Drag Race Season 11 Recap: L.A.D.P.

rupaul reading challenge2

Well at least we were saved the trauma of having both that Snatch Game and this reading challenge in the same episode.

This Week in Queens Misunderstanding Silky:

silky on couch

Obviously after seeing 2 of the main frontrunenrs fall into the bottom two has everyone deciding that this season is now anbody’s game (sure Shuga) because everyone who has won a season (except Raja as Tyra and Trixie as Robo-RuPaul) has won their season. It’s true but after the last few seaons I’m not sure we should be putting so much weight on Snatch Game outcomes because it’s a bit like giving ut You Tried stickers. It all prompts yet another exhausting conversation about how the Queens can better themselves from here on out and Silky says “Well, I have what I have and I’ll use that to showcase I am a fabulous drag queen”, this is taken as “I can do nothing to better myself, so suck my big toe” which is a weird and deliberately misinterpretation of what she said.

The double save also has A’Keria pondering if there will be a double elimination AND OH MY GOD I HOPE SO OR THIS WILL NEVER END. Also Nina deserves to be sashay’d for her awful attempt at flossing. How is possible to have such little rhythm?

Illiteracy is Contagious

First and foremost, do Plastique and Nina just now know how glasses work?

nina west glasses reading challenge

plastique glasses reading challenge

They go on your face. The legs go over your ears. LA Eye Works is going to be PISSED. I mean the whole segment was bad so I fully expect them to never sponsor this challenge again because my God this was terrible. It’s a pretty well known fact that some of the Queens get jokes pre-written for them when they get cast, the problem is that when they get to use them they have to fit whichever Queen they can into the read in the vain hope it works and as Vanjie found out

vanjie reading challenge

It does not work. A lot of reads about Plastique’s name being “plastique” which, guys. That’s why she named herself that, it’s a self deprecating name and you pointing it out isn’t funny. There were less reads based around body shape this year, after we reached the absolute nadir of fat jokes following Cracker’s Dumbo bon mot I’m not surprised. Although Shuga did make some sort of famine relief joke about Yvie and it’s a shame Honey Davenport wasn’t around to get offended on behalf of skinny girls everywhere. Silky riding high on her personality hype decides the best tactic for this challenge is to whoop and holler her way through it as though she’s looking for a goat in the Alps Ru actually seems to contemplate his own death

rupaul reading challenge

She also takes this out of her shoe at some point

silky footnote

And I am still so confused because it goes NOWHERE. Obviously when things go this bad the girls start biting back and absolutely the best reads come from the spur of the moment clapbacks from the Queens being read – see A’Keria’s “sleeping on Nina’s talent” and then Silky calling Brooke “an 80s looking pornstar” which is lowkey the best read of the entire episode. Speaking of Brooke, she obviously wins purely for being the most coherent, I personally thought A’Keria embodied the challenge more – her read on Plastique’s wardrobe being worthless because it’s rented felt the most like it could be from Paris Is Burning.

L.A.D.P.

For her win Brooke gets the power to choose her partner for this week’s main challenge as well as getting the power to pair the other queens up. She obviously goes straight for Nina because of her success in past acting challenge, and the two of them worked really well in the Diva Worship improve challenge. She then pairs Plastique and Vanjie, both of whom seemingly only know how to do one character and in that particular faceoff I fully expect Vanjie to railroad Plastique, A’Keria gets Yvie leaving Shuga and Silky which for whatever reason seem like pairings that make sense to me. There is obviously already talk about Brooke is being shady and conniving by not putting the front running queens together – I would like to know which of Vanjie and Plastique is a frontrunner at the point because Plastique is about to be Miss Fame’d and Vanjie is at most 2 episodes away from getting Valentina’d.

The Queens are all assigned various roles to play:

Yvie and A’Keria: Twerking Girls Caught in the Act
Brooke and Nina: Feuding Trailer Park Neighbours
Vanjie and Plastique: Caught in a Catfight (and they are literally dressed as cats.)
Shuga and Silky: Back Alley Trading in Butt Pads.

Back Alley Butt Pads:

silky back alley butt pads

I want to know more about those pinatas. Ru however is more interested in finding out how Silky will top herself after Snatch Game Silky, probably for the best, she deflects the question – I hate the idea that Queen have to consistently top themselves because it eventually just leads to a burnout in the later half of the season (looking at your Yvie) When asked what Silky will be basing her character off of she literally just reads the character description she was given to Ru. Shuga seems really tentative and Silky is doing a good job of trying to coax a bigger performance out of her and I think it does work to a certain extent – it was certainly more established and well rounded than her televangelist – I’m just not sure this character worked for this scenario

shuga character

why would a prim and seemingly wealthy looking woman shop in a back alley? She should have gotten messier and you could see her thinking through everything she said and there was very little flow with her character – I did laugh at the thought of her finding a chicken in her ass, but the lack of said live chicken was disappointing and I cackled at her banging on the window of the car in the background

shuga cain police

but Silky was playing off of everyone with such ease and the scene was surprisingly controlled until the last 10 seconds which is absolutely how ever episode of Cops goes.

Trailer Park Feud

naked sunbather

Nina, with her history of success in improv challenges and seemingly undaunted by her abject failure in the reading challenge, has her eyes firmly on the prize as well as the role of sunbather, wanting to go full Eureka because she thinks her naked body would be a funny sight gag. Girl, love yourself. Brooke meanwhile is in a tailspin after The Celine Dion Disaster and flops in and out of what role she wants. She ends up getting the nude sunbather, which was absolutely the correct result because the thought of Brooke playing the repressed, “uppity-tight” neighbour is a HARD PASS, it did however scupper Nina’s chances of winning because she was essentially playing a mere reskin of her Diva Challenge character.

nina naked sunbather

During Ru’s walkabout he insults Brooke’s Celine Dion a bit and then asks about her pairings and whether it was shady, Brooke explains it wasabout putting people with big personalities with people without much personality and you can see Nina having the slow realisation that she is the bit part in this relationship

nina west existential crisis

Their actual skit is pretty good, Brooke as the wafty faye-vegan and she manages to crack ome great jokes, the funniest of which I a quote from The Simpsons but I’ll forgive her. It does feel constantly on the verge of being a mess. Possibly the funniest bits is just he thought of Nina sitting in the caravan waiting for Brooke to give her a cue and Brooke just having such a good time that she forgets all about it. Nina does eventually emerge but she is no match for Brooke’s chaotic nudity as she grapples Fortune, and fails to really establish much of a character, which at this point is just the Nina West Narrative.

Catfight

catfight

The minute you realised they were going to be dressed as actual cats you knew this was doomed, also Vanje just breaking character within 2 seconds of the skit is the most Vanjie thing to happen

vanjie breaking character

It just adds such an overtly absurdist nature to the skit that it was just balls to the wall insane from the start; if there is one thing poor Vanjie can’t do is pace herself – it’s 100 or nothing with her. I love our Chaotic Evil Queen. It was also painfully obvious that neither of them knew much about Cats: The Musical beyond the word “Grizabella” and clearly the narrative that was trying to be established by Cheyenne throughout the debacle was that the two were fighting over the role of Grizabella in a local production of Cats – a plot point that was CLEARLY provided for them because in Ru’s werkabout they say their roles are Theatre Cat and Alley Cat – again with the allusion to prostitution with Vanjie. The catalyst for everything that went wrong was clearly the bottle of milk – a plot element Vajie go way to wrapped in and weaved quite the tale about Plastique stealing milk and her man… and I don’t know it was all SO INCOHERENT.

They got far too caught in being cats – the final twist in the scene should have been Fortune taking out the cat toys and the two of them becoming cats, but no. They were just cats from the beginning, but also Plastique may have been a dog because, tell me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of cats attempting to hump people, but it was Cheyenne Jackson so… take your moment girl. I may have been more confused about this than Silky’s fucking footnote read and Nina’s reaction throughout this debacle is a big mood

nina reaction

A’Keria and Yvie

akeria and yvie

For some reason everyone this week decided that A’keria hasn’t show much energy or personality and I have issues with that because she was as good as anyone could hope to be with her character in the Good God Girl Get Out, she won the Draglympics episode, she was the least worst in the Diva Worship challenge, her lipsyncs have been GREAT – so what is everyone’s problem? It at least prompted A’keria to decide that she was going to win this challenge and my God did she – it was very much to her benefit that she got the Twerking Girls plot, although I have a sneaking suspicion that it was always going to be given to her no matter who she ended up with.

A’keria was complete magic to watch – that clip of her running down the sidewalk barefoot like the running chicken meme was absolutely the best moment from all of the scenes.

akeria running

See also her Mary Poppins bag of props and the phrase “Twerkus”. Also Yvie was in the scene I guess, doing some pretty bad twerking

yvie lapd

and completely fumbling the bizarre Mark Whalberg line. It was probably for the best that Yvie took a backseat and licked her wounds but it is beginning to look a lot like a Nina Bo’nina “Burnout” Brown situation.

Facekinis

This may well go down as the best runway of the season – these more off the wall Club Kid-esque challenges always push the queens out of their comfort zones and it always results in an interesting array of looks. Cheyenne Jackson on the other hand has concerns

cheynne jackson runway

And I feel like all the Queens are on the same footing with this – it’s not a piece of drag everyone automatically has in their wheelhouse – bar Yvie who has several and for some reason brought her worst one.

Welcome to Facekini Bottom

Plastique

plastique facekini but not really

Well, first of all you failed the challenge. Second of all I genuinely feel like we have seen all of these pieces on this show before, from Aja’s Tim Burton outfit she got elminated in in seaosn 9, to Alyssa’s corset in her Shut Up And Drive lipsync against Tatianna and then basicaly several of Plastique’s own outfits. I don’t necessarily mind recycled pieces but when it gets this noticeable – it’s a problem. I did also love that she called this “ugly makeup” in Untucked and I heartily disagree

Silky

silky ganache runway

I dispute whether this is a Facekini or not because to me it’s more of a weird Stageshow costume for The Fly: The Musical that just obscures the actor’s head. I don’t hate the outfit at all and I’m actually glad to see Silky so something unexpected, not that many people will give her that credit. It is also clearly a fly and I will challenge Michelle Visage’s entomological credentials.

Yvie

yvie facekini

But is this her Sexy Reptar outfit? I think I didn’t have as much of a response to this because Yvie has some much better Facekini looks on her Instagram from 2 years ago – it just feels a little underwhelming from the TOTALLY WEIRD OUT OF THE BOX QUEEN WHO KEEPS IT REAL.

Vanjie

vanjie facekini

See, this is what Shuga’s Scorpio outfit should have been. The fetishiness of this is its only real selling point because it absolutely does not fit her and it may now be apparent why she wears so many stretch fabric bathing suits – at least they’ll fit.

Facekini Tops

Brooke

brooke facekini

First of all, that is absolutely tiger stripes and not zebra, IF WE’RE BEING ZOOLOGICALLY CORRECT MICHELLE. The pairing of a zebra and steampunk is utter nonsense, although can we call sticking a few clockwork pieces to your elbow “steampunk”? It’s just not a cohessive look for me – the mohawk is great and her face is beautifully confusing and she looks like something straight out of Cirque du Soleil, it just needs to be either more steampunk or less (preferably less because that whole aesthetic is exhausting).

A’keria

akeria facekini plastic surgery

The utter sparseness of this is what truly makes it creepy – it’s a strange mixture of the tired-as-fuck plastic surgery narrative that is a got-to for many a Queen, but it has a sort of Pagan doll vibe to it that truly pushes it over the edge into pure nightmare fuel. Those shoes though are a Nina West level Footwear Failure – she needed some thing like these weird fleshy heels – just if you wanted to add more horror to your life.

Nina

Nina facekini look

This look is fabulous and great and I think it’s the best silhouette Nina has shown, it certainly comes across as her most prepared look. She has been called out by Marnie Scarlet who has a very similar look, albeit one that is in and of itself a nod to Leigh Bowery, but I think the two looks are removed enough – Marnie’s is very Fetish Banker whereas Nina’s is, in her own words, “A little Mr. Peanut”. And nobody owns polka dots girl.

Shuga

shuga cain facekini runway

Well, we’ve reached the point of bizarro fetish Mary Poppins, where to now lads? I really appreciate Shuga and the fact you never know what the Hell she is going to come out in when she walks around that corner and I think everyone is kind of sleeping on her this season and it’s a shame. The hat could have been bigger, it should always a be a say something hat day and that particular hat is a little too polite.

Judging

Joining the judging panel this week is the ever incredible Natasha Lyonne who happens to be wearing her locket from Russian Doll and I love her for it. Fortune and Cheyenne are both here so we are saved from Ross and Carson, I’m into it.

Yvie and Nina are safe and sent backstage, personally I think Yvie and Shuga performed on the same level of meh and Shuga’s look was so much stronger that I’d have swapped them but after the talk that Nina gave Yvie backstage I’m kind of grateful it fell this way because it was always going to be a Plastique vs Vanjie lipsync. The clear tops are A’Keria and Brooke with Silky landing somewhere in the middle for a good, if overpowering performance and a runway look which wasn’t entomologically correct enough for Michelle and a lack of makeup – which sure but don’t come tell me that Yvie spray paining her eyes red is a “full look” underneath that mask.

yvie face beneath mask

Brooke and A’keria are praised for managing to remain in character and push through the sheer chaos of the whole premise. They further praise A’keria for daring to be ugly on the runway this week and being the improv Queen that she has become this week she takes that bait and runs with it – going on about how she was afraid at first to lose her poise and elegance and thanks Ru for pushing her out of her comfort zone and changing her and my God is Ru EATING IT UP

RU REACTS TO AKERIA

And in that moment A’keria won this challenge. Vanjie’s look, while a different silhouette (kind of) is clocked for looking like some sort of Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubeman and also her lack of tits. CAN A’KERIA PLEASE JUST GIVE A MASTERCLASS IN PADDING BECAUSE LOOK AT HER

Once again the guest judges who haven’t seen Vanjie in prior episodes love her and everything about the look, which I think is why she is so resistant to really changing it up. Plastique is awkwardly critiques for slipping into her Vietnamese accent during the challenge but praised for her “cooter slam” which is absolutely now a cocktail on the menu of every gay bar in WeHo.

Lipsync

The moment you saw the song title come up you knew how this was going to go down

vanjie lipsync

This is Vanjie’s world and we just live in it. I think both actual lipsync were a little sloppy, Plastique was particularly “watermelon, watermelon, watermelon-ing” it but Vanjie by her very nature just embodied the song and her just whipping that latex braid around like a Mortal Kombat character was a blast. Plastique busts out moves that she may have thought would be great gags such as her Alyssa Edwards Wall Caress

plastique lipsync back of stage

which just seemed a little awkward and I full on cringed and then The World’s Weirdest Split Placement

plastique split

Why did it right behind Vanjie? Do you think she was trying to rompt Vanjie into a double split? Vanjie was not having it and seemed baffled by the whole thing too and brutally ended it with a faux kick to Plastique’s head

vanjie kicks plastique

Harsh.

And in true parallel with Miss Fame our Instagram beauty is sashayed awya after a lipsync with A LOT of arm flailing.

Untucked

The only thing to report here is that hopefully Nina has made Yvie realise that the bullshit she has been pulling is kind of annoying and unnecessary? She did in a horribly grovelling way, clearly aware that Yvie is a front runner and she is on the same trajectory as Miz Cracker – solid looks with some shape issues and a constant state of overthinking EVERYTHING. Also Silky unveiled the true extent of her unpainted mug

silky unpainted

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