RuPaul has never been shy about using her show as a platform to promote herself and her brand. There have been challenges built around her makeup, her book, her perfume, her candy bar and, of course, her music. This week, RuPaul’s Drag Race takes it to the next level by bringing her mega-popular DragCon to the Race mainstage. DragCon has become a platform on its own for queens to not only connect with fans, but also to brand and “product-ize” themselves as experts in the world of drag. For many queens, sharing that expertise can be integral to their long-term success. (No Ru girl may be a better example of this than Season Seven’s makeup maven Miss Fame.) This challenge is truly a crash course in how to have a career in this business beyond collecting tips in the club.
This week, Monique Heart is not only the heart of the season, she’s also the brains. RuPaul is not shy about dropping nuggets of wisdom in the workroom about how to approach this challenge, and Monique is quick to pluck each one of them up. We may all be experiencing Vanjie Fever right now, but Monique is the best catchphrase machine the show has seen since Alyssa Edwards (and America, that’s a fact). She manages to seamlessly work no less than four potential trademarks into the makeup panel, including a goofy laugh that ends up replacing RuPaul’s signature cackle during the episode’s first commercial outro.
Eureka O’Hara and Monet X Change also shine this week, in no small part due to the genuine connection they seem to have developed in the workroom. Much like we saw in last week’s challenge, Eureka makes a meaningful effort to share the stage (or “Proportionize,” if you will), letting her larger than life personality shine but not blind. Monet is effortlessly charming, and it’s a pleasure to see her get back on track after stumbling the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Miz Cracker, Blair St. Clair and The Vixen get totally tangled talking wigs, and their barb-laden banter gets, well, a little knotty. Though a real DragCon panel often includes plenty of playful shade-throwing, Miz Cracker’s salty reads of sweet-natured Blair come across as a bit too bitter.
It’s hats on the runway this week and most of these looks are true crowning glories. Asia O’Hara’s dandelion diva is one for the Drag Race herstory books from the moment she appears on stage. We also flipped our lids for Aquaria’s “Rabbit-cadabra!” moment, Monet’s church lady (who lunches) and Miz Cracker’s “My Hair Lady”; plus we offer a tip of the brim to Monique for creating her look from scratch and selling it like designer couture. Eureka wins for her hosting on the panel and her houndstooth on the runway, becoming the first queen of the season to win two challenges.
Despite the spectacle of it all, the runway often features some of the most humanizing moments on the show, going all the way back to Season One when Ongina, in one of the series’ most heartbreaking moments, broke down and revealed her HIV status. This week, Blair shares her experience as a sexual assault survivor and how she’s turned to drag to find beauty in the world and in herself. This is the first time the show has discussed the topic of rape, and it’s an important addition to the #MeToo conversation. RuPaul’s credo of self-love, facing your demons and choosing joy couldn’t be more applicable. (See Metrosource’s chat with Blair.)
Blair and The Vixen end up in the bottom two, battling it out to Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out.” Blair brings a lot of raw energy and intention to her performance, and it’s clearly a meaningful song for her to embody after revealing her story, but she’s no match for The Vixen’s seemingly endless series of flips, drops and splits. The Vixen is an exciting performer to watch, and while we don’t necessarily want to see her in the bottom, we wouldn’t mind seeing her battle it out like this again.
Blair’s exit this week means the Broadway baby will unfortunately miss Snatch Game this season, but the remaining eight queens are going to be stiff competition for this coveted challenge win. Can Eureka continue to shine with seven co-stars on stage? Will Monet’s quick wit keep her on track? The Vixen has proven that she’s good on her feet, but can she be quick enough on her toes to take the lead again? We know Aquaria’s words don’t always flow freely, and we saw Cracker crumble a bit this week; can these New York sisters step it up? Meanwhile, Kameron continues to be the last of the quiet queens, and that’s nothing to brag about when Asia O’Hara’s been blooming week after week. All that being said, we’d still love to see Monique snatch the win next week and finally get the recognition she deserves as both the heart of the season and the breakout star of the series.
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 3, 2018