Last week’s episode of Drag Race saw the competition get tighter than ever — and the lackluster teacher makeovers and an underwhelming lipsync from Loosey LaDuca knocked the once frontrunner out of the competition. This week the show gears up for its finale by going back to its roots in earlier seasons — a music video filming challenge that will trim the top four down into a top three.
Following the elimination, the remaining queens head back to the werk room to de-drag. Luxx is surprisingly cocky after her lip sync win, considering she had one of the worst makeovers in Drag Race herstory, and her rationale that Loosey tried to ‘rig’ the pairings against her and more in favor of Sasha also isn’t the strongest leg to stand on either. Anyone watching this season knows that Sasha would’ve likely been able to do a satisfactory job on any of the makeover contestants — and past competitors have proven that being a different ethnicity to your makeover partner does not make it impossible to serve family resemblance.
On the other hand, Anetra is celebrating her win — putting her neck and neck with the legendary Sasha Colby. Anetra has been one of the most underrated competitors this season, silent but deadly as she has proven to be a fierce lip syncer and challenge performer. When the season was announced, many assumed it would be Sasha Colby with the rest of the cast being fillers destined for All Stars, and while that has been mostly true, Anetra has definitely been accelerating and proving that she’s deserving of the crown.
It’s a new day in the werk room, and RuPaul arrives to prepare the top four for a change of pace: this season will feature a top three, with a final maxi challenge giving the girls the task of writing and recording a verse for the ‘Blame It On The Edit’ track, and then they’ll shoot scenes in a space-themed music video. In Drag Race tradition, the queens will also have a Tic-Tac Chit-Chat with Ru and Michelle.
The queens are a bit shocked at the top three announcement — with it being over five seasons since the show had less than a top four. While the queens work to write their verses, Luxx takes a nap — while Mistress remarks that her over-confidence may be her downfall.
“Welcome to the Sasha Colby meet and greet,” Michelle jokes as Sasha sits down for the tic-tac talk. Sasha discusses her history in the drag scene and her struggles with her inner saboteur in the challenge. For the first time in the season, there’s a crack in Sasha’s confident and well put together appearance as she opens up about wanting, and realizing that she will not be able to get, her mother’s approval and her father’s suicide.
A fierce competitor and seasoned performer, this is the perfect time for Sasha to let herself be vulnerable with Ru and Michelle and the Drag Race audience. She’s always come across as endearing and personable, and letting us in on those scary and difficult parts of herself only makes her more relatable.
For Anetra’s chat, she discusses her mormon upbringing and it making her more soft spoken compared to the confident and free drag performer that she brings on the runway. Anetra also gets high praise from Michelle — who calls her lip sync performance vs. Marcia Marcia Marcia her ‘favorite lip sync of all time.’ As for winning Drag Race, Anetra pictures that winning would make the trials and tribulations she’s faced worth it.
Drag Race continues the tic-tac chats in rapid fire, with Mistress going next and discussing finding her voice in drag and being outspoken. Mistress also talks about wanting to be fierce competition from day one and not caring what happens ‘on the outside’ — which is admirable to admit, because she’s played one hell of a game this season. Mistress has solidly provided some of the most entertaining dramas and confessionals in recent Drag Race history, taking the show back to its drama-filled early seasons before going through to mainstream recognition and getting a bit of a tone cleansing.
It’s also big for her to admit this because, as Drag Race has grown, its also garnered a huge online fan base — one that’s also become known for being full of vitriol towards outspoken queens who aren’t afraid to cause drama and make enemies with the show’s darlings.
Luxx’s chat is centered around her fashion and looks, as well as her being a young and confident competitor. RuPaul gives her high validation as they talk about her schooling and mission with her drag art.
The queens then head out to learn choreography for the video and it seems to be on short notice, with the queens already in their space age drag as they go to learn the choreo. Mistress visibly struggles and is shaken by the choreography compared to the other three who are fierce dancers skilled at quickly picking up the moves.
Soon after rehearsing, the shooting begins — with Anetra and Luxx filming first. Anetra, who has also had issues with choreography in past challenges, struggles to find her footing in the first take.
Sasha and Mistress go next, and Mistress does her best to portray confidence, but she still struggles next to Sasha who is absolutely nailing it. What’s worse, the lack of confidence shows on Mistress’s face, but after a few takes she gives good face and hams it up. The wide, group shots may not be in sync, but she definitely gave some good close ups to compensate.
Elimination Day arrives, and the queens head to the runway to watch the edit of the music video and get judged. The queens will be split into top two and bottom two, giving them a 50% chance of being lip syncing tonight, and nerves are high — especially for Mistress who struggled in the main challenge.
It’s just family on the panel, and the runway category is Drag Excellence.
Anetra continues her ascent with an opulent blue velvet gown and exquisitely crafted white hair that fuses her Asian heritage for an overall beautiful presentation.
Luxx switches it up with a pure white dress; it’s certainly different from her other runway aesthetics, and while it’s not bad by any means, it’s not innovative nor does it give off ‘Drag Excellence’ like the other queen’s looks did.
Sasha stuns in a crystallized gown that incorporates her Hawaiian heritage, just as Anetra’s look incorporated her Asian heritage. Truly jaw dropping.
Mistress looks opulent in a cheetah print beaded number, and despite the print being beaded rather than printed, the animal print does somewhat cheapen the presentation compared to how Sasha and Anetra’s looks felt elevated on another level.
Ru jumps things right into the music video premiere for ‘Blame It On The Edit.’ This is the first time the viewers get to see the queen’s verses, along with new outfits that weren’t shown before in the choreography scene.
All four queens offered strong verses, though all in different styles. Anetra’s felt the most ‘pop’, while Luxx brought strong rap skills, and Sasha delivered an outstanding boastful verse. Mistress delivers comedy, and her choreography fears don’t show very much in the final edit of the video.
Anetra’s outfit for her verse absolutely devoured — while Sasha’s choreography outfit was just insane.
The queens then get critiqued, and as is tradition for the final challenge, the critiques are all positive, highlighting the queen’s performances throughout the season.
Anetra is praised for her longevity, while Luxx gets praised for her iconic fashion moments throughout the season. Sasha gets praise for exceeding expectations, especially given her legend status in the community. Mistress is praised for her fashion trajectory, acting skills, and confidence.
Then, as is tradition on Drag Race, the queens are asked to talk to their former, younger selves and give advice for the show’s younger viewers.
Like the tic-tac lunch, this often gives a glimpse into the queen’s vulnerabilities — as well as their ability to speak and inspire others. With fifteen seasons of Drag Race, the queens are all well prepared for this challenge this season. As drag has become more mainstream and accepted, it’s interesting to compare how these speeches have changed over the seasons, but they’ve remained a consistently inspiring and emotional commentary on different LGBT+ experiences over the years.
Sasha is then announced as the winner of the week’s competition, securing her spot in the show’s finale. Luxx is also deemed safe, leaving Anetra and Mistress to lip sync for their place in the finale to ‘When Loves Takes Over’ by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland.
With such ornate costumes this week, the song is appropriate — letting both Mistress and Anetra portray their emotions without needing to do overly physical moves — though that doesn’t stop Anetra from removing the lower half of her gown, allowing her to turn up the energy and walk that fucking duck.
Both deliver highly impassioned lip syncs. RuPaul proclaimed he was intent to have an elimination every episode (likely after past seasons, Season 14 in particular, going long stretches where no one went home), but has a change of heart — saving both Mistress and Anetra and having a top four. Honestly, the Top 3 announcement was more shocking than the double shantay — and with how tight the competition has become, this episode is the perfect one to have a save: all four queens are deserving of being in the finale, each offering a unique take on the artform.