07th Apr2023

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 15×14’ Review

by Rhys Payne

I have to admit that last week’s episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race was filled with some questionable choices. In the mini challenge Loosey voted for herself as the person who would go home next (and I still haven’t decided if this is a clever piece of strategy or a display of some nervousness) and then in the maxi challenge, Loosey was placed in the bottom by the producers after doing significantly better than her fellow bottom queen Lux. Despite doing a lot better in the teacher makeover challenge, Loosey clearly lost the lip-sync which meant she was sadly told to sashay away. The structure of the competition means that the two worst performing queens have to battle it out in a lip-sync and however is the best performer in this stays in the completion which meant that despite doing a great job in the makeover Loosey is sent home. At the top in this episode, however, was Antrea who claimed her third win this season and her second consecutive win! In my opinion, it is very clear that going forward in this season Antrea and Sasha are being marked as the front runners of the season as they both now have three wins and we are getting very close to the final!

The final competitive episode before the Ru Paul’s Drag Race final saw the top four being tasked with not only writing, recording and performing a verse to a space-infused remix of Ru Paul’s “Blame it on the Edit” but they also had to appear in a podcast segment with the head judge and Michelle Visage as well as showcasing their highest level of drag in a “Drag Excellence” runway category. Not only did the queens have to do all this but they also had the added pressure of their performance in this episode deciding which three queens (which was said multiple times throughout the episode) would be going forward into the final. In terms of the podcast portion of the episode, I thought that Sasha Colby really delivered a powerful series of moments when she talked about losing her father to suicide, chasing her mother’s approval and her experience on the show. I know that these stories are included to purposefully make the queens appear more relatable and human and Sasha’s was probably one of the most emotional conversations we have ever seen.

In terms of the runway presentation, the queens had to showcase their drag in its most polished form. I thought that Antrea’s blue gown with silver embellishments was absolute perfection! She had waited for the perfect time to show off this gorgeous outfit, complete with the most fantastic sculpted wig covered in sparkly jewels! I have to say that this is by far the best outfit Antrea has worn all season, not only did it look amazing but it was also a revealing outfit which really came in handy later in the episode! At this point in the season, it really goes without saying that Sasha looked incredible on the runway as she showcased a beautiful crystal dress with massive sparkly bracelets and a brilliant orchids headpiece that referenced her Hawaiian background. However, I have to admit that I was not a fan of the outfits both Lux and Mistress wore for their runways this week. Lux wore an asymmetric white gown that cascaded down her body into a rather bulky train that she visibly struggled with while walking down the main stage. I did however really like the earrings she decided to pair with the look! Mistress however has been a favourite of mine all season long but I did leave this episode feeling fairly disappointed in what she decided to wear for potentially her last runway this season. While I thought that the fact that the cheetah print on her outfit was not painted on but instead made of beading and fringing (which is no easy feat) I thought that some of her other outfits this season have been much more of a spectacle which is what I have come to expect from MIB!

There are many challenges on Ru Paul’s Drag Race that I look forward to seeing every season, for example the musical episode, snatch game etc., but none fill me with more joy than when the top four have to write, record and perform an original verse to a Ru Paul song! First up on the track was Antrea who played homage to her entrance look with her unique yellow face-less mask with spikes around the top. However, I thought her verse itself was fairly simplistic and I had the impression she was simply reciting stick phrases including her iconic catchphrase “walk that duck.” Going into this challenge I was most concerned about Mistress Isabella Brooks as she had already experienced earlier in the season that she is not the best with choreography and we even see her struggle while trying to pick up the dance moves. I thoroughly enjoyed the sparkly bodysuit that she decided to wear while picking up the moves. The outfit had the most wonderfully oversized shoulders and black trimming that matched her shoes perfectly with the sparkles all over her body catching the light flawlessly! However, when she started to complain that the outfit was too constricting to perform the choreography I think everyone watching let out a sigh of disappointment as she had decided to wear this outfit knowing she had to be able to move in it! Despite all this, however, while she did struggle a bit with the movements, she is definitely a very captivating performer with lip-syncing being one of her strongest talents. There was a moment where the camera zoomed in on Mistress and she delivered not only a crisp lip-sync but also gave fantastic facial expressions throughout! I have to say that I have not been the biggest Lux fan this season but I have to admit that her first in this song was really impressive. She started out delivering incredible vocals but quickly switched into an incredible rap section both of which were a treat for the ears! I have to say however, Sasha made all the other girls seem like the warm-up acts as she absolutely demolished this challenge! She wore an insane alien bodysuit that showcased her body perfectly and delivered a wonderfully mysterious and intense verse which fitted the shoe flawlessly. Not only did she nail the space-inspired theme with both her performance and rehearsal look but her verse was performed excellently so it made sense that she would be declared as the winner and claim her fourth win of the season!

In the bottom this week were Antrea and Mistress, who were by no means bad but when compared to their fellow competitors this made sense. Going into the lip-sync we were reminded that Ru Paul had made a promise that they would send a queen home every single week and it would absolutely be a top three going into the final. I think even Stevie Wonder could have seen what was going to happen however, after a fairly entertaining lip-sync both queens were told they would be moving on. Not only did this decision negate the point of all the announcements through the episode of a top three, but I also don’t think that this lip-sync warranted a double save as there have been so many better lip-syncs this season!

Overall, I thought that the majority of the queens did fairly well on both the runway and songwriting challenge but this was very clearly Sasha’s episode to win as she stepped into the studio to record with Michelle and Ru! She nailed every section of the episode from the podcast moment to the recording and the runway so it made total sense she would walk away with the win. I thought the lip-sync was fine but did not deserve the double save and looking back the multiple announcements throughout the episode (hyping that it was the first time in so many seasons we would have a top three) were a waste of time! Had it not been for this creative decision then it would have been a near-perfect episode.

****½  4.5/5


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