Welcome to my recap of the fifth episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7 – Draguation Speeches, a challenge that mashes up comedy with inspiration and a touch of personal branding.
This is a fascinating challenge because there is nothing quintessentially “drag” about it, yet it is perfectly representative of the direction of the show in 2022.
Drag Race constantly finds new peaks of cultural influence, and with that higher profile all of its contestants have a higher profile than ever before.
Drag Race winners used to compete to score a club tour sponsored by Absolut Vodka.
Now, winning queens are getting the opportunity to appear on stage at the Emmy awards, walk the runway for Fenty and other fashion brands, and attend the Met Gala. Peppermint, the only Season 9 finalist to not yet have her own crown, just hosted the GLAAD Awards!
Of this cast of winners, five host ongoing podcasts (Jinkx hosts two!), Raja has hosted Fashion Photo RuView for almost a decade, Viv has anchored several Netflix YouTube shows, Monét had her own talk show, Jinkx has written and produced multiple one- and two-woman shows, and Shea has appeared in multiple features in Vogue – among many other appearances and accolades.
That’s the genius of this challenge. Draguation Speeches are not about a skill critical to the foundations of your drag, but the skill of translating your drag into different contexts. A drag queen should be giving a commencement speech! A show that started as an (even-more) queer spin on Project Runway is now a public-facing finishing school that turns former bar queens and Instagram influencers into in-demand LGBTQAI+ spokespeople.
If no Drag Race queen has been invited to receive an honorary degree and deliver a commencement address, it’s only a matter of time.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Drag Race challenge without the added requirement of making Ru laugh! Which queens manage to be both inspiring and hilarious? As it turns out, Ru and I are split on the decision. Read on to find out about our disagreement. Plus, at the end of the recap I’ll update my Episode 4 power rankings to show where the queens stand after another week of Legendary Legend badges. (Want to skip right to the power rankings? Go for it!)
Readers, start your engines! And, may the best drag queen… win!
Drag Race All Stars Season 7 Episode 5 – Draguation Speeches Recap
Platinum Plunger Aftermath
As the queens return to the workroom, Viv is riding high on her first challenge win and lip sync win of the competition. That brings her cash prizes for this season to $11,500 – which is $11,500 more than she received for winning Drag Race UK.
Meanwhile, Raja is seriously miffed that she hasn’t hauled in a star yet. Frustration might work in Raja’s favor. In her increased annoyance at being overlooked her competitive streak is getting fiercer.
Monét returns to the workroom and milks her plunger moment for all it’s worth, playing out a bit with toilet paper stuck to her boot as well as gamely playing along with Shea’s ongoing ruse about the plunger granting secret advantages. (It still doesn’t. Not yet, at least…)
Viv might be riding a little bit too high on her win, because in her confidence she admits she would’ve preferred to block Jinkx over Monét. Her plan may have been to deflect Monét’s ire, but all she did is make herself a target for Jinkx as well!
In Jinkx’s words, “I don’t hold grudges, but my memory is LONG. I don’t drink anymore, so I remember everything!”
It feels like bad strategy on Viv’s part, but at the same time it’s good TV. Even if every challenge has been highly competitive so far, the queens themselves have been entirely sisterly with one another. Viv breaking ranks to point out that Jinkx is obviously her main competition of the season and Jinkx duly noting that feels like finally we’re seeing some of the fire that lead these queens to their original crowns.
There’s no way things are going to stay as calm and kind down the back half of the season. Monét vs. Viv vs. Jinkx is just the beginning.
“A new day in the workroom!”
The queens arrive for a new day and don’t even get a word out before the RuMail siren interrupts them. Ru’s message is full of scholastic sex puns and he enters in straight-up MC Hammer drag, which together indicate that we’re in for a weird episode.
Ru announces that the challenge this week will be graduation speeches… or, should we say, draguation speeches. It’s obvious from the start that this is a comedy challenge, especially with stand-up comedian Nikki Glaser as the queen’s advisor. But, Ru also hits the words “inspire” and “uplifting” hard in her instructions. It seems obvious you have to bring something personal along with your humor to conquer this one.
As the currently-reigning blocked queen, Monét gets to stir up trouble by choosing the running order of the speeches. There’s no reason this should go to a blocked queen instead of a winner other than to generate drama – especially when we hear the next bombshell: the winner this week not only gets the win and the star (unless they’re Monét), but also an extra star to give away!
Monét makes the perfect cast member to wield this power, because she has the most story and she is most excited to be strategic. She’s allied with Trinity, upset with Viv, and potentially looking for a third ally. Trinity doesn’t want to go first or last, Viv and Jaida want third, Raja wants to be in the middle, and we don’t get the dialog in what seems like a jovial chat with Shea. And, of course, Monét and Trinity agree that if either of them win they will share their spare star with the other.
As Raja begins making notes it is clear that she is taking this opportunity for maximum self-aggrandizement by casting herself as a new age cult leader “wizard lady”… which, honestly, isn’t too far from actual Raja. It’s a bit of a reach since it flatly ignores the prompt of a graduation speech, but Raja’s instincts have proved correct in every challenge so far.
Meanwhile, Shea is having focus issues while Jinkx and Jaida put on a musical. Jaida continues to ooze pure lovable charm in every single second of camera time. If Season 12 made her a winner, it’s this season that is making her a star.
Monét reveals the line-up. She’s going first, followed by Shea, Trinity, Raja, Jaida, Yvie, Jinkx, and Viv.
It’s an interesting line-up. Unlike a regular season, there’s no incentive to hide from flopping in the middle, so I would’ve expected more queens to actually want the first and last spots. Thus, Monét giving herself the opening spot and sandbagging Shea – a decent comedian, but placing her second. Meanwhile, she also gave Raja what she wanted and she’s promoting the Jinkx/Viv conflict by putting them back to back, and setting Viv up with the highest stakes as the closer.
The queens all prep their draguation speeches and are quickly shuffled off to their 2:1 with Carson Kressley and Nikki Glaser.
The show likes to give the impression they’ve had ample time to prepare for these sessions, but that’s never really the case. Based on the scant material they’re equipped with, I doubt they had more than an hour. Keep in mind, any time the queens get individual coaching outside of the workroom that production has to juggle eight sessions. They probably take 5-15 minutes each not counting camera resets, with wiggle room for if a queen has a major breakthrough or breakdown.
None of the advising sessions are particularly notable. Carson reminds Monét to include an inspiration moment. Nikki reminds Viv to be efficient with her words in her drunk voice. Jinkx has too much material, and Caron and Nikki cut her story about getting a condom stuck inside of her. Yvie wants to talk about the power of failure.
Carson and Nikki are… mystified by Raja’s mysterious cult leader, but Raja is very into herself.
A quote for the ages from Raja Gemini in the confessional chair: “I feel that my presence is enough of a statement on its own, even in silence.”
I realized very quickly during the speeches – and especially during the judging – that I was looking for something very different from this challenge than the judges. Since we’ll get to what the judges thought in just a moment, below I’ll cover my impressions of the performances – which subsequently got turned upside down in the judging.
Also, it’s clear the queens all had “Graduation Day” as a runway prompt (or at least a “you’ll wear this in a challenge” cue) based on the level of intricacy of their outfits. However, what the episode obscures is how much that flavored the themes of their speeches – particularly Shea’s outfit being ultra-chic, and Raja and Jinkx being in witch looks.
I had to rewatch this three times to remember anything from Monét X Change’s speech.
It’s not just that Monét went first, it’s that she didn’t say anything particularly memorable. She plays it a little slutty, a little earnest, full of puns, but not particularly MONÉT. She almost gets there in mentioning her own college experience, but she quickly veers away from it with a Mufasa joke. (The joke lands! I just wanted to linger on her own experience.)
Similarly, she deflates a rousing conclusion about thinking you are too loud, poor, and queer to succeed with a joke about poppers. This was more of a stand-up set than a speech.
Shea Couleé threads a fascinating rhetorical needle. Her story is that she was both the bullied outcast and the popular kid. Then, one day, she walked right up to the popular kids’ table, sat down with them, and made herself popular by sheer force of will. She wisely inserts one roast-worthy joke between every heartfelt bit, but always uses them to advance her plot rather than distract.
(Example: Shea points out that her sounds like “a clichéd plot from a John Hughes film,” but it can’t be – because she’s black. Such a good punchline.)
It’s a brilliant speech. These social statuses of “outcast” and “popular kid” aren’t really polar opposites. They’re two sides of the same coin. Shea’s message is that you have the power to decide which side of the coin faces up and how to use it to your advantage.
Trinity the Tuck manages to find some real human moments amidst all the plastic and the Hooked on Phonics jokes. In fact, of all the queens, I’d say she is the one who treats this the most like a real speech that she just happened to have spruced up with a few well-time jokes.
This is the first time we’ve seen Trinity connected with a self-scripted moment on the show. I think it owes to an amount of serenity self-reflection she has achieved now as a successful winner of the franchise, especially with the pandemic putting a hard stop to her workaholic touring schedule.
Raja takes her cult leader concept all the way and delivers a five-point manifesto from a New Age goddess character who might be high on quaaludes (and who might be more Raja than made-up character).
Here’s why it works: the advice is real.
It’s not really good advice, but that’s the entire point! Picture the sort of things a vapid, moneyed, cloistered guru would say to a worshipful flock for whom they feel no real empathy. You know, the kind of stuff RuPaul says to contestants whose names she’s fed in her earpiece. Raja is skewering the sort of advice RuPaul herself dispenses on the show in her moments of pop psychology. It’s a masterful way of turning the show’s own philosophy back in on itself with absurdity, and that’s why it works – not because Raja is being a silly character.
I admire that Jaida Essence Hall continues to stick to her “of the bitches, for the bitches” branding from her presidential challenge win in Season 12. She delivers a resonant message about how she despaired that success to arrive when she turned 30, only to find a totally different kind of success than she was expecting.
This is such a powerful message! Jaida shares her expectations about being on the corporate ladder and en route to having a family when she hadn’t graduated high school or gone to college. There are existing pathways to success in the world that are a great fit for some people, but for others they wouldn’t lead to happiness even if you did check all of the required boxes. If Jaida had done all of those things on her mental checklist of success she might’ve had money, but she wouldn’t have been happy – and she would’ve given away the chance to be one of the most iconic and lovable drag queens on the planet.
That Jaida managed to deliver that relatable message while being both blithely haughty and thoroughly hilarious shows off why she is truly a queen of the people.
Yvie Oddly delivers a succinct speech about failure being a requirement for success. She had cheap comedy in the form of her opening pratfall, referential comedy about her Whoopie Goldberg Snatch Game, and an actual message about fucking it up.
This is exactly what this challenge called for and Yvie understood the assignment perfectly. She was also completely off book, never once looking at the reshuffled notes in front of her.
If I have a critique, it’s that I feel like she was missing a line about other ways she has stumbled in her life, similar to Shea and Jaida, to really bring the story full circle.
Jinkx Monsoon yelled a lot about getting hit by a car.
She delivers a resonant message about addressing your trauma before it envelops your life. Jinkx didn’t do it and now she’s in constant pain, so you should.
There were some solid jokes in there, but that was the problem – it was a strong comedy sketch but a disorganized speech. That was especially true with the disconnected bit about her being a witch at the beginning, which she had to do to explain the witchy graduation robes she packed for the runway prompt .
I might be completely alone on the internet in this impression, but I thought The Vivienne delivered 100% pure cringe with her drunk character. I have trouble rewatching it. For me, it is Farrah Moan “let’s get this roast a cookin'” levels of awkward.
The challenge here was to deliver some form of inspiration, even if that’s Raja telling people they’re all going to die! Viv had none of that. Her drunk accent and characterizations were strong, but her jokes were stale. Trinity slept with a teacher. Carson… is a teacher? It didn’t make any sense to me, and seemed like a wide miss. I often have this connection problem with Viv, even stretching to her marketing challenge on her own season.
She had an amazing chance here to make a point about her actual sobriety, even if it was wrapped in a joke about her relapsing, but instead she gave us community theatre improv the week after she delivered an improv masterclass.
Runway: Veiled It!
Our judges are RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Nikki Glaser.
RuPaul looks resplendent in ballgown in a rainbow of creased neon silk. The colors really don’t look like they should work together, but they really do! The brown and black fabrics at the bottom are evoking the updated Pride Flag!
Monét X Change is… a bird with a cage for a head?
It’s unusual, but I enjoy it. The entire body of her gown is covered in fine, short feathers more like a bird’s breast than its tail. It gives her a terrific shape. Then, her head is in a gilded cage, which she has covered with a veil when she hits the runway.
While I do wish the veil was a more consistent feature, this is a great look. It’s a completely fresh take on feathers compared to what we usually see on the show. plus, it’s a play on “Why the caged bird sings.”
(If you have birds as pets, putting a veil over their cage can help them to quiet down.)
Shea Couleé has truly found her fashion niche this season with these beautiful, flowing print fabric looks. This pleated silk ensemble of a dress, pants, and a robe feels similar to both of her looks in Episode 1, but still unique and gorgeous.
The detail of the veil starting from her hat and tapering down to long, flowing tails is perfect. I would not change a thing about this.
I love that Trinity The Tuck goes as over-the-top as possible for every single runway. Her veil here consists of more fabric than most queen’s dresses! The fact that it is dragging along the ground while being attached to her head means she has conducted some true wig magic beneath it.
The outfit itself is textbook high-calibre drag – a red-on-red knee-length dress with accentuated shoulders and hips to further the illusion of hourglass proportions.
Raja is her own magazine cover!
It’s a thrilling concept like nothing we’ve ever seen before, but I’m not as excited by the actual garment in front of her Vogue backdrop. It plays with asymmetry and sculpting shape from loose fabric, but there’s no there there – it’s not suggesting anything or creating a particular silhouette. There’s something interesting and glittery beneath it, but it’s hard to make out.
While I do love that it captures a “fabric in motion” quality to give the look a photographic feel, there’s something about this that I just don’t get.
This is Jaida Essence Halls’s weakest runway of the season, and it’s still amazing. Most queens wish this was their worst moment on Drag Race.
She is giving over-the-top mournful bride in black shape with a massive headpiece entirely covered by a veil, but it’s all sheer. The net effect is “gothic bride lingerie”
The problem with this, as Jaida explained to us two episodes ago in the design challenge, is that with black-on-black looks you need different textures and tones to break things up so that people can read your shape and silhouette. While Jaida’s look does have different textures, it’s hard to discern any shape within it. There are billowing sleeves, caged hips, garters, and a train, but it all looks like a blob. It’s like the fashion version of Alaska’s trash bag burqa from All Stars Season 2.
Yvie Oddly looks stunning in a rainbow-beaded dress with matching head-drape that gives way to a beaded veil. There’s a particular way you can elevate a more low-key piece of fashion to Drag Race runway caliber, and this is it. It’s unquestionably my favorite look of the week.
Jinkx Moon looks very, very lovely in a delicate lavender dress garnished with flower cuffs, with an opaque veil that has its own train, which is being carried along in the air behind her by butterflies.
The combination of the simplicity and execution of the dress with the charming special effect of the floating veil makes this a real winner.
(Although, it’s a little confusing why there is a veil being carried behind her and another veil on her face. Shouldn’t the veil flowing behind her be the one she lifted off of her face?)
The Vivienne is in a glittering oceanic blue mermaid dress wrapped with fetishwear straps all up and down her body, including one holding a ball-gag in her mouth. This pushed the “veil” concept towards asphyxiation, which is a deliciously sideways take on it. Viv’s fashion perspective has been incredibly strong most weeks on the runway, and if she was neck-and-neck for the win here this could put her over the top.
Judging, Lip Sync For Your Legacy, & The Platinum Plunger
Clearly, I am absolutely perplexed about tonight’s judging.
I fully expected either or both of Raja and Yvie to pick up undisputed wins here, unless there was an insurgent member of the judging panel rooting hard for Shea. That’s not just because Raja and Yvie didn’t have stars, but because they so obviously understood the Draguation Speches assignment and also killed the runway – as did Shea.
Never would Jinkx or Viv have entered into my top deliberations here. Jinkx did a very amusing comedy set. Viv… did something. Trinity’s speech wasn’t smooth enough, and Jaida’s confusing runway took her out of contention. Monét barely showed up.
Michelle thinks Monét’s draguation speech was “fun” and Nikki thought she nailed it and it was “so funny.” They were watching a different speech than me! But, Ru, Carson, and I agree on the runway – Ru calls it iconic and Carson says it combines humor and glamour. Michelle loved Shea’s matter-of-fact way of delivering punchlines, and Ru thought she was relaxed and comfortable. Carson loves the accordian pleated silk, and Shea explains the look is a love-letter to her grandmother.
Nikki is pleased at how well Trinity developed her Phonics joke from the rehearsal, and Carson appreciated the moments of vulnerability. The comments are very “‘atta girl” soft praise. Carson thinks she has never looked more gorgeous and calls it “Evita at a funeral.” Michelle points out that Trinity has been presenting trains-on-trains, and Trinity swears there are no more coming. We’ll see about that.
Everyone loved Raja. Nikki said it felt like someone describing the revelations from a mushroom trip, which is perfectly apt. Carson admires that her runway isn’t just huge, but detailed. Nikki recognizes Jaida for her always-perfect deployment of the word “bitch.” Michelle likes the Spanish influence of her outfit, but Nikki nails it by saying we could barely see Jaida inside of it.
Carson loves the chicness of Yvie’s runway look, and Michelle loved her opening pratfall and the understated power of delivering the entire speech off book. Ru says, “Your speech struck a chord with me, because I have failed WAY MORE than I have succeeded, but that’s what brought me here today.” Michelle loves the beautiful garden growing out of Jinkx’s dress and Carson loves the illusion of the butterflies carrying the veil. Michelle liked her “character” in the speech.
The nicest things anyone can manage about Viv’s speech is that she was intelligible and that she stayed in character during the other queen’s speeches. Michelle loved everything about her look, and Nikki calls it “Ariel caught in a fishnet.”
Then, SURPRISE, Ru invites United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the runway! She delivers some brief inspirational comments, but the true highlight is Raja deciding to just have a chat with Speaker Pelosi on the runway to tell her how much everyone loved her iconic sarcastic clap at our former orange president’s state of the union speech.
In private deliberations, Nikki comes out hard for Shea Couleé (because she has taste). Michelle felt “safe and at ease” watching Shea’s draguation speech and loved her runway. Everyone loved Viv’s performance. Carson says there was a risk of it being “cloying or something, and not play,” and that’s clearly where I was with it. Maybe it just worked better in the room. Carson loved her runway.
Michelle then stumps for Jinkx, starting with rightfully complimenting just how “stunning” she looked on the runway before getting to her “wonderfully executed” speech. Carson says “we were in it with her … and what great wisdom.” Ru calls it “such a strong night for Raja.” Carson says her speech was “one of the best performances of the night, by far,” and Nikki says she’ll “never forget” her runway look, and the others continue to gush over it.
Yvie’s name is never mentioned.
The win goes to Jinkx and Raja, who don’t get to hand out their extra stars until next week.
They regrettably lip sync to Lizzo’s “Better in Color.”
It’s not that they were bad, it’s just that neither of them finds anything particularly specific to bring to this fun song while Yvie sits just a few feet away lip syncing flawlessly from her seat. We were robbed of seeing Yvie perform this lip sync, and she should’ve won the week over Jinkx purely to deliver meme-worthy moments of lip syncing that would surely live on forever on YouTube.
Jinkx gives it a “I’m a white girl dancing silly to an R&B song” performance in the same way Ben de la Creme did for “Anaconda” on All Stars 3, but without as many punctuating moments as Ben brought. I admit, it’s fun to see this more youthful, silly take on lip syncing from Jinkx! It harkens back to her “Malambo” win, but she never finds a moment to hold onto the way she did there.
Raja takes a sort of “big broadway hand gestures” approach that could’ve really worked if she did any moving or dancing at all. Seriously! Her regal posture and the way she delivered the lyrics with her entire body was the right kind of way to win this song without going with high energy dance moves, but it need something to take it up a notch from “park and bark.”
The seated queens barely even clap when it’s over. Jaida and Shea start with a slow, polite clap, followed by Yvie clearly doing the Nancy Pelosi sarcastic clap. Viv starts a perfunctory clap but won’t make eye-contact with the stage. Monét claps once. Trinity looks at the ground and does nothing.
Jinkx wins the lip sync. She voices over that she doesn’t know who to block, but the edit makes it seem like she doesn’t waste much time delivering the Platinum Plunger to Viv.
Next Week: Girl groups!
Coming out of Draguation Speeches, we’re now just short of the half-way mark of our 12-episode, 11-challenge season. We finally have a queen with 2 stars!
With six competitive episodes left, it feels like no one is going to break out of the 2-3 star range unless there are many multiple-star shenanigans, which means the queens who win in the next few weeks are going to be heavy favorites as we get to the final few episodes.
#1 Jinkx Monsoon – 2 Stars from 3 Wins, 1 Block (was #1, 2, 2, 2, 1)
Jinkx didn’t have to nab this episode’s win – there was plenty of competition, including Shea Yvie. Giving it to her cements her front-runner status but is also meant to push the drama of the other girls coming for her.
Honestly, it feels like the fix is in for Jinkx – she’s performing well, but maybe not as well as she’s getting credit for at the moment. That means Jinkx is ripe for receiving another block. Or… is she? Jinkx is heading into yet another strong category next week with a second songwriting challenge. And, even if she cannot pull out a third win in a row, is it really worth blocking her? Some of the other competitors (a-hem, Monét, but also Shea) might be starting to consider how easily the could eliminate Jinkx in the final lip sync tournament based on her showing so far.
Of course, we haven’t seen Jinkx in a true must-win lip sync situation yet. I still think she has more tricks up her… sleeve.
#2 Shea Couleé – 1 Star from 1 Win, 1 Block (was #5, 3, 1, 1, 2)
After a few wobbly weeks, it feels like Shea is poised for a big move. She gave the best speech this week and was back on-point on the runway, and we’re returning to her top category next week – songwriting, where she is undefeated on Drag Race.
(Okay, one of those three wins was in “Category Is,” which didn’t have an explicit winner, but we all know in our hearts that Shea won.)
Shea’s also flying under the radar when it comes to blocks, since she hasn’t been in the top since week one. Even if she doesn’t easily snatch a second star next week, going without a block will leave her five more weeks to lock up more stars to get into the finale. Everything’s coming up Shea!
#3 Monét X Change, 1 Star from 1 Win, 1 Block (was #2, 4, 4, 3, 4)
Monét delivered a decent speech and a decent runway tonight, but as a competitor it feels like she is completely stalled out in this race.
Luckily, she has two things going her way. First, there’s no way the Story Producers are going to let the story of her revenge on Viv slip away unchecked, even with Jinkx gunning for Viv, too. That means Monét could wind up with some slight favoritism to give her a win just to stir up drama, like Jinkx did this week.
Second, she doesn’t actually need any favoritism because next week is a songwriting challenge! Monét already snatched one win in this category in week one and she seems to be completely over any nerves that rattled her in singing performances in the past. I think she and Shea are the queens to beat next week.
#4 Trinity The Tuck, 1 Stars from 2 Wins, 1 Block (was #3, 1, 3, 4, 3)
Trinity escaped her weakest challenge unscathed – writing her own comedy! Actually, she was better than unscathed – her speech was appropriately funny and inspiring without relying overly much on jokes about all her plastic parts. Plus, she continued her runaway dominance with another opulent trains look (her last, she promises).
I tend to be hard on Trinity’s songwriting skills, so I don’t see a win for her next week. Plus, if Jinkx isn’t available to block, Trinity ‘s still a potential target based on her overall strength. However, it feels like the Monét-Viv-Jinkx frenemy triangle might still be driving the plot next week, which means Trinity could slip away unscathed.
I think Trinity easily lives to fight the next week without a block to her name, but there could be two more queens who advance to “2 stars” next week. Trinity needs another win in Week 7 – and, even without knowing the category, she has a strong shot.
#5 The Vivienne, 1 Star from 1 Win, 1 Block (was #4, 6, 8, 8, 7)
Thank the Drag Gods for Vivienne, because she is the queen who is actually giving us plot development right now. She has suddenly showed up to compete, her runway game keeps getting stronger, she gave Monét a shocking block, inferred that she would’ve preferred to block Jinkx, went full drunkard in her speech, and got one of the most pointed blocks to date from Jinkx!
Unfortunately, giving us good TV doesn’t do good things for Viv’s chances. She’s a solid singer and could be a threat next week, but she’ll be ineligible to pick up a star due to her block. And, if Jinkx or Monét wins, Viv could get a second consecutive block!
That means Viv is going to have only five more weeks to pick up 1-2 more stars to get into the finale, and she’ll be battling Jinkx in particular in every category. In the long run, she might be able to ride that rivalry edit right to the finals, but at the moment she’s stalled.
#6 Jaida Essence Hall, 1 Star from 1 Win (was #6, 5, 6, 5, 6)
Jaida is emerging as the breakout star of the season when it comes to personality, but what about challenge wins?
She was surprisingly deft in the first week songwriting challenge, and if there’s a queen here who can sell the visual of “member of a pop group” it’s very likely Jaida. However, the deck is stacked her as a non-singer in this crowd of crooners. I don’t think next week will be a win. I also don’t think she’ll get a block – she’s coming off as everyone’s best friend at the moment.
That leaves her with five episodes to pick up another win when we’ve already had a design challenge. She has to hope that this week was the only “market yourself” challenge, because that’s her strongest suit outside of design. If Episode 7 isn’t a win for her, it’s going to feel like she is squarely out of contention.
#7 Yvie Oddly, 0 Stars from 0 Wins (was #7, 7, 7, 6, 8)
Yvie is now riding a light “robbed queen” edit for two weeks where she was at the top of the heap and overlooked by RuPaul. I think it’s very likely she picks up one of the freebie stars at the top of next week. And, she was very strong on writing a verse both in her own season and in the first episode.
Purely on narrative, it feels like Yvie has a very real shot to storm up from behind and wind up with two stars by the end of next episode, which could vault her into the top spot.
#8 Raja 1 star from 1 win (was #7, 8, 5, 7, 5)
This week was both good and bad for Raja.
Good, because she finally picked up a star after being in heavy contention for 3 of the past 4 weeks! There has yet to be something Raja flat out can’t do, and her runways have been incredible. Plus, she gets to hand out a bonus star next week, which may win her an ally.
Bad, because Raja is now on the radar as a blocking target. And, also, her lackluster lip sync doesn’t speak highly of her chances to win the season even if she continues to stomp every challenge to snag 1-2 more stars and make it to the finale.
I maintain my assessment that she’s here to give us great TV, but is not in contention to win the season. If she was, she would’ve been handed a bonus win any of the past three weeks the way Jinkx was tonight.