Previously on Drag Race: The ladies showcased their personalities in an infomercial challenge. The eternally successful Gigi Goode stumbled for the first time. Heidi N Closet got herself a challenge win. And Widow Von’Du faltered, but Jan was tragically the one to go.
The girls regroup in the werk room and discuss their performance in the recent challenge. Gigi Goode is a little shook to have been in the bottom for the first time, and Widow Von’Du vows to redeem herself for her fuck-up this week.
Side note: Remember the two groups from the split premieres? As of this week, Jaida Essence Hall is the only queen left in the running from Group 2.
This week, the mini-challenge is a strange comedy routine where the queens must dress up as cats. A few of the girls take the challenge a little too literally and try to actually behave like cats, which like… is kind of weird.
The girls who do the best job are the ones who try to anthropomorphize the cat shtick as much as possible. Crystal Methyd plays a version of Grumpy Cat and casually knocks over a flower vase.
Jackie Cox rolls her R’s and behaves like a sultry Bond villain. She even speaks in rhymes.
Jackie wins the mini-challenge! I feel like it should’ve been a tie with Crystal but whateva.
This week is a political episode: the queens must debate in “Choices 2020,” a big-time political debate. To help the queens fine-tune their ideas, RuPaul brings in Drag Race legend and perpetual runner-up, Raven.
During Ru and Raven’s tour of the werk room, Gigi is asked about her political savvy and admits she’s not really involved in politics all that much. Oof.
Jackie Cox reveals that even though she’s very politically minded, she’s not actually an American citizen––she’s Canadian, and is only here on a Green Card.
Crystal Methyd’s having trouble coming up with a platform and an angle. Ru and Raven shoot down the idea she has so far, which makes her very nervous.
While getting ready in the mirror, the girls discuss politics and our current Orangutan-in-Chief. Crystal talks about how difficult it is to have parents who voted for him and still support him. Jaida and Jackie express the importance of bringing in change this year. Jackie’s mom has been having health issues and because of the Muslim travel ban, her sister hasn’t been able to come to the US to help take care of her.
Trying out something new here – this week in Ru’s Lewk Ruview:
The hair is a little classic but I love the color. The garment is sawft, it is cute, it works.
Let’s see how our queens do in “Choices 2020!”
Crystal Methyd knows the mullet is a serious advantage that she needs to milk dry at this point, so she wears a longer wig version of her mullet for the challenge. Her platform involves bringing more glitter to the world––hopefully the biodegradable kind! She does a great job.
Heidi N Closet is playing a classic Southern belle with a political edge and overdramatic reactions to everything. Her captivating personality makes her performance delightful as usual. She’s not a major standout, but she’s always fun to watch.
Widow Von’Du decides to take the debate theme very literally for some reason and, with the exception of one or two decent jokes, mostly spends her time acting like a real politician at a debate: super angry and not very likable.
Jackie Cox has the Jackie Kennedy lewk down, which is especially clever since they share a first name. Sadly, the rest of her performance is pretty abysmal. Despite being one of the most intelligent people in the room, she spends the entire challenge beating this dead horse of a joke about her actually being Canadian, not American. It’s a big fail.
Gigi Goode’s lack of political know-how is showing here. She repeats herself, she makes strange references to secretly being a robot––which, you know, we’ve seen her do the robot thing already––and when given the opportunity to show off her runway walk, doesn’t seize the opportunity for a joke in the slightest. The whole thing is no bueno.
Jaida Essence Hall is absolutely brilliant start to finish. She’s quick, she has a witty response for everything she’s asked, and she plays up the old shtick that politicians love to resort to when asked a difficult question: diversion. Her platform is “confusion,” and her act is hilarious.
And a review of this challenge would not be complete without bringing attention to this week’s incredible guest judges and moderators, Rachel Bloom and Jeff Goldblum, who run the show with class, great humor, and a distinguished point of view. Brava to Rachel and Jeff.
Back on the runway, the category is “Stars and Stripes,” an All-American extravaganza!
Crystal Methyd’s lewk, made up of a bunch of mismatched fabrics and elements, doesn’t sit right with Carson Kressley, but I think it’s high fashion. She looks fantastic, and that hair and makeup are so right.
Heidi N Closet’s fun bedazzled lewk isn’t revolutionary, but it does the job. The color combination works wonderfully. She’s a woman.
Widow Von’Du took the theme in a different direction with this gorgeous black-and-white homage to the Black Panther movement. It’s bold, it’s beautiful, and it’s important representation. Black excellence.
Speaking of representation, Jackie Cox brings things a step further with this caftan-and-hijab lewk that’s absolutely brilliant. It’s simple, but it has such a powerful message: yes, you can be Muslim and American and those two things are not mutually exclusive. This is the kind of amazing statement piece I’d expect from Jackie.
Gigi Goode’s look is a flawless historical nod to that one iconic military outfit from the American Revolution. You know… ahem… the British one. It’s a great look, but the fact that she wore the red one rather than the traditional blue overcoat the soldiers of the revolution wore is a big miss and another glaring sign of her young age. Bad week for Gigi.
Jaida Essence Hall looks incredible in this custom-made graphic novel superhero lewk. The curves are right, the hair is right, and those boots that go all the way up to her bedazzled vagine are giving me everything I never knew I wanted.
Now for the critiques: Crystal, Heidi, and Jaida did a wonderful job. Gigi, Widow, and Jackie, not so much. When she’s told her politician came off way too angry, Widow loses her patience and says she doesn’t understand what else she was supposed to do and feels like she wasted her time. Mama Ru and Rachel Bloom try to pull her out of her downward spiral with excellent life advice about separating your self-worth from your art, but Widow ain’t having it. She’s pissed.
Jeff Goldblum asks Jackie Cox about her outfit and traditional Islam’s delicate relationship with all things LGBT, and sparks a really interesting discussion about religion. No, her religion isn’t perfect, Jackie admits, but with this outfit, she’s showing her desire for an America where it’s okay to be Muslim and gay and American and where none of those things have to cancel each other out.
In the Untucked lounge, Gigi recognizes she hasn’t been doing enough to educate herself in politics. Jaida tells her the fact that she’s at least aware of that is half the battle. Evil triumphs when good drag queens do nothing, bitch.
Widow has a tougher problem. She’s been stuck in this endless cycle of poor performances and bad critiques and narrowly avoiding elimination. She’s unable to separate giving a few bad performances from her general talent level; she thinks because her character this week wasn’t funny, it means she’s not a funny person. Crystal equates Drag Race to a game of Jumanji, saying you never know what to expect and are always going to be caught off guard.
None of the pep talks and advice the other queens are trying to give Widow are getting through to her, though. While Miss Von’Du is rehearsing her lip-sync, Jackie laments that the rest of the group hasn’t been able to get close enough to Widow, because she won’t let them. That’s been part of Widow’s problem throughout the season: she hasn’t allowed the other girls to be her friends and allies, and has instead chosen to try to go it alone.
Realizing one of them will likely be going home, Jackie decides to reach out to Widow in the last moments before they return to the runway. She tells Widow she’s sorry they didn’t get a better chance to get to know each other. It’s a brief, genuine moment between two emotional people.
On the main stage, Jaida Essence Hall is declared the winner!
Gigi Goode is safe, so as Jackie Cox expected, she and Widow Von’Du are the bottom two. They’re lip-syncing to Katy Perry‘s “Firework,” which I’m surprised has not been a lip-sync song on the show before.
Despite feeling defeated, Widow does a great job with the emotion of the song and gives it her all. But Jackie is radiant in her hijab––which she wisely keeps on for the whole song––and uses the energy of the song to really serve that immigrant’s dream that she was talking about. It’s a show-stopping performance and it nets her the win.
Jeff Goldblum is moved to tears by the queens’ performances, which like… how can you not feel the same?
It was a rough few weeks for Widow, and the poor gal allowed her inner saboteur to take the wheel. It’s so unfortunate, because she’s damn talented. I’d grown to love her genuine personality over the season. She’s a real one, and with a little time to realize how much of a star she is, she’ll be unstoppable.
Now for a run-down!
Crystal Methyd – Crystal had a moment of weakness a few weeks ago, pulled herself up, and has been on a wonderful upward climb since. She’s doing a fabulous job lately. Heck, she might even squeeze her way into that top three.
Heidi N Closet – It’s a testament to the magnetism of Heidi’s personality that she’s managed to overcome limited financial means and average makeup skills and still make it this far in the competition––in such a talented season, too. You can’t not love Heidi, it’s just not possible. And that is a massive advantage.
Jackie Cox – Miss Cox was in the bottom two for the first time this week, but this episode was hers. She shone on that runway and in that lip-sync in a way she hadn’t before. I’m so happy she was brave enough to showcase her truest self out there. It takes a lot of guts to do what Jackie’s been doing, and she deserves all the praise for it.
Gigi Goode – Miss Goode was on top of the world until a couple weeks ago, and now she’s really not doing so hot anymore. Worse than the challenge performances, though, the queen’s age and lack of life experience really showed this week. In this day and age, when politics are such an all-encompassing thing, it’s hard to think of America’s Next Drag Superstar as someone who just isn’t politically involved. That could be a real factor when the time comes to crown a winner.
Jaida Essence Hall – I am SO happy Madam Hall finally clawed her fabulous way back to the top after so many weeks since her first challenge win. It’s clear now, she’s a frontrunner right alongside Gigi. And while she may not have given the stellar performances Gigi did in several of these challenges, Jaida has a voice that deserves to be heard. She’s the kind of queen that would do great things with the platform of a winner. Food for thought…
There are only a handful of queens left, hennies. Who will make it to the top? Who will fall short? Will the world end before a finale can even be filmed? Stay tuned to (hopefully) find out!