RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14, Episode 3 “A Pair of Balls” — Review
Another week has gone by since the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so let’s revisit everything important that happened last week ahead of tomorrow’s new episode!
Two Game-Changing Twists
Following a two-part premiere that saw the eliminations of Midwest queens Orion Story and Daya Betty, many Drag Race fans applauded what seemed like a return to format. After all, at the end of each episode, one drag artist goes home, right? Well, not exactly. We should’ve known it was too good to be true. At the start of this past week’s episode, Ru decides to undo it all and bring back both eliminated queens to pick up right where they left off.
Ultimately, I’m torn. The Drag Race franchise takes dozens of queer artists’ careers each year and launches them to new heights overnight, so by all means, show ‘em off! The recent trend of keeping everyone around just a bit longer to showcase just a bit more? I appreciate it. I really do. And I’m especially excited to see more of Daya, one of my pre-season favorites. But at its core, this is an elimination-based TV show, so the reality competition fan in me is struggling to overcome the feeling that eliminating a contestant and immediately bringing them back kind of wasted our time. I suppose, if I’m looking for a silver lining from the competition side of things, both Orion and Betty can say they didn’t miss anything while they were gone, so no one can argue they ever got a break from the game. And hey, it’s all entertainment. I’m entertained.
Now, about these chocolate bars. I have a lot of production-related questions about this twist, but here’s the basic idea: if you’ve lost a Lip Sync For Your Life, you have a one-in-fourteen (or however many bars are left) chance of being saved by fate. Admittedly, this doesn’t do anything for me and will probably cause psychic damage to a number of these performers, but sure, Ru. Go off. My prediction? Daya Betty’s got the golden chocolate bar. She gives good confessional, but she’s giving a lot of confessional. I’m guessing she either goes very far after her stumble in the premiere or she’s saved by the season’s signature twist. We’ll see.
A Whopping 42 Looks on the Runway
Okay, I’m generally in favor of moving the ball challenge forward to showcase more fashion and more of the typically under-celebrated designers who often help contestants prepare for Drag Race. But 42 looks in one episode? It’s a whirlwind. It’s counter-productive. It’s too much.
So here’s what you need to remember:
- They split the ball in two: the Hide & Chic Ball (animal print) and the Red, White, and Blue Ball (self-explanatory).
- Willow and Angeria continued to lead the pack, occupying their respective ball’s top spots, and Willow pulled off the overall win for featuring unconventional choices among a sea of samey-samey animal prints.
- June Jambalaya and Maddy Morphosis struggled with the details and wound up in the bottom two as a result.
Overall, I don’t think this season’s ball left a lasting impression. It definitely felt more akin to a runway mini challenge (think Season 7 or Season 12), and the judging was… questionable. Jorgeous placing in the top? No. She looked stunning, sure, but her Resort look was completely off-category, and her bridal garment should’ve been in contention for worst outfit of the episode. Daya placing just safe? No. Swap her placement with Jorgeous. Finally, a Red, White, and Blue ball where the featured color for a bridal category isn’t white? No! Just… no. Especially after the actual all-white evening wear category was, for me, everything.
After losing the lip-sync battle to Kylie Minogue’s “I Love It,” June Jambalaya wasn’t kidding herself: she needed more time to develop as a drag artist before conquering drag’s biggest stage. June is gorgeous—the face! the face!—and she clearly has a sense of the queen she wants to be. She just needs a drag family around her to show her the ropes, guide her through fine-tuning the details, and coping with what many will consider an embarrassing loss. But hey, now she’s got that family in the deep cast of Drag Race alumni.
Bugs in the Workroom, Coffee Enemas, and a Heaping Helping of Kornbread
Remember when I said that Drag Race is entertainment? And that I was entertained? This episode delivered off the main stage. In addition to the delightfully weirdest version of RuPaul we’ve seen in quite some time, one competitor truly left an impression throughout the episode. I think everyone knew she would be a star the moment she walked in the workroom—probably earlier if you were following pre-season press—so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nearly every memorable scene in the workroom featured one Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté.
She helped Willow, who we know has a chronic illness, hand-stitch an outfit when Willow shared that the temperature of the workroom was affecting her dexterity. When Maddy found a dead dragonfly in the workroom, Kornbread offered Daya a thousand dollars to eat it. Daya obliged and delivered one of the best lines ever uttered on television: “I eat ass, you guys. I can eat a bug.” And after Kerri shared her experience as a queer youth and how her family turned on her, Kornbread realized that she still had unresolved feelings on her own coming out experience.
We know tomorrow’s episode will feature the season’s first acting challenge. As for who will struggle, it’s all guess work at this point. If I had to place bets, I’d have my eyes on the thus-far fashion and looks queens (Jorgeous, Kerri), the queens who’ve already found friction with other cast members (Jasmine, Alyssa), or queens that the show wants us to believe have primarily struggled (Orion, DeJa).
On the flip side, if I’m betting on next week’s winner, I’m looking more toward the campier queens (Maddy, Lady Camden) or the artists who’ve already found success to this point (Kornbread, Angeria, Willow). But by all means, Drag Race, leave me gooped, leave me gagged. I love to be surprised!
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ airs on VH1 in the US and Crave & OUTtv in Canada, streams on Stan in Australia, and streams on WOW Presents Plus everywhere else.