By Contributing Writer Lady Cocotte
After last week’s disappointing Snatch Game, I’m praying things turn around on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I still have PTSD from season seven so any dip in quality scares me… Come through, Mama Ru! Seriously, I’m begging you. Come through. Just to rub salt in our wounds, we start with Acid Betty’s elimination. This one was a shocker for me. Not because she did good in Snatch Game (she didn’t). And not because she outperformed Naomi Smalls in the lip-sync (she didn’t). But she’s just so damn talented. I really saw her in the top four or five. Well, at least she’ll get more work out of this. Drag queens are always complaining that you have to be a Ru girl to get booked these days. I’m not saying it’s fair (there are a lot of extremely talented ladies who don’t get the attention they deserve because they’ve never been on TV) but Betty needs the boost. Sure, she could just try being nicer to people but this was probably easier for her.
As Naomi Smalls reads Betty’s message on the mirror (“Ladies, you have been touched by fierceness! Now werq it out! -Bob, heart you! See jew in New York. -Thorgy you are amazeballz! -AcidBetty.com”) we get talking heads of the rest of the ladies celebrating Betty’s departure. Not as vigorously as everyone celebrated Kristen Doute’s firing on Vanderpump Rules (I’ll never forget the dancing kitchen staff) but celebrating nonetheless. Talk turns to Naomi being in the bottom two. Lip-syncing for her life scared the bejesus out of her but she doesn’t want to hide her body. She works hard to look that cheap! “The other queens think that what I do doesn’t take a lot of effort,” Naomi complains. “And that’s totally not true. I put tons of work into my drag esthetic so it’s frustrating.” In other words, stop hating, haters.
RuPaul brings a guest into the workroom. It’s some writer from Enter-taint-ment Weekly (gotta earn those sponsorship coins). He tells the girls how much everyone loves reading the Drag Race recaps every week (well, duh). This segues perfectly into the mini-challenge because, in the great tradition of Paris is Burning, the library is open. Because reading is what? Fundamental. I just never get tired of that intro!
Chi Chi Devayne starts things off by reading Thorgy Thor. “Girl, I love you so much, I don’t know whether to give you a hug or put some change in a cup.” Chi Chi is funny! She moves on to Bob the Drag Queen. “You may be from New York, honey, but those feet are still from Mississippi.”
Next is Kim Chi. She compares Chi Chi to chicken neck (cheap and no one wants it) and Naomi’s wardrobe to Nicole Paige Brooks. RuPaul is surprised that sweet little Kim Chi can be so shady but the rest of the girls are fully aware.
Thorgy admits that Derrick is so cute she’d hit him baby one more time. RuPaul is laughing hysterically. For Bob, Thorgy keeps it simple. “Bob, please shut up.” Even when she’s reading, Thorgy is still polite!
I’m not sure if I’m ready for Derrick Barry. There’s nothing worse than a stupid person that thinks they’re funny. Ok, sock it to me. She starts with a lame read of Naomi. Yawn. And then she tries Bob. “I had no idea there are different shades of ashy.” I have to admit that made me chuckle.
Robbie Turner makes a joke about Kim Chi being raptured on the runway and no one taking Naomi seriously because she was born after windows 95 came out. Kind of funny but I expected more from her. Naomi turns things back on Robbie. “Robbie Turner, we know you’re a vintage queen but do you have to smell like mothballs too?” Funny and probably accurate (I was a hipster in the 90’s so I speak from experience).
And now it’s time for the main act (I mean, come one. We all know this challenge is made for Bob the Drag Queen). “It is a known fact that Derrick Barry is not very smart. When she heard Britney Spears she said, ‘Does she? I prefer fencing.’” Since I believe in truth in journalism (yes, I consider tamaratattles.com serious journalism. You have a problem with that?) I must admit I had to listen to that joke twice to get it. #lymopause. She concludes with a double slam. “It’s very hard to have an intelligent conversation with Derrick Barry. The only thing harder is Robbie Turner’s wig lines.” RuPaul is doubled over in laughter. But Bob isn’t done yet. “Robbie Tur-ter. I know you’re a huge fan of classic movies and television. May I recommend one of my favorite classic TV shows? Flipper.” I’ve never noticed Robbie’s teeth before but you know I’ll be looking now. Naomi Smalls almost falls over backwards she laughing so hard. The EW writer announces the winner: (drumroll, please…) Bob the Drag Queen! Gasp. What a surprise! Bob wins $6,000 worth of jewels. I know I have lymopause and everything but I don’t remember them winning prizes in the mini-challenge. Maybe I need to eat two almonds to get my strength back.
Since they love reading so much, RuPaul whips out his favorite book: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This week the ladies will create original drag couture to turn the cast of Little Women: LA into their Wizard of Oz themed drag sisters. Whew. That’s a lot of work. In a cool switch, the Little Women are the ones to choose their partners. Briana Mason chooses Kim Chi to help her represent the Wicked Witch. We already saw their costume in the season eight promos so I know they’re going to do great together. Brittney Guzman chooses Thorgy Thor to portray a citizen of Oz. It’s weird that they didn’t get an actual character but whatever. Christy McGinity Gibel chooses Robbie Turner to do the Cowardly Lion with her. They should base their look on Kim Chi’s lion look. Elena Gant chooses Bob the Drag Queen to help her with Glinda the Good Witch. Not my first choice for Glinda but Bob always comes through. Terra Jole chooses Derrick Barry to portray the Tin Woodsman. They already know each other because they both do Britney Spears impersonations. Good luck, Terra. You’re gonna be wearing a bathing suit. Jasmine Arteaga Sorge chooses Naomi Smalls for the Scarecrow. Hmmm. Naomi got called out for her lingerie looks last week. I’m curious to see what she does with the scarecrow concept. Last but not least, Tonya Banks chooses Chi Chi Devayne to represent Dorothy. Of all of them, Chi Chi has the most experience making something from nothing. This should be interesting.
The ladies get to work with their new partners. Naomi and Jasmine bond over being the pretty ones (or maybe it’s that they’re both willing to call themselves the pretty ones). Luckily, Jasmine seems to fully get Naomi’s high fashion goals. Naomi feels like she has a lot to prove this week. “I really want to show the girls that I’m not just a walking bra and panty. And I’m talented.” Now they need to turn those ideas into actual garments. Christy and Robbie both love vintage but they’re kind of stumped with the Cowardly Lion theme. Thorgy thinks they should be worried considering Robbie’s disastrous poodle design in the first episode. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of that silhouette (or lack thereof).
Bob complains to Elena that the girls are all sick of her winning and hope to see her fail. Elena has gotten her fair share of jealousy (because she really is the pretty one even though she’d never say that outloud). Everyone is hating on Bob this episode. I can’t tell if production is crafting a “Bob fails” storyline or if she’s just filled the villain vacuum now that Acid Betty is gone. Curiouser and curiouser.
Tonya is watching Chi Chi hot glue her outfit and asks if she’s scared of sewing. Chi Chi is more concerned with creating something fashionable enough for the judges. ”I keep saying that I’m like the broke queen. You know what I mean?” She asks Tonya. “I just cannot get out of my head.” Tonya cautions her to stay away from that mindset. “It ain’t no if, it ain’t ‘I’m trying,’ or ‘I can’t.’ No. I am and I’m doing it.” That’s what Chi Chi really needs to hear. Good on you, Tonya. I think Chi Chi is going to get so much out of this challenge. As she explains, “The lesson in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz for Dorothy is that she’s searching for something that she already has. So maybe I have everything I need and I am a real live Dorothy.” The screen just got blurry. Damn allergies!
RuPaul enters the workroom for consultations. She asks Kim Chi how she’s going to translate her Leigh Bowery style to a little person. That’s a kind of fucked up question since the obvious answer is to simply make it smaller (Sophie Smith in England is a great example of a fierce little drag queen). Kim Chi has more refinement than I do so she turns her answer around to Briana specifically. She is basing her design on Briana’s style inspirations (Jessica Rabbit, Betty Boop, etc) and since Kim loves doing cartoon makeup they’re both happy. Brittney gets the chance to talk about working with Miley Cyrus which makes RuPaul squee (starfucker). RuPaul wants to see sketches but Thorgy doesn’t have anything to show yet. RuPaul gives her an “Okay, okay…” which correlates to Andy Cohen calling you “darling.” It’s not good. Thorgy must be quaking inside but she does a good job hiding it from Brittney. Derrick and Terra think they’re hot shit. As the most famous girls on their respective shows, they think they have this challenge sewn up. When Derrick starts talking about “elements that can go onto a bodysuit…” RuPaul interrupts to point out that Derrick has presented a bathing suit or bodysuit with something over it almost every challenge. Hmmm. Is Ru finally starting to tire of Derrick’s shitckt? Please let this be her swan song. I can’t handle seeing another more talented queen sashay away because RuPaul has an agenda with Derrick. Derrick looks terrified (which, I’m not proud to say, makes my little black heart happy).
Since he always loves to twist the knife, RuPaul announces that in addition to their runway presentation, each duo needs to perform a dreamy interpretive dance, set in a poppy field. Derrick looks even more terrified. Kim Chi is having her own moment. “This challenge just went from my dream to my biggest nightmare.” Uh oh. Kim Chi has to dance again… Kim and Briana start working on their interpretive dance but she’s worried. As Kim explains, “To ask the question, do I understand interpretive dance is to ask do I know the entire pi formula. And the answer is nooo.” Kim Chi decides the solution is to make ridiculous faces. Terra quips that she looks like she’s getting a dental exam. Derrick basks in the shade.
Naomi and Jasmine work on their scarecrow steps. They don’t get far before things fall apart. Naomi wants to know what interpretive dance is but all Jasmine can muster is, “Uhhhh…” They may not be the sharpest tools in the shed but they’re pretty!
Chi Chi asks Tonya if the scarecrows are practising. “No. They’re both staring at each other, trying to figure it out.” And she’s not lying. They narrate Jasmine and Naomi’s conversation. “What do you think?” “What do you think?” I know I should snark on them like I did on Terra and Derrick but I’m not going to. See, when you like someone, their shitty behaviour is sometimes funny. That’s just the way life is. At the same time, Robbie Turner is having major difficulties with his costumes. Nothing seems to be going right. Chi Chi, on the other hand, is feeling good about her efforts. Derrick doesn’t think she should. “What? We’re all working and she’s done. Do something more to your outfit because it doesn’t look that great.” Derrick’s not wrong. It’s really, really simple. Ooh, all of the girls are getting steamed. Even Thorgy is ready to confront Chi Chi. “Somebody in this competition should not be wasting their time but using every single second to create every single thing perfect.” Someone should tell her before she steps on the stage for judging. But then I remember this isn’t Best Friends Race. Anyway, all Chi Chi is thinking about is Chipotle for dinner followed by Clueless on Netflix so this one is on her.
As they prepare for the runway, Bob the Drag Queen is running way behind. HIs costume fell apart so he has to start from scratch. And that’s on top of doing his and Elena’s makeup. No bueno. The girls start the heartfelt discussions that always happen during makeup application. Jasmine Arteaga Sorge talks about her problems with the word midget and how casually strangers use it to her face. Christy McGinity Gibel thinks she’s so comfortable around gay people because they get it. “You know, they get treated the same way.” You can’t stop being the height you are and you love who you love. Robbie Turner agrees. “At the end of the day, everybody just wants to be loved, everybody just wants to fit in.” Elena is beat to the gods but at the 15 minute warning, Bob still isn’t dressed or in makeup. What? Crazy! No one can do drag in fifteen minutes. This is serious. Thorgy Thor tries to offer support but Derrick is just gloating. “The judges will finally read him for something. Please read Bob.” Uh, Derrick, that’s what we’ve all been saying about you. And we’ve been justified. Now I really want Bob and Derrick in the bottom two so Bob can send him home. Come through, karma! Come through.
RuPaul is gorgeous in purple moire. On the judging panel, Ross Matthews joins perennial judge Michelle Visage and guest judges Marc Jacobs and Todrick Hall. Todrick is dressed as a citizen of Oz. Hopefully he doesn’t upstage Thorgy and Brittney.
Chi Chi and Ti Ti Devayne (Tonya) serve Dorothy realness. They’re wearing matching bustiers and skirts with tendrils. Very basic (in all ways). Come on, Chi Chi. I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! How dare you? Bob the Drag Queen and Rob the Faux Queen (Elena) bring their Glinda the Good Witch couture. Elena looks awesome. She has big red hair and a flowy white dress.
Bob, on the other hand, is a mess. Obviously we didn’t expect much from his hair and makeup considering his time issues but even the outfit is blah. Michelle snipes, “I think I wore that outfit to prom.” Marc Jacobs snipes back, “I think I wore that outfit to prom.” And they’re both talking about Elena’s because Bob is a non-factor.
Naomi Smalls and Jazzy Jems (Jasmine) are the most surprising. They’re both wearing white bobs and high fashion couture. Jasmine’s looks like a little straw dress and Naomi is wearing expensive rags. Très chici! She knew she had to bring it and she did. “I’m trying to give the judges another side of Naomi,” she explains. “Vivienne Westwood meets Scarecrow meets Vidal Sassoon. And we look amazing.” They really do.
Derrick and Terra Barry do a stiff Tin Man walk but Terra oils them up and they stomp the runway. Their makeup is great but their bathing suits with cover-up ensembles look cheap and boring. And that’s before I notice the silver banana wings bouncing on their shoulders. Derrick shot for couture but he missed. Big time.
Robbie and Hedda Turner (Christy) are lucky they came after Derrick (if you know what I mean). They’re wearing crowns and lion mane epaulets but the overall look is kind of sad. Their dresses look like fabric wrapped around their bodies, secured with trimming. And then they turn around to show weird ruffled bustles. Robbie, darling (said in my best Andy Cohen voice) this isn’t a good look for you.
Thorgy Thor and Thorgeous (Brittney) look great. They’re all in green from wigs to toes. It’s kind of understated for Thorgy but their outfits looks professionally made. Finally we get Kim Chi and Miso Chi (Briana). Kim is carrying Briana so she’s a little clumsy but the image is amazing. Briana is wearing a long skirt and looks as tall as Kim while Kim stays entirely hidden behind her. Then Kim awkwardly puts her down and they walk the runway. I’m confused. In the season eight promos, they showed Kim throwing Briana away to reveal their separate looks. It was an exciting moment and we were all looking forward to it. Where’d it go? What kind of game is production playing with us? I’m so consumed with the missing moment that I’m barely registering Kim Chi’s cool witchy look.
And now it’s time for the dance performances. It’s a remix of a few seconds of each performance. They must not have been very good. RuPaul should have given them time with Drag Race choreographer Jamal Sims.
But then things get fun again. RuPaul asks the girls who should be eliminated. Chi Chi Devayne thinks Derrick Barry’s outfit is a trainwreck. Bob the Drag Queen picks Derrick based on this challenge. Oh, come on Bob! You know it’s more than just this challenge. I thought you had more balls than that. Naomi Smalls also chooses Derrick based on execution. Derrick is pissed. He wants to pick all three girls that said his name (bitter) but goes with Chi Chi because her outfit is hot glued together. Robbie Turner also says Chi Chi because she didn’t think her look said Dorothy. I’m pretty sure you had a lot more to say in your talking heads, Robbie! Why won’t anyone be honest? Oh, it takes the sweet girl to speak the truth. Kim Chi picks Chi Chi because she finished early and just sat around instead of fine tuning her look. Thorgy Thor appreciates Kim’s honesty. She also names Chi Chi. “I think in this competition you have to apply every single second and I’m here to win so people like Chi Chi piss me off.” Sing it, sister! I love Chi Chi but she deserves to be called out in this situation.
Top queens: Naomi Smalls, Kim Chi and Thorgy Thor. The winner is Naomi Smalls! And she totally deserves it.
Bottom queens: Chi Chi Devayne, Derrick Barry and Robbie Turner.
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
The two queens up for elimination are Derrick Barry and Robbie Turner. They perform I Love It by Icona Pop.
Come on, Robbie! Send Derrick home! Do it for us, the fans. Uh, oh. Robbie didn’t listen to me. She’s kind of lifeless. And Derrick is NOT. She is owning that stage. First she takes off her elephant tusk shoulder warmers, then she whips off her cover-up. Britney has joined the competition. She’s doing choreography. She’s maintaining eye contact. Derrick isn’t going anywhere. Robbie seems to think she has this thing in the bag but she’s wrong. The judges try to watch her out of fairness but they can’t turn away from Derrick. And then Robbie pulls her wig off. No! Never remove your wig while performing, unless you’re wearing another wig underneath. That’s a cardinal sin. Game over. Fat lady has sung. Derrick totally slayed. Derrick Barry, shantay you stay. Robbie Turner, sashay away. Derrick makes an emotional speech about being outside of her comfort zone in the competition. “And it just crumbled down on me today. Because I’ve put myself in a Britney box and I’m doing my best to get out of that. So thank you for allowing me to continue to make it happen.” Oh, no. My little black heart just let Derrick Barry in. What is happening to me? Who am I in dis world? I’m going to go eat my feelings now.
Tune in to Untucked for more heartwarming moments like this, right here at tamaratattles.com:
“After strutting down the yellow brick road, the queens untuck and the broomsticks come out. Two queens dive into a stitches verses hot glue shade throwing standoff. The queens’ Little Women join them and bring along some big opinions. Honey, we are not in Kansas anymore.”
Next week: The queens shoot shady presidential campaign ads, hoping to become the first drag president.
And feel free to discuss the premiere of the Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul in the comments. My DVR screwed up so I only got the first minute but I’ll catch up on Friday.