So… looking back on the premiere episode and, recalling that pretty Naysha went home and it could just as easily have been herself, Laila McQueen reasoned: “Back at home I’m more of the, like, edgier girl but seeing people here like Thorgy, Acid Betty, and KimChi it’s like ‘ok I’m no longer the big fish and a small pond!’”
The mini challenge this week was a “Latin Style Dance Off” which immediately made Cynthia Lee Fontaine ecstatic. The always hot pit crew brought out a number of frocks that, if I understand this correctly, came from a thrift store for homeless people, and the queens got to it. Acid Betty made another reference to Thorgy’s refusal to shave her legs.
Right there in the Werk Room they took turns breaking out of the circle for a spot dance. Ru chose two winners: Cynthia Lee Fontaine, and Chi Chi DeVayne who, for the maxi challenge got to choose teams where they competed in the “dragapella” movie Bitch Perfect. It amounted to something of a musical re-enactment of the film that reminded me of Grease. Maybe it was this pair of groups.
Cynthia’s was the “Lady Bitches,” the sweethearts of dragapella.
ChiChi’s group was “Shady Bitches” the bad girls.
One by one they chose group members and, when it was all said and done, the groups looked something like this.
Cynthia’s Lady Bitches: Bob the Drag Queen, Derek Barry, Laila McQueen, Robbie Turner, KimChi
ChiChi’s Shady Bitches: Acid Betty, Thorgy Thor, Dax ExclamationPoint, Naomi Smalls
Most the rest of this episode involved a power struggle between Acid Betty and ChiChi. From the moment it started, all I could see was Star Jones bragging about how good she is at “brand messaging” and Nene Leakes telling her that Barbara Walters won’t save her and that she should bring her “street game.”
And by that I mean: Betty’s ideas were good, and they used them, and ChiChi held her ground and remained in charge. They were scheduled to work with famed choreographer Jamal Sims and, while ChiChi figured they wait for that moment, Betty suggested they come up with ideas in advance.
On the other side of the room, the struggle was how to disguise KimChi’s lack of dance talent. During the task visit, RuPaul called out Laila again for not delivering on these challenges. I think we all know these episodes are severely edited, but these (there was another in the previous episode) are awkward and uncomfortable, even as a viewer sitting at home on my couch.
Group meetings with Jamal Sims, and after in the Werk Room, focused on the lacklustre dancing skills of Lady Bitches’ KimChi and Shady Bitches’ Dax ExclamationPoint. The emotional highlight of the episode, as always while the queens put on makeup, zeroed in as well on KimChi and Dax. Both had weight issues when they were young boys; KimChi, in fact, claimed to weigh 350 pounds until just three and a half years ago.
Talk about bringing street game: ChiChi said she used to be a gangbanger in Louisiana. “People don’t make it where I come from,” she said. “I was afraid of what my mom, my brother, everybody would think of me. When I finally came out it was at a turning point in my life. I could’ve been dead, I could’ve been locked up.”
On the runway, judges included Michelle Visage, Lucian Piane, Jamal Sims, Ester Dean. “Bitch Perfect” was a lip synch song and dialogue mashup what lasted a full six minutes. For the individual runway show, Robbie Turner stood out in a red number that flowed and flowed and flowed. This early in the season there’s always one or two who haven’t made an impression in the least and, until this point, that person was Robbie Turner. (For a quickie queen-by-queen review, be sure to check out the Vine account called “RuPaul’s Drag Race Clips.”)
Winner was ChiChi DeVayne. Other top choices included Thorgy Thor and Acid Betty.
Bottom three included Dax Exclamationpoint, KimChi and Laila McQueen. During their deliberation, the judges seemed to have very little issue with KimChi’s lack of dancing ability and so that really means she’s gonna go home the very first time she has to lip synch for her life. Seeing that bottom three, then, meant it was all about Dax and Laila.
It looked like Laila was on her way out, thanks to an underwhelming routine that including stripping down to just her panties and bra when, in a breathtaking shocker, RuPaul announced: “neither one of you survived that lip synch. I must ask you both to sashay away,” and then cryptically called somebody on a cellphone while the credits rolled and said to that person, “how soon can you get here?”
Boom. Something fun’s gonna happen next week.
RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Keeping It 100" (season 8 episode 1)
RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Bitch Perfect" (season 8 episode 2)
RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "RuCo's Empire" (season 8 episode 3)