With the upcoming presidential elections and what little left we have of hope for a good future, RuPaul’s Drag Race transported us to a world where queens of this season ran in the election. For Drag Race fans they will know a similar challenge occurred in season 4 and boy was it eventful, whilst back then the queens, except Sharon Needles, were angered by having to promote a political campaign, this time around there was a completely different response. The queen’s immersed themselves in the challenge to make fun of America’s politicians and promote a world where a campaign can be focused around the idea of glitter. Despite what could have been an amazing episode, it pretty much failed. This challenge was all about seeing the queen’s improv and comedic abilities, however, queens such as Jackie Cox, who is an improv comedic queen, were not successful at putting her talents across.
The episode began with the amazing news that finally Heidi N Closet has changed her name to Heidi Hydrates, which is also the name of the product she made in the last episode (and won). RuPaul was extremely happy to never have to hear the name Heidi N Closet again and so are we! The mini-challenge for this episode gave us Tiger King realness as the queens were made to dress as cats to ‘audition’ for a kitty litter brand. Now, we knew RuPaul loved advertising, but I never thought I would see the promotion of cat products on Drag Race. The Kitty Kat challenge was funny, however with Jaida Essence Hall somehow making a cat look hot and hilarious at the same time.
Before the queens embarked on their presidential campaign, they received guidance from RuPaul and a special guest, Raven from Season 2 and All Stars 1. Raven, who is a fan favourite, lived up to her title as she gave the queens amazing advice whilst throwing in a casual self-deprecating joke. Raven’s advice for this challenge was “don’t take it seriously, make it stupid”. Politics is a serious issue and can become scary at times, so making light of this challenge can really earn the queens the win. Truthfully, the 5 minutes we had of Raven on our screens was the highlight of the show and I am rooting for her to run for president.
The presidential debate saw the fabulous six and Sherry Pie square-up to see who would be fit for Wig Party president-elect. The debate was hosted by Jeff Goldblum and Rachel Bloom, who gave the relatively dull debate some humour. The star of the debate had to be Jaida Essence Hall who wanted to make America confused again, she was selling a cheeky bit of ego death to get you started in the morning. The best part of her campaign was when asked questions she didn’t want to answer she would point in a direction and shout “look over there” then a long pause, “confusion”. She sold her brand and campaign and by selling “confusion” she was making a mockery of American politics. She really did listen to the advice of not taking it too seriously and it worked, she is a queen that is not only stunningly beautiful but is incredibly funny. Not to mention her “retattle the retitle of her rebuttal” line which shows her quick comedic improv skills and how hilarious of a queen she really is.
Whilst Jaida succeeded there were many flops in this episode. One of the worst performances came from the show’s leading lady, Gigi Goode, who played a stiff robot (again) and just completely failed at giving any gags. Same can be said for Widow Von’Du who took this challenge too seriously and played the angry politician, Widow is a strong queen and for the second time, she is not showing us what she is made of. Whilst Jackie had an amazing concept to go off, the fact she is Canadian, not American. However, after the first joke was made it became boring and repetitive.
To go with the political theme, the runway category this week was ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’, this obviously alludes to the American flag. However, many of the queens took a different stance on this theme and it was beautiful to see. Standouts on the runway where Jackie who had an amazing look by embracing her Muslim heritage and making a political statement on the runway. She wore a beautiful midnight blue hijab covered in 50 stars and a striped kaftan that resembles a chador. The message behind the outfit was so powerful, you can be Middle Eastern and/or Muslim and still be an American. Widow also made a statement on the runway as her outfit was inspired by the black panther and black power movement, she wore an all black gown covered in stars and an afro which was a signature look for the black power movement. As she came down the runway, she gave the black power salute, and again the message was amazing. Drag is political it goes against conservative norms and merging this with a variety of cultures is what drag is all about.
Jaida gave us superhero realness and its amazing seeing her finally getting the recognition she finally deserves; she is the dark horse of this competition. Crystal also had an amazing runway; it was extremely quirky and difference and is probably an outfit I would wear. Gigi is usually the queen of the runway, however, her look this week was relatively basic and done before. She seemed really flustered this week considering for most of the competition she has been at the top.
As deserved Jaida won this week’s challenge, but the bottom two this week was incredibly controversial. Widow was bound to the bottom due to her performance in the debate, however Jackie was placed in the bottom two with her which doesn’t seem right considering Jackie’s runway was far more powerful than Gigi’s. Truthfully, Gigi needs to be bottom to be Goode again. The lip-sync to this week was to Firework by Katy Perry and saw the two queens take the lip-sync in different routes. Widow performed the song passionately, but Jackie’s comedic stance took her towards the win. And we saw Widow sashay away, but not all was bad as her final words were as she left the runway were “always let your thighs rub together like they harmonise”.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Series 12 is available now on Netflix, with new episodes weekly.