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RuPaul's Drag Race recap: And the Rest Is a Drag!

The queens are narrowed down to the final three.

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RuPaul's Drag Race

type:
TV Show
genre:
Reality TV
performer:
RuPaul
broadcaster:
VH1
seasons:
9
Current Status:
In Season

All tea all shade, but after this week, I’m missing Katya even more than before. Katya was the bridge between the Bitter Old Lady Brigade and the “Pretty Girls.” When she was around, there was always someone to root for. I usually side with the elder stateswomen, but watching Ginger Minj and Kennedy Davenport go after Violet Chachki the way they did wasn’t cute at all and made Violet look like a saint in comparison. If they were trying to psych Violet out, they failed, because queens who are as dumbly arrogant as Violet don’t lose confidence in themselves that easily. It was a little funny when Ginger said to Violet, “You can’t be such a bitch!” Meanwhile, Violet was calmly beating her face and not retaliating. Ginger and Kennedy need to “condone” themselves a little better and learn a little bit more from Pearl’s flazaydah way of life.

Before we get to this week’s challenges, we first got to see the queens gab with Ru over a nutritious meal of Tic Tacs, which Ru was blending into a healthy organic smoothie. I love these mother-daughter brunch dates every season because it’s an opportunity for our queens to gain some much-needed character development. I actually enjoyed getting to know more about Kennedy, my least favorite of the remaining queens. We understood her world-weary demeanor because she really is goddamn tired after a lifetime of being a caregiver to her younger sister, who is mentally disabled. Next was Ginger’s one-on-one, in which she talked about being abandoned by her father. Then Pearl talked about the “torment” she went through as a child (more on that later). Violet didn’t seem to have all that much to say, but Ru nevertheless seemed fascinated. This isn’t a read, but Ru is pulling a Tyra Sanchez all over again with Violet this season. (No one has ever said “This isn’t a read” without reading a queen like a Bible in the next breath.) But I think Ru for whatever reason sees something of herself in Violet and chooses to find a lot of depth in her that may not be there. Remember when Ru decided the other queens hated Violet because Violet was too busy reading fashion blogs to learn how to deal with other people, even though Violet never said anything to make us believe that? I can’t help but think Ru is spinning this narrative of Violet being exceptionally talented, even though we haven’t seen much evidence to support that. As Justin said, “Violet can cinch and she’s seen Victor Victoria—big deal!”

For the first part of the Final Four Challenge, the queens starred with RuPaul in the music video for “Born Naked,” which the great Candis Cayne directed the choreography for. The eliminated queen would be edited out of the video, and as someone who’s been edited out of more than one wedding video on account of my dancing, I know the struggle, and it’s real. As they lip-synced in front of the green screen, the queens (minus Kennedy) each pulled a Chinua Achebe and let their things fall apart. Ginger lost a chunk of her weave, Pearl’s wig receded farther than Katya and Trixie’s male hairlines combined, and Violet lost an earring that went flying. Candis put it best when she said, “Ugh, these queens!” At this point last season, Bianca, Courtney, and Adore were giving us life with their music video performances, whereas this year, Pearl was giving us the same clumsy movements (the other queens dubbed her dance moves “PEARL SMASH”). It’s like she’s constantly booby-honking an invisible nine-foot-tall woman, a.k.a. Latrice Royale.

The second part of the main challenge was a Klumps-style dinner scene where the queens rotated through three different characters—a moody teenager, an annoying little girl, and pilled-out mom—while Ru played a dusty old dad. None of the queens was good at playing the teenager, while everyone was great at playing the pilled-out mom (go figure). Kennedy may have performed the best in the music video challenge, but she was by far the worst in the acting challenge. She couldn’t seem to remember a single line—even Ru had a hard time staying in character as Kennedy flubbed every cue.

Now for the runway! For this final week, the queens had to show off their best drag. Kennedy was stunning and pageant-like in a rainbow-colored, architectural lobster-tail gown. Violet looked great in a cabaret number—I agree with Michelle that it wasn’t Violet’s best look of the season, but it didn’t look like she pulled it out of the bottom of her trunk, either. Ginger looked like … Ginger in a white fringe gown, and Pearl walked down the runway in a negligee with a gauzy cape. We all got what we paid for.

I really didn’t know what to make of Pearl’s heartfelt runway speech. On the one hand, when talking to her 5-year-old self, she made it sound as if she’d been through something truly, truly nightmarish—on the level of severe abuse, whether physical or sexual. But at the same time, she was vague enough that it could have been similar to what a lot of Drag Race contestants have gone through (bullying, gender identity crises). Either way, it’s totally Pearl’s business what she wants to share with the world, and all struggles are struggles, but without specifics, I couldn’t connect with her story like I could with Ginger’s or even Violet’s. At first I judged her when she was crying over the fact that she has to buy her own clothes and pay her own rent, but then I realized I cry over those things too. Struggles are struggles!

Kennedy really shot herself in the foot when she went on and on about how Pearl and Violet weren’t mature enough to take on the responsibility of being the Next Drag Superstar. She was talking as if it were on the level of being Secretary of State or something. I’m thoroughly confident that either Violet or Pearl could assume public office as the season 7 RuPaul’s Drag Race winner without causing an international incident. Did Kennedy actually expect to change Ru’s or any of the judges’ minds with that hateful speech? It really goes to show, you can have the talent, you can have the look, but if you don’t have charisma or likability on this show, you have nothing. So I wasn’t surprised when Kennedy sashayed away, leaving Violet, Ginger, and Pearl as the top three.

I would have loved to see Katya in Pearl’s place, but if you look at Twitter, the kids really love Pearl, and that’s not nothing. I have no idea who’s going to win. Three weeks ago, I would have said Ginger for sure, but seeing how enamored Ru is of the young queens this year, I now think Ginger’s last on the Fierce List. Any old-school queens who have a problem with that may just have to deal with a brave new future of drag queens, the types whose most seminal drag touchstone is She’s the Man rather than Paris Is Burning—and apparently she looks a lot like Violet Chachki.