Drag Race fans rejoice — 90 minute episodes are back! The show’s switch to MTV and shorter, 45 minute episodes left fans outraged this season and now, two months later, the show is back to its 90 minute glory. Following last week’s ‘50/50’s Most Gagworthy Stars‘ episode, this week finds the queens teaming up for a stand-up comedy challenge with special guest judge Ali Wong.
Last week’s elimination of Malaysia Babydoll Foxx was a bit surprising — but with her admitting she’d rather be ‘safe than sorry,’ it makes sense that Ru sent her packing, even in a lip sync against Salina who has now defied the three strikes and you’re out rule of thumb. Back in the werk room following Salina’s lip sync win, Salina sounds as delusional as ever saying that she doesn’t think she did poorly, but like Amethyst earlier in the season, it’s now going to be even more crucial for Salina to actually perform well — because the next time she falls into the bottom there won’t be a reason to save her.
Meanwhile, Sasha Colby celebrates her third maxi challenge win, and Loosey LaDuca who, in all honesty, should have won last week admits her surprise to not being the winner. Surprisingly, though, Loosey is gracious in not winning — especially after her Jan-level face crack when Sasha won last week. Hopefully this is a sign that the producers are shying away from the strange villain edit they’ve been giving Loosey the past few episodes, especially after painting her so favorably in the first few weeks.
A voguing mini challenge brings some of the joy and stupidity back to Drag Race that made it such a fun watch in the first place. Cutting the show down so much resulted in many mini challenges not being aired (or being heavily trimmed, like the reading challenge), so it’s a breath of fresh air to see the show having ample time to just be silly once again.
Anetra wins the mini challenge, and RuPaul then announces the comedy festival challenge. The queens are paired up for the challenge, with the teams being: Luxx and Loosey (who had a spat earlier in the werk room regarding Loosey’s Beyoncé inspired runway), Sasha and Anetra, Mistress and Marcia, and Salina being solo and given the option to perform solo or steal a partner from one of the current pairs.
Salina chooses to steal Mistress and leave Marcia to perform solo. As winner of the mini-challenge, Anetra gets to decide the order of the performances. She decides to put Marcia first — something Marcia is actually happy about, with Luxx and Loosey going next, then Sasha and Anetra, and putting Mistress and Salina in the closing spot.
The queens meet with Michelle and guest judge Ali Wong to run through their acts and get some tips for improvement. Interestingly, being put first and going solo seems to be beneficial for Marcia Marcia Marcia; her rehearsal flows nicely and her lack of a scene partner allows her comedy to be more like the roast challenges in past seasons that the queens may have already mentally prepared for.
Loosey and Luxx rehearse some funny material, but the judges caution Luxx to enunciate better, and the two’s squabbles earlier in the werk room has resulted in most of their material being jabs at one another.
Mistress and Salina prepare comedy based on hook-ups from their past. As a running theme for Salina, the judges caution her about rambling and cutting down to just the funniest parts. In confessionals, Mistress is more than ready to jump ship should Salina continue to flounder in the challenge.
After having some retinal migraines, Anetra joins Sasha, but her material is based around her headache and fails to get any laughs. Michelle warns them that if Anetra goes down, Sasha’s likely to go down, too.
Elimination day brings the queens to prep for the performances in front of the judges (and a live audience too, for the first time in a few seasons.)
Marcia Marcia Marcia starts the show, relating being a new drag queen on the show to going through puberty and her makeup journey. The comedy and flow that was in her rehearsals seems to be gone — maybe due to nerves, and it isn’t until she turns her routine towards introducing the judges that she’s able to get a clap or laugh. She doesn’t get a joke off about Ru, Michelle, or Ali before saying her “time is up”, making for an overall mess of a routine.
Luxx and Loosey then arrive on stage, and the two have good rapport despite some of the jokes feeling a bit forced or cringey. It feels a bit like Tatianna and Detox’s stand-up skit from All Stars, where in it’s so over the top that it just circles back around to being funny.
Anetra and Sasha start their routine about being stoners before going into canned bits that give Sugar and Spice a run for their money. The air is completely dead, but Sasha brings the audience to chuckle after taking control of the set after she and Anetra flop around like a dying fish for a few minutes. Without Sasha’s intervention, the set would have been a total bomb– and it looks like Anetra’s headache have her heading to the bottom.
Salina and Mistress then arrive to close the show, and like Loosey and Lux, the two have a good back and forth. Salina dominates and has trimmed her story down like advised, though maybe not enough. Though weirdly enough, Mistress’s story would have benefited from more trimming — and there’s little jokes in her portion, and the ones that she does have aren’t knee-slappers.
On the runway, the category is ‘Rip Her to Shreds,’ and Marcia opens in a ripped pageant dress that’s pretty par for the course for her runways this season — nice but in no way reinventing the wheel.
As for Loosey LaDuca, she brings a vampiric monster in a shredded Victorian era gown and corset. It’s next level, showing that Loosey continues to think outside of the box in both the challenges and on the runway.
Luxx Noir London dons another dress inspired by one RuPaul herself has worn (like last week’s Bob Mackie Beyoncé outfit that Ru, among other celebrities had worn). Luxx has brought some amazing runways to the show that were all creative and original, which has made last week, and this week, feel lackluster in comparison. Luxx herself is just getting lost in these recreations.
Sasha Colby brings some ripped denim to the runway, and it’s very early 2000’s VMA like she says she found inspiration from. In typical Sasha Colby fashion, the runway was never up for debate.
Anetra’s ripped runway is a shredded black and pink catsuit that lacks polish — which sounds absurd for a ‘ripped’ theme, but where the other girls’ rips have had cohesion, Anetra’s tears in the catsuit just feel haphazard.
Salina EsTitties comes out in the same color palette as Loosey and with some other similarities — but a whole lot less polish. Just as the runway is guaranteed to be a hit with Sasha, it’s pretty much always going to be a miss for Miss EsTitties, so there’s nothing really surprising here, despite her always having a convincing story behind it.
Mistress brings a burnt housewife look to the runway, taking ripped seriously in a gown that looks like it caught fire and burned away.
After the runway, no queens are announced as safe. Marcia gets harsh critiques on both her set as well as her outfit being a repeat of one Loosey did a few weeks ago.
Loosey gets praised for her Bram Stoker inspired runway as well as the comedy routine, and her partner Luxx got praise as well, with Ts Madison saying “You came to win.” Just as Luxx’s Beyoncé runway brought out storytime from Ru, so does her runway this week.
Sasha and Anetra’s routine gets hit hard for the lulls and lack of comedy. Sasha’s runway gets high praise, but the judges also demand and expect more from her. The judges also want Anetra to bring more of her runway level confidence to the challenges.
Salina and Mistress get credit for Salina’s getting straight to the point, but Salina’s outfit gets rightfully knocked. Mistress’s outfit is also rightfully praised, as well as her ability to bounce off of Salina’s routine.
While the queens head backstage, the judges talk amongst themselves. Ru remarks that Marcia needs to learn how to take her theatre background and drag it up, while Michelle says that Loosey and Luxx’s routine could have been “tighter as a whole.”
After the judge’s deliberation, Ru announces Loosey and Luxx as the winners of the week, and saves Sasha Colby — pitting Marcia and Anetra against each other to perform a lip sync to “Boss Bitch” by Doja Cat.
As expected, Anetra turns the party as she did multipe times in the LalapaRuza — and Marcia is a strong competitor (as also revealed in the LalapaRuza) but ultimately, Marcia’s lip sync is more strutting the runway while Anetra brings more dance moves and stunts, though Marcia does amp it up to meet Anetra’s level towards the song’s bridge.
In the end, RuPaul saves Anetra and sends Marcia home. Marcia is contented to be sent home, especially by such a fierce lip syncer as Anetra.
Next week’s episode teases the top six competing in a musical called “Wigloose.” Watch RuPaul’s Drag Race on Fridays on MTV and streaming on Paramount+.