For the six-hundredth consecutive week, Silky Nutmeg Ganache interrupts and/or opens and/or closes an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to tell the world she’s dying to lip-sync for her life.
But this time, she’s adding a little extra jush to the mix. Just how are you going to do it, Silky?
During the post-elimination kiki, Silky also tells the girls she landed in the bottom three for being beautiful. Well, sort of, and Professor Yvie Oddly is here to clarify the slight misreading of the judges’ critiques (they actually said Silky isn’t expanding her repertoire beyond glamour).
Yvie then redirects the lesson to Vanessa Vanjie Mateo’s wardrobe, which has generally consisted of a few decent gowns, a few jaw-dropping pieces of pure artistry, and a trunk full of corset-panty hybrids she’s been clocked for several times over.
“It was still the same silhouette the judges critiqued you on changing,” Yvie — one of the most grounded contestants Drag Race has seen in years — tells Vanjie as the latter ponders her standing in the competition.
Vanjie doesn’t want to hear it, and the bickering begins — punctuated by this breathtaking exchange of facial poetry:
Followed by Vanjie’s sage mantra of verbal poetry:
Also in the business of scrubbing Yvie from the competition is Silky, who assesses her competitor’s aesthetic with the same sentence that began my college Film Studies thesis on the works of Alfred Hitchcock:
A storm’s brewing!
In the meantime, the girls prepare for a hilarious workout video-themed mini challenge hosted by Love Connie, a drag legend who often channels Jane Fonda-style athletic fashions (she’s also described herself as “a bayou-raised, inbred, hirsute dancing phenomenon with a love for Farrah Fawcett flips” in interviews).
Is Vanjie’s fitness quick drag lewk what Silky was talking about when she said “beautifully?”
This is what being so into voguing right now looks like in practice at Vanessa Hudgens’ house:
Though A’Keria Chanel Davenport and Plastique Tiara win the prize for giving the best moves during the shoot, Connie technically takes the challenge cake for saying Scarlet Envy‘s lack of beard coverage made her feel “feminine” in comparison:
Vanjie’s wig save and Silky’s backward floor flop also share the prize (they don’t, actually, but should’ve):
As victors, Plastique and A’Keria get to choose teams for the main challenge: A competitive sports spoof dubbed Draglympics, in which two teams mount dueling floor exercise routines combining elements of fanography (choreographed fan twirling), voguing (duh), and shablam (a type of dance that typically involves falling backward onto the ground — similar to death dropping, but not related to Miz Cracker in any capacity).
Say what you will about season 11 overall, but this year’s challenges have stepped it up in a big way. Not only is Draglympics a test of technical prowess, it’s part of an increasingly rare breed of Drag Race challenge that not only incorporates integral performative building blocks from throughout drag history, but also highlights the skills each of these girls will need to perfect and/or display ahead of having a successful career upon sashaying into the real world when their time on the show ends.
To help spice up their moves, Ru brings Emmy-winning choreographer Travis Wall into the mix for a crash course in body-ody-ody movement, which gave us a moment of unintentional hilarity:
Plastique when someone says “Mariah Carey”: “I don’t know her”
Plastique when someone says “choreographer Travis Wall”:
Preparing for the challenge also involves Silky and Yvie putting their differences aside so the former can watch the latter do this in peace:
And as much as Ms. Hudgens is into voguing right now (or at least was approximately 13 months ago), we are so much more into Brooke Lynn Hytes’ unique take on the classic art form for this challenge:
While not a step-by-step perfection of the choreography, what Silky remixes and gives to us in place of what she’s supposed to do is a gift in itself and should be cherished as such:
Ra’Jah suppresses her traumatic Yanis Marshall experience to deliver some solid moves during rehearsal (also, lol at Scarlet in the corner):
Thankfully, Scarlet’s adorable coordination moves from the corner of the screen to center stage as Travis gleefully tortures her through his complex directions for simply opening a fan.
Can… she… do it!?
Lol no. But we love her anyway.
As the queens pack their tucks and slip into leotards for the Draglympics, Yvie gets real with Shuga Cain about her connective tissue disorder (more on that here) that could ultimately render her physically incapable of continuing her career as a drag performer.
Still, Yvie’s attitude — despite daily pain and joints that slide out of place — remains strong:
I say this with total love and in earnest: Yvie’s perspective is an inspiration. I love that we’re finally getting a glimpse at the foundation she stands on, because it’s this commitment to pushing past her circumstances that’s made her into the fierce competitor (and runway stunner) she is today. (And Mary Johanson from Drop Dead Gorgeous applauds you, too!)
Though she has to take it easy during rehearsals, Yvie gives it her all in the challenge:
But pushes herself a hair too far, injuring her left ankle in the process:
Next, A’Keria leads the Vanessa Hudgens segment with her gloriously expressive mug:
… and equally talkative booty:
The set closes with this instantly iconic shot of Silky completely motionless as the studio audience throws flowers and stuffed animals at her.
Plastique’s team also performs well:
Plastique serves personality on a platter:
In true Scarlet fashion, she falls…
… likely blindsided by Vanije’s overwhelming domination of the choreography (I mean, the attitude! Her mind!)
Also, try to explain to your parents what’s happening in the next few GIFs:
During the medal ceremony, a slow pan to Yvie’s injured foot swoops in for the challenge victory (and our wigs).
As does Brooke’s loving heart while she carries Yvie off-camera, piggyback style. No bitch left behind!
On the runway, RuPaul — whose gorgeous gold gown also participates in the All That Glitters, gold-themed runway theme — prepares for the goopery. But not the kind of unexpected goopery that arises only when one of your girls almost out-Rus Ru herself.
Remember Ogre from Tekken 3? He’s a drag queen now:
Yvie, my beloved, does it again in a busy-but-beautiful outfit inspired by underground Japanese drug lords (or so she says!).
Plastique has never looked better (insert RuPaul saying “This is the top level of drag. You’re doing it right here and right now” from All-Stars 4.”)
Taking absolutely nothing from her conversation with Yvie (and mini meltdown in the Werk Room over turning the same looks week after week), Vanjie comes out in another corset accented with body glitter (she’s wearing approximately nine shades of gold).
The best thing about it, however, is her confessional descriptor. Let’s repeat it loud enough for those standing in the back: “All gold! Glitter robot bunny ho! My thighs is out! Legs is long! Corseted for the gods! I can’t feel my genitals! Robotic p—y s—! I don’t even know, child! I just look good, baby!”
The contrast of the images conjured by Vanjie’s descriptor — as said in Vanjie’s deep ass voice — is the kind of magical juxtaposition we come to Drag Race for.
After the runway, Team A’Keria scores Draglympic gold, with their leader being named the overall champion (arguable, but werq!). Ru asks Team Plastique’s individual members who they think should get the chop, and they all choose poor Scarlet.
When Ru looks to Scarlet for her answer, she has a genuine moment of compassion for her season 11 sisters, roping us in for a heartfelt moment unlike anything we’ve ever seen on the Drag Race stage before:
Even Vanjie’s cold, robotic p—y s— heart melts a little:
But lol, this is Drag Race, so Scarlet immediately reverses her stance and goes for the throat:
She proceeds to throw Ra’Jah under the oncoming bus…
… and also signals the driver to back up and do it again:
This assures Ra’Jah and Scarlet will lip-sync against each other, marking Ra’Jah’s third time in the bottom and Scarlet’s second. Both ladies have had incredible moments on the runway (Ra’Jah’s Monster Ball lewks were criminally underrated, and Scarlet’s Creature from the Black Lagoon costume ranks among the most delightful oddities to ever hit the Drag Race stage), but in a stellar challenge during which no one outright flopped (the oppalens was strong!), their bottom-two placement feels right (they did well, but the jush wasn’t as high as the others’).
Still, Scarlet — admittedly a rhythmically challenged queen — turns it completely out on the main stage. Gold scissors! Mother’s intrigued by sharp objects:
Competent dance moves paired with a stunning glitter bomb!
You’d think that would be enough to keep her in the competition. Especially since RuPaul watched from the panel like this:
If anything, this synchronized closer confirms what should’ve gone down: A double save. If Eureka and Kameron Michaels could pull it off during season 10, these ladies surely have it in the bag, right?
But, mother speaks, and Scarlet sashays away. As Whitney Houston once sang: “It’s not right, but it’s okay.” I have a feeling Scarlet’s going to make it anyway (Thunderpuss remix style, though!).
RuPaul’s Drag Race returns this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on VH1. Read EW’s interview with the dearly departed Scarlet here.
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