Drag Race Season 11 Recap: Bring Back My Queens.

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God this episode was an absolute downer.

Aftermath

silky unicorn rhino

So everyone is back for Shuga’s lipstick message and the Queens are all trying to look desperately sad about it, except Silky who is charging into the Werk Room like the proverbial bull in the china shop, it works surprisingly well as a metaphor for what will happen later. Also Yvie wants you all to know that she definitely thinks Shuga was talented.

silky sad

On the couch Silky is having a genuine human moment that for once doesn’t descend into yelling on anyone’s part – it doesn’t last long. But for now Silky is reassessing her place in the competition following her last two critiques which basically told her to stop being lazy on her aesthetics, turns out it still fell on deaf ears because she ends up looking like a partially squeezed Violet Beauregard. Elsewhere Nina is living her life and still hasn’t perfected the art of not looking directly down the camera

nina to camera

or entering the Werk Room to be honest, she always looks like a lost child and I am frightened for her.

Mini Challenge

Is this now the official replacement for the Puppets Challenge? Sadly Ru wont be doing the slapping and instead the girls are challenged to slap one another. It was a little less polished than the Season 10 iteration where Ru did the slapping, the editing was just a little chaotic. It didn’t help that Silky was as incoherent as she was in the reading challenge

silky slap read 2silky slap read 3silky slap read

I’m still trying to decipher all of it, and quite frankly I think this was rather emblematic of how Silky’s run on the competition is currently going

dragging silky away

The rest of them were all fine; clear highlights were A’Keria telling Nina to get out of Brooke’s ass because it’s where Vanjie belongs, Yvie reacting to the slaps like she was in The Exorcist

silky slaps yvie

Nina actually managed to land a few reads which after her Reading Challenge truly was surprising and would have been the gag of the ceiling had it not been for this reveal:

akeria wig

Quaking. In the end it’s Brooke’s dancerly reactions and stone cold Joan Crawford-esque facial expressions that win out with Ru – surprised I am not. She gets some new nails, lashes and a wig styling kit. Ra’Jah cries into her $2500 of ice cream.

Main Challenge

returning queens

Oh boy. So Ru reveals that this week is the Makeover Challenge and I find the challenge exhausting at the best of times but THIS was just a bad spin on it because this year the makeoverees(?) will be some of eliminated queens, it’s basically just whoever could afford the airfare back to LA after they went back home so our returning queens are Honey , Shuga, Plastique, Ariel’s Wig Drama, Scarlet and Soju; who you better believe is going to make the most out of that cyst because she has really hideous merch to sell. The other thing that has somewhat marred this challenge is the fact the Queens clearly know what’s up and specifically bring matching outfits – I always preferred it when they had to cobble something together from stuff they haven’t worn yet or make a whole garment for their partner.

Of course because she won Brooke gets to pair everyone up, The pairs are as follows

Brooke and Plastique

She obviously instantly grabs Plastique for herself because “we have the same body type” umm… Do you? But also because Brooke just wanted someone that could walk in heels and look pretty, so mission accomplished.

Nina and Shuga

So Nina apparently has 17 children in The House of West, her tuck must be WRECKED and it’s at this point you know she’s doomed. NEVER BRAG ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE, IT ONLY ENDS BADLY. Nina explains that The House of West is all about lifting up the queer community and she will be dressing her and Shuga up in outfits based on the Pride Flag and the TranPride Flag. Ru’s reaction could be read a multitude of different ways

I think it’s more because he is realising that maybe they should have been more strict with this being a design challenge but it might also be because Nina is going to be wearing glittery bike shorts on the runway like a clown competing in the omnium.

A’Keria and Honey

They may already be Second Drag Cousins Twice Removed but their Davenport branches are completely different with Honey explaining that Texas is more “pageanty pageanty” and New York is more of a “fashiooooon vibe”. A’Keria reacts thusly:

Ru reminds A’Keria that this is a design challenge and…. Is it? Because EVERYONE (except for Silky) has just brought two matching outfits. Nobody is designing anything!

Vanjie and Ariel

When Ariel is paired with Vanjie she says “just as I suspected” and I cringed so hard I genuinely thought the world would end. However their pairing works pretty well and Vanjie is determined to put in the work to impress the judges, setting about immediately making sure the dress she has specifically brought for this challenge fits Ariel like a glove. She is however having to compete with Ariel’s Lost Wigs for Ariel’s attention

Yvie and Scarlet

Yvie doesn’t subscribe to the notion of Drag Families (of course) and instead prefers Drag Tribes or Villages – I’m beginning to think Yvie is actually just here to start a cult and if anything was going to convince me further it was the statement “So we’re going to be part of the same denim tribe”. To further shock and surprise us Yvie isn’t going to be doing High Glamour and will be doing something odd – I know right? I could never have seen that coming, but I’m not sure it’s so much odd as it is…

Sloppy. But Scarlet as ever is feeling herself and voguing like she’s Lana del Ray on ambien.

Silky and Soju.

There’s really nothing particularly malicious in the pairings and honestly it’s how I’d have stacked them too but my God everyone is making a thing of pairing Silky and Soju; with multiple people, including Ru, asking Silky if she thought being paired with Soju was “shady” WHILE SOJU IS SAT RIGHT NEXT TO HER. Granted Soju is easily the weakest link in the line-up given that she honestly has a worse walk than most of the jocks from the Season 3 version of this challenge. Apparently she’s more used to wearing “grandma heels” and flats; I’m guessing her audition tape showed little more of her than her waist up. Silky meanwhile has problems of her own with Ru grilling her about her inept padding and questionable makeup the last couple of weeks and Silky is so brain fried she quotes Bruno Mars at Ru, Soju tries to make the situation less awkward by bringing up her one personality trait: The Cyst

plastique horrofied.jpg

My thoughts exactly Plastique. There’s alsonthe issue of Silky having to do Soju’s makeup which may or may not involve Sharpies. I honestly cannot wait for Silky’s post-show makeover video on Youtube because I am FASCINATED about her routine.

DRAMAGEDDON

Wig Wars

In a week where Villain Fatigue was clearly hitting Silky someone had to bring some laboured drama to the table and Ariel dressed like the charred remains of Meghan Trainor

was more than happy to do that because apparently she left one red wig for Silky and just forgot the rest of her £10,000 worth of hair (or however much it was) when she was packing and she wants answers dammit. Or not because the moment things begin to get discussed, partilcualry about Plastique’s Greyjoy-weak claim to the throne, she clams up and refuses to speak of it realising that she’s heading for a battle with a fellow InstaQueen and Instagram comment sections on drag queens’ pages are only marginally less terrifying than the warzone that is Makeup Youtube.

Dreaming Up Drama

If you thought Ariel’s selective mutism and the newly named Sulky Ganache was going to kill the drama OUT OF NOWHERE A’Keria plays a blinder by bringing up the fact Scarlet was apparetly surprised that Silky and Vanjie were still in the competition and boy does this become an exhausting shouting match only made marginally more amusing because the competing queens were trying to do the makeup of their partners and everyone either looks and absolute mess

scarlet makeup

or insane

yvie 1 contact

It’s a whole lot of “I DON’T LIKE YOUR OPINION SO I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU MY OPINION WHICH YOU WILL RESPECT AND TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION” and it surprised me but I was actually Team Yvie on this one, mainly because it didn’t involve her deliberately instigating it and then claiming it was constructive. Silky is largely accused of relying on the talents of her Dream Girls (lol because the show has bothered to make that a thing…honestly I had forgotten) and of course Silky takes this badly and runs a mile with it – it’s Talentless 2.0 but this time you have the added compnenet of Scarlet’s moving he mouth like a baffled goldfish and Vanjie’s mouth that is at least 4 sentences ahead of her brain and it is EXHAUSTING.

RUNWAY: Sisters in Drag

Silky and Soju

silky and soju.jpg

Managing to turn Soju into the puppet from Saw is both one of the most impressive and absolute worst makeup jobs in the history of this show. Although Joslyn Fox’s Lady Gremlin is a worthy contender. I think Silky does deserve some credit for actually making both of those outfit, they’re not good but I imagine she made both of them given the sewing skills that Soju displayed in the past. It also is very apparent that Soju doesn’t tuck.

Yvie and Scarlet

scarlet and yvie

I found the critique of these outfits to be a bit weird – the whole “Yours looks more expensive, and hers looks like the scraps of your scraps” thing was baffling when both outfits are really quite terrible and the lack of padding was disappointing and only added to the flatness of the garments. I think it was mainly the presentation that kept these two out of the bottom.

Nina and Shuga

nina and huga

What back alley, bootleg version of Kinky Boots has Nina seen? I don’t think these are as bad as the judges made out, and the whole head-in-the-ass “This is the Drag Race mainstage, we expect FASHION!” critique is once again just exhausting. Yes these are gimicky and very Pride parade but… that’s a valid part of drag and Nina played it pretty well. But I also respect the decision to put her in the bottom 2 just because of the bike shorts and for giving Shuga an outfit with proportions that make her look like a bodybuilder in Sailor Moon cosplay.

A’Keria and Honey

honey and akeria

First of all, once again kudos for A’Keria for managing to come out with the exact some wig as Ru – imitation is the highest form of flattery. Second of all, I like the citrus combination – it’s a much better, less literal take on the challenge and both of them still look really beautiful.

Brooke and Plastique

plastique and brooke

I love it, give me anything 1940s adjacent and I’ll eat it up, but the whole Little Sister Getting In The Way routine exhausts me and reminds me far too much of Frankie Grande and I don’t appreciate it.

Vanjie and Ariel

vanessa and ariel

ROBBED. I was a little surprised Vanjie didn’t take the gown given the critiques but it’s probably easier to hastily tailor a gown than a bodysuit so it was also smart. The two of them just look gorgeous and it’s a very different look for Ariel who had such a signature mug already.

JUDGING

Joining the judging panel are Lena Waithe of That Met Ball Look fame and Wanda Sykes of How to Vajaculate: If You Build It, She Will Come (I know right?).

Bottom of the barrel is Yvie who finds herself being lambasted for being “too crafty” which is kind of Yvie’s entire aesthetic but also for making Scarlet look like an inferior mass of denim but hey Scarlet looks thrilled

scarlet happy

Joining her is Nina because of what she did to Shuga’s face:

shuga west makeup

Why has she given her 2 eyebrows? And that wig is unforgivable and deserves to be burnt. Her outfits don’t go down too well eiher for looking to Pride Parade. And then there’s Silky who is just an all encompassing Venn diagram of everything that was wrong with Yvie and Silky’s makeup. Soju gets to talk more about her cyst, Lena and Wanda are confused and we’re all exhausted. I don’t know if Silky’s padding was as much of an issue this week, she clearly put at least 1 extra pair of tights on and were only visible if she bent over.

Pageantry always seems to do better in this challenge, I don’t know f they maybe have more experience of styling and doing up someone else but Brooke, Vanjie and A’keria all excel and are praised for the small details they incorporated into the presentation. None of them are wildly invented but they’re all a solid aesthetic choice and in the end Brooke wins, seemingly more to send a message to Silky, because it was so clear Vanjie did the better job of transforming Ariel.

Lipsync

Oh God this mess. So the bottom two are Nina and Silky “I WAS MOTHERFUCKING READY TO DO SO” Ganache who are lipsyncing to No Scrubs by TLC and it is… bad. Honeslty one of the worst lipsyncs the show has ever seen, Nina is so far out of her comfort zone, and can already barely walk at the best of times so finds herself trapped in one corner of the stage swinging wildly from camping it up to playing it serious and almost becoming a cropper to Silky’s ill-advised wig reveal meanwhile Silky is running rampant with her belt trying to trip her up

silky tripping

Climbing the scenery

silky climbing

Her wig reveal trying to blind her

silky splits

It’s bad. It’s low energy. The only option really should have been a double elimination which would have left us sitting pretty for the usual Top 4 episode, but no for some unknown reason other than Plot Silky’s performance is deemed worthy of a save and Nina is sashayed away.

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