RuPaul throws a huge, 33-look Drag Race ball, but it all comes down to a lip sync showdown for the ages between Monet and Dusty.
The ball challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race typically comes much later in the season, and is often the challenge that determines who makes it to the Top 3. It also seems to inspire some of the most memorable lip syncs, from Yara Sofia’s mid-performance meltdown in Season Three to Jinkx Monsoon’s epic execution of “Malambo No. 1” in Season Five. Monet X Change might as well have been fighting for a Top 3 spot herself this week with how fiercely she attacked this lip sync. What she and every other lip sync winner has proven this season is just how much they want to be here. We haven’t seen a season this hungry in a while.
That being said, the mini challenges this season have all been mostly mindless fun for the queens, and this week’s photobombing challenge was no exception. It’s almost as if RuPaul is testing these hungry contestants to see if they remember that this is all still supposed to be fun. Despite the crown, cash and career that are on the line here, drag shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s an important reminder that RuPaul has given the girls before, and it applies as much to the competition as it does to life in general.
Aquaria’s “kurb your Kardashian” moment won, but Asia O’Hara’s geeky guest at Buckingham Palace was an underrated runner-up. Asia stands out this episode as the unofficial drag mother to the workroom. Whether she’s helping Monet sew her look or providing maternal support to Blair St. Clair, Asia prioritizes her sisters over herself this week, and her looks suffer for it. As we learn from her workroom visit with Ru, Asia is a professional costume designer, but it is not uncommon for queens to stumble in challenges they expect to nail. (Theater queen Robbie Turner landed in the bottom in Season Eight’s “RuCo’s Empire” for spending too much time helping other girls learn their lines.)
Pounding the Runway and Then Some
According to the judges, the strongest queens on the runway this week were Aquaria and Miz Cracker (though we would have swapped in Kameron Michaels for Cracker here). While Kameron has continued to fly under the radar in the workroom, she’s been nailing the actual challenges. Each of her looks this week told a different story and displayed more sides to Kameron than we’re seeing otherwise. But if we’re not see the same level of personality behind the scenes, all of this hard work could get lost in the shuffle.
Monet X Change’s red planet realness and Dusty Ray Bottom’s steampunk fairy failed to launch for the judges. RuPaul spared Asia O’Hara with a reminder to look after herself first in this competition, pitting the two New York queens against one another for a lip sync to Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm.” Dusty seemed mostly out of her element and was quickly eclipsed by Monet, who introduced a fresh gag to the Drag Race stage: the fake-out jump split, a non-move that sent the judges into hysterics. Monet’s committed choreography and connection to the song were reminiscent of Dida Ritz’s iconic “This Will Be” lip sync in Season Four. It even elicited the same response from RuPaul: “That is what a lip sync for your life is all about.”
Untucked this week delivered another explosive conflict, this time between The Vixen and Eureka. While The Vixen has gotten criticism for her fiery responses, they’ve never been unprovoked. The fact that Eureka intentionally tried to set her off this week should be of greater concern than wondering “who’s next” to receive The Vixen’s wrath. This kind of manipulative behavior really sours Eureka’s return to the competition this season, and while it might provide drama for the season, it won’t earn her the crown.
Despite their missteps this week, Asia O’Hara’s polish and Monet X Change’s pure star power should keep them around longer in the competition. Next week’s talk show challenge feels like Kameron’s last chance to break out of her shell and a great opportunity for Blair St. Clair to prove why she’s the potential dark horse of this competition. And while it’s hard to name a frontrunner at this point, Aquaria’s pep talk to Dusty during Untucked was the kind of humanizing moment that helped the similarly innovative and abrasive Violet Chachki win Season Seven. If Aquaria continues to show this kind of heart and the same attention to detail on the runway, she may be the queen to beat.
Want to queen out each week on Season 10 with us? Alright Mary is a weekly recap podcast and deep dive into all things RuPaul’s Drag Race. We go in on the queens, behind the scenes, the larger social themes explored on the show and as much reddit T as we can get our mitts on. Subscribe on iTunes!
Last modified: July 5, 2018