It’s the Top Six and there are still two queens who have not won a single challenge – Crystal Methyd and Jackie Cox – and at this point in the competition, that’s not a good sign. In Drag Race her-story, every winner has won their first challenge by episode five, so Crystal and Jackie are in a bit of trouble. Statistically, the crown is not in their grasp, but they can still try and make that Top Four, dammit.
Planet Schmanet, Janet
This week’s episode revolves around the Makeover Challenge, a Drag Race staple that goes all the way back to season one, when the queens had to give drag makeovers to masculine women. Each season has had different groups of people for the queens to makeover, ranging from season three’s straight male jocks to season eight’s cast of Little Women LA; this time, the queens are making over female superfans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and I have to say, despite knowing very little about the women, their presence on the show is just rejuvenating.
Since Jaida won last week’s challenge, she decides who gets paired up with whom and she picks Bethany for herself before she partners up the rest of the queens: Crystal gets Grace, Gigi gets Shea, Heidi gets Nicole, Jackie gets Tiffany and Sherry is paired up with Janet the Planet, which we find out is her legal name. As the queens and their superfans get to know each other, we get small peeks into their own lives and why they love Drag Race and drag queens so much.
Janet the Planet is very tall and says that she has often been mistaken for a man and found community and sisterhood in drag queens from an early age. We find that Grace works with small children, does a Wonder Woman pose when she’s nervous and talks EXACTLY like Crystal. Jaida is excited about her pick but it turns out that Bethany cannot walk in heels, something that’s completely normal for anyone that’s not a drag queen.
We learn that Tiffany started watching Drag Race when she was 11 or 12 (putting her in her early 20’s) with her mom, and Nicole is uncomfortable with her body, saying that she hasn’t shown her legs since middle school. She talks about the bullying she’s experienced in the past for her size and Heidi talks about wanting to help her with her confidence out on the main stage.
Gigi talks about how Sherry and Janet are her and Shea’s biggest competition in the makeover and we learn from Shea that she was able to find her place in queer spaces through Drag Race.
Ru does the walkthrough with the queens and their superfans and announces that, not only do the superfans have to have fabulous outfits and makeup that gives a strong family resemblance, but they must also perform a lip-sync on the main stage. What a dream! Each queen gets to take their superfan to the stage to rehearse RuPaul’s song, “You Wear It Well” and while most of the girls work their stuff, Bethany is visibly having a hard time walking in her heels. It looks like Haus of Essence Hall may be in trouble – will Jaida end up in the bottom this week?
Ladies, Start your Engines
With the judging panel consisting of Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews and special guest judge (just in time for May the 4th!) Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), RuPaul welcomes the queens and their superfans to the stage. The actual challenge is creating a cohesive pairing that can easily be a part of the same drag family – they have to sell their garments and makeup and work together to wow the judges.
First up is Heidi Aphrodite (her new surname for the week) and Honey Almighty, who are giving us disco as they make their way onto the stage in mismatched outfits and almost matching afros. We then have Jackie Cox and Lil’ Snacky Cox as they ease on down the runway in their own disco outfits, but this time they actually match. Next is Jaida Essence Hall and Jazz Essence Hall, two pageant beauties decked out in red and some gorgeous purple makeup.
We then have Crystal Methyd and Opal Methyd as a dragged up, lesbian couple version of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and it is EVERYTHING, especially because Opal as Bert gives some major Marge Simpson vibes. Sherry Pie is next with Tara Misu as ketchup and mustard-themed, 50’s diner waitresses who put on a full performance as they take the judge’s “orders”. Sherry has a very unique mug that hearkens back to another era of drag and it is wild how Janet the Planet fully transforms into Tara Misu with it. Last but not least, we have
Gigi Goode and Bebe Bad in monochromatic black and white fur dresses and matching pillbox hats; their looks are chic and fashionable but very simple in construction, something that may work against them.
When they’re done with the runway and critiques, each of the superfans faces off one-on-one in the special lip sync which really, is more for fun than anything – there’s some vogue-ing, a split, and at least six dreams coming true as these women lip sync to a RuPaul song on RuPaul’s stage. A lot of the time, folks who are brought in to be a part of the Makeover are straight, cis men who have no idea what drag is and there’s always a sequence that consists of someone tucking for the first time and it is….so refreshing to see these female fans have the time of their lives on stage. It is truly a gift to see.
Panic at the Disco
As the judges deliberate over the queens, it’s clear that Sherry and Crystal are in the top and it feels that this may finally be Crystal’s week. Unfortunately for her, RuPaul goes in another direction. After declaring Gigi safe, she moves onto Crystal and says that she too is safe. What? How is Crystal just safe? And does this mean that the predator is going to get another win? Well actually, no. RuPaul declares Jaida the winner and my reaction is….um, sure? Yes, Jazz looks impeccable and the family resemblance is undeniable, but Jazz seemed to have a hard time walking the runway AND part of her nude bra is showing – what gives? Crystal and Opal brought everything to their looks, the runway, and Opal’s solo lip-sync, and yet Ru declares Jaida the winner.
The only explanation I can give is that Ru took into account what an amazing job Jaida did when she paired up the queens and their superfans, which may have given her the edge. Crystal should have been the winner, but I’m not going to die mad about it – as mentioned earlier, the stats are stacked against Crystal at this point for snatching the crown but it would have been so nice to see Crystal win SOMETHING. Well, she may not have her first win, but Crystal (and Opal) have certainly earned this week’s prize of Most Valuable Queen.
Gigi, Crystal and Sherry are declared safe and Jaida is the winner, meaning that Heidi and Jackie are in the bottom two. The song is “Kill the Lights” by Alex Newell and both queens bring their own personal flair to it; Jackie gives a comedic character and Heidi brings her dancing diva persona to the stage. It looks like a close one and it’s hard to tell who will win the lip sync as the queens work in synchronicity at times. For the first time this season, we have a double shantay – both queens get to stay! Jackie is weepy with gratitude and for an episode where we have happy superfans gracing the competition, it feels right to have nobody be eliminated. I love a double shantay, but what does this mean for the rest of the season? How will next week’s episode go? How many queens will make it to the finale now? So many questions, and so few episodes left to answer them.
With her third win (right after last week’s win, too!) Jaida has fully brought herself to the front of the pack. She is tied with Gigi for total wins which puts the two of them as the ones to beat from here on out. Yes, Sherry also has many wins, but she has been disqualified and is barred from the finale – her standing in the competition basically amounts to nothing. Heidi has one win under her belt but she is on dangerous ground; she has now survived three lip syncs (a rare occurrence on the show) and it is unlikely that she will make it through another. Unless some crazy hijinks come up in next week’s episode, then we are most certainly looking at Gigi and Jaida battling it out for the crown. But who knows, Mama Ru may have something up her sequined sleeve in these last few episodes.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you feel that Jaida deserved the win?
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