Eight episodes in, RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 finally hit its stride with perhaps the most legendary lip-sync in her-story.
But before Yvie Oddly and Brooke Lynn Hytes — two top contenders vying for the crown — landed in the bottom after a disastrous round of Snatch Game, the show set the stage by engaging in one of its favorite pastimes: Reveling in the (lovable) frustrations of Silky Nutmeg Ganache, who’s currently upset at Yvie for implying that she’s talentless after spending most of season 11 implying that Yvie is, well, talentless.
The pair exchange words after Ra’Jah O’Hara’s elimination, but a subsequent argument involving Vanjie yields some stunning shots of Yvie curiously (yet artfully) resting her bouquet on her shoulder while reacting to various bitchery:
While Plastique preoccupies herself with ceiling-based decor. We all cope in different ways!
On to the mini-challenge, which tasks the queens with posing for their own book covers. Thankfully, Vanjie forgets her name (and RuPaul clocks her for having to check a cue card to remember), an act that produces this stunning moment of reaction-GIF eleganza:
While Plastique leaned in for a hilarious play on the “no personality” critique that will (likely) take her out of the competition in the next few weeks by naming her book: Personality: Not Everybody Has One.
For absolutely no reason whatsoever, self-proclaimed “dead bitch” Morgan McMichaels rises from the afterlife to star in a brief commercial for Postmates, which closes the challenge (Silky wins, oof) as she shoots a ping-pong ball out of her ass.
No, really. Let me repeat: she shoots a ping-pong ball out of her ass.
Vanjie’s face sums it up:
Later, the queens prepare for everyone’s favorite part of Drag Race: Snatch Game! Though the perennial celebrity impersonation challenge itself aimed for center stage, multiple shots of Plastique tending to her wig stole the spotlight this week by mimicking the almighty presence of God instead of a Hollywood star:
Legendary Snatch Game player and season 5 champion Jinkx Monsoon appears (am I imagining things or has season 11 featured a delightfully consistent number of cameos from past Drag Race stars as advisers, more so than seasons have in the past?) to offer tips on how to hone a palpable Snatch, as her take on Little Edie remains one of the most iconic.
Her advice for the fledgling queens is surprisingly critical (in a good way), and clearly shows that a successful Snatch requires more than just resting on your personality (more on this later). Still, she and RuPaul advise Brooke Lynn Hytes (Celine Dion), Vanjie (Danielle “Bhad Bhabie” Bregoli), and Plastique (Lovely Mimi) against their chosen characters, and for good reason (their trial runs in the Werk Room were, as RuPaul mocked, a “God damned laugh riot”).
Pause, let’s marvel at this standalone shot of Vanjie’s wig:
As the queens assemble for Snatch Game (with special guests Tony Hale and Clea DuVall, from HBO’s hit series Veep), it becomes clear that Silky will steamroll the room with a reversal of the challenge’s rules by playing herself (with loose inspiration from social media star Ts Madison).
There’s a lot of volume, a lot of warm, signature Silky sass, and loads of energy, but Silky is an inherently funny, watchable person; her Snatch was lively, but she essentially stretched a single joke (something about the length of a wig?) out across the entire segment, whereas Shuga Cain (Charo) and Nina West (Harvey Fierstein and Jo Anne Worley) created dynamic characters that hit more than a single note — even if they weren’t delivering knee-slappers the entire way through. (Still, Nina should’ve won for this joke alone: “I’m not Harvey Weinstein; the only thing I’ve assaulted is a cheese plate.”)
I know it’s an unpopular opinion, and I’m not trying to make excuses for the clear-cut frontrunner just because she’s the clear-cut frontrunner, but Yvie’s take on Whoopi Goldberg wasn’t as atrocious as the judges labeled it. Though not every joke landed the way she’d hoped it would, she formed a concept and stuck with it, and even brought multiple props (including her dirty foot!) for a fleshed-out act instead of merely acting.
Vanjie, however, should’ve taken Jinkx’s advice. Her Bhad Bhabie was just plain bad, with no jokes worked into the act whatsoever (and a curiously shifting voice that started out like a child on helium and ended in Vanjie’s… regular… voice?)
Oh well. At least the couple that crashes together, stays together, as Brooke similarly flubbed her Celine Dion (though her wild hip-shaking bit is super reflective of something the real Celine might do, mind you).
Back in the Werk Room, most of the queens seem to know they screwed up. Yvie offers an apology to Silky for implying that she lacked talent, though the latter refuses to accept it (and calls it “half-assed” in a confessional).
Thankfully, Vanjie and Yvie patch things up in a far more professional way (by awkwardly touching their upper bodies to one another).
Speaking of upper bodies, Vanjie continues to only decorate hers with a leotard, and Michelle Visage’s face practically melts off as she struts the runway.
Nina pulls off a lewk that would’ve appeared ridiculous on just about any other queen the show has ever cast:
Shuga also wears a dress that Ru labels one of his favorites to ever work the runway:
Making up for her stank Snatch, Brooke pulls out all the gimmicks (and it appropriately stuns the judges):
(We haven’t seen that kind of enthusiasm since Roxxxy Andrews founded the wig reveal.)
Also, hello, yes, 911? I’d like to report three items stolen by Plastique in a seven-day stretch: Ra’Jah’s tree bark, several jokes from Anjelah Johnson’s nail salon routine for her Snatch Game performance, and now Brooke’s neck water!
(In all seriousness, Plastique looks divine here and any similarities between her neck water and Brooke’s neck water were entirely coincidental or the work of the same designer pre-show, I’m sure.)
As much as I love Vanjie, she’s been underperforming in recent weeks, and it’s a surprise to her that she remains safe for the eighth week in a row without any challenge victories.
That leaves Brooke and Yvie in the bottom. And this, ladies and men-in-wigs, is the face of a master puppeteer who knows exactly what she’s doing by pitting the two strongest season 11 competitors against each other in the context of a lip-sync:
Why? Because this happens:
Sure, the Avengers are great, but let’s see them do this:
Can Iron Man’s suit stretch to contort the human frame into shapes you never thought possible? I didn’t think so! You know whose now-iconic flesh can? These two!
Sum it up for us, Shuga!
What makes this lip-sync legendary isn’t just the splits, cartwheels, and death-defying acrobatics: It’s the way both queens worked the stage together, with moves that complimented the other and fed purely off the music and mutual performative chemistry.
“Haha, yes! Look at this! Look at what I have given you! Look at what I have created!”
The moment that birthed a million memes: Clea savoring her Drag Race experience.
The moment that did not birth a million memes but will probably lay the foundation for rage across the first two minutes of next week’s episode: Silky accepting the fact that both of her nemeses survived after Ru declares the most deserving double-shantay in Drag Race her-story!
RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 returns Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on VH1.
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