Last night On RuPaul’s Drag Race, the queens were asked to face their inner saboteur in an Evil Twin challenge. And things got ugly.
First up, a quick apology. I didn’t write a recap of last week’s episode because I was on vacation, visiting my niece who is three, but throwing shade at a third-grade level. But briefly: that might have been one of my favorite eps of the entire series. Monet X. Change’s makeover of Tyler Oakley was Reba McEntire reboots Nine To Five and I loved it. Aquaria should have been in the bottom/been sent packing. But she wasn’t and so here we are.
“The Evil Twin Ball” boasted a final five of Aquaria, Kameron Michaels, Miz Cracker, Eureka, and Asia O’Hara. Things kicked off with the “Resting Brunch Face” mini-challenge, where Asia deftly won best pancakes, thanks to the winking approval of celebrity judge Cheyenne Jackson. Then it was onto the main challenge, in which the queens were asked to pull from their pre-existing looks or create new ones for a double-presentation challenge. First they were to show themselves at their personal best, and pen a voiceover expressing themselves and defining their brand. Then they were to come out as their evil twin/inner saboteur, a twisted bitch who espouses self-doubt, cognitive distortions, and toxic thoughts.
This was a challenge that wasn’t only meant to tax the queens creatively, but also give them the opportunity to open up and show some vulnerability. Basically, it seemed custom-writ to get Kameron and Cracker to show us who they really are behind the pleasant veneer and smart girl schtick. But neither was ready to trust in themselves or the show, and both failed the challenge, ending up in the bottom two. But before we get to their lipsync for their life, let’s look at how the other queens did.
Ever vocal, Eureka had a good sense of her strengths and weaknesses, and boldly bared her sole through the VO. However, her looks felt shockingly safe, relying on allusions to Clueless and Divine, rather than tackling something uniquely Eureka.
The youngest of the bunch, Aquaria showed all the depth of an envelope this week, cracking snitty jokes in the talking head interviews, and offering a childish VO. Clearly, this New York queen and club kid thinks she’s the height of edgy fashion. And Ru and the judges went gaga over her Evil Twin look, calling it “iconic fashion moment,” and comparing her to past Drag Race winners Violet Chachki, Chad Michaels and Raja. I just don’t get it. To me, Aquaria seems like a safe and vapid version of those queens. Her cackling and villain speech made it seem like she misunderstood the assignment biggest ball of twine-style. But the judges love this ditzy twink as if she’s the second-coming of Brooklyn’s dozy Pearl. So, Aquaria scored another win. That’s her third, making her the clear frontrunner heading into the penultimate competition ep.
Real Talk: It should have been Asia. I don’t know if the show’s writers are priming this polished pageant queen for an unlikely underdog arc or what, but her looks and VO blew Aquaria’s out of the water. In her first look, she was bubbly and lovely, glittering from hair-bow to twinkling toes. She declared herself a “Fierce queen with an open heart, open mind,” and “a hot glam drag superhero that is aware of her community.”
Asia would be an astounding champion for season 10. Her look is polished. Her persona is one part big heart, one part real talk. Consider a few eps back when she reached out to the furious Vixen. She validated the Chicago queen’s anger at Eureka, and then lovingly but firmly pointed out that hating Eureka wasn’t helping The Vixen. It was a major moment in a season stuffed with spectacle and drama, and you can see in this runway how it’s true to who Asia is. RuPaul’s Drag Race’s winner needs to be about more than giving good look. Asia brings that emotional intelligence and depth that Aquaria lacks. And when she was asked to show her inner saboteur, this pageant girl brought out a dark side the judges had never seen.
“Asia thinks she’s the first bitch whoever found the money to buy herself some teeth!” This queen threw shade on herself and slayed with a dark, bald look that was nothing like she’s shown before, and yet distinctively O’Hara. The deflated, darkened balloons to tie it all together was the cherries on top.
I would have loved to see what Vixen would have brought to the stage on this challenge. But le sigh. Overall, this ep was underwhelming with three queens giving ho-hum looks and getting rightly read for it. Then the wrong queen won. With the final four around the corner, this lipsync for your life should have been an absolute showstopper. But it too was disappointing. Blame it on those dingy cave woman gettups. Blame it on Kameron trotting out the same moves for her third time on the bottom three, or Miz Cracker not cranking it to ten. But this showdown had me wondering how either queen made it this far in the competition.
Miz Cracker came to life on stage, but it wasn’t enough to compete with Kameron the lipsync assassin. Cracker was a comedy queen who talked a big game about her sharp wit and proud drag momma, Bob The Drag Queen. But in the competition, her self-doubt sabotaged her over and over. While Bob blossomed on the show, Cracker crumbled. Drag Race contestants need to both show and tell to thrive on this series. And Cracker always came off like she was afraid of truly letting go. For what it’s worth, she should have won last week’s makeover challenge. Her drag sister Miz Cookie was a star.
This means going into next week’s ep, Aquaria is the last New York queen standing, outlasting Cracker, Monet, Dusty Ray Bottoms, and Yuhua Hamasaki. Eureka and Kameron are representing Tennesse, while Asia reps Texas. The teaser suggests that Eureka will once more struggle with choreography, while Aquaria’s less than lovely singing could be a major obstacle in making the top three. So who are you rooting for?
Who do you think will make top three? Who do you WANT to make top three?