It’s all happening right on schedule, like the well-oiled machine it is. Whenever Ru and the show pick up another couple full of Emmys, as they did this month, we sigh and mutter “And that’s why they’ll never change the format.”
Not that we had any issue with how this episode unfolded (except for one glaring thing we’ll get to in a minute), but it’s hard not to see how the narrative boxes get checked off one by one every season. After giving all of them the time and the space to size each other up and get some rivalries going (everyone hates Jane at the moment), they’re pitted against each other in the first of the challenges to really separate the performers from the models.
And right on time, the jockeying-for-roles scenes start playing out. Plasma was being pretty silly about taking a part that couldn’t have been better suited to her. Jane openly insulted Megami by implying that he was less likely to steal focus in a scene than Morphine. Sapphira was smart about the pitfalls of the host role and Geneva was very dumb for taking a part she didn’t understand and not getting some guidance for it. To be fair, maybe she asked around about Lindsey Graham and no one helped her out, but really, she should’ve worked harder to avoid playing a part she didn’t understand.
Having said all that, we’re not sure any of it mattered all that much. It gives us no pleasure to report that no one aced this challenge and we didn’t come out of it thinking any of them had high-level comedy or performing chops.
Mirage did better than we expected, although she fumbled a few lines. Mhi’ya was surprisingly game and also much better than we expected. In fact, we would have considered her for the win.
The interesting thing is that everyone was trying really hard and they all delivered fairly polished performances. It’s like they all knew what was expected of them and worked hard to avoid any disasters, but none of them had what we could call advanced – or even pretty good – comic timing.
Most of them didn’t have any comic timing at all. Q also acquited herself semi-nicely, but even she barreled through her bit like she was trying to get to a finish line. Everyone delivered their lines with gusto but it felt like none of them had a clue as to what they were saying.
To be fair, the material they were given was the exact opposite of funny. There was a lot of chatter about how Jane was ripping off Jimbo’s performance in a nearly identical sketch, but that has more to do with the fact that the show is lazily recycling sketches and characters. At some point, it might be nice if someone was handed a big-titted neurosurgeon or a sexy prude to play. The constant porn voice sluts are boring.
Nymphia benefitted tremendously from having two singers on either side of her in a Barbra sketch. She was the weak one, but Plasma and Sapphira held her up long enough to get through it. As predicted, Plasma ate Barbra up. She was great. We don’t understand any of these looks because none of them read Barbra. Plasma’s in particular is pretty half-assed.
The runway category was “Night of a Thousand Chers” and we find it almost impossible to believe that they never did this one before. As expected, almost everyone delivered. If a bitch can’t serve you a decent Cher, she shouldn’t be on Drag Race.
Relatively piss-poor efforts on both their parts, however. Like her impersonation of her, Mhi’ya’s Cher drag left a lot to be desired. Geneva’s is a cute idea but the costume is pretty unflattering.
We take Ru’s point about how Mirage’s ’60s hair made little sense with her very ’70s outfit. It shouldn’t be a dealbreaker – and to be fair, we don’t think it was – but putting aside the suggestion that young queens should be able to parse the most minute details of pop culture from a full generation before they were born, there is something to the idea that a good queen should know fashion history well enough to realize that a ’60s bouffant just looks odd with a ’70s disco look. Jane’s take on the iconic Met Gala look was well done, but we found it curious that this version is so much more modest than the original.
Q’s look was flawless. No one’s gonna come for this queen on the runway. Plasma’s choice was puzzling to us, although we suspect she went with it because it was the closest to Plasma’s “grand lady of the cabaret” style of drag.
We absolutely think she deserved the win, but if we showed you this picture and asked you to determine who she was supposed to be, would anyone land on Cher?
Geneva and Mirage wound up in the bottom and here’s where we note that the “Rate a Queen” segment was completely abandoned this episode, to our disappointment. This was a sad showing on both their parts. About 15 years ago, we made a “Dark Lady” reference in a Project Runway recap post – and absolutely no one got it. No one could accuse our readership at the time of being filled with Gen Z kids. It’s definitely one of the more obscure Cher songs, although it makes a particularly good choice for a lip synch because of the nature of Cher’s vocals and the catchy hand-clapping. Mirage could have and should have made a meal of this performance. Instead, she barely nibbled at it.
There’s been considerable social media backlash against this elimination by online fans. Then again, what else is new? We always hate to be put in the position of Ru’s cheerleaders/defense attorneys, but it seems insane to us to argue that someone who failed to lip synch should win a Lip Sync for Your Life challenge. It’s not “Dance for your life” or “Do splits and dips for your life.” Michelle was absolutely correct to note that she managed “Not one word.” While we more than sympathize when Gen Z queens are forced to reckon with Boomer Ru’s cultural references, this song didn’t come out of nowhere. Everyone on that stage knew what the lip sync song was going to be well in advance of shooting day. Mirage made the crucial mistake of failing to prepare for the worst and subsequently, the actual worst performer of the night got saved.
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[Photo Credit: MTV via Tom and Lorenzo]
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