Drag Race Season 11 Recap: Dragracadabra

Stage magic is not a lifestyle to aspire to.

Plastique Ta-ra

plastique handwriting

FINALLY. Someone has acknowledged Plastique’s beautiful handwriting, which is apparently the sign of a true diva according to Vanjie who I am almost certain writes by just gripping a red crayon in her first. She’s also a bit confused as to why the judges keep saying they love her Vanjie-ness on the runway but hate it when it comes to challenges, and it’s sad to see her in her head this much – it reminds me a lot of her drag-mother Alexis Mateo toward the end of season 3 where she began to conflate Michelle critiquing her drag body, not her actual body.

Over on the sofa the mechanical zebra WHO IS WEARING TIGER PRINT, is feeling herself and her win meanwhile Nina is salty as fuck for giving away the star role of their skit and sits on the side looking like one of the Angry Birds suffering from measles.

nina west dots makeup

A quick bit of Drag Maths leads Yvie to the result that Silky, A’Keria and Brooke are leading the pack with 2 wins each while she and Nina hover in the middle with a single win each and Vanjie and Shuga still barely manage to exist – but Vanjie is at least winning the runway commentary. I’ve never cared much about The Math because Sasha Velour only ever won when she was in a team with Shea Couleé, who by all accounts deserved to win on her own. I’M JUST SAYING.

Glove Love

Ru fingerless glove

I just want to talk about the fingerless leather gloves because I appreciated the dedication to the magic theme by having Ru coming out dressed like a street magician that was almost certainly about to steal your wallet.

What a Load of Balls

The mini-challenge this week is for the Queens to get as many balls in the basket as they can BUT they cannot use their hands and will instead be teamed up with a member of the Pit Crew and have to transport the ball using a randomised body part. If you’re wondering what this looks like, here:

shuga and jason ass

Also, Delta Werk is here dressed as Adore Delano?

delta werk mini challenge balls

She’s always on set so they had to get her on at some point but this seemed weird and felt very much like the originally booked queen cancelled and she was drafted in at the last minute. There’s a lot of playfulness between Brooke, who is terrible at this game, and Vanjie who is all too good at it – but she was with Wilson Lai, the hot new Asian pit crew member that won Allstars 4. Meanwhile Silky does Silky always days and just wrestles the challenge with all her might

silky picks up shaun

And Ru is both shocked and worried about the insurance

ru reacts to silky

The winner in the end is Vanjie who wins £2500 worth of underwear and she is just ecstatic that she has won something which is both cute and mildly heartbreaking.

Main Challenge

Vanjie’s prize comes with the added baggage of having to select the teams for the main challenge which is to put on a drag magic show and if you didn’t think stage magic could get any worse OH BOY ARE YOU ABOUT TO BE SURPRISED. Vanjie immediately decides to form a group with the biggest personalities and opts for Silky, Yvie, A’keria ad herself. Because that tactic has worked so well in the past.

That leaves Brooke, Shuga and Nina on the other team who already at an advantage not only because there are less of them to make a mess of things but because Nina is going full Alexis “I Was The Producer” Michelle. I can’t blame her, it is kind of her job and what she excels but she is beginning to veer closer and closer to painting herself green for a comedy challenge. Her first plan of attack is to produce a backstory and for some reason her first choice is… children at an orphanage…?

brooke concerned

Me too Brooke. It’s almost as awkward as when Ru comes around for her Werkabout later on and akss her all about how she’s slipping Vanjie the pink and it was pretty awful for everyone. Ru also seems surprised that none of the Queens have any experience in magic which, why would they?

Over on the already titled Team Black Magic – I assume they couldn’t do Team Black Girl Magic because The Vixen would go on another conspiracy theory rant on Twitter about how Ru is trying to undermine her entire drag career. Silky notes Vanjie’s tactics of putting all the girls with, in her own words “the most talent, charm, personality and beauty” and then hastily tags on a “except for Yvie” because she remembered they’re meant to have beef. I’m glad that whole thing was put aside this week and it really just shows how utterly self-produced it is that as soon as Silky and Yvie are on the same team they play well together.

Magic Practice

kyle marlett magic

In order to prepare their magic tricks the Queens get a team briefing with Kyle Marlett who the show styles as a “Top Magician” which is like being called The Best Social Outcast. It’s all really a waste of time for us because obviously they wont show us how the magic tricks are done because how many tweens are going to suffocate on a balloon after all this?

deep throat the balloon kyle

Also, Kyle is seemingly terrified of all of the Queens, either that they are about to unleash all of his dollar store magic kit tricks into the wild or if anything goes wrong his ass is getting sued for a lot of fucking money. It does serve as a pretty good indicator of where Team Black Magic, soon to be Black Tragic, is at with their comedy with Silky making a lot of cum jokes and it getting the “crickets treatment”, cut to Raja in Season 3’s stand-up routine thanking her dad for fondling her “cum slicked tits”.

raja stand up

Kyle tells her that her presentation is “for a more adult audience” to which Silky responds “are there going to be children?” and behold:

magic audience1

magic audience2

No. VH1 is the worst thing to happen to Drag Race. On the other team, Nina gets the best trick of the whole show with the disappearing and reappearing bottles of wine and Shuga gets to make some thongs multiply but I don’t know… would children appreciate that? Brooke however cannot get her mind around the floating playing card and looks like a cat trying to make sense of dandelion seeds in the wind and her new nemesis in the world is playing cards as she announces “I hate these” and Nina’s entire Drag Race life begins to flash before her eyes.

Improv

After seeing Team Nina’s great display of grning, Shuga Cain aying “honey” 9 times a minute and Brooke sighing repeatedly, Yvie begins to freak out about her team’s lack of structure and the obvious producer intervention because VH1 doesn’t want cum jokes on their channel. A’Keria and Silky resist it, having come off an improv challenge where they did extremely well it’s not surprising that they did but Yvie can see the inevitable carcrash coming and poor Vanjie, stuck in he middle having Vietnam flashbacks to last week every time someone says the word “improv”.

vanjie eyeroll

DID YOU WATCH LAST SEASON? Did you not see what happened when Cracker, Blair and The Vixen decided that no moderator was the best option? Remember when Nina and Valentina decided to improv? HAVE YOU WATCHED THIS SHOW?

Yvie does eventually kind of get her way and gets to write the intro and outro of their act although we will talk about the quality of that writing later.

The Performances

The Mighty Tucks

mighty tucks

First of all, I have no idea why the first port of call for a pun was the ice hockey film The Mighty Ducks? Second of all, thank God they vetoed Nina’s JK Rolwing-esque origin stories. (WHAT IF WE’RE ALL GAY DUMBLEDORE’S ADOPTED CHILDREN) But what does it matter because this was great – Shuga and Brooke work as the ditzy assistants and Nina going through several Looney Tunes character voices while dressed as the lovechild of Klaus Nomi and Lurch.

nina west magic act

Shuga gets a few obvious “ooooh, she’s doing bad” sound effects and cuts to Ru looking concerned but the audience were entertained. I found Brooke doing her Marilyn Monroe affectations to be more awkward than Shuga but it was kind of the point and Brooke at least has the fail safe of “I can do the splits, look at me do the splits.”

brooke lynn hytes splits

Poor Shuga and her double hip replacement. Their closing act is littered with Drag Race references which you know Ru just eats up and honestly, the whole thing was just so solidly written that you could see Nina’s win coming from a mile off and I was happy for her. I do almost feel like Shuga’s elimination was almost entirely to make this magic trick that much funnier in hindsight where Nina jokes about it being a good way to get down to a final six and Brooke and Shuga swap places.

Black Tragic

black magic drag

If The Mighty Tucks restored any of your faith in stage magic (lol no) then here comes this enchanted wrecking ball. It starts off fine and very quickly just dissolves into Yvie and Vanjie saying “da black magic” over and over again. A comedy writer, Yvie is not. Yvie also is doing her weird Whoopi Goldberg voice but occasionally slipping into Jamaican Siri and goes off on a tangent about how they are performing at a BBQ… The whole thing is a mess of (badly written) lines being stepped over and cut short. Meanwhile Vanjie is in the background doing some Betty Boop hula hand gestures and looking petrified because she knows she goofed with this team. Silky does offer a moment of clarity, no that it was hard after Yvie making a bra appear and then just bouncing in place for a bit

yvie jumping

(and she wrote this by the way as we shall find out) – again this is what Silky does best, give her an audience and she will schmooze them – she’s a Brunch Queen afterall but her outfit and proportions are a little janky for this

silky magic act outfit

WHAT ARE THOSE SHOES?. Vanjie gets a whole indecifierable story about shoplifting mustard and ketchup from the grocery store and then A’Keria deep-throats a balloon

a'keria magic deep throat

slips in a few improv lines about a low cal diet (you can tell by Yvie’s laugh that they weren’t planned) and everything is right in the world. The closing act of making Vanjie levitate is really very good, they could have bigged it up a lot more but it was clear and easy to understand and I hate to say it but it’s probably because Vanjie was performatively unconscious for it.

Welcome to Kaftanistan

A’Keria Davenport

akeria kaftan

The general rule of a kaftan is: if we can see your crotch it’s not a kaftan. This is just straight up a customised base jumper suit.

Shuga Cain

shuga kaftan

I loved the first one, giving us some real animated Anastasia and it would have looked so much better had she been able to cinch is because beneath it she had these two monstrocities:

shuga kaftan reveal 1

Homer Simpson’s MuuMuu

shuga kaftan reveal 2

and your gran at the beach.

Dr. Ganache M.D.

silky kaftan

She is literally dressed as every Aladdin character – you’ve got some Jasmine, some Magic Carpet, Some Aladdin as Prince Ali. I am ready for that one woman show.

Brooke Lynn Hytes

brooke kaftan

There’s a Veronica Lake film called “I Married a Witch” and this could literally slot right into it, or at least a remake of it. Although the costumes in it were quite sexy for a 1942 film.

Nina West

nina west kaftan

I am ready to follow whatever cult this woman is starting because it looks like it involves a private beach, a lot of massages and an Ina Garten Deliveroo set-up.

Miss Vanjie

vanjie kaftan

So nobody saw that terrible Taraji P. Henson remake of What Men Want but this absolutely looks like the psychic that gives Taraji her mindreading abilities. Once again though, her VO is the best part and I can’t even begin to write it down because it is just insane.

Yvie Oddly

yvie

From now on this is what Tilda Swinton’s part in Doctor Strange looks like to me. It’s just such a great look and her presentation was hauntingly ethereal.

Judging

Joining the judging panel are Gina Rodriguez with a pair of earrings to rival even the most seasoned of pageant queens

gina rodriguez

who I LOVE and then we have Katherine Langford from 13 Reasons Why wearing what I am sure is a homemade garment and is only rivalled for its illadvisedness by Meghan Trainor’s unicorn onesie

katherine langford

And really we need to stop inviting the milquetoast 20-somethings from that show onto this one because they do not do well.

We’re at that point in the competition where nobody gets sent backstage because making A’Keria sit back there on her own would have been fun for nobody and the judges really want to get harsh this week. Silky gets called out for a number of things that maybe should have been acknowledged a couple of weeks ago – particularly her predilection for weirdly proportioned eyelashes

silky eyelashes

Her padding situation during the magic show gets acknowledged and Ru, possibly still suffering from tinitis from the reading challenge gives her fair warning that if she doesn’t pull it together it’s a lipsync for her.

The main point of contentioun for Black Tragic is the writing and what was or was not prepared because Yvie, fairly, says that most of her team didn’t want to write or prepare anything. How do you feel about that Vanjie?

vajie clenched fists

Those clenched fists… She is not having it and full on just whispers her feelings to Yvie during a filming break and oh boy does Michelle notice and A’keria does her best to not let Vanjie embarrass herself on stage

akeria stops vanjie

We all love a den mother. Speaking of A’Keria, Ross throws a maybe quite genuine tantrum about the fact she is absolutely not wearing a kaftan, Vanjie is once again Too Vanjie and on the other team Nina is praised for every choice she made, Brooke goes down a treat and Shuga gets the same critique she has gotten for the last 3 weeks so it’s somewhat understandable that she ends up in the bottom but really I think based on everything it should have been Yvie and Silky but again, the aged beef still has sometime to go so here we are with Vanjie facing off against Shuga Cain.

Lip Sync

So it’s a face off between Vanjie and Shuga to Mary J Blige’s No More Drama. There is a however a second due in this lipsync and it Vanjie’s nipple and Barbie doll crotch which are very excited to be on TV

vanjie nipple.png

90% of the lipsync is angry flapping and the rest is foot stamping and Vanjie throwing away golden bracelets like she’s Sonic the Hedgehog going cold turkey. And Ru is just watching with this expression

ru lipsync

and I honestly thought it was about to be a double elimination but Gina is getting her life to it

gina rodriguez drag race

So something was happening. By the end of it Vanjie’s wig does end up looking like a season 3 Shangela wig

vanjie wig

Which, I guess counts as a wig reveal? She’s safe and Shuga is sent sashaying away, but don’t worry because she’s back next week because apparently we’re going to have a double save and bring back a queen. There had better be a triple elimination coming because this season may never end.

By the Byline

yvie makeup

So obviously the little exchange between Yvie and Vanjie is the talk of Untucked with the rest of Yvie’s team taking umbridge with the fact Yvie claimed she wrote the entire skit – which I am willing to believe because it was so uniformly awful, but the rest of Team Black Magic think it makes them look unprofessional and lazy. The most baffling aspect of this entire exchange is WHY IS ANYONE WANTING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS MESS? On any other season this writing job would be passed from Queen to Queen and blamed on one another but here we are with 4 Queens squabbling over who gets to put their name in the byline.

Elsewhere Brooke gets a heartwarming message from her mother and gets to dab her eyes on A’Keria non-Kaftan

brooke crying kaftan

oh the glamour of it all. Speaking of glamour, I now have a new airport outfit to aspire to:

shuga leaving outfit

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