After last week’s (let’s be honest, expected) elimination of Aja, the queens come back to the work room and look back on their wins. Out of the eight remaining queens, only two haven’t won any challenges: Farrah Moan and Peppermint.
A small exchange of words between them – along with another lash-out at “perfect” Valentina – and the tension rises. Another week, another challenge. Another challenge, another winner and of course, another elimination. Who can it be this week? Let’s find out.
Another mini-challenge in this episode – let’s just enjoy every fleeting second of a mini-challenge as they aren’t as regular as they once were – but let’s cheer and sip our tea because “the library is open” and it’s time to read! What do these queens have in them?
Every queen gets a few in, and there are some obvious but vicious attacks, but for once I am shocked at the fierce insults thrown by Valentina. How can someone sweet as sugar be so salty? Well, I feel there are still some surprises this little queenie has in store for us.
Now for the main challenge: the return of the RuPaul Roast! One of my personal favourites from the past, as it separates the queens from the basic bitches in terms of comedic talent. But wait! It isn’t Ru herself they’ll be roasting; it’s gonna be her right-hand woman Michelle Visage (who is completely unaware). So now they are all at work, trying to think up the jokes to read out – they have a right to be nervous. Michelle never forgets, after all.
As the queens get to work, there are some backlashes from the reading challenge. I’ll be real: if you are in a reading challenge, prepare for your insecurities to be read. There are sensitive subjects, as we have seen previously with Sasha and Eureka conflicting on attitudes towards eating disorders for example, but in the reading challenge, no one’s safe and there is always a tongue placed in the cheek.
Prepare, girls; you’re in the drag industry. Reading is like 80% of the job.
Whilst RuPaul and judge Ross Matthews talk to the queens in the work room, we get the sense that this challenge is indeed challenging! Some queens are stumped when it comes to creating jokes for the roast – oddly enough, some of these contestants are too nice for their own good (I know, right?!) and are given some tips on how to compliment but roast the woman of the hour. This could bring you down to the bottom, if when you are given the one chance to be crude, you’re instead delightful. Roughen up or pack up. This is where we are in this competition now.
As the queens start making up (and we’ll not discuss the discolouration of Alexis’ make-up right now), Sasha and Peppermint share stories of being caught in Russia. Peppermint’s is an eye-opener, as she was stopped for being a female-presenting individual with male-presenting identification, which is one example of many of the horrific stories from trans people living in or travelling through Russia. Sasha talks about how she had to watch her every move when living in Russia; in her words, she couldn’t be Sasha Velour. She had to be Sasha, an ordinary man in an oppressive world. It’s a heartbreaker, this reality, and all the queens share their fear for those who are living in Russia, constantly watching what they say, what they do, and how they act.
But with everyone ready, it’s time to step out for the roast of a lifetime (for the second time). Joining the regular judges this week are hilarious comedienne Fortune Feimster and Drag Race favourite – even before Toni – Tamar Braxton. With the non-Absolut cocktails, let the roast commence!
As these queens joke, the start is strong, and I am laughing too hard; almost harder than during Snatch Game, and that’s saying something. And as I said, be careful of the shock that is sweet Valentina. She will make you gasp and giggle.
But of course, with some shining stars, there are duds. And when these poor queens fall, they fall and smash, and cannot be picked back up. It’s painful to watch, and you feel so bad for them, because you can see them struggle and panic, and you just want them to stop and move on before things get deadly.
Those poor girls aside, it’s hard to tell before the end of the roast who is going to win. Too many successes here, and we must keep those successful ones in mind – especially when She-Hulk kills the entire thing at the end (won’t say anymore, you’ll have to watch to understand).
As the judges discuss their contestants, we have a certain bottom-two queen, who I had thought from the season 9 premiere, “How far will she go, skating through til she gets sent home?” She’s a lovely queen, and she has potential, but she hasn’t shone bright yet – more of a diamante than a diamond. Sorry, sweetie.
The winner announced, we cheer – she’s proven herself as a queen of fashion and comedy. Round of applause but then the tension rises as the (almost obvious) bottom two are announced, and then as the Dolly Parton’s “Baby I’m Burnin’” plays, all breath is held. And we watch.
As the two queens show off similar dance styles, one move solidifies the winner of the lip synch – believe me, you’ll gasp when you see it too – and with a beauty queen sent off the stage, we wave goodbye to another talented human being.
Now we are halfway through our contestants: 7 gone, and 7 remain. Who’s next? Who’s gonna win? Most importantly, will anyone be coming back? We don’t know.
We’ll just have to keep watching, and you and I both know we will watch right to the end.