Drag Race Season 11 Recap: Monster Ball

vogue mummy.png

I’m glad we’re getting another early ball episode and I was excited by the Halloween theme although I think a lot of the Queens misunderstood the assignment, not enough tramp, not enough MILF and a little too much witch. but at least Vanjie’s headpieces continue to get bigger and more obscene by the episode.

Stop Trying To Make Cyst Happen


Plastique is just determined to make this season have a Vanjie moment and “Cyst” is not the and if it is causing Soju to keep making “Cyster” merchandise then I am going to need her to really stop it IMMEDIATELY. Even Silky managed to realise that “ATTITUDE CHECK!?” wasn’t going to be a thing after the first episode and Vanjie hasn’t even done her “Miss… Vaaaaanjie” thing.


Scarlet Proud.png

Scarlet is riding high and congratulating  herself and remind everyone that RuPaul spoke to her and congratulated her on her casting of the musical, while the cameras were rolling and everything! Ariel thinks she deserves more credit for being the lead role that obviously wasn’t the lead role because she had… 2 scenes when Ra’Jah as Omarosa was clearly the actual lead and somehow nobody noticed… And speaking of Ra’Jah

Rajah and Yvie.png

Don’t you love it when both parties in a feud are equally tiresome? It all sarts when Ra’Jah says she will make it all the way to the final even if she has to lipsync every week (which, in fairness to Yvie is one of the most annoying things a Queen says every season) but Yvie, the self-appointed Arbitor of Keeping-It-Real decides to call her out on it and Ra’Jah then bitches about it in an confessional like someone having a fantasy argument in the shower 3. I dread the Reading Challenge, I really, truly do.

Untucked 2: Electric Boogaloo


Obviously the words on everyone’s lips is still Branjie, and by everyone I mean the producers because it is pretty obvious that nobody wants to talk about it and the Queens keep getting prompted to and bringing it up in truly awkward ways and the whole conversation is just a rehash of Untucked for those that couldn’t be bothered to watch it.

Vanjie is pretty adamant that no boy will come between her and that crown and I believe her because Brooke asks her about her MILF look and how to incorporate the snake and Vanjie just stares at her offering NO ADVICE and just sort of going “umm”. It’s the most silent she’s ever been.  But also their relationship has reached the point where they are apparently now dressing as matching porn film farmers:

branjie farmers

It’s nice to have a showmance for once, an actual one and not some awkwardly spliced together half statements from Jinkx and Ivy Winters. BUT WAIT, Silky wants screentime:

Even as a joke there is more passion in these 2 seconds than in any of Brooke and Vanjie’s interactions. UNLEASH THE FANFICS, long live Nilky? Silina?

Tutu Much

The Out of Drag Looks are one of my favourite things about post-season 7 Drag Race, cargo pants and garden sandals are no longer going to cut it and we are now in age of tutus.

Akeria tutu

She’s coming for your gig Brooke Lynn.

Does She Worship the Dolls?


This could have been a really funny challenge – who doesn’t love a good Barbie parody – Season 2’s barbie makeover mini challenge is an all time great but I just think that maybe comedy isn’t this season’s strong point. I’m actually not sure what this season’s strong point is… Werk Room shenanigans? Quick drag looks? Guest judges? Anyway, basically the challenge is to create a best friend for Ru’s newly shamelessly plugged Fashion Doll (now available at integritytoys.com) and if there are 2 things that amuse RuPaul most of all it’s balls to wall insanity and a well-executed reference to pre-2000s culture, also racially insensitive stereotypes – Ru LOVES those. Also Trixie is there for all of 3 minutes to read out the Queen’s Barbie Mad-Libs – it’s a gig…

There really aren’t many standouts beyond Ra’Jah’s perfect 80s blaxploitation heroin doll with  her over sized cup of Drank™

Ra'Jah doll

A’keria’s One-Armed Prison Doll was fun, I loved Silky’s bootlegger doll, if only for the hastily duct taped crisp packets.

silky doll

Ru is the only one allowed to shamelessly advertise here, GET THE FUCK OUT LAYS. Scarlet did a really good impression of the boss-eyed Barbie knock-offs you get in bargain stores

stupid scarlet

Nina’s Women’s March Collectable Doll was almost there but the spiel wasn’t as funny as it could have been – I wish she had gone full TERF parody but I love those Janelle Monae vagina pants and I hope to see more of them in the future

nina feminist doll

Vanjie found herself doing the prostitution route again, she just can’t help herself and we love her because of it. Then we have Yvie who would like to remind you that she is TOTALLY WEIRD

Yvie Doll

It was a mess of trying too hard and the up-close shot of her untucked crotch was unnecessary. On the other end of the spectrum of not even trying at all is Ariel with Awesome Ariel

Ariel Doll

Who is… literally just Ariel. And maybe also the best Ariel has looked all season? I kind of wish she had worn that necklace on the runway because Michelle would have MURDERED her. Ra’Jah obviously wins and her prize is… £1000 worth of ice cream? She looks thrilled.

rajah wins

I hope it turns out she’s lactose intolerant and this is like when noted bald and vegetarian Queen Sasha Velour won a year’s supply of hair products and hamburgers…

Silky’s Attempt at Cliques


Apparently Vanjie, A’keria and Silky are a Dreamgirls Clique, to the point where they have done a photoshoot, but clearly the producers realised everyone hated Season 3’s Heathers vs Boogers conflict and have given this no screen time – I hadn’t even realised Silky and Vanjie had spoken to one another.

Werk Room

Because it’s a ball episode and we have to go through 36 looks there isn’t much time for Werk Room Drama so we get a bit of a break from Ariel vs Silky – a production that will not be continuing, thank God. It’s mainly just Queens struggling with their concepts for their MILF looks, Brooke’s idea of a vengeful pageant queen gets glassy looks from everyone and she immediately swaps it and sort of just wanders around the room with a plastic snake coiled around her head while everyone politely stares down the barrel of the camera when she turns her back.

silky to camera

Scarlet wafts around the room looking like the actual proverbial polished shit

Scarlet werk room

Which many of the girls do not react well to and all I have to say is that it at least looks different and like an actual monster, Ms. Chicken-Crotch-Cain.

Because Silky and Ariel’s little drama is about to die a dramatic death they have to work out who Silky’s new sparring partner will be and there are a lot of just ANGRY EYES, SCEPTICAL EYES and BITCHY EYES reaction shots of Silky being used whenever any queen says something so your guess is as good as mine.

The main struggle is Ariel and her reluctance to step out of the early 2000s cartoon zeitgeist that she grew up in and she immediately gravitates toward the iridescent aquamarine fabric – you know the one on the wall that is there because nobody is meant to use it (it’s like in Masterchef when they give you all the ingredients to make a lovely blueberry cheesecake and some sriracha sauce, DON’T USE THE SRIRACHA SAUCE ARIEL.) And she creates the painfully obvious mermaid gown, ploughing through everyone telling her to monster it up and it falls on deaf ears because…

MILF Ariel

Dead in the water.

ELVIRA! (and also Cara Delevingne was there)


It’s Elvira for her third time guest judging and watching her swing those arachnid nipple tassels was a great welcome back and kind of put Cara Delevingne swiffering with a fluffy sex toy to shame, but I did like Cara’s little zombie flapper look – but lets not act like we don’t know the A Guest and the B Guest were , Elvira got to go into Untucked afterall where she and Nina almost certainly started the pitch for a 2 woman show. And Silkie of course made a B-line for her and bounced their tits together, it’s an unusual way of greeting someone.

Having a Ball

The runway was a bit of a bust really and a lot of the Queens did not understand the Trampy Trick or Treat category at all, I think only Ra’Jah, Scarlet, A’keria and Plastique got it right, and maybe Vanjie but I just can’t get over her angel wings that looked like Dumbo ears

TRAMPY vanjie

You can read my full runway recap and ranking here. Ariel just decided to wear the closest thing she had to a Halloween costume that wasn’t her witch look, pleather does not a tramp make. I’m still torn on Shuga’s oufit

TRAMPY shuga

On one hand it is the worst thing on the runway but on the other hand she was literally dressed as Ariel Versace so… delightful shade?

The Witch Category was stronger, although it did mean there was A LOT of black flowy gowns – Silky and Ra’Jah being the only ones that stepped away from muted colours, Silky’s Mabel King Witch outfit was undercooked and Ra’Jah seemed to be dressed as The Wizard of Oz


so might want to re-watch The Wizard of Oz sometime soon? Or get a hat? A lot of Queens would have been well served with a hat, namely Ariel who I’m sure was going for Emmy Rossum in Beautiful Creatures but did end up looking like a Goth Saloon Owner


I mean, I could work with a cowboy film in which John Wayne just wears copious amounts of eyeliner and sweats through a heavy trenchcoat for the entire film. This was also the only category Yvie actually did well in – the judges were very lenient on her Sexy Reptar costume. The witch at least felt like more of a fashion moment with a bit of a Galiano flare to it.

The MILF runway was just a garbage fire because… nobody really understood what was being asked of them because you can’t say the word “fuck” on VH1 apparently? And I think a few wires got crossed and not enough people made a monster you would want to fuck, SHUGA

MILF Shuga

Who hurt you? Nina just walked out like Zombie Mrs. Doubtfire


I am interested to know what Nina’s take on Sexy is, because this is… not it.

The tops are Plastique and Brooke, but maybe also Yvie? They raved about her Reptar costume but ripped her confused Voodoo Doll to shreds. I think it absolutely should have been Nina, Plastique and Scarlet with Scarlet winning but the judges were just peacocked by Yvie’s dino-feet and Brooke’s ballet strut. Plastique basically gets told to stop looking so pretty and find some semblance of a personality (and maybe another corset, hmm?) before she gets Miss Fame’d. Brooke is there for no reason other than Cara Delevingne to say “you should have given me some tips” about her Enchantress look to which the DC fans out there all scream “YOU THINK?”. Shuga is read to filth by Elvira who tells her to never wear her Trampy look ever again, I love a guest judge who gets savage.

Brooke Lynn manages to win the challenge purely for narrative sake, Scarlet and A’keria seethe in a puddle of under-recognised greatness.

It’s a Whitney Wipeout

The bottom two are obviously Shuga and Ariel who are lip syncing to I’m Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston, and God if a Whitney song doesn’t always bring out the on-stage drama… Both Ariel and Shuga seem to spend a lot of time fighting with their similarly flowy long skirts- Shuga eventually manages to rip hers off which has the advantage or not being a tripping hazard but also the merkin is now in full effect

shuga cain merkin

Ariel does a lot of angry pointing at the judges and is probably winning because Shuga is just flapping her arms like a frustrated toddler and it is not good BUT THEN

ariel fall 1ariel fall 2ariel fall 3

I full on thought she was going off that stage like Honey Davenport for a second but she manages to stop it and does a barrel roll to the side – she said she had gone into full Mortal Kombat Mode. Ru just does a full body cringe

rupaul full body cringe

Ariel must have been at least a little relieved when she saw Farrah deck it in Allstars 4 – I know I would’ve been. It’s just a losing battle from there – Ariel puts on a valiant effort but her lips are moving at half the speed of the song (does she have a concussion? Is she ok? How did this not happen in the six-way lipsync? And thankfully we will never have to hear the phrase “Nyaaas” ever again as Ariel is sashayed away.

Nina West’s Side Story

At this point I think it’s safe to say Nina is an assured finalist and most likely the one to beat because they are spending a lot of time in emotionally connecting us to her, granted the continuation of her coming out story and college experience was relegated to Untucked because most of the main Werk Room drama was spent on Brooke Lynn’s original MILF outfit story… We got a little more about her college experience and how scary it was to be going through that during the Matthew Shepherd era but hearing the fact his parents were supportive and protective of him was a relief. It was a slight shame that that she had to spend this entire very emotional outpouring look like this though:

nina west untucked

You can’t have it all.

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