This is it, Squirrel Friends. Tonight we find out who makes it into the top three of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the competition couldn’t be stiffer! First we have Sasha Velour, my personal favorite and the only remaining queen to never lip-sync for her life. She is creative, incredibly smart, and tackles every challenge in a unique and iconic way. But, as RuPaul pointed out last week, her Achilles heel is a propensity for fashion over “drag.” Will her lack of drama (in life and on-stage) be her downfall? Sasha’s bff, and frequent co-winner, Shea Couleé didn’t impress me at first. But one glimpse of her high fashion look in episode two and I was Team Couleé all the way. Ever since then, Shea has popped the corn and fed the children. Even her dip into the bottom two only strengthened her resolve to take it all the way (as exhibited by last week’s “construction worker” cape). No one has a buy to the finale but Shea is going to fight like hell for her spot.
Peppermint is the most experienced queen in the top four. She’s been a drag institution in NYC for decades so it’s been surprising to see her stumble in so many challenges. Where she doesn’t stumble? The lip-syncs. In a season of mostly lackluster lip-syncs, Peppermint tears up the stage. It doesn’t matter who she’s competing against. Once she gets going, Peppermint owns the stage. If she makes it through this week, it will be entirely due to her lip-sync performances. The top four is rounded out by pageant queen Trinity Taylor. I think it’s pretty clear I’m not a big fan. I definitely got grief (here and on social media) for calling her a filler queen. But I’m honest and I give credit where credit is due: Trinity deserves a spot in the top three. Quite early in the season, Trinity proved she is more than just a body-ody-ody. She’s not afraid to push outside of her comfort zone and has shown she has a sharp comedic wit. With this much talent in the top four, who should go home? It’s a tough choice, to say the least. I’m just glad it’s up to RuPaul because I honestly don’t know.
A tired top four wanders into the workroom after Alexis’ departure. She may not have had the skills to make it any further but the queens honor her dedication to the competition. As Peppermint cleans her message on the mirror (“Wishes come true, not free. You’re my sisters… always. -Miss Dickpig Continental, 2016 :P”). Shea is feeling her oats over her fourth win. But that doesn’t stop Sasha from busting her balls. Rainbow-less rainbow, anyone? While the rest of the girls play RuPaul’s Best Friend Race, Trinity sits in the corner, rolling her eyes. Bitch, please. Kumbaya is nice and all but deep down, they all want to win the crown. At any cost.
The next day, the girls are amped and ready for a new challenge. You might not have noticed it but boy Sasha only ever wears black. Just like me! I do it to hide the flab but still… Twinsies! And then I notice something that sends shock waves coursing through my body. What the hell is he wearing on his feet? Or, to quote Pauly D, what are thoooose? I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from seeing my fashion icon in Tevas. I guess I should be grateful he’s not wearing them with socks like my dad but it’s a hollow victory. Excuse while I try to put my shattered worldview back together. Freaking hipsters! They ruin everything.
Luckily, Michelle Visage waltzes into the workroom. Maybe she can shake me out of my fashion fugue. She tells the girls about their final challenge: performing in RuPaul’s “Category Is” remix. But this season they’re not just lip-syncing in the video. They have to write and record a new verse which they will perform live on the runway. And if that’s not enough product placement for you, they’ll also be guests on RuPaul’s podcast What’s The Tee with Michelle Visage. Gasp! How exciting. Peppermint is the only girl who has an album out so she’s feeling pretty confident. Shea is going to rap while Sasha is going the spoken word route. Makes sense. Trinity isn’t a singer. She gets the full “you in danger, girl” edit which means she’s probably going to surprise us in the end. Or suck. Knowing Trinity, either way will be entertaining.
Shea is the first to record her verse with All Stars judge Todrick Hall. Needless to say, Lucian Piane is nowhere in sight. Shea’s rap is really, really fast. I told you she was going to fight for her spot. Todrick is blown away. Trinity is next and she, um, sucks. She’s nervous and it’s holding her back. She’s not bringing Trinity. Todrick tells her she’s at 35% and she knows that’s not enough. Hold on a minute! She’s also wearing terrible man sandals. What is going on here? Am I hallucinating? Uh uh. No. Sigh. Peppermint is ready to kill it. It takes her a minute to relax but then she does her thing. Todrick tells Sasha that her performance isn’t good enough for the top three. Yikes. Sasha is so wed to her aesthetic that she bristles at his critique. You can be you, Sasha. Just bigger. I know you have it in you. When she eventually takes his advice, it flows. Even she feels the difference.
Peppermint is old enough to remember RuPaul’s talk show (with Michelle Visage) so she’s living for their podcast. This is where we get the emotional Ru moments. You know she feeds on drag queen tears, right? Peppermint talks about how polarizing it is to be a trans woman working in drag. It’s only since she’s been on the show that she finally sees that she can be both. Sasha talks about her relationship with her mom. She wishes she could have seen the drag queen she’s become. I’m just glad I can’t see her feet under that desk. Shea talks about being teased. Growing up in predominantly white neighborhoods, drag is the first place she feels she belongs. It’s her armor. As a comedic break, she teaches Ru how to speak in tongues. Trinity’s grandmother (who raised her) just couldn’t accept her homosexuality. Right before she died, they had a big falling out and Trinity told her she hated her. It haunts her to this day. RuPaul does her best Hollywood Medium and assures Trinity her grandmother forgives her. I hope she believes it. That has to be a heavy load to carry.
The girls meet on the runway for choreography with Todrick. This is the final four so he’s really going to push them. Peppermint does great, as expected. Since Sasha has never lip-synced, she’s a complete dark horse in dancing. Her rehearsal is rough but she promises Todrick she’ll come through in the performance. Shea and Trinity sit in the corner, smirking. No one’s singing Kumbaya today. Karma bites Trinity on the butt and she can’t get her own choreography down. To her credit, it looks hard but so did Sasha’s. Just saying. Todrick warns her that she’s not making top three if she doesn’t learn her moves. Trinity is a competitive bitch. She’s not giving up what she considers her rightful place. Todrick gives Shea the hardest choreography because he knows she’s a dancer. She barely breaks a sweat and the other girls are skirred. As they should be.
RuPaul wears her Ice Princess look from the Season Nine promos. You know, the one
she stole based on Naomi Smalls’ Book Ball gown. Since it’s the final four, the judging panel is Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews.
The queens perform “Category Is.” Peppermint takes a moment to find her rhythm but once she does, she shines. She’s sassy and classy. Her lip-sync and dancing are on point. Sasha Velour is true to her unique form of drag. She’s campy and scary. Smart and weird. She’s not the best dancer but she makes it work. Trinity Taylor is a consummate professional. She’s a performer through and through. That being said, her focus on the performance eats up some of her charm. She does great but she isn’t great (if that makes sense). Shea Couleé is the only girl Todrick trusts enough to work with a prop. Her rap is fast and fluid. She swings a baseball bat and dances her ass off. The night belongs to Shea. If tonight was the deciding factor, she’d walk away with the crown. But she’ll have to be satisfied with a sure spot in the top three and another chance to wow everyone in the finale.
The runway category is Final Four Eleganza Extraveganza. Peppermint wears an oversize hoop dress. She’s gorgeous but doesn’t blow me away. Sure, the dress is big but, at this point, that’s not enough. Once again, Peppermint fails in the details. Sasha is in a see-thru pink sequin gown. It’s simple but classy. Hopefully it’s dramatic enough for the judges. Shea is in another high fashion bustier/harness get up. It has Couleé written all over it. Unfortunately, it fits her strangely in the bust and her fake breasts look distractingly obvious. It won’t affect her win but I’m a little surprised that she’s not as meticulous as usual. Trinity gives us a showgirl entrance then turns and she’s rocking a retro, old Hollywood look. Brava. Trinity knows when to dust off her pageant queen.
RuPaul has the queens give their younger selves advice. It’s another chance for the girls to cry and allows us to see their cute baby pictures. Peppermint assures her past self that what she feels on the inside is true. And that she shouldn’t wait to express it because once she does, everyone else will agree. It’s a strong message for the trans community. Sasha tells her younger self that he worries too much about his negative traits (weird looking, too femme, etc). He needs to stop running from them because those “negatives” are actually what makes him so amazing. Shea thanks her little Shea for always believing in them. Trinity assures her younger self that all the hardships he goes through will make him a stronger person. And they all lead to drag.
Then it’s time for judging. Carson praises Peppermint for staying focused around all the hot dancers. Ross thinks she really delivered. Over the competition, Peppermint unfolded and revealed more and more of herself. Michelle lauds her Charisma. She always made the judges smile. Sasha, on the other hand, gets Uniqueness. Michelle thinks her “Category Is” performance is penultimate Sasha. Carson calls her runway looks artistic fashion moments. Ross likes that she was consistently herself yet flexible enough to succeed in the competition. Not an easy feat. Most queens who entered the competition with such a strong aesthetic weren’t able to do it. Michelle gives Shea Nerve for throwing herself into her characters with such gusto. Ross calls her “Category Is” performance the coolest of the bunch. Carson loves her mix of high fashion and a sense of humor. This is Michelle’s favorite Trinity look of the season. And she’s funny to boot! Naturally she gets Talent. She’s proved she’s capable of even more than she realized.
RuPaul asks the queens why they (and not their competitors) should be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. Peppermint gives the Miss America answer, citing Stonewall and love and unity. Sasha thinks the new thing in drag is weird, and that’s her. Shea thinks she worked hard, succeeded and earned it. Trinity points out that she’s grown the most, as a performer and a person. And she deserves the win.
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
RuPaul has all four queens lip-sync to U Wear It Well by Rupaul, of course. With so many girls on one stage it’s going to be challenging. They pretty much stay in their spots and try to grab attention. Finally Shea pulls away but even then she doesn’t really have room to do any big dance moves. They all do great but no one really stands out. Surprisingly, Peppermint is the most low key.
Finally it’s time for RuPaul’s decision. She eliminates… NO ONE. For the first time in herstory, there’s a final four. Everyone is shocked. No one wanted to go but they sure were looking forward to thinning the ranks. Hmmm…
Next week: It’s the reunion clip show!
And don’t forget to watch Untucked, right here at TamaraTattles.com!