden Zhane
  • 10.   Sherry Pie
  • 11.   Widow Von’Du
  • 12.   Brita

Very good runway! Probably the best of the three categories overall. 


Jackie Cox: SO GOOD! Come on net sleeves! Come on net pant legs! It looks very Kardashian but also vintage: very on brand for her. The knot at her cleavage is the perfect bow on this lewk.

Nicky Doll: This ostrich coat is EVERYTHING and the way that it is belted breaks up the fluffiness of it all. Nicky looks great in a beret, too!

Aiden Zhane: She says she’s going for ugly, and it’s working. Leopard print may be Michelle Visage’s favourite colour, but, ooh, the fur trim on the sleeves and hemline is so bad, and widens her silhouette, which also should be cinched.

Rock M. Sakura: Oh, bless. The actual garment and her styling is great, but the view of the hips from the front is too rectangular, and it’s even worse when she turns around and you see her ass. The padding is SO bad that it completely ruins a great look. Yikes!

Jaida Essence Hall: It’s a couple gears above autopilot for her which is still a YAAAAS for anyone else. But, she knows how to proportion her body and make it look amazing. She needs to challenge herself soon, though.

Brita: That Brita compares Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala Mugler dress to… whatever she is wearing is diabolical. The sleeves are too long, the dress is too yellow, and gurl, where are the droplets?

Crystal Methyd: The dress is immediately forgettable, but that wig is down to her ass, and it’s crimped! That is an amazing wig!

Jan: The JANEL bag? Dead. The tracksuit is the best fitting one she’s worn yet, and her figure is femme: it’s fun to imagine her as a basketball wife. Love it!

Heidi N. Closet: Eh, this is just kind of regular. The dress is cute on her, but it’s not a very imaginative vision of a basketball wife, and it DOES look more like she just came from a country club in a Red State. The shades are the best part.

Sherry Pie: She looks like a drug dealer’s wife, not a basketball wife. It’s funny and whimsical, and the money gun is a touch, but can she Do Glamour?

Widow Von’Du: I don’t know about “basketball wife,” but this is amazing! Those sleeves! It’s very Crystal LaBeija. If only she were wearing a headdress instead of the long weave. 

Gigi Goode: They saved her for last on purpose. She looks SO, so good! Come on snakeskin! She looks so, so good in that coat, omg. And that wig is everything!


  • 1.     Gigi Goode
  • 2.     Jackie Cox
  • 3.     Nicky Doll
  • 4.     Jaida Essence Hall
  • 5.     Widow Von’Du
  • 6.     Jan
  • 7.     Crystal Methyd
  • 8.     Heidi N. Closet
  • 9.     Sherry Pie
  • 10.   Aiden Zhane
  • 11.   Rock M. Sakura
  • 12.   Brita


Jackie Cox: It’s a shame that this is the weakest of her looks, since it is the design challenge. But, still, she remains on brand, and isn’t going to be on any worst dressed lists.

Nicky Doll: Dare you to try to lie and say that just looking at this palette of colours doesn’t make you instantly happy! Bringing France to Brazil!

Aiden Zhane: Ooh, Michelle Visage is going to read this for filth! How have these girls not realized by the 12th season that swimsuits/corsets and panties are Michelle’s least favourite silhouette? How is it possible not to learn from Miss Vanjie last season? If you’re not going to learn from others’ mistakes, you deserve what is coming to you.

Rock M. Sakura: This is an Iconic Fashion Moment. There’s not a single colour of ball that is not glued to her corset, there’s a hoop skirt hanging from crisscrossing garlands of more balls, there’s a plunging neckline, and there’s a horse mane adorned with more strings of balls. It looks like an Art Attack as an outfit. It’s bold and ostentatious, and you love her for really going for it. What’s not to love?

Jaida Essence Hall: Again, she knows how to make herself look amazing, but it isn’t the mic drop we’re craving from her. 

Brita: This “pineapple dress” is a disaster. Manila Luzon it is not! Burn it. 

Crystal Methyd: Her best look yet! It’s not a high bar for her, but this is so much fun and so colourful! When it doubt, assault us with colour! 

Jan: This is really cool. She looks like she’s emerging from a big, blue vinyl(?) Fabergé egg. Between the dress, the wig, and the sleeves, Jan is serving some really interesting shapes. 

Heidi N. Closet: The head cage is the only thing to write home about, and though we’ve seen a few of them before, this one is done right.

Sherry Pie: Why didn’t she wear a wig with this look? The size of the dress ends up making her head look small. 

Widow Von’Du: Okay, at this point, it just has to be said. Widow is a fierce performer, but she’s consistently been the worst dressed on the runway. This is where we miss Santino Rice complaining about Taste Levels. She looks like a Badminton birdie with pompoms glued all over it. Is that what she was trying to go for? It’s a disaster.

Gigi Goode: She looks like a mascot for a children’s daytime television show, But High Fash-Shon!


  • 1.     Rock M. Sakura
  • 2.     Gigi Goode
  • 3.     Nicky Doll
  • 4.     Jaida Essence Hall
  • 5.     Jan
  • 6.     Crystal Methyd
  • 7.     Jackie Cox
  • 8.     Heidi N. Closet
  • 9.     Sherry Pie
  • 10.   Aiden Zhane
  • 11.   Brita
  • 12.   Widow Von’Du

The girls come back, and Jackie Cox, Crystal Methyd, Jan, Heidi, Sherry Pie and Widow Von’Du are all safe and excused from the stage. Nicky Doll’s Baller Girl look was Ross’s Football Fantasy, and Michelle raves her Balls to the Wall Eleganza even though it’s a corset and panties because of how she has added to it, and Ross says that the hip pads are his favourite part. Nicky, however, is told that she better start showing some personality on the runways soon! Ross tells Aiden Zhane that she “hit a home run on her first inning” (referring to her Madonna-League of their Own inspired look), but that the rest of her team “had a drought:” Basketball Wives realness looked “minor leagues” and Michelle laments that her Balls to the Wall Eleganza is a corset with cotton balls on it (she’s not wrong). Guest Judge Leslie Jones praises Rock M. Sakura’s makeup in all three of her looks and gushes about the tether ball in Rock M. Sakura’s Baller Girl look, but Ross complains that there was nothing exciting happening below the neck, and criticizes her padding in her Basketball Wives silhouette. Michelle joins the pile-on, telling Rock M. that her Balls to the Wall look is the perfect example of how “More, more, more” is not always right. What’s going on? Rock M. is here as a Bottom, and not as a Top? This is horrifying. Leslie Jones tells Jaida Essence Hall that it’s obvious she doesn’t play basketball, but that she’d still pick her for her team because her Baller Gurl look is great, and the judges praise her other two looks for their polish. Michelle compliments Brita’s baseball sleeves in her first look, but lambasts her Basketball Wives look as being pedestrian and clubby, and everyone is confused as to how her dress is supposed to read as a pineapple. The judges love Gigi’s Heathers-inspired croquet look, love her snakeskin coat, and rave her Balls to the Wall Eleganza. Gigi even gets to throw in a shout-out to her mother who cultivated her skills as a seamstress: ooh, a narrative always helps!

The top and bottom girls return, and Ru tells Nicky Doll that she looks “Magnifique, now show us your freak:” she’s safe. Jaida Essence Hall “really cleaned up this week:” she’s also safe. Gigi is told “Tonight, you weren’t just Goode: you were great. Condragulations, you’re the winner of this week’s challenge.” Like Sherry Pie last week, Gigi is the runner-up from her premiere episode who is now being belatedly rewarded (though, it’s obviously also a win where she stands head and shoulders above all the other girls), joining Sherry Pie, Widow Von’Du and Jaida Essence Hall in the Challenge Winners club, and has secured her place in the competition. That’s a lucrative week for Miss Gigi Goode! She’s now $7,500 richer from both the Mini and Maxi Challenge wins, and has a Ball Title to her name. Werq!

Aiden Zhane is told that she is safe, which means that Brita and Rock M. Sakura are the Bottom Two. Brita and the girls at the back of the stage are clearly gagged that she is in the Bottom Two: it’s hard to remember a time where someone looked so blindsided and very, very salty: it’s a beautiful moment. Rock M. starts whispering “Help me please, help me please,” and Brita is already cracking her neck, preparing to mutha-fucking lip sync for her life. Just before the lip sync begins, Leslie Jones is encouraging Rock M, saying “Do that shit!” and muses to the other judges, “Look how she’s dr… Oh my God: this is gonna be good.”

The music blares, we hear Rihanna’s “S&M” playing, and Brita and Rock M. start immediately pounding the stage, full of energy. But then Rock M. starts trying to remove the hoop skirt from her gown: gurl, what are you doing? You could be swaying that thing to the music, it’s one of the best parts that completes your look (Leslie Jones agrees), and, Oh God: you’re wasting time. That stubborn hoop skirt just will not tear away from the rest of her outfit, and Brita is taking advantage of this runway gaffe and getting her performance time in. When Rock M. FINALLY gets the hoop off, Brita promptly picks it up and starts to hurl it about: it’s a clever choice, and alludes to the chains and whips of “S&M.” Rock M. starts making up for lost time, turning out tricks and splits, but, gurl: is it going to be enough?

Based on that lip sync performance, it isn’t a huge surprise to hear that Brita is asked to stay, and that Rock M. Sakura must sashay away. Rock M! You were taken from us too soon! Leaving in tears, it’s clear that this queen was not ready to leave yet, but at least she has more to show us that will surprise us outside of the context of the show. Bye, Rock M! Can’t wait to see more of you post-Drag Race!

WEEKLY RANKING (Average of all three Ball Looks)

  • 1.     Gigi Goode: 1.3
  • 2.     Nicky Doll: 3.0
  • 3.     Jaida Essence Hall: 4.0
  • 4.     Rock M. Sakura 4.6 (Eliminated)
  • 5.     Jackie Cox: 5.0
  • 6.     Jan: 5.3
  • 7.     Crystal Methyd: 7.0
  • 8.     Heidi N. Closet: 7.6
  • 9.     Widow Von’Du: 9.3
  • 10.   Sherry Pie: 9.3
  • 11.   Aiden Zhane: 9.6
  • 12.   Brita: 11.6
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