RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE S12E11 “One-Queen Show”: Can Whoopi Goldberg Be A Permanent Judge, Please?

It only took the bulk of the season, but one beloved queen has finally earned her first win. After harsh critiques about her makeup, slowly proving herself to the judges and then just barely winning last week’s challenge, Crystal Methyd has finally arrived. Oh, and just in time for the Top Four, a possible reunion, and the Finale. As stated last week, the stats are not in her favor to win the competition but that doesn’t mean that I’m not excited for the possibility of RuPaul putting a crown on that magnificent mullet.

Crystal’s winning this episode was a highlight that brought me such tremendous joy that I didn’t even know I was capable of – it made for a killer episode. Along with some highlights, there were just enough ugly lowlights to give it just the right dose of drama and emotion. With six remaining queens, everyone had a moment in the spotlight, despite one disqualified queen going way over her allotted time slot and causing another high ranking queen to falter. It seriously made for such good television. And that all isn’t even the cherry on top – there is way more to discuss.

“Everybody Loves Puppets” – Tammy Faye Messner

It’s a new day in the workroom and this week we actually have a mini-challenge worth mentioning – The Bitch Fest with Puppets! A Drag Race tradition that has fallen out the last few years, this mini-challenge is where queens pick a puppet at random that represents their fellow competitors in their streetwear. They must then drag up the puppets and then put on a “bitch fest” with it. The funniest and shadiest puppet show wins!

Crystal gets Jaida and goes after Jaida’s “confusion” angle from the political debate episode and clocking her for re-wearing the same earrings on the runway. She closes her performance with a “Look over there!” and the room erupts in laughter. Next is Jaida with Gigi, making fun of the robot thing she always goes with and mocking the way she talks about her fashion. Deduct a point for not adding “bitch” to every sentence. Sherry has Heidi, whose puppet has an enormous gap in her teeth (accurate) and a dusty wig that immediately falls off (also accurate, but honestly a lame joke).

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE S12E11 "One-Queen Show": Can Whoopi Goldberg Be A Permanent Judge, Please?
RuPaul’s Drag Race (2020) source: VH1

Next is Jackie with Sherry’s puppet and we’re given a small peek into how the queens may feel about her since she has essentially been written out of the show. It’s interesting that Jackie keeps mentioning that Sherry doesn’t know who Jackie is. Everyone laughs and we learn more about her in this mini-challenge than we do on the show. We then get Gigi with Jackie’s puppet and she does not do well at all – there are no real jokes and she almost fully gives up halfway through, foreshadowing the second half of the episode. Last we have Heidi with Crystal, and she is high-energy, high-pitched, and low blows at her mullet.

A One-Woman Show

Jackie ends up winning the mini-challenge and she gets to pick the order for the maxi challenge, called the One-Queen Show, where the queens must showcase their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent by putting on a 5-minute one-woman show where anything goes. They can do whatever they want, but because it’s Drag Race, they have to bring some laughs. The biggest surprise is that they will be coached by this week’s extremely special guest judge, Whoopi Goldberg(!!) who got her big break from her own one-woman show on Broadway. Whoopi is cool as hell and it will be so interesting to see how she interacts with Ru and the queens.

Jackie puts herself first on the roster and asks the queens who would be okay with going last. Everybody says they want to go in the middle (duh) and Jackie finally decides on the order and it goes her, and then Crystal, Heidi, Gigi, Sherry, and Jaida. Jaida is clearly not happy but says nothing when Jackie asks if everyone is fine with the order.

As the queens make it to the stage one-at-a-time for their coaching session with Ru and Whoopi, we get a sneak peek at what their sets will be like and everyone gets a small critique or two: Jackie is trying to make it too stand-up, Heidi doesn’t know how to portray a drunk, Sherry’s is too high concept, Gigi’s is too scripted (which makes her cry in her confessional), and Jaida talks too fast. As someone who teaches English as a second language, this has been the critique that I have always received and so I really felt something when Whoopi gave her some truly incredible advice to help her slow the pace:

“Think of a flower. It starts to open, and then there’s another part, and then another part and another part. And it’s all of that information in this small period.”

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE S12E11 "One-Queen Show": Can Whoopi Goldberg Be A Permanent Judge, Please?
RuPaul’s Drag Race (2020) source: VH1

She. Did. That. The entire episode, Whoopi gives these beautifully insightful pieces of wisdom that truly helps each queen as they work on their solo acts, and later in Untucked they all get the chance to tell her important here sage words to all of them. I honestly teared up a few times when Whoopi spoke. And that’s not the only time.

Five Minutes

The queens hit the stage and their audience consists of RuPaul, Whoopi, Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews, and a crowd that includes Miss Dahlia Sin. Yes, THAT Dahlia Sin, the first eliminated queen of the season who has made a quick cameo ever since dressed up as everyone’s favorite fierce Broc-Ally.

Jackie is the opener and we’re presented with two chairs with very different pairs of glasses set on them; each pair of glasses represent her parents and wears them when she speaks in their voice and let’s us all in on how vastly different her folks’ attitudes toward her drag persona. Her mother doesn’t approve, while her father does. It’s vulnerable and funny and a great way to start the show.

Up next is Crystal as Phenomenal Phil, a male exotic dance instructor, foamy muscle suit and all, but still dragged up in makeup and heeled boots. Out of all of the acts, Crystal’s is by far the funniest and the best. It’s a tough act for Heidi to follow as she switches back and forth between four different family members at a barbecue. It feels clunky and a little labored. If she hadn’t followed two strong acts, then Heidi’s act may have been easier to swallow but it overall wasn’t great.

We now have Gigi as a flight attendant on a plane headed straight to hell and it’s stilted and awkward but still garners a few laughs. After her is Sherry Pie and….dear god what is going on – she’s doing a psychic act where she has a goldfish for a “partner” and the editing shows that she is going way over the time limit. SEVENTEEN minutes over. The whole sequence is so long that the few funny bits are cut with text that shows the passage of time and cuts to the other queens getting more and more frustrated – particularly Jaida, who has to go after Sherry.

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE S12E11 "One-Queen Show": Can Whoopi Goldberg Be A Permanent Judge, Please?
RuPaul’s Drag Race (2020) source: VH1

When Jaida finally gets to the stage, it’s clear that she’s rattled by having to wait so long and because she was picked to go last. It’s tough all over and Jaida’s set crumbles despite her good attitude and ability to improvise a bit. It’s clear that Sherry’s selfishness – as Michelle Visage calls it during the critiques – was what did her in.

The Color Purple

In honor of special guest judge and supreme mentor of the world, Whoopi Goldberg, the runway category is “Purple” and the queens certainly deliver. While Heidi and Jaida went with elegant gowns, the rest of the competitors went for camp and fun – Gigi is dressed up like Daphne from Scooby Doo, Sherry is essentially the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, Jackie goes all out as the “One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater”, and Crystal is a full-blown adorable monster come to life.

After the critiques, we know for sure that it’s Jackie and Crystal in the top and it is such a cathartic moment to see these two queens with no wins be so close to their very first one. In the end, Jackie’s runway docked her points for looking too homemade and it is Crystal for the win! I was honestly so overjoyed and happy to see her finally earn that cash tip. As for the rest of the queens, they all honestly had the chance to be in the bottom two; this is one of the few times this season where the majority of the queens didn’t exceed in the challenge. The judges loved Sherry’s set but going 12 minutes over the time limit cannot be ignored; Gigi got a few laughs in but she was obviously nervous; Heidi’s was bad, and Jaida’s was also bad.

Gigi is declared safe, Sherry is in the bottom three but just barely misses the lip-sync which means that Jaida and Heidi must Lip Sync For Your Life. The song is “1999” by Prince and with this being Heidi’s fourth time in the bottom two, it is unlikely that she will survive. On top of this dark cloud hanging over her head, Heidi still completely kills it thanks to her dancing skills while Jaida pulls out a wig reveal and some equally great dance moves. In the end, Heidi is indeed the one who must shantay away and she cries on the runway as she gives RuPaul a beautiful speech about her growth in the competition and I’m not going to lie, when Heidi cries, I cry. That’s just what happens when you’re essentially the Most Valuable Queen of the season.

Conclusion

Heidi Ho. Heidi Duty. Heidi Hydrates. Heidi Aphrodite. Heidi N. Closets. No matter what name she goes by, she is still one of the best queens from this season and, even though I clocked her for being one of the first girls out, I fully fell in love with Miss Heidi. Her departure is so sad but I find comfort in knowing that she is a shoe-in for season twelve’s Miss Congeniality.

Next week we will know who the Top Four will be and it’s very transparent that Sherry Pie will be among them – why else would each episode include a disclaimer that she is barred from attending the Finale episode? If she wasn’t making it all the way to the end, then they wouldn’t keep telling us this, right? There has been speculation from fans that because the finale has yet to be filmed and we have known about Sherry’s sexual misconduct and disqualification since episode two, that the fifth runner-up (AKA whichever queen is eliminated in the next episode) would replace her and get a chance for the crown. This is only speculation though, we really have no idea what production will do to wrap up this season.

At this point though, I imagine that the Top Four will include Sherry, Jaida, Gigi, and Crystal. Unless the fan theories are true, I do not see Jackie getting the chance to take the crown. Either way, we will find out towards the end of May, and no matter who makes it to the actual Top Four, I still see Jaida and Gigi battling it out for America’s Next Drag Superstar.

What did you think of episode eleven? Did you think that Sherry should have been in the bottom two?


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