Welcome to my review, recap, and power rankings of the sixth episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 – “Old Friends Gold,” a girl group challenge with the twist of playing elderly Golden Girls singing in unlikely genres.
I found it hard to react to this episode because there was barely anything to react to. While we did get some recording footage of the queens, their runways were five seconds each and we still haven’t seen any of the judges’ private deliberations.
What we did see was a cast of queens who did a perfectly fine job at playing old ladies, with one or two obvious standouts. I’m sure some of the singing queens like Luxx, Marcia, and Salina felt put-out that the perennial Girl Groups challenge went a comedy route (though I’m sure it pleased Loosey). We wound up with a surprising winner, a shocking performance from the runner up, and two queens who have been invisible in the edit lip syncing to see who will be invisible for another week before being dismissed.
Did this cramped episode edit shake up my Power Rankings after last weeks’ “House of Fashion” design challenge? Absolutely! We’ve got some jostling in the top ranks as well as some shuffling in the bottom. We’re five challenges into this season with at least seven more to go, but right now it feels like there are only four queens in serious contention for the crown. Can anyone else break through?
Readers, start your engines! And, may the best drag queen win!
Reminders: I typically refer to Drag Race artists with their drag names and with she/her pronouns even when they are not in drag, which is the convention of the show. Some performers may have different personal pronouns. Drag is inherently brave, political, and artistic, and all drag is valid. It’s also hard to do. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it comes across in relation to this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag!
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15, Episode 6: “Old Friends Gold” Girl Groups Rankings
Before we get to the 13 “Tie-dye to Die For runway looks, let’s enjoy how RuPaul said, “I’m going ass-out on the runway tonight.” Seriously, this tiny, shiny dress is barely there – I think if Ru turned around we’d see a full ass-cheek!
I love how youthful the dress is in combination with Ru’s white-gold hair, but the dress is so skimpy that it doesn’t give much of an illusion of a waist. That keeps up the trend of Ru looking slightly boxy on the runway this season, even though all of the details of the garment, wig, and make-up are gorgeous.
#1 Sasha Colby – 1 Win (1.8 avg; was #1, 1, 1, 5, Pre-Season #1)
Sasha Colby continued to shock and awe with the most metal of all the metal performances. Like… is she a headbanger in her spare time?
Sasha’s ability to deliver a surprise in every challenge is distinguishing her as one of the strongest competitors in Drag Race herstory. She’s no slouch on the runway either, delivering a totally snatched vinyl look with a tie-dyed print effect. The long sleeves into half gloves and the dripping hat really made this look work. Also, I think it was smart to show a little skin at from the ankle down (especially with such a well-matched shoe). The look needed to be broken up ever so slightly, and that did the trick.
Sasha absolutely devoured her “Old Friends Gold” metal verse. The performance was amazing, her vocal deliver was incredible, and her lyrics were straight up hilarious. There are many other queens this season who felt like odds on favorites for Girl Groups, but Sasha schooled them all on how to deliver a musical comedy challenge.
Despite Sasha’s early-season domination, there’s still another seven or eight challenges to survive between here and the finale. And, Sasha has four extremely strong contenders hot on her heels. Can she keep up this level of energy and surprise all season long while scoring another win or two?
#2 Mistress Isabelle Brooks (3.2 avg; was #4, 4, 4, 2, Pre-Season #6)
Mistress Isabelle Brooks still hasn’t had a win, but her high placement in this episode and effusive comments from the judges gave her a much-needed boost when it comes to the ongoing narrative.
Personally, I was unimpressed with Mistress Isabelle Brooks for the first time this week. I’m never a fan of “a sash pinned to a bodysuit” runaways, and the crystal detail at her shoulder felt craft and unnecessary. And, in the challenge, I felt that her country “Old Friends Gold” verse was one of the most-stilted out of all of the groups.
Sadly, though I’ve loved her every week so far, if I was the judge tonight, it would have been Mistress Isabelle lip syncing against Robin.
If anything, M.I.B.’s high placement it felt like a sign that this season is trying to spread the love widely in these early weeks so that any of the top queen can seem credible as the competition thins. Keep in mind – some seasons start with just 12 queens!
Right now it feels like Mistress Isabelle is in the “Dark Horse” spot, where it’s obvious she has everything the judges are looking for but hasn’t had a breakout moment yet. Could that break-out be next week’s acting challenge? Perhaps, although I think a late-season comedy roast is much more likely to be her runaway win.
#3 Luxx Noir London – 1 Win (3.8 avg; was #3, 5, 2, 6, Pre-Season #3)
Luxx Noir London was a shocking omission from tonight’s top three. Her country “Old Friends Gold” Girl Groups verse felt completely in-genre in a way that showed off her songwriting chops.
The more I look at Luxx Noir London’s tie-dyed runway, the more I love it! It’s a relatively simple garment, but it’s proportioned well and the colors of the tye-dye really pop. Add to that the dip-dye effect on her hair and I think this is an incredibly strong on-theme outfit. Sometimes it’s best not to try to outwit the runway prompt.
I think Luxx Noir London devoured this challenge and I was honestly shocked not to see her in the top over Mistress Isabelle Brooks. Her verse was fire. She found specific cadences and melodic leaps that scream “country music” that weren’t necessarily obvious in the arrangement. Also, she delivered another fantastic runway. And, she sold the old lady action in a major way while incorporating little country touches.
Luxx continues to solidify herself as a true alternative to Sasha Colby as the winner of this season. The only other queens in a similar lane to Luxx feel like Spice and Marcia – and I have no doubt she can defeat either of them in a lip sync. I think her biggest concern for missing the finale won’t be Mistress Isabelle or Loosey, but a potentially surging Anetra.
#4 Loosey LaDuca – 1 Win (5.4 avg; was #2, 2, 5, 14, Pre-Season #8)
Loosey LaDuca’s trajectory has cooled slightly after a pair of safe weeks, especially when Girl Groups was another one of her potential “must win” challenges.
I dug Loosey’s tie-dyed take on a frilled-neck cocktail dress on the runway, and she scored double points for looking like a fancy old lady with white hair during the old lady challenge!
Loosey was entertaining in her hip hop verse, but that was more due to her selling her granny character than it was for her lyrics. Some of them were great and she maintained a convincing “Granny voice” throughout, but the verse just didn’t hang together as well as the bests of the other groups.
She has shown herself to be adept at comedy, so I expect her to come out swinging in next week’s acting challenge to score another high placement. I don’t think she is in any danger of a lip sync based on her current position in the edit.
#5 Anetra (3.6 avg; was #6, 3, 3, 1, Pre-Season #2)
Anetra remains in the top five despite finally losing the last of her Week One momentum because, frankly, none of these other queens have a shot at the finale. However, if she wants to prevent the Top 4 from solidifying without her in it she’ll need to come out swinging next week in the acting challenge.
Anetra walked another jumpsuit look tonight, her third out of five runways. There’s no denying that she has incredibly proportions and a thrilling runway strut, but she’s going to have to serve some high glam mixed in with these ready-to-lip-sync outfits or… she’s going to have to be ready to lip sync.
I think Anetra’s verse was better than her performance in her hip hop group. The first half if it was clever, but as soon as she dropped into a split it felt like she was pulling focus off of tons of potential old-lady gags packed into her lyrics to show us something we’ve already seen from her before.
If I’m being honest, I feel like the edit is leaning in the direction of Anetra having to lip sync soon to reignite her spark and give the other queens a reminder to fear her. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Anetra vs. Aura or Jax in one of the next two episodes.
(One extracurricular note: Anetra seems to have a somewhat weak Instagram game, which is surprising from such a striking queen. Is she just not that into photography, or is it a sign of frustration with her placement?)
#6 Aura Mayari – 1 Win (11.0 avg; was #9, 13, 14, 13, Pre-Season #9)
Aura Mayari scored a surprising win – both because she has been invisible in the competition so far and because she just wasn’t all that remarkable in the challenge. Does this mean that Ru sees some untapped potential in Aura, or was it purely to spread the wins around so Sasha doesn’t run away with the competition?
There’s no denying that Aura Mayari’s tie-died suit was spectacular. The high-waist, the low jacket, the squared shoulders, the boot-cut pants, the bare chest… it’s all perfectly balanced. Even in a plain, solid-color suit the cut of this garment would make it très chic, but pairing it with such an unusual green and black tie-dye with tints of orange made it really stand out.
I was not impressed with Aura’s metal verse. It felt safe or lower to me. Her lyrics weren’t very clever and her raspy talk-singing wasn’t memorable. However, she did as much with the physicality of her role Sasha did.
Yet, as the track pressed on through the final refrain, it felt like Aura was the one member of the group who had thought through her entire performance arc from the first note to the last. That’s absolutely what the judges were responding to in granting her the win.
Aura has already mentioned that she is intimidated by acting challenges, so I strongly suspect we’re going to see a “Challenge Winner > Lip Syncer” journey for her from this week to next. Aura is a seasoned performer, but there are some lip sync slayers below her – namely, Salina and Jax, plus Marcia (have you seen her performance videos?!). The best case scenario for Aura next week is to be safe.
#7 Spice (9.0 avg; was #12, 12, 6, 8, Pre-Season #11)
Spice did what needed to be done in this challenge. Even if her metal was slightly too tame, this was a critical “show up and get the job done” moment for her while other queens are floundering.
Spice delivered yet another “I’m a doll” runway with her crimson red hair. Honestly, I can’t remember a single thing about this look even after looking right at it. The tie-dye is fine. The fit is fine. The shoes are fine. It just feels like we’ve already seen Spice do this and we’re going to continue to see her do it week after week. Where the shock value?
On rewatch, Spice’s metal performance was slight. She mostly used her normal Spice voice, it was mostly about being sexy, and she mostly stood in one place with her cane. Yet, she managed to hold space confidently and sell what she was serving. This wasn’t the same Spice we saw playing Miley Cyrus, who was too focused on the silliness of her own schtick for her jokes to land with viewers.
Self-belief takes you a long way on Drag Race when sold effectively. This is the right time in the competition to prove that you understand the challenge and to execute that with confidence. If Spice can outlast the fodder below her and pick off one of the queens above her, suddenly she’s in a range of a trip to the finale.
#8 Salina EsTitties – 1 lip sync (8.4 avg; was #11, 8, 8, 7, Pre-Season #12)
Salina EsTitties walked into this week straight from a lip sync and into a challenge theme that seemed to stymie her: how to be a country-fried old lady. She worked it out in the end and turned out her best runway so far.
This Salina EsTitties runway look is utterly gag-worthy. The colors are amazing, the massive orange fins work without totally obscuring her shape, and the long ruffled train is to-die-for. Also, one again, Salina’s make-up is utterly BEAT. Here’s to hoping she has more looks like this BCalla masterpiece packed away for upcoming runways.
I think Salina did just fine in this challenge. Her lyrics told a clear, clever story even if they were mostly spoken and not sung. In the performance she was credibly old, but she also spent a lot of it turning upstage. I think she could’ve brought a little bit more to the staging of her verse, but for performing the genre she wanted the list I think she acquitted herself well.
Is there a chance things could turn around for Salina? Next week’s acting challenge might be exactly what she needs to establish some momentum in this race, and we could be seeing a turnaround in her suitcase as well. Snagging a win to block Loosey from a strong category while Anetra continues to struggle could easily catapult Salina into the top half of this competition.
#9 Marcia Marcia Marcia (6.8 avg; was #8, 6, 7, 4, Pre-Season #10)
Marcia Marcia Marcia’s days are numbered. She missed a high placement in one of her top potential challenges in Girl Groups, and got another unsolicited read on her make-up from Ru without even making it into critiques.
Marcia Marcia Marcia is lucky she didn’t get critiqued, since she had the worst outfit of the night! This look isn’t giving tie-die, and it’s just not any good. I’m surprised that such a stage veteran packed so many plain looks that simply don’t read well on stage. Almost everything she has worn so far feels more like a cutesy Halloween costume than high fashion.
Marcia’s verse in the Banjo Bitches was a non-event. She had the same amount of time as everyone else, but it felt like her verse had the least to say. That might be due to a lengthy first line and a talky last line. There just wasn’t much room left in the middle to squeeze too much in! I’d say this Broadway Baby got schooled at her own game by Luxx – who has Marcia squarely boxed out of playing the ingenue role this season.
We could see a surprise Marcia win next week in an acting challenge, but I think it’s much more likely that she gets Jan’d in favor of another queen to encourage her to crack under pressure.
#10 Malaysia Babydoll Foxx (9.0 avg; was #5, 9, 12, 9, Pre-Season #5)
Malaysia Babydoll Foxx was unremarkable in the challenge despite grabbing the theme she desperately wanted. Also, she was running on fumes of delusion in Untucked. I think Malaysia is straight-up rattled by trying to crack the Sasha/Mistress/Luxx/Loosey domination of the season.
This is another look that I can’t remember even when I’m looking right at it. The print has too many competing colors and comes off as a sludgy mess. I don’t think the pink corset is doing anything for it. The hair feels wrong and too small. And why are the shoulders fuzzy? Ironically, Malaysa’s design challenge outfit last week was her only one to show off a solid taste level.
Malaysia metal verse just didn’t work that well for me. The more I rewatch it, the more I think that’s due to the fact that her performance felt small. She was always leaning backward and pulling her arms in close to her body. I get wanting to play an old character as being physically limited, but you still need to find a way to be visually impactful in your performance.
That’s not a great place to be when we’re not even at the halfway point. Worse, it feels like her entire storyline is fighting with Mistress, who is only on the margins of making the finale herself. Sasha Colby is the queen you ought to aim to have a fight with if you want to stick around! While Malaysia might score some laughs in next week’s acting challenge, right now I don’t see a path to the finale for her.
#11 Jax – 1 lip sync (8.4 avg; was #10, 7, 11, 3, Pre-Season #4)
Jax has all the skills to make a deep run on this show, but the judges just don’t like her or her fashion choices. It’s sad but true.
Jax’s runway was rotted. Why is she in an Oompa Loompa colored body stocking?! Paired with green tie-dye and hair, it could not look any more hideous if she tried. I’m usually in Jax’s corner defending her much-maligned runways, but I can’t find anything positive to say about this one.
I thought Jax’s verse was strong, and she managed to add some modern moves without losing her entire old lady character. If she had delivered a decent runway, I would’ve had someone else in the bottom instead of Jax.
With her first trip to the bottom two in the books and another slightly-puzzling runway look, Jax’s time in this competition is running out. She’ll need to score a win in one of the next few challenges to escape her fate as fodder.
Eliminated in 12th Place: Robin Fierce (9.25 avg; was #7, 11, 9, 10, Pre-Season #7)
Robin Fierce practically resigned from the competition when she monologued to Ru about how she likes all of the safe choices in life. I mean… me too!!! But, you don’t want to make yourself out to be a queen who hates to take risks when Ru is looking for America’s Next Drag Superstar.
I don’t think there is any debate that Robin had the worst “Old Friends Gold” Girl Groups verse of the night. It didn’t make much narrative sense, and she performed it without much creak in her old lady step. I loved the flowing, flower-petal quality of her runway, but it was too simple too save her from certain doom after her verse – and her runway chat sealed her fate.
I think I understand now why Robin Fierce has been so appealing to me throughout this show. She has a quiet confidence that what she’s doing works for her. I love that quality in an artist, but on the Drag Race stage you have to show Ru a certain appetite for risk-taking or else there’s no “Nerve” in your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent.