Following last week’s two-part opening, ‘One Night Only’, RuPaul’s Drag Race is now in full swing, with a controversially shorter runtime now in effect as the show moves networks to MTV. How will a half hour of less content change Drag Race and its ability to produce a narrative throughout the season? Time will tell, but if this week’s episode is any indication, Drag Race may finally be trimming some of the fat that has been weighing its latter seasons down.
In ‘All Queens Go To Heaven’, the queens are tasked with an acting challenge to star in infomercials where they’re given the creative license to sell their ‘vision of the afterlife.’ RuPaul splits the queens into three groups, led by last week’s challenge winner, Anetra, and last week’s lip sync survivor, Amethyst. The group of queens that neither Anetra nor Amethyst chose are put into their own group of ‘leftovers.’
Surprisingly, of the twins (Sugar & Spice), only Spice is chosen, by Amethyst. When it comes to creating an eye-catching comedy infomercial, a logical choice would be the self-proclaimed queens of TikTok. Nonetheless, Sugar is relegated to the group of leftover queens who are fired up about not being chosen, while the other groups comingle about their happiness of being picked by their captains.
In Anetra’s group, Marcia Marcia Marcia comes up with the wise decision to use fellow group member Sasha Colby’s iconic status in the drag community and have her play the role of God in their infomercial. In confessionals, Colby remarks about how intimidating it is to have to live up to expectations she feels from her teammates and the judges, but she’s ready to rise to the occasion.
Of the leftover queens, Jax steps up to the plate to become the team’s leading voice, but without RuPaul delegating a queen to lead the group and choose the members, the group struggles to find and execute a well-thought out vision for their infomercials. It’s the case of there being a lot of creative minds at work, all feeling left out and vying to prove their creative prowess and fighting to be heard.
As tensions build with the leftover queens, Spice observes Sugar dealing with the drama. The bond the two have is nearly inseparable, and the Drag Race producers are working overtime to give them both a lot of story time. Knowing Drag Race, don’t be surprised when the first opportunity knocks and the producers find a way to have the two lip sync against each other for the drama. It’s definitely leading up to it at this point, but who knows how early in the season it will come.
The queens shoot their infomercials with Michelle, and then it’s off to the runway where new rotating guest judge Ts Madison joins the panel alongside guest judge, singer-songwriter Maren Morris. The runway challenge for the week is ‘Metallica’, with the queens rocking metallic designs.
For being last week’s challenge winner, Anetra’s runway is a bit disappointing, with short hair and an oversized silver metallic jacket that leads RuPaul to quip “Did someone order a lesbian baked potato?” The look is still on point, but it’s not quite up to the “Lady Gaga Chromatica” vision that Anetra describes it as in the voiceover.
Sasha Colby dazzles as a ‘silver phoenix Miss Universe,’ which feels very appropriate (and even timely with the recent Miss Universe pageant.) It’s an exquisite showgirl look, that both fits the brief and elevates it.
Salina Estitties comes down the runway looking like a metal street sign (yes…really.) The look is really just a silver metallic outfit covered in street signs with what looks like a lit up lampshade stuck on her head. If this were a ball challenge with limited materials, it might be more forgivable, but this was quite a choice.
Luxx Noir London rocks in a flowing gold metallic dress that looks straight out of a Greek painting. The shorter runtime for the show begins to feel noticeable here, with the runways being cut short — making it so there’s less time overall to appreciate the queen’s hard work and effort like Luxx’s here.
Marcia Marcia Marcia puts an interesting spin on the metallic concept, coming out in a fashionable version of The Wizard of Oz‘s Tin Man. Her look is instantly recognizable as the character without feeling like a copy and paste, and despite the judges commenting on her minimal makeup style, the look still feels complete and very much so a drag version of the Tin Man.
Amethyst hits the runway in a gold ensemble, but it pales in comparison to Luxx’s. Amethyst really nailed the concept, though, with her entire outfit being metallic from headpiece to toe. The execution just feels lackluster, with the outfit’s chest area looking a bit cheap. The fabric flows beautifully, but even that manages to ruin the illusion of the look, as Amethyst whips the dress around and reveals her nude undergarments. Maybe if there was a panty under the dress, it wouldn’t have felt so underwhelming.
Princess Poppy’s runway goes for a silver and blue metallic, but there’s really just not enough here to warrant much discussion. It’s a metallic bodysuit with some paneling, paired with some big blue hair and heels. Poppy does her best to sell a robot impression on the runway, but it’s not good enough to redeem the look.
While Poppy used an out-of-the-box color with blue, it underwhelmed, but thankfully Spice went blue for her runway as well, showing how the concept could be properly executed. Armed with a robot dog and hair that looks straight from Xenon, Spice puts on an entertaining runway for the judges.
Aura Mayori comes out in a green and gold moon goddess inspired look that fits the bill for ‘Gaga on Chromatica’ better than Anetra’s runway. Aura remarks that the look also takes inspiration from Power Rangers, which hits the nail on the head as well. It’s a fun look, and it’s nice to see her in something other than an all-black ensemble, especially after three black looks in a row in the last two episodes.
Loosey LaDuca stuns in a gold and aluminum look that shows a new side to her that’s much improved from last week’s near-bottom talent show performance.
Jax delivers a metallic arms look inspired by Mortal Kombat‘s character that she derived her drag name from. It’s a nice homage to her namesake’s character, but it doesn’t read Jax as easily as it should (or, for example, how instantly recognizable Marcia’s look was as the Tin Man.) Jax isn’t as iconic of a character, though, but that’s also not really an excuse; the camouflage shorts and accessories just weren’t selling the character the way they could’ve.
Robin Fierce comes out in a gold look complete with a javelin, followed by Mistress Isabelle Brooks also in a gold look with an oversized chain accessory. With the amount of gold dresses that have hit the runway by this point, neither look feels very memorable (be it for good or bad.)
Sugar complements Spice’s blue futuristic look with her own pink version, and just like Spice looks at home with Xenon, Sugar does as well, with Sugar looking like a pop star Xenon and her friends would be dying to see in concert.
Malaysia Babydoll Foxx delivers a silver and white look, with a stunning hairstyle and silver chains draped over the front of a white dress. It’s not the most metallic look of the night, but Malaysia’s runway presentation coupled with the hair and makeup stand to make it a memorable one.
With all of the queens on the runway, RuPaul and the judges watch the heavenly infomercials, starting with Team Anetra. As expected, Sasha Colby delivers a hilarious performance as God, guiding the viewer to life’s afterparty — complete with deadly neck snapping!
Team Anetra’s infomercial portrays a newly deceased queen visiting the drag afterlife, where “every drag queen is a superstar.” There’s free therapy, the ability to get tipped for doing ‘absolutely nothing’, and complimentary plastic surgery. At the end of the infomercial, it’s revealed that it’s actually taken place in Palm Springs the entire time, with Colby remarking it is “where drag queens go to die.”
Overall, Team Anetra delivered a well thought out and executed commercial, filled with comedic moments. It truly felt like this is what a drag queen would find heaven to be like, and working in the Palm Springs joke at the end was a clever twist that elevated it all.
Amethyst’s team is next in the viewing, with the infomercial starting off with a drawn out intro scene that ends with Princess Poppy declaring it “heaven for fa…queer people.” Other blue humor includes the location (between clouds six and nine) and an off-color facials joke, the infomercial promises fun times for all who enter.
The problem with Team Amethyst’s infomercial is that the humor just didn’t land. The team swung big, going for raunchy and filthy humor, but also didn’t swing big enough, with a bit about having “a mimosa…in a mimosa” just not being humorous at all. The only redeeming quality of the infomercial was the “Exclusive meet and greet with God”, featuring Loosey LaDuca impersonating Dolly Parton. It’s a spot on impersonation, which makes me fear Loosey may be left scrambling for a backup choice to portray on Snatch Game, lest she repeat herself and be critiqued for that.
Lastly, Team Leftovers get their viewing. As foreshadowed by the werkroom fighting, the infomercial is aimless and fails to meet what was asked of the team. Perhaps the biggest oversight of the group is that the infomercial doesn’t even target drag queen’s as its audience; their heaven is actually a drag queen’s worst nightmare, having to appeal to an overly demanding fan played by Sugar. There’s some clever parts, like a ‘Lip Sync for your Afterlife’ that I’m surprised we haven’t heard RuPaul himself say on some of the series’ Halloween / Spooky themed episodes. Overall, though, it’s a bit of a mess — and judging by Marcia Marcia Marcia’s hilarious expression after the infomercial ends, she thought so too.
RuPaul then announces that despite competing as teams, the queens will be judged individually. This leaves Anetra, Marcia Marcia Marcia, Salina EsTitties, Spice, Aura Mayari, Robin Fierce, Mistress Isabelle Brooks, Sugar and Malaysia Babydoll Foxx as the safe queens of the week.
Sasha Colby wins the challenge for the week with her strong runway and even stronger performance in the infomercial. The judges praised the other high performers of the week, with Luxx Noir London’s hilarious performance as the psychiatrist in Team Anetra making her a standout as well as Loosey LaDuca receiving praise for her Dolly.
Of the bottom queens, Amethyst bears the brunt of her team failing to produce an entertaining infomercial, with guest judge Maren Morris commenting that the lewd comedy needed to actually land for the spot to work. Michelle also critiques Amethyst’s nose makeup, to which Amethyst endearingly shares how she hates her nose.
Princess Poppy also falls into the bottom with her simple runway presentation that doesn’t meet expectations in comparison to the rest of the queens, which prompts Ts Madison to tell her she needs to “step her pussy up.”
Being Team Leftover’s self-appointed leader comes back to haunt Jax, with the judges critiquing Jax’s performance for her look being messy and the entire infomercial being confusing. Jax owns up to having a larger part in the infomercial’s writing, but confesses the team lacked organization, with some of the lines even being improv.
RuPaul saves Jax from being in the bottom this week, pitting team members Amethyst and Princess Poppy against one another in a lip sync to Diana Ross’s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ The resulting lip sync is pretty chaotic, with lots of Diana Ross imitation twirling happening before Princess Poppy kicks things into high gear and goes balls to the wall in turning the performance into a comedic skit while Amethyst keeps things more subtly disco.
With Amethyst landing in the bottom last week, it comes as quite a shock that RuPaul saves her once again. Her opening up about her insecurities on the runway and being so endearing and likable are probably one of RuPaul’s reasonings, though. Princess Poppy delivered an entertaining lip sync, but it also didn’t fit the song, which is likely to be an egregious offense to the Diana Ross superfan in RuPaul. Perhaps the double save from the first two weeks will light a fire under Amethyst that propels her to deliver more memorable performances — because it’s almost certain that if she lands in the bottom once more, she’ll be given the chop.
Next week’s Drag Race will be the iconic Snatch Game, with characters like The Mona Lisa, Miley Cyrus, Joan Rivers, Tim Gunn and the Virgin Mary teased. Watch RuPaul’s Drag Race on Friday’s on MTV and streaming on Paramount+.