'RuPaul's Drag Race' recap: The queens drag out smashing versions of Carol Channing and Britney Spears
With just nine queens left vying for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar, the competition finally got hotter than a two piece and a biscuit on RuPaul’s Drag Race last night. Even though it was sad to see Mystique sashay away last week, I felt like last night was truly the first episode this season where it was somewhat difficult to choose which queen would have to go. Holy drag queen! We’re finally boiling down to the cream of this season’s crop. Werq!
Before we delve into who did, indeed, sashay away this week, let’s talk about what happened early in the episode. The mini challenge at the beginning of the hour was Ru’s version of The Price is Right — a price-guessing game she dubbed The Queen is Right. The big prize? No, no — not immunity. But a chance to phone home! You betta believe all the queens wanted the chance to call their mom or boyfriend. I guess it goes without saying, but it’s gonna be hard to go without talking to anyone in the outside world while shooting this show.
During The Queen is Right, the queens had to guess the prices of such drag paraphernalia as tube socks (for stuffing those busts, of course!), hemorrhoid cream (the endearingly clueless Jessica Wild said of it: “It’s a cream for I don’t know what it is”), and duct tape. And when it came down to RuPaul’s Showcase Throwdown (a play on The Price is Right‘s Showcase Showdown, duh), the queens had to guess on a collection of drag items including genuine brass knuckles, a designer wig, and pepper spray. (“What lady-boy night on the town would be complete without a can of pepper spray?” Ru asked. “With its own cute little carrying case. Perfect for the drag queen on the go.”) Ultimately, Raven squeaked out the win and made a call to her mom. “My biggest inspiration for drag is my mom.” Um, does she know that? Because, well, oh my then if she doesn’t.
This week’s main challenge was, unquestionably, one of the best in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Impersonation time! The ladies brought to life their favorite celebrities on a Match Game rip-off cleverly titled Snatch Game. All the gals got to pick who to impersonate, even though some of them, like Tatianna, revealed that they really didn’t usually do impersonations besides themselves. Tyra stunk it up as Sasha Fierce/Beyoncé. Jujubee was marginally good (but with killer neck makeup) as Kimora Lee. Raven flopped as Paris Hilton. Sahara was rather forgettable as Whitney Houston. Morgan McMichaels put little effort into P!nk. And Sonique was detestable as Lady Gaga.
But let’s not dwell on such sad things as the boring or bad from the impersonations. Let’s talk good! The three most interesting impersonations were Pandora Boxx as the completely nutty, raspberry-era Carol Channing; Jessica Wild, who took the huge risk of doing an over-the-top RuPaul in front of RuPaul; and Tatianna as a country-fried and spaced-out Britney Spears.
Despite her early reluctance to do characters (“Tatianna is the character,” she assured viewers) and having to secure a wig from the momentarily-nice rival Morgan McMichaels, Tatianna ultimately did a breathtaking performance as Britney Spears. Favorite line: When she answered that she got “lost” after riding a disco stick. I mean! Again, Jessica Wild, despite the producers desire to paint her as being somewhat unable to speak English, was cunning, smartly choosing to send up RuPaul in front of RuPaul. That wig alone was win-worthy! Granted, it was a tad over the top, as the other contestants mentioned, but hold the phone a sec — isn’t this drag? Yah, it’s always over the top. So kudos to her for taking a risk and succeeding. My favorite, however, was Pandora Boxx as Carol Channing. (Just because, you should spy Carol in the first Diet Coke commercial ever. This always makes me smile.) No one else created such a character and held on to it until end like she did. From answering that she got “scurvy” from the disco stick (and saying she was the national spokesperson for the Broadway Actors Against Scurvy!) to answering one question with the complete randomness of simply “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts,” I couldn’t stop laughing.
In case you missed it — or just want to watch it again — fast-forward to 18:30 in the episode here:
It was no surprise, but ultimately the elimination came down to: Sonique for her horrible butchering of Lady Gaga or Morgan McMichaels for not making P!nk as butch as she should have been. RuPaul said the choice was extremely difficult from the judges’ table, which this week included Lisa Rinna (in the above photo, hilariously small compared to the fabulously bedrag-ed Ru) and Niecy Nash (who I’m currently obsessed with, as she’s doing such things as exposing Lindsay Lohan as a hoarder with her gig on The Insider). Granted, I don’t think that either Sonique or Morgan McMichaels played the game that well this week, but I have genuinely enjoyed both of them as characters on the show so far, so it was hard to see them lip sync for their lives against one another.
Again, the lip syncing, as it has been nearly every episode this season, was sort of not thrilling. I don’t know really what I’m expecting, but I haven’t seen anything that lights a fire under me so far. Maybe it’s still the song choice? I don’t so much see Stacey Q’s “Two of Hearts” as particularly inspiring. Although Sonique did come the closest to fire-lighting inspiration by ripping off her clothes and doing flips all over the stage. And as much as she thought that was going to save her next to Morgan McMichaels and her hapless puppet prancing, I knew that Sonique was probably going to have to sashay away. And she did. Sad, sure, but overall, Morgan McMichaels does have more long-term potential than Sonique, who never really developed that much of a personality on the show.
You know who else could use more personality on the show? The guest judges! I got super excited this week when I heard that my beloved Lisa Rinna would be guesting. Then she literally had about four lines — none of which were too crazy! (I was expecting her to serve up some real crazy!) And Niecy Nash, for all her hilariousness on The Insider lately, didn’t deliver either. Note to RuPaul’s Drag Race: Please use the guest judges more! Hell, Snatch Game “celebrity” Ugly Betty‘s Alex Mapa got more screen time than either Rinna or Nash. I mean, right?!
What’d you think, PopWatchers? Are you thinking the show’s guest judges need to be used better? Do you also agree that it was a hard week, with the judges choosing between Morgan McMichaels and Sonique? Who’s the front-runner right now, if you had to choose?
More on RuPaul and ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on EW.com:
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ recap: See who did her last splits
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ recap: Talent wins over charisma this week
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ premiere recap: Should Mystique Summers Madison have sashayed away instead?
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.