Previously on Drag Race: The season’s new queens were split into two groups from the get-go—the winner’s circle and the Porkchop girls. Elliott with 2 Ts was selected by the losing team as the weakest link and sent, unbeknownst to them, to compete with the winners instead. Symone won the first challenge of the season… and no one went home.
After their first challenge, the winner’s circle returns to the werk room to kiki and celebrate Symone’s win—and to discuss the other ladies. The winning group thinks the B-Team is going to have a lot to live up to when they do rejoin the competition.
The next morning, the winner’s circle has temporarily vacated the premises to leave room for the other six bitches, who are here for their first “real” day in the competition. RuPaul comes in to tell the girls that sometimes, what you need to really succeed is a little tough love.
This episode is going to mirror the previous episode a lot: the mini-challenge involves two fashion runways and the maxi-challenge will have the queens recording and lip-syncing to their verses in a version of a Ru song. C’mon, equal opportunity!
As the queens are starting to get ready for the mini-challenge, Kahmora Hall reveals that she likes to take her time to get into drag, and that her makeup is like a “spiritual transformation.” She tends to need FIVE OR SIX HOURS to get into the geesh.
The queens were given two hours to get ready for the mini-challenge. As that time limit starts to approach, it becomes clear Kahmora is not even close to being ready. The five-minute warning comes as she’s still halfway through applying her makeup… let alone actually getting dressed.
The first category for the fashion show mini-challenge is “Lady.” Whatever that means. Denali opens the show with a beautiful confection, all blue and flowery and full of lovely details. Her leg even has matching embellishments, which is a nice touch.
Joey Jay is proudly debuting her signature style: the no-wig lewk. She’s wearing this luxurious-looking gal on the go outfit. It’s a cool androgynous kind of moment.
Rosé is giving us this very cool hand-painted geometric Picasso fantasy with an “R” purse that matches the “osé” painted on the back of her skirt. Clever gal.
Tamisha Iman went a more classic direction with harem pants and a beautiful lace coat. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it’s a charming look, though I wish the hair was bigger.
Utica is wasting no time establishing herself as the resident kooky kween. This nutty vintage, psychedelic ball-covered look is a treat. There’s balls everywhere you look!
Kahmora Hall didn’t have time to paint on eyebrows, but at least she looks presentable aside from that detail. Her look is classic and proper. Nothing incredible, but the fascinator and teacup are nice touches.
The next category is “Vamp,” for a darker, more nighttime-appropriate vibe. Full Sluttisha.
This Denali look is my favorite kind of drag: a dramatic, deconstructed 18th-century accoutrement with the visible hoop skirt frame. Bury me in this, honestly.
Joey Jay, still wigless, is serving intense dominatrix. I do like that she applies temporary hair dye to her real hair to vary things up a bit, color-wise.
This Rosé look. There are no words. None at all. I would say crown it, but I wouldn’t want to ruin this vision in black and red by adding a tacky-ass crown on top of it. You better fucking werk.
I wanted more hair in Tamisha’s first look, and I guess… I got more hair. This Elvira reference is covered in long-ass hair from head to toe. It’s not my favorite look, but I respect the amount of work that went into this.
Kahmora’s lack of eyebrows fortunately works well with this modern-day vampire-type look. It’s simple, but it looks good. The wet hair illusion was a great choice.
This Rita Repulsa fantasy from Utica is fucking fantastic. It’s dark, it’s fashionable, it tells a story, the makeup is amazing, and there’s even a callback to her first look with darkened balls around her neck and on her skirt. A-ma-zing.
The mini-challenge is finally done and as the girls de-drag, Tamisha Iman reveals she is 49 years of age and has three biological children in addition to her dynasty of drag children.
Biological childrenses!! C’mon ACTUAL Mama Iman.
The ladies work on writing their verses and start to prep their choreography. Rosé, Denali, and Joey Jay are all experienced with choreographing and are going to co-lead this thing. And by “co-lead,” I mean “talk over each other until they run out of time.”
Tamisha Iman is also an experienced choreographer. But with three queens already fighting over the moves, she chooses to stay quiet and let the children run rampant. Very Elliott with 2 Ts last week.
Kahmora Hall is revealing a second weakness this week (golly): she can’t dance. She’s having a lot of trouble following the routine… possibly because there are three choreographers. At some point, Joey Jay suggests picking her up instead of letting her follow the routine. Then all she has to do is be lifted!
Finally, the cacophony becomes too much for Tamisha to deal with and she interrupts the girls to tell them what to do.
The next day, Kahmora reveals that she’s under a lot of pressure to prove to her boyfriend of eight years that she can do drag professionally. It sounds like her boyfriend isn’t into the drag thing and doesn’t like to be around it. So she tends to hide that part of herself from him a lot of the time.
Tamisha talks a bit about her drag children, including one famous child, Tandi Iman Dupree, who has now passed away. She went viral a few years ago with a video of her dropping into a split from the ceiling of the stage she was performing on. Incredible stuff.
Ru’s Lewk Ruview:
Mama Ru over here lookin’ like the delicious Miss Mandarin. It’s a delightful color on her, and that wig is COIFFED.
Side note: Guest judge Nicole Byer is wearing a version of Crystal Methyd‘s Michelle Visage outfit from last season! Amazing.
Denali starts off Ru’s song “Phenomenon” with an excellent verse. She looks great, sounds great, and moves so fast the camera can barely keep up. It’s a fantastic opener.
Joey Jay’s verse is fun and entertaining, and she sings about not needing a wig… but like… is she really not gonna have a wig all season, sis?
Kahmora Hall is giving us Celine Dion with her performance outfit. Her verse is just okay—not super fascinating. She also seems to have the most trouble with the dancing.
Rosé commands the stage with her masterful verse. She shows off her excellent vocal chops and dancing skills. This one is hungry for the crown, and we love to see it.
Tamisha Iman’s verse is smart and full of pep, but her performance less so. Compared to some of the other girls, her energy is a little low. It’s a shame.
Utica looks great and her verse is super fun and quirky. She’s full of personality and a joy to watch.
Overall, the Porkchop girls fucking brought it. The winner’s circle better be ready, ’cause honey, their number was pretty lazy compared to this.
Now for the runway: category is sheer!
Denali looks like a gorgeous lavender flower, and the black hair and accents really help the look pop. Toot.
Joey Jay looks great in this dark flapper look and the makeup is on point, but uhhhh… Still no wig. That’s four for four. Brace for impact.
Kahmora Hall is wearing an absolutely gorgeous outfit and the biggest earrings I’ve ever seen. It’s beautiful, but the hair doesn’t do it for me.
C’mon, Miss Loofah! Rosé has brought this delightful plastic fantastic number with detachable sleeves that flow beautifully around her. It’s real cute.
Racers, start your engines! Tamisha Iman is serving us a Mother Ru impression with this gorgeous pageant gown. It’s form-fitting to perfection, the bow in the front is beautiful, the hair is right… Ru is in love. Oh, and she made this herself!! The talent jumped out.
My God. This flowy, colorful, asymmetrical Utica look is just divine. The scarves attached to the gown, the giant flower in her hair, the makeup… girl, THAT MAKEUP. Amazing.
Critique time: Denali, Rosé, and Utica did great. Tamisha looks great but didn’t perform quite on the same level as the other girls. As predicted, Joey Jay is clocked hard for not wearing wigs. Ross Mathews and Michelle Visage appreciate her style, but want to see variety (and so do I, tbh).
Beyond not being able to follow choreography, Kahmora Hall is told flat-out that in both the group number and her runway presentations, she doesn’t look like she has a personality. OUCH.
In the werk room, the dolls discuss the first-impression Porkchop vote from the premiere and how Utica and Elliott with 2 Ts were tied initially. Kahmora and Tamisha reveal they changed their minds about voting against Utica after Kahmora’s nail fell off that day and Utica jumped in with nail glue, ready to help.
Kahmora and Tamisha have something in common: their respective birth mothers don’t approve of them and have never seen them do drag. Utica’s parents don’t understand what she does, either. It’s a sad reality of life for some queens: not every gay boy is going to be accepted by his parents for his sexuality, and when you throw drag into the mix, it’s a whole other story. Being able to push through that lack of parental love and acceptance and commit to your art regardless is a real show of inner strength.
I almost wish the Porkchop girls were “punished” for being the losing group with an elimination this week, but the episode ends up completely mirroring the previous one: everyone is safe and we have a top two instead. Denali and Rosé are it. They’ll have to lip-sync to “If U Seek Amy” by Britney Spears for the official challenge win.
Rosé’s lip-syncing style is decidedly very Broadway: it’s super big and intense, the kind of performance people in the back row can enjoy. But she’s lacking in subtlety, which as Symone has been teaching us, is so crucial. Meanwhile, Denali instantly wins by doing this:
That’s it for this week—still no eliminations, but we’ve gotten three long weeks to get to know our girls. Do you have any favorites yet?
Denali – Denali’s emerged as the clear frontrunner for the Porkchop group. She’s HUNGRY for the crown and that’s going to take her far. I just hope she remembers to show vulnerability along the way, because the ice queen act won’t make her very lovable.
Joey Jay – Girl is going to have to wear a wig or two very, very soon if she doesn’t want the judges to crack down and give her the boot. She’s got a super fun personality and her confessionals are a breath of fresh air, so I’m rooting for her to show some versatility ASAP.
Kahmora Hall – Oh my dear sweet lord, this was not a good week for Kahmora. On an episode where the Porkchop girls had so much pressure on them to redeem themselves and do well, the girl pissed off the producers by taking too long to get ready AND was told she has no personality. How do you even recover from that?
Rosé – Rosé has the talent and the drive to make it very, very far. But just like her fellow top queen of the week, I fear Rosé might lack the likability it takes to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. She’s going to have to slow her ultra-competitive roll and remember to have fun. Also, her lip-syncs are so intense, and not in a good way!
Tamisha Iman – Tamisha is a wonderful human being with such a history behind her. She gives delightful confessionals and has so many interesting stories to tell. She is the mother I never had, she is the sister everybody would want, she is the friend that everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person.
Utica – I was worried about how fragile Utica seemed in the premiere, but she’s done a great job this week. Her lewks were amazing and her personality is shining through in her performances and conversations with the judges. I really like her.
Next week, bitches finally start going home! My body is ready.