Ding, dong, the bitch is dead, and Acid Betty has left Season 8’s Lollipop Guild to rejoice for another episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Tensions are mounting as seven queens remain, but Naomi felt the most heat after surviving elimination last week. “I let Ru down,” she said, “and that’s the worst feeling ever.”
Meanwhile, Bob’s win last week—his second this season—isn’t charming any of the other competitors. Thorgy’s demonstrated her skills as a classical musician by figuratively playing a tiny violin, lamenting how Bob keeps making it to the top while she gets passed over. But Robbie also chimed in. “Have you ever played Jenga,” he asks about Bob. “Sooner or later the foundation is gonna crumble and he’s gonna take a big fall.”
The Library Is Open
Ru started off this week’s festivities with a classic Drag Race game à la Paris is Burning: reading the other queens to filth.
The highlight reel includes:
“Thorgy Thor. Girl I love you so much. I don’t know whether to give you a hug, or put some change in your cup.” – Chi Chi DeVayne
“Naomi, your drag reminds me of a legendary Drag Race queen: Nicole Paige Brooks.” – Kim Chi
“Bob, I had no idea there are different shades of ashy.” – Derrick Barry
“Naomi, nobody’s gonna take you seriously if you were born after Windows 95 came out.” – Robbie Turner
And of course, “It’s very hard to have an intelligent conversation with Derrick Barry. The only thing harder is Robbie Turner’s wig line.” – Bob the Drag Queen
Wizards of Drag
When RuPaul announced this week’s challenge as #WizardsofDrag, I got really excited about some Harry Potter couture and Gandalf realness. But I had to put my wand away when she disclosed the real theme of the challenge: to create a look based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and to create a complementary look for a partner as a drag makeover.
Cue 7 women—all little people—entering the work room.
For a Wizard of Oz challenge.
Now kids, I was so ready to hate this episode before it even aired based on the trailer alone. Showcasing women with dwarfism just because they have dwarfism is exploitative, and giving someone a role to fill in entertainment—a spot on a reality TV show, a part as one of Snow White’s dwarves, a gig as Santa’s elf at the mall—is a big reason why little people are still ridiculed, actively discriminated against, and made to be a circus sideshow in the media.
I had this Ru-minations recap poised to crucify Logo for casting little people as munchkins or flying monkeys.
BUT, what I did NOT know after just watching the trailer is that these women are actually the cast of another TV show called Little Women: L.A., already in its fourth season.
The plot thickened.
Now Get To Work, Bitch
The queens were each preselected by the women of LWLA, already with a character from the Wizard of Oz.
Kim Chi was assigned to Briana, and Kim was tasked with creating two looks inspired by the Wicked Witch.
Thorgy Thor + Brittney = a Citizen of Emerald City (because that’s better than a flying monkey)
Robbie Turner + Christy = the Cowardly Lion
Bob the Drag Queen + Elena = Glinda the Good Witch
Derrick Barry + Terra = the Tin Woodman
Naomi Smalls + Jasmine = the Scarecrow
Chi Chi DeVayne + Tonya = Dorothy
The queens then set out to make these Oz fantasies come to life. (The green kind, not the prison kind.)
Naomi and Jasmine bonded after finding out they’re both hairstylists, while Robbie and Christy shared a love of vintage fashion. Terra and Derrick hit it off with some bitchy banter, but the most heartwarming pairing was between Chi Chi and her partner Tonya, who gave Chi Chi a much-needed pep talk about rising to her potential.
After Ru provided some initial feedback to each pair, he announced a twist: “I want each duo to perform a dreamy interpretive dance… set in a poppy field.”
No amount of vodka could prepare us for the travesty this would turn out to be, children. Kim had trouble with choreographing, as always. But Naomi, still nervous from last week’s lip sync, struggled as well.
Then all the sudden, Chi Chi announces she’s “done” with creating her looks. And girl, it showed. Says Thorgy: “Chi Chi is the next to go. She’s not ready for this competition.”
While Chi Chi finished early, Bob trailed behind after his original ensemble fell apart and he had to start over. He was told he had 15 minutes to put on makeup before the queens were due onstage, and he panicked.
But in a moment of touching conversation and redemption for what could have turned into a farce making fun of little people, the women from LWLA described their experiences with the prejudice they face for their height. They chimed in:
“I get personally offended by the word midget. It doesn’t mean a person, it means something small.” “It makes me cringe when I hear it.” “When I’m at the mall and someone says, ‘Look at the midget,’ I’m like, are you serious?”
Sound familiar, women/LGBT folks/people of color?
Robbie showed he understood their perspective: “You can’t stop being the height you are.” To which his partner Christy replied, “And you can’t stop loving who you love.”
Readers, if you use the word “midget,” retire it now.
Ease On Down the Runway
This week’s judges included the usual Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews, but we were also treated to YouTube star/American Idol contestant/Wizard of Oz aficionado Todrick Hall, and sexy fashion designer Marc Jacobs!
Unfortunately for most of the queens, that meant they would be judged by experts in the field.
Chi Chi and “Ti Ti” DeVayne came out in what Chi Chi dubbed “Nubian Dorothy realness,” channeling the curly-haired Dorothy of The Wiz. But their matching fringe skirts and poorly constructed bodices looked cheap and dull.
Bob the Drag Queen and “Rob the Faux Queen” gave us Glinda. Except only “Rob” gave us Glinda. Bob gave us confused Atlanta housewife with glitter on her face.
Naomi Smalls and “Jazzy Jems” looked incredible in high-fashion scarecrow skirts, sewn from hodgepodge fabric, without lingerie! (a critique Naomi has received throughout the season.)
Derrick and “Terra Barry” walked out in metallic silver one-piece bathing suits with clear plastic shower curtain skirts, plus what looked like deflated pool toys on their shoulders.
Robbie and “Hedda Turner” walked out in shimmering bronze dresses, but with wigs on their shoulders and ruched bustles. Busy, busy bees in busy, busy ensembles.
Thorgy Thor and “Thorgeous” came out in pretty form-fitted emerald cocktail dresses, with thirsty green wigs. Thorgy: “We’re giving you Fifth Avenue meets Fifth Element.”
But the Wow factor came with Kim Chi and “Miso Chi,” when Briana came out looking eight feet tall in a huge black gown, revealing Kim underneath, the two of them matching in black and white stripes with sharp makeup. (Beetlejuice Couture is happening, Laila McQueen, and it’s all because of you!)
Then came time for the dancing. Thorgy’s group rocked it, and the other groups were so-so, but Kim’s pair was definitely the weirdest. With lots of broom work in the Wicked Witch theme, it looked like they couldn’t tell whether to sweep the stage or get married in a Tyler Perry film.
After all the performances were over, the judges provided their feedback. Derrick was criticized for poor execution, boring concept, and predictable silhouette considering his usual bathing-suit-plus-skirt looks. Todrick said, “It sort of saddens me, you’re better than what you just did up there.”
Of Robbie, Michelle told her, “It’s so frustrating because you’re so talented. All we want is for you to bring it. And you’re missing it.”
But Naomi’s heart was soaring when Marc Jacobs himself complimented her fashion choices and construction. “You did an amazing job. You gave me Scarecrow in the most gorgeous way.”
Ru asked all the girls, who do they think should go home? I get the sense this question is asked every episode, but the directors only edit it into the footage once or twice a season, so it makes the wounds fresher.
Chi Chi, Bob, and Naomi all said Derrick should go home based on her failed look. But Derrick, Robbie, Kim, and Thorgy all piled onto Chi Chi and expressed frustration that she didn’t put much effort into her design.
In the end, Ru saved Thorgy, Kim, and Bob, while Naomi was deservedly named the winner of this week’s episode! *Cue Drake’s “Started from the bottom now we’re here” hook*
That left Derrick, Robbie, and Chi Chi in the bottom three. Derrick was told she was up for elimination, rightfully so.
But despite the majority of the queens saying Chi Chi was the one who deserved to go, Robbie was instead sent to the bottom two while Chi Chi was saved.
The Lip Sync
Performing I Love It by Icona Pop, Robbie gave the number every shimmy, ever shoulder jive, and every pose she could throw at it. Derrick kept up with Britney choreo, but then, it was all over when Robbie took off her wig and tossed it.
In eight seasons of Drag Race, tossing your wig means you won’t survive elimination, queens.
After the number, Ru informed Derrick she would be staying. Before she could even say, “Robbie TurnTer, sashay away,” Derrick starts crying and makes the moment all about herself, as if she’s the one who’s having a hard day and Robbie is on vacation.
But Derrick’s sob-fest gave us one delicious morsel of Drag Race history: at the end, she weepingly asks, “May I leave the stage now?” Ru was like, uh, yes bitch, you’re excused.
That left Robbie to fly back to her home, The Emerald City, where she did her Seattleite fandom proud as a challenge winner and talented performer on the Olympics of Drag.
Tune in next week for my Ru-minations review when the queens face off as the top 6!