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Monday, February 7, 2022


I’ll always take a silly episode of Drag Race over an excessively-weepy challenge that requires the gals to rehash their trauma while branding their own line of scented candles, or whatever. Luckily, this week’s foray into PSA-style commercials manages to pack in some dramatic turns while keep the proceedings fairly light.

Let’s start with the big news: Kornbread rolled her ankle during last week’s challenge, and she’s out for the rest of the season. This all but guarantees her return in season 15, but she’s been a central figure in the werkroom and confessionals the last few weeks.

Kornbread leaves the gals a goodbye video, giving sweet words of encouragement to BFF Kerri, new pal Willow and even nemesis Jasmine. That leaves a spot at the top of the pack for someone like Lady Camden, Bosco, DeJa or Daya to break out of the middle, and they know it.

Unfortunately, it’s a tough week to stand out. Ru intros this week’s challenge: A PSA in the style of those Sally Struthers or Sarah McLachlan commercials devoted to first-eliminated queens past. Tempest DujourJaymes Mansfield and Kahmora Hall all return to star in the video.

The best part is when Ru assigns the teams. Each competitor positions a pillow against the backside of a bent-over member of the Pit Crew, bumping and grinding until the balloon pops confetti everywhere like a gender reveal party. It’s a hoot to watch, especially the diminutive Jorgeous thrusting in vain, unable to hurl that tiny twink body hard enough to pop the balloon.

(There’s also a big laugh when it’s Maddy’s turn, but, like, dude, you’re wearing a dress and heels and makeup, is it really such a big deal to fully-clothed pop a balloon with your hips against another man? On this show of all shows, we have to make a joke about man-on-man intimacy? It feels very dumb!)

I’m spending a lot of time on the Pit Crew segment, because there’s not a lot to say about this challenge. Once the queens are in three teams, they’re each paired with one of the queens from seasons past. The task is to write a few rhyming lines to be strung together into the PSA. Why do the lines rhyme? Unclear. As a freelance blogger, let’s just say I’ve seen a lot of daytime TV. I can’t recall any of these sorts of commercials that are framed as a limerick.

The final products are … fine. Jorgeous struggles to fit all the lines in her allotted time. Orion is low energy. Jasmine can’t shake this vocal tic that makes her sound, in Michelle’s words, like The Count from Sesame Street. Clever queens like Willow, Bosco and Maddy pack a lot of jokes in, and Angeria’s infectious personality once again helps her shine.

The runway this week is much more compelling. Don’t let recent blizzards, bomb cyclones and Texas chills fool you; on Drag Race at least, “Spring Has Sprung.” The ladies bring it big time with flashy floral frocks. Usually there’s one or two truly knockout showings, but this week’s lewks are seriously stunning.

The judges were gaga for Angeria’s line delivery, but she makes a rare misstep on the runway with an ill-fitting top. If Angeria is one of the worst-dressed on the runway, that’s saying something!

Jasmine Kenndie is an absolute vision in a green corset stoned for the absolute GAWDS. It’s so beautifully embellished, it speaks to something deep in my gay bones that just says “Ooh, sparkly.”

Lady Camden earns high marks for her emotional performance, but she really shines as a walking tea party on the runway. The table skirt thing has been done to death, but she surprises when she tips her teacup headpiece, spilling some sequin “tea.” Fun!

Finally, it’s Bosco’s time to get a win, combining her strong performance in the challenge and a wonderful runway. Inspired by her “Seasonal Affective Disorder” routine back in Seattle, she walks the runway first in a little gray mini that looks like a storm cloud. It’s cute, but we saw a more dramatic “April showers” presentation on the runway from Maddy. However, the real gag is a reveal that transforms the dreary dress into a bright, sunny yellow gown. Cute!

Less lucky is, once again, Orion. She looks sexy on the runway, but she just doesn’t have the same presence as the other queens. It comes down to her and Jorgeous, who struggled again to bring the undeniable starpower she shows on the runway to an acting challenge.

They lip sync is to guest judge Ava Max’s “My Head My Heart,” and Jorgeous eats Orion alive. To the surprise of no one, Jorgeous completely destroys and gives us the best sync of the season so far. It’s so nice seeing a pro do what they do so well.

Orion? Um, not so much. The wig line goes immediately into retreat. She kicks her shoes off. She dances like she should be fronting Imagine Dragons. It’s not great, but next to Jorgeous, it’s downright tragic.

Jorgeous lives to slay another day, while Orion is sent packing back to the Midwest.

We’re down to a really, really strong group of queens. If this runway is any sign of things to come, it’s going to be one of the tightest races to the finish.

Let’s take stock of our standings.

1.      Willow just barely inches ahead this week, thanks to Angeria’s fit issue. She had a ton to offer to the joke writing here, as she has in previous comedy challenges. Although her runway wasn’t the most glamorous or couture, it was clever, unique and unforgettable. Willow always tells a story on the runway, and that’s what separates queens from clothes hangers.

2.      Angeria got dinged by the judges tonight for an ill-fitting corset, but it doesn’t feel like the beginning of the end for her just yet. She scored the only genuine laugh line in the video for me, and even considering fit, she was still wearing an outfit that would outshine most lewks from previous seasons.

3.      It’s about time Bosco got a little recognition. She’s got the same Seattle weirdness we’ve come to expect from Northwest queens like Jinkx and DeLa combined with the burlesque fashion sensibility of Violet Chachki. That’s a pretty lethal Drag Race combo.

4.      Lady Camden is finally starting to break through the pack, but, as she pointed out on the runway, she’s got to speak up more. She’s clearly got the goods, but she’ll need to throw some elbows to make sure she’s not getting overshadowed by queens with bigger personalities.

5.      I can’t quite get a read on the Jasmine edit. Is she a gifted young fashion girl a la Gigi? A pathological overachiever like Jan? A frontrunner? A villain? It’s hard to say. Right now, she feels like the biggest wild card. She could either surge ahead and win this whole thing, or she can crash and burn in a huge emotional wreck. That’s what I like to see from my reality-TV queens! Keep us guessing, mama!

6.      The middle of the pack is still very neck-and-neck. I’m giving Kerri a slight boost here, because she seemed to directly address the judges’ criticism from last week. Her spring runway was the opposite of the J.Lo dress. It still wasn’t “ugly,” but it wasn’t so one-dimensionally pretty. It was very Little Shop of Horrors meets Hurricane of Jacarandas. If Kerri can keep nerves at bay and bring her natural charms to challenges, she’s one to watch.

7.      What’s it going to take for DeJa to get some love? It feels like she’s always a step behind the top queens despite solid showings in the maxis and runways. I’m starting to worry that DeJa is one of those girls that’s perfectly proficient but lacking that extra little something that makes Ru squawk unintelligible nonsense from the dais.

8.      Daya Betty 100 percent understood the PSA assignment, delivered exactly what Ru was looking for and showed out on the runway covered in butterflies. It wouldn’t take much to convince me to shuffle the placement of Kerri, DeJa, Daya, Jorgeous and even Maddy, but all of them need to make more of definitive statement in the coming weeks.

9.      Oh, Jorgeous. Being born to do drag and being born to do Drag Race are two different things. If you can’t act or do comedy or write jokes, I have some serious concerns about your future. That lip sync was amazing, she’s beautiful, she’s got moxie. I’m a fan! I would totally buy a “Jorgeous, Jourgeous Girls” t-shirt on To paraphrase Kahmora: I’m rooting for YOU.

10. In my years of recapping Drag Race, I’ve been accused of having many a vendetta against certain queens. Is that my problem with Maddy? Maybe! I will concede, she’s a good writer and tonight’s rainy runway was really something. Even when she nails a joke or turns a lewk, it just feels like it’s missing that little wink Ru loves to allude to.

11. The writing was on the wall for Orion, our first twice-eliminated queen of the season. I wish she would find a way to lip sync that leans into her awkwardness, rather than trying to emulate other “sexy” queens. The dancing is hard to watch. I could see a world where she develops the character to be even more Peg Bundy meets Anna Nicole Smith, and that could be fun. The bunny runway was a good twist on the theme and helped her stand out, but, if we’re being honest, it still suffered from the same overly-complicated design the judges already called out. I’m curious to see where she goes from here, because I think there’s a lot more to Orion’s story than we’ve seen.

How would you rank the queens?


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