It’s the top five, bitches! The creme de la creme of RuPaul’s Drag Race. We’ve said a teary goodbye to some mighty fine queens along the way (and good riddance to a few stinkers) and now the crown is finally in sight. In all probability, tonight spells the end for Broadway Queen Alexis Michelle. The race for the final three is being fiercely debated on social media and her name is never mentioned. But sometimes one good performance can upset the whole apple cart. Is Alexis going to bring out the big guns tonight? Will a sure-fire lock for top three sashay away too early? After losing Eureka and Valentina, I’m going into full Mafia widow histrionics if Sasha Velour doesn’t make it. I will burn someone’s house down. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The girls seem exhausted after Nina Bo’nina Brown’s elimination. As a Nina fan, even I can admit that the room feels lighter with her gone. She was her own worst enemy and her departure was well overdue. As much as the girls feel for Nina, they have bigger fish to fry. Alexis knows she has to bring it hard this week. There’s only so many times Michelle Visage can read you for filth before RuPaul sends you home. Trinity can’t hide her unbridled glee that Shea Couleé finally experienced being in the bottom two. Watch it, Trinity. You may have won this battle but the war hasn’t been decided yet.
Just when you think you’ll never see another mini-challenge, RuPaul pulls out the puppets. Why? Because everyone loves puppets! Shea is the first to pick and she gets Peppermint. Sasha gets Trinity, Trinity gets Shea (uh oh), Peppermint gets Alexis and Alexis gets Sasha. I don’t think we’ve seen a bald puppet before. He’s adorable. They get twenty minutes to drag up their puppets and create a great act. It’s an explosion of craftiness. Pipe cleaners and glitter for everyone!
Shea starts things off. Her Peppermint jokes fall flat. Yeah, Peppermint got read for only paying attention to the top portion of her costumes but I need more. Sasha’s Trinity puppet is wearing two tiny puffballs and a teensy strip of fabric covering her tuck. Sasha goes for the easy laughs (plastic surgery and fillers) but she does it so well she has the whole room roaring. And there’s no sound better than Ru’s hysterical laughter. It’s infectious. Trinity’s Shea puppet is a mess. Trinity points out Shea’s bad makeup (I’ve never noticed) and puppet Shea claims it’s a Chicago thing. Alexis’ Sasha puppet starts out pretty on-point. She has the voice, the seriousness, the intellectual analysis. But then Alexis goes too far and it feels like the air is sucked out of the room. RuPaul gives her a pity clap but the rest of the queens stand on stony silence. It’s awkward. Peppermint’s Alexis puppet is a Broadway Queen. She leaves the stage and returns painted green. The queens absolutely lose their shit.
Sasha Velour wins! And this time her prize isn’t shampoo.
Almost every season has a ball challenge but season nine’s ball is the gayest ball ever! Their first look is inspired by the rainbow flag. Or, as Ru calls it, Rainbow She Betta Do. The second category is sexy unicorn. This really is a gay ball! The last look is Village People Eleganza Extravaganza. Hard hats and biker gear? Indian headdresses and flannel? Pretty much. They have to create a new outfit based on the Village People’s cowboy, cop, Native American, construction worker or leather biker. Hmmm.
They decide not to fight over the characters. Peppermint chooses the biker because everyone looks good in black. Sasha goes for the cowboy. I’m curious to see how she interprets that. Trinity takes the cop. She wants to push her boundaries and go edgy with her look. Alexis is the Native American. She’ll have to tread carefully or it could be offensive. And Shea selects the construction worker. It sounded ridiculous at first but I’m warming up to this Village People challenge. It will be interesting to see who can interpret the theme in a creative way and who will fall back on obvious choices.
RuPaul starts his rounds with Sasha and her cowboy look. Sasha loves her bandana fabric but she knows construction isn’t her strong suit. She’s counting on her smarts to carry her through. It’s nice to see the progress Sasha has made over the season. She is finally embracing what she used to consider a disadvantage. Alexis tells RuPaul that she’s building her Native American look around turquoise (said with an affectation). Ru’s “uh huh” doesn’t sound convincing. RuPaul even brings up the rough critique Alexis got all season for her aesthetics. Alexis remains confident. Hopefully she has the chops to back it up. RuPaul asks Shea (who always wears plaid) what attracted her to the construction worker. Shea is looking at it through a Vivienne Westwood, London punk scene lens. This should be interesting.
Before he leaves, RuPaul lets the girls know they’re going to do a group opening number. And since this is the gayest ball ever, they’re going to incorporate the gayest sport ever: rhythmic gymnastics. As the mini-challenge winner, Sasha Velour is in charge of choreography. Good luck, my dear. It’ll be like herding cats. With ribbons. As expected, it’s a complete clusterfest. The ribbons get tangled. Trinity gets whacked in the face. And everyone complains. A lot. As a Broadway Queen, Alexis thinks she’s best qualified to stage the performance. She gets frustrated when Sasha and Shea take over and ignore her input. It’s hard being an Indian when you know you’re a Chief.
In the workroom, Trinity and Shea go at it. Read, read, shade. Then Alexis takes her frustration out on Sasha by accusing her of being insecure in the choreography. Sasha isn’t having it but that doesn’t stop Alexis. She complains that Sasha trusts Shea’s vision more than she does the others. Isn’t that her right? She’s had great success (and fun) every time she’s worked with Shea. But in this case, Sasha actually feels like Shea was stepping on her heels. Shea claims she just wanted to help but Sasha saw it as talking over her. As the friends bicker, Alexis retreats to her corner, building her case for throwing Sasha under the bus. Shea reminds us, “It ain’t RuPaul’s Best Friend Race no more.”
RuPaul comes out in a big, blue puff of a dress. I think this is my favorite look of the season (although last week’s Zaldi dress is tough competition). Judges Michelle Visage and Carson Kressley are joined by model Joan Smalls and actress Andie MacDowell.
The queens perform their rhythmic gymnastics opener. There are lots of ribbons but it’s a little boring. I have to admit, it needs more Broadway.
In Rainbow She Betta Do, Shea wears a pink graffiti dress. It’s pretty but doesn’t evoke the rainbow flag. At all. Sasha Velour has deconstructed the flag into a sleek, colorblocked outfit. She pulls off her crown to reveal the Wizard of Oz house as a nod to the friends of Dorothy. Carson gasps theatrically. Alexis Michelle looks like Rainbow Brite. It’s the only literal look so far. I’m not impressed with her Fruit Stripe aesthetic. Trinity Taylor has a black latex bathing suit with rainbow straps and edging. This is how you do literal without being basic. Peppermint does a bathing suit/thigh high boots ensemble draped in rainbow fabric. It’s a great Pride look but not good enough for a top five runway.
Next up is Sexy Unicorn. Shea is in all black, from her leotard to her hose to her thigh high boots. I expect more from a fashionista. Sasha Velous goes in the complete opposite direction as a bird/unicorn hybrid. Is her horn a chicken? She cites medieval tapestries as her inspiration and I think she over thought (and overshot) this one. Alexis is a boring gold unicorn. I mean, great Halloween costume but that’s about it. Trinity Taylor is the Trinity Taylor of unicorns. Pink and purple, barely clothed, with plenty of faux fur. It’s not to my taste but at least it has some personality. Peppermint is a “space unicorn.” It’s a leotard, tights, flowy coverup and spiky headdress. It’s just not good enough.
After the unicorn debacle, I’m a little scared for the Village People Eleganza Extravaganza. I wouldn’t have gotten Shea’s construction worker inspiration if I hadn’t heard it beforehand. It reads more Wizard of Oz than Vivienne Westwood. On the other hand, it’s literal but not too much so. Sasha Velour is a bandana park ranger. She brings class to every presentation but I don’t get cowboy from her look. A little denim could have made all the difference. Alexis Michelle doesn’t go for obvious choices in her Native American look. I appreciate her archery bow hat but the rest of the look is basic, boring and poorly constructed. Trinity Taylor wins the category in a cop inspired ball gown. There are just enough hints to reference cop but not overly so. Bella Hadid would wear it to the Met Gala. Peppermint is in another bathing suit/thigh high boot with flowing fabric look. It’s black leather, which is new for her, but way too basic and obvious. Peppermint and Alexis are lip-syncing tonight.
Michelle clocks Shea for not wearing rainbow but almost lets her get away with it because the look was so gorgeous. Carson loves her construction worker outfit. The model wants to steal her patchwork coat. Michelle compliments Sasha’s manic Dorothy Hamill drag in the rhythmic gymnastics performance. Andie MacDowell is fully team Sasha. She points out how modern her looks are. Carson and Michelle only have good things to say about all of her looks. The model tears down all of Alexis Michelle’s looks as too basic. Carson points to Shea and Sasha as examples of how to make refined but extreme looks. Alexis doesn’t want to hear herself compared negatively to her biggest nemeses. Michelle Visage thinks Trinity’s rainbow ensemble looked good but she knows she could have done more. The judges gush over her cop look, obviously. It was the best look of the night. Peppermint gets mixed reviews. Michelle mentions that her unicorn look was sagging where it shouldn’t. Andie thinks her rainbow look was très chic. Carson and the model love her leather daddy look. Hmmm. I just don’t see it.
RuPaul asks the traditional top five “who deserves to go home” question. Shea and Sasha say Alexis. Alexis is pissed. She seems to think they should have told her her look was weak in the workroom, not in front of the judges. Alexis, this is the second time you’re getting mad at your competitors for not stopping you from making bad fashion choices. That’s not their job. This is all on you, girl. Alexis names Peppermint for not having polished looks. Trinity agrees. Once again, Peppermint goes for her biggest competition: Trinity Taylor. At least she’s honest and admits why she chose her.
Top two: Sasha Velour and Shea Couleé
Bottom three: Alexis Michelle, Trinity Taylor and Peppermint
Winner: Shea Couleé
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
The two queens up for elimination are Alexis Michelle and Peppermint. They perform Macho Man by the Village People.
Broadway queen Alexis Michelle came prepared to lip-sync. She starts things off by throwing on a handlebar mustache and the judges crack up. Good use of a prop, Alexis. Both queens have a lot of energy but there isn’t the excitement of Peppermint’s first lip-sync. Then she removes her wig for a second wig reveal. Take that, Alexis’ mustache! From there on, Peppermint owns the stage. Her fire, and amazing dance moves, are bac! No matter what Alexis does, this is Peppermint’s stage. The cameraman tries to give Alexis some attention but Peppermint won’t allow it. Alexis sees what’s happening. She deflates a little but to her credit, never gives up. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Peppermint, shantay you stay. Alexis Michelle, sashay away.
Next week: It’s going to be a fierce battle for top three. The queens write a rap to perform on RuPaul’s new single and visit Michelle Visage’s podcast. What, Carson doesn’t have a product to advertise?
And don’t forget to watch Untucked, right here on TamaraTattles.com.