After last week afforded us a fan-favourite episode in the form of the annual Snatch Game, this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race gives us the dreaded singing challenge. It turns out there’s a reason most of these queens just lip sync, soooooo . . . Well, hopefully a few of them can carry a tune. Let’s take a look at the shit that worked and the shit that gleeked.
In the aftermath of Jinkx Monsoon’s win and Lineysha Sparx’s dismissal, the queens spend roughly five seconds congratulating the former and eulogizing the latter’s craftiness before Roxxxy Andrews butts in to remind everyone that she played Tamar Braxton. Remember that? Remember when she played Tamar Braxton? (Of course you don’t, because no one cares.) Jinkx isn’t too keen about how codependent Rolaskatox is and warns them in her talking head that she’s still a force to be reckoned with. A force that needs to take occasional naps throughout the day because she has narcolepsy, but a threat nonetheless!
The next day, the queens enter the workroom followed by Ru, who welcomes the girls by turning off all the lights. Their mini-challenge this week is to do their makeup in the dark, because you never know when you’re going to have to paint while flying blind. But honestly, who are we kidding? If the lights go off in a gay club, it’ll be a wall-to-wall orgy. Regardless, the queens get to painting, and in case you’re wondering, yes: Alyssa Edwards still makes weird faces in the mirror when she can’t even see herself. Oh Alyssa, you are secretly the biggest dork in this competition, and I love you for it.
When the lights come on and the queens lift their veils (which Jinkx uses to drop a Death Becomes Her reference, because Jinkx is the best), Detox is more or less the winner by default, since Coco Montrese looks like she fell face-first into a bowl of Cheetos dust, Jade Jolie accidentally went $5 whore, and Alaska looks like she tried to eat her lipstick. So what does she win? Well, the queens are going to have to put together a “We Are the World"-style charity anthem called “Can I Get an Amen?” As the winner, Detox gets to pick the teams for the song, so of course, she ties together Rolaskatox, groups together Jinkx, Jade and Ivy Winters, and pairs Coco and Alyssa. You can practically hear Coco’s engines power down, because she’s not having any of this shit.
Yes, Coco is still riding her pseudo feud (feudo?) with Alyssa for all the attention she can get, and when she’s forced to work with her rival to raise money for charity, she’s not even going to bother trying. Once again, this is charity. Charity. To her credit, Alyssa is working with a bum partner and zero vocal talent, but she’s intent on turning lemons to lemonade by going full Rachel Berry, complete with earnest-as-fuck physicality and lyrics.
Poor little Jade Jolie isn’t faring much better in her group, although in her case it’s because her teammates actually don’t suck. Not only is Jinkx a Broadway-bound singer, but it turns out Ivy is a trained opera singer. So to recap here: Ivy is a knife-juggling, sword-swallowing, fire-breathing, dress-sewing, opera-singing drag queen. If it’s possible for a queen to be overqualified, I think Ivy might just be. Unfortunately, Jade isn’t much of a singer, and she’s about to get double steamrolled. Meanwhile, in Rolaskatox land, cracks have begun to show on their immaculate surfaces. Roxxxy and Detox are a few bon mots away from full-on fucking in the workroom, and Alaska wants to actually win a challenge for once instead of just serving as the third wheel for Rotoxxx’s impending kai kai.
Rather than just sequestering the queens in a recording studio and having them sing their bits, the girls are rounded up and placed in a mini-auditorium, where they’ll be guided by (sigh) Lucian Piane. Swoon. Coco and Alyssa are up first, and instead of actually singing or doing any of the work she’s supposed to do, Coco begins by passive-aggressively bitching at Detox for putting her with Alyssa. Just putting this out there, but maybe the sound stage where everyone can see you is not the best place to air your grievances. But even if Coco had held it in, no amount of neon contact lenses can hide her seething rage for fucking everything.
The other queens all serve varying shades of “meh,” although most of them have the good sense to hide their lack of vocal ability behind campy fun. The three queens with vocal talent seem to be Jinkx, Ivy and Alaska, who all write decent lyrics and can carry a tune. Roxxxy also does a fairly decent job, eschewing vocalizations to focus on party chanting, although she’s temporarily sidelined by the correct use of sequined and sequins. Seriously, her eyes glaze over and her mind briefly touches the void as she logic-loops around the term “sequins dress.” It’s . . . it’s beautiful.
Once the song is recorded, the queens take to the runway in outfits that highlight their favourite body parts, where they’ll be judged by the usual panel, as well as La Toya Jackson and the Pointer Sisters. (The latter of which, should be noted, serve as one cumulative judge. They’re like an ‘80s pop hydra.) Alyssa comes out wearing a caftan to show her legs, Jade wears a bunched neon fur to highlight her arms, and Coco wears a Party City shirt and a $5 rubber-skeleton glove to show off her
contact lenses heart. Alaska wears a dress that shows off her collarbones, Jinkx wears a flapper-esque dress that shows off her legs, and Ivy shows off her face by wearing a dress made of her headshots. Rounding out the pack, Roxxxy wears a pink-and-orange neon swimsuit, and Detox wears a black leather dress that shows off her butt.
Despite the fact that the queens didn’t do too badly and that their singles are going to help out an LA centre for queer homeless youth, the judges are particularly vicious this week, going in on each girl as if they were personally wronged by the drag queens before them. Coco and Jade were the clear bottom two this week, since neither one really brought anything to the table, but that doesn’t stop the judges from taking a chunk out of the rest of the girls.
Michelle Visage, in particular, normally the fairest of the judges, has nothing but screaming, frothing rage for her girls, singling out Alaska in particular. Alaska’s performance was actually the best, but Michelle attacks her for appearing heartless for (and I swear to god, this is her reasoning) wearing sunglasses. RuPaul then proceeds to compare Alaska to Sharon Needles, which is probably one of the lowest blows I’ve ever seen her take on the show. You know something is wrong when Santino Rice is the nicest person on the panel.
Regardless, it’s not long before Coco and Jade are placed in the bottom alongside each other and have to lip-sync to the Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.” To give credit where credit is due, both queens do a bang-up job, but Coco just barely edges out Jade to stay in the competition. And so we say goodbye to our Rainbow Dash twinkie pornstar . . . On the plus side, Detox is still in the running, so at least we still have a whore in the race.