Regardless of what people have said about the quality of contestants this season, Drag Race can still turn it OUT. From crown to cankle, this episode had EVERYTHING: John Waters, Demi Lovato, tributes to Divine, singing, splits—not to mention the READING IS FUNDAMENTAL challenge!
I think RuPaul should find a way to make the Reading Is Fundamental challenge a super-heavy-flow Maxi Challenge with extra-absorbent wings. I’d like a reading TOURNAMENT spreading over three episodes with Fantasy Football-like brackets and leaderboards. (Sidenote: There’s a reason why no one should be too sad or outraged that Max is gone; she‘d have shamed herself to filth on this challenge, so she and the rest of us have been spared that travesty.) Kweens reading each other as sport in a safe, supervised environment is something we need to see much more of. Certainly, this Reading Is Fundamental session wasn’t the best in Drag Race history—nothing can top the time Jujubee uttered the words “legs and dairy” and forever changed the orbit of the drag world—but there were some deliciously shady highlights. Here’s everyone’s best read, complete with scores out of 10:
Ginger to Trixie: “Making fun of you is like shooting clownfish in a barrel. Unfortunately, that’s about as fishy as you’ll ever be.” Score: 7. Overall, there was some creativity in the metaphor, and I liked the use of “clownfish” as a nod to Trixie’s makeup style, but a little too wordy and could have used more venom.
Katya to Violet: “Pretty soon your waist size will be lower than your IQ.” Score: 8. Pithy and nasty. A good use of low-hanging fruit, and I’m not referring to Katya’s tuck.
Violet to Katya: “Make like your hairline and recede.” Score: 8. Way to use what’s clearly a queen’s major insecurity against her—this read could easily have been leveled against Trixie as well, so bonus points for broad shade-ability. (By the way, as much as I love watching the Reading Is Fundamental challenge, I could never handle it IRL. I’d be crying and running out the door).
Kennedy to Violet: “It’s a giraffe! It’s a horse! It’s just Violet serving [neighing sound] realness.” Score: 5. Good delivery but not enough basis in truth—Violet isn’t all that horsey.
Miss Fame to Katya: “Now you get to increase your hooking fee. Thank you, RuPaul’s Drag Race!” Score: 2. Not a real joke.
Pearl to Katya: Are you confused? The saying is young, dumb, and full of c–.” Score: 9. In a reading challenge, jokes about age are a safe bet.
Trixie to Ginger: “Did you ever save Carol Anne from the poltergeist in the TV?” Score: 8. Yay for ’80s pop culture references!
In my opinion, Pearl should have won. I loved her read of Kennedy (“Your eye is on the prize and your other eye is on the crown”) and when she turned to read Ru, I about died. Ru loves that kind of audacity, and Pearl surprised us all with her quickness. Trixie’s reads were solid, too, but they mostly employed easy, accessible middle-of-the-road humor, which is great for CBS, but less so for Drag Race.
NEXT: Now for the Maxi Challenge!