Last night’s RuPaul’s Drag Race was deliciously entertaining, and that’s not necessarily due to the queens that remain in the competition.
A big part of what has made this show successful is the judging panel. Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews, Carson Kressley, Santino Rice, Todrick Hall and Merle Ginsberg have all brought their unique personalities to the table that have added that something extra to an already fabulous show. The guest judges that appear each week do the same, and Thursday’s episode was no exception. More on that later.
A common theme on RuPaul’s Drag Race has been the musical episode. They’ve been doing this since season 6 (I believe) in various forms that have centered around a variety of well-known entertainers like Cher and The Kardashians. Things got political this time around when the queens performed their hearts out to Trump: The Rusical.
People think Snatch Game is what separates the strong queens from the weak ones, but the musical episode has the same effect as you can really tell who excels on stage and who doesn’t. That couldn’t have been truer based on who came out on top and who was in the bottom by the time the show was over.
Scarlet Envy, who won the Rachel Maddow-inspired mini-challenge, had the duty of assigning roles to each of her competitors. I’m in the middle about Scarlet so far. She has bitchy traits that make her unlikable but then again she’s done pretty well in the competition so far. I kind of feel the same way about Ariel Versace and A’Keria Chanel Davenport at this point too.
The focus on Trump: The Rusical is a spin on Grease, with the queens portraying women in Trump’s orbit. Mercedes Diamond Iman, who is on borrowed time at this point, wanted to do the lead role of Shandy, which Scarlet didn’t feel too comfortable with based on how she’s performed this entire season. She chose to assign Shandy to Ariel instead, who wasn’t thrilled with having to do all the extra work and pressure that comes with a challenge like this.
The political atmosphere of this episode goes beyond the challenge. Silky Nutmeg Ganache went off on her hack against gerrymandering while Nina West talked about growing up in a conservative household and meeting major Republican figures in her younger years.
The Cleveland based queen also spoke out about a terrorizing moment that happened to her when she ran for student government in college that rang similar to what Matthew Shepard went through. It was enough for Mercedes to finally open up about her fears as a Muslim immigrant in America, which she somewhat touched on in previous episodes. RPDR always does a fantastic job at humanizing the queens, especially when it comes to something as personal as what Nina and Mercedes has had to go through in their lives.
It’s choreography rehearsal time! Ra’Jah O’Hara boasting about her dancing skills then coming up short when having to actually perform only weakens her overall longevity in this competition IMHO. Yvie Oddly also brought up that she has a connective tissues disorder while practicing her moves.
The guest judges this episode are Joel McHale and Tiffany “New York” Pollard. Oh my f***ing god, what a DUO! You have the sarcastic wit of Joel (who is dreamy as f**k) and the hilarity of Tiffany who embraced being called a drag queen years before this show was even on the air (look up her battles with the Flavor of Love 2 girls on YouTube).
Trump: The Rusical was fun to watch from start to finish. The standouts for me, and I’m shocked that they ended up in the middle of the pack, was Nina’s impression of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Shuga Cain doing Hillary Clinton. Silky killed it with her rendition of Oprah Winfrey, which was something she was worried about initially due to how small the part was.
On the other hand, Mercedes didn’t do that great of a job as Trump’s daughter Ivanka and Ra’Jah’s version of Omarosa was bleak in comparison to the other queens.
It makes sense that the runway theme was orange given who the main challenge was about. The queens excelled for the most part, notably Shuga and Yvie’s look, but what made me happiest was seeing how Joel was pissing Michelle off the entire time. Not sure if he was mocking the show’s process, but he definitely got under her skin in the most amazing of ways. Tiffany, on the other hand, looked like she was having a damn good time. Please bring both of them back again in the future.
Silky winds up winning the challenge in the end, which I agreed with. Do I think she’s a front runner at this point? No, but it’s going to be interesting to see what her edit will be as she was crucified for her extra personality after the first episode aired.
Mercedes and Ra’Jah were in the bottom two. Not much of a shocker. Mercedes sashayed away at the end. She’s a likable queen but not ready for something like this.
It’s Yvie’s game to lose. She’s getting a Sharon Needles edit right now and that is working to her favor. I’m all for it at this point.
I feel like Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vanessa Vanjie Matteo will be on a very special and naughty edition of Untucked later in the season hehe. What the hell is going on with these two?
Scarlet is coming off as jealous and petty and someone who doesn’t take critiques well.
As Eureka O’Hara said to Kameron Michaels during the reading challenge in season 10, “Joel McHale I don’t have a read for you… please just f**k me.”
This is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other Contributing Writers.