RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE recap: “Shady Politics”

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Holy, cryptic clips from the “Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race” segment!

That first minute of the show routinely takes us back to pivotal moments and it seemed like we were supposed to take notes this week.

We saw Bob the Drag Queen and Derrick Barry’s “ratchet/memorable drag” standoff from last week. We saw from the runway Bob, Chi Chi, and Naomi declare Derrick Barry the one who should be sent packing and, while the remaining four (Derrick, Kim Chi, Robbie Turner, and Thorgy Thor) each individually named Chi Chi their choice of who should go home, we just saw Thorgy’s statement that “People like Chi Chi piss me off.”

So from that what should we expect? More fireworks between Bob and Derrick? A full-on knock-down drag out from Chi Chi and Thorgy? Fingers crossed.

Speaking to the camera soon after, Thorgy seemed confident: “Clearly Chi Chi is the next to go and Derrick’s the next to go. Either one of them, who cares, they’re the next to go.”

On that note, maybe it’s just best to watch the show, ride the wave, without trying to figure out the production and editing machinations.

Nah!

The Mini Challenge was a complete and total what the hell was that all about?! situation. Hotshot skivvies designer Andrew Christian showed up with a number of menz from the Pit Crew wearing only designs from his label. There was a complicated explanation about this quiz-style challenge that involved bunk beds and personal “fun facts” about each model but what it all came down to was this: each queen had to look the models over and decide which of them was a top or a bottom.

I really thought long and hard — right? — about this challenge as it was going on, because there just had to be a relationship between fun facts being thrown around and the models’ preference for the “top bunk” or the “bottom bunk.” But if ever there was a time to just ride the wave and not insert logic, now was the time.

By choosing about a million bottoms and just three tops (okay, there were probably about ten total guys there), Derrick Barry was the winner. Well, he was closest because, of all them, there was only one top and he had a back that stretched all the way from here to there. He musta’ been a rower. Too.

As has been the case lately, the winner of the Mini Challenge advances in no discernable way in the competition.

For the Maxi Challenge, the remaining six queens worked in pairs to produce individual presidential campaign ads. These commercials had to both promote themselves while tearing apart their partner. RuPaul said “I polled the judges to see who’s your number one political adversary” and that’s how they came up with these teams.

Thorgy Thor versus Chi Chi DeVayne

Kim Chi versus Naomi Smalls

Derrick Barry versus Bob the Drag Queen

It was time for the sparks to fly and you know what’s funny? There were very little. It’s like when you were a kid and you complained and whined until finally your mom said, “Okay! What!? What’s the problem?!?!” and you were like, “uh… nothing, I guess.”

I heard that these queens are notorious for apologizing to each other for their shadiness when the cameras are turned off, so maybe they’re all just too nice for a situation like this. Quite the opposite, in fact, it was the two most likely to spar — Bob and Derrick — who rallied and worked together for the sake of the challenge.

Judges this week, along with RuPaul and Michelle Visage, included Carson Kressley, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, and Vivica A. Fox.

On the runway, the category was “Black and White Movie Realness,” which amounted to each queen painting their skin white and wearing black clothing.

The judges loved Bob, Derrick, and Naomi.

They offered mixed reviews for Kim Chi, Thorgy, and Chi Chi.

At this point, I didn’t understand where they were coming from with Chi Chi. Her political ad BLED Louisiana and it was hilarious but the judges seemed to be either indifferent or just outright didn’t like it. A common criticism among the bottom three was that the smearing of their opponents wasn’t deep enough. For Kim Chi it was non-existent, for Thorgy it occurred only in very small doses. Chi Chi landed a line about nobody wants a clown for president but I suppose just pointing out the truth doesn’t qualify as smearing.

If Chi Chi suffered it all, it may have been that someone had to come up with a political ad on the spot. During her first run-through with Carson and Michelle, they nixed her original idea. Whatever it was (because we didn’t get a good look at it), they said she should reverse course and embrace her Louisiana-ness which, just by looking at the final product, proved she had to start over.

Kim Chi broke down during her assessment and it was clear she felt attacked for her lisp. That, coupled with the obvious fact that she’ll never survive a lip synch challenge, proved she would not be in the bottom two this week. I don’t entirely know what it was that the judges were getting at, other than just calling her out on her lisp, and when RuPaul added “we’re down to that place where we have to give really harsh critiques, you know?” didn’t help at all.

Derrick and Bob were named the winners of the challenge.

Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi were declared safe.

Bottom two, then were Chi Chi DeVayne and Thorgy Thor.

The song was Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and, at least based on the edit we saw on TV, Chi Chi blew it out of the water.

It was goooooood. So good, in fact, that I dropped everything and lost about two hours YouTube-ing Jennifer Holliday when she won the Tony, the Jennifer Hudson clip from when she won the Grammy (when Whitney presented it to her), and then when she won the Oscar, when Whoopi won the Oscar and, in case we haven't settled it yet, Marisa Tomei actually DESERVED to win hers! 

… but I digress.

 

 

See also:

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Wizards of Drag" (season 8 episode 6)

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Shady Politics" (season 8 episode 7)

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Book Ball" (season 8 episode 8)