There are three interesting things about the drag culture: drag race, pop culture, and comedy; and those three are the focus of this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11. This week, the competing queens are challenged to make their version of an evangelical talk show. It was divided into three categories/segments: 1) opening act lead by the hosts of the talk show, 2) a live in-show conversion session, and 3) a musical number similar to gospel songs in churches.
And no, they are not talking about actual religions. The queens have to create their own rituals based on pop divas (like Mariah Carrey, Britney Spears, Beyonce, etc.). They have to come up with a skit that parodies an evangelical talk show, like that you see in Christian television. The biggest challenge, however, is that everything was shot live and that it was directed by Ross Matthews, who isn’t really subtle with his emotions when one passes out.
As exciting as the challenge sounds, it is not the most remarkable part of this week’s episode. And in this article, were going to talk about the most significant revelations that happened in the episode. (Hint: it made her-story!).
REVELATION #1: A’KERIA DAVENPORT, WHO?
One thing that is very notable about the episode is on how the queens were selected in teams. Well, as per tradition, Ru had this week’s mini challenge to decide who will lead the two teams and who will have the chance to choose their teammates.
The mini challenge itself is exciting, hilarious, and cute. For the mini-challenge, the queens should be able to convince Ru, who is manning the backstage of a concert of Seduction, a girl group Michelle Visage was previously part of. Personally, one queen stood out for me – Nina West.
Nina West is one of those queens that had established her brand and identity in the drag circuit even before she entered Drag Race. No doubt that the drag scene has its eyes on her. Interestingly enough, Nina actually auditioned for the show since Season 2 and only got in Season 11. Props for the perseverance, girl.
Anyway, Nina’s approach to the challenge was very creative. Or should I say, very smart? She dressed her like a kid with big teeth (which is hilarious in itself), then tried to convince Ru that she should get in the backstage because she is Michelle Visage’s long lost daughter. She even has a maternity test to prove it. She ended up winning the challenge together with Ra’jah O’Hara.
As part of winning the challenge, the two got to lead and choose their own team. Nina’s team, which includes Brooke Lynn Hytes, Miss Vanjie, Yvie Oddly, Mercedes Iman Diamond, Ariel Versace, and Silky Nutmeg Ganache, choose Britney Spears as the diva whom they based their talk show on while the other team chose Mariah Carrey.
REVELATIONS #2: MARIAH-ISMS AND WHAT NOTS
During the maxi challenge, Nina’s team clearly had a cohesive performance with Nina leading as the host of the show. Ross seemed to enjoy every part of the performance especially the one where Miss Vanjie thanked herself.
Unfortunately, I could not say the same for the other team. After going through a lot of divas that they could base their talk show on, they decided to do Mariah Carrey, who they said is the diva that they have the most knowledge of, collectively. When Ru went to the werq room to check out on their progress, Ru was surprised that the team does not even know what Mariah calls her fans (It’s ‘lambs’ if you also don’t know). She got a little shocked and asked the queen what did they do all those times and why did they choose Mariah even if they don’t know anything about her. Towards the end of the conversation with RuPaul, she lent the team with some of her knowledge about Mariah and all her ‘Mariah-isms’ for the queens to use in the challenge.
As expected, Team Mariah flunked the challenge. The hosts were confused, the conversion segment was, for the lack of a better term, confusing, and the song was off-key. Ross, at the end of the team’s performance, tipped the queens to bring their A-game to the runway, a suggestion that they really did poorly in the challenge and that they should hope that their runway looks inspired by fringe would save them from elimination.
REVELATIONS #3: RU IS MAD, AINT SHE?
Of course, Team Britney snatched the win and Ru named Nina West as the winner for this week’s challenge. However, she was not impressed by the other team. She even said that she has not “moved on from the fact that they chose Mariah.”
During the judges’ critique with Guillermo Diaz from Scandal and Troye Sivan as guest judges, the queens from Ra’Jah’s team were read to filth. There was not one genuine compliment that was given to any of them. If there were any good comments, those were immediately back paddled by other harsh critiques.
Ru asked the queens for who is responsible for the mishap, and get this: they all shared the blame. All of them said that they all f*cked the challenge up and that there is no single person to blame. Maybe they forgot they have a leader, and the leader should actually take full responsibility for her team, but well, that’s beside the point.
Clearly, Ru was not having it. After the deliberation, RuPaul decided that all the six members of Team Mariah should lipsync for their lives. This is actually the first time that it happened in the show. The decision made everyone gag. Ariel Versace even said that she ‘could not breathe’ after the infamous announcement.
The six bottom queens lipsynced to JLo’s ‘Waiting For Tonight,’ and girl it was so messy. The queens cannot even move well in the stage. In the end, Ru sent Honey Davenport home. /apr