Warning: this post contains spoilers from tonight’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. Read at your own risk!
She’s been a frontrunner and fan favorite all season long, wowing the judges with her high-fashion looks, stunning beauty, and body-ody-ody. But on Friday’s all-new RuPaul’s Drag Race, Valentina found herself sashaying away — in a shocking elimination that had everyone talking.
The 25-year-old Queen (né James Andrew Leyva) is fairly new to drag, having only done it for 10 months before entering the competition. But she excelled well on the show — winning the second week’s challenge and never finding herself in the bottom three before.
That was, alas, until this week’s challenge. Tasked to create their own sitcom pilot, Valentina and fellow queen Nina Bo’nina Brown teamed up to create “Nina and Tina” — a “rags to drags” story that failed to get the judge’s pickup.
Battling against one another in the show’s signature “Lip-sync for your life” elimination challenge, Valentina made the mistake of first trying to keep her outfit’s matador-inspired face mask on — a choice that left the judges confused.
“This is a lip-sync for your life, we need to see your lips,” lead judge and Emmy-winning host RuPaul told her, stopping the segment. “Take that thing off of your mouth.”
But Valentina wanted it to remain. “I’d like to keep it on please,” she asked, hoping Ru would allow it.
She was out of luck. “It’s a lip sync. What part of that don’t you understand?” RuPaul quipped back.
As Valentina removed the mask and the song — Ariana’s Grande’s “Greedy” — reset, everyone watching at home wondered what was going through Valentina’s head. But when the song started, her rationale became clear: she didn’t know the words.
“In this moment, my mind’s just at a blank,” a shaky Valentina confessed to viewers. “I don’t remember the song. I just want to disappear.”
When the song finished, she broke down in tears — and Nina was given the “Shante you stay.”
“I’m so humiliated,” Valentine told fans. “I want to be here so bad, I don’t want to go. I never imagined this is the way it would end. I wanted to leave putting up a good fight, and that’s not something I was able to do today.”
Meanwhile, Twitter users were losing their minds.
Six queens remain in the competition: Nina, Alexis Michelle, Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Shea Couleé, and Trinity Taylor. With just three challenges left before the finale — and a makeover challenge, music video challenge, and beauty ball pageant expected on the way — there’s no doubt things are going to be tight.
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays (8 p.m. ET) on VH1.