RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14, Episode 9: “Menzeses” — Review
Another week has gone by since the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ahead of tonight’s new episode, let’s remind ourselves of everything important that happened last week!
An Icon Is Born
Following the elimination of Kerri Colby, the cast reflected on the impact her presence had on the season. Given the cast’s unprecedented number of trans contestants, many of whom came out publicly during or after the show, that impact is clear. Kerri Colby is confident in herself, is proudly trans, and will certainly continue to inspire people to pursue and live their most authentic lives.
The next morning, RuPaul announces a mini challenge! We don’t get many of them in modern seasons of Drag Race, so I’m always excited for the foolery. This time around, we saw the return of the celebrity photobomb, and an icon was born:
After awarding the mini challenge win to Willow Pill, Ru announced that the maxi challenge would be to create and lead a dynamic discussion on the topic of men and masculinity. Willow was given the opportunity to choose her team—DeJa Skye, Angeria Paris VanMichaels, Lady Camden, and herself—maximizing her chances for success and leaving the previous week’s winner, Daya Betty, to work with two folks she’s openly criticized (Jasmine Kennedie and Jorgeous).
Can we get Willow Pill a producer’s chair?
In their planning sessions, Team Willow immediately gelled while the Daya-dubbed “Team Leftovers” kicked off with some discord surrounding everyone’s favorite storyline: Jasmine talks too much. I agree that Bosco was the right choice of the four to moderate this challenge, but the cast’s feedback that Jasmine talks too much frustrates me. I know we only get a tiny slice of life in the workroom, but the feedback has clearly been for the benefit of the ones giving it, not Jasmine, and we see that manifest later when it ultimately tanks Jasmine’s success in the challenge.
During lengthy walkthrough conversations, we finally got some background on DeJa, albeit still very little, and we learned more about Jorgeous’ comfort with expressing femininity and her family’s reaction to it. We also got a taste of who felt the pressure to turn it up. In addition to Jasmine’s concern over speaking the exact right amount, Lady Camden worried about breaking through to the judges, Bosco worried her success would hinge entirely on her team, and Willow worried she wouldn’t be able to rediscover her early success.
Drag Con, On Stage!
This challenge is easy to take for granted, because it typically runs a bit longer, and it’s not especially flashy; however, I do think it’s one of the best challenges on Drag Race and wish it was utilized more frequently. It requires preparation but isn’t scripted, it requires sincerity but benefits from levity, and it challenges the cast to consider the importance and impact of their individual perspectives.
The challenge began with Team Willow, and they knocked it out of the park. Apparently DeJa was born to lead panel discussions the way Jorgeous was born to do drag, and Willow struck the balance between gravity and humor effortlessly. I appreciated their perspectives on confronting expectations of masculinity and femininity in dating, navigating paternal relationships and queerness, and the evolution of building romantic and sexual relationships through technology.
Team Leftovers’ panel… did not go as smoothly. Ultimately Bosco performed well, but her earlier concerns were warranted. Because the panelists couldn’t match her, Bosco’s transitions and jokes often felt canned or forced. I love guest judge Nicole Byer but cannot disagree more about Bosco coming across unscripted. Most frustrating was watching Jasmine Kennedie manage to talk too much and talk too little. She was confused about how much to contribute, and it makes sense. She’s learning the wrong lessons, because she’s been taking them from folks who aren’t judging her success.
This week’s runway was meant to feature shoulder pads, and only one artist really understood the assignment: DeJa Skye. There were certainly other great looks—Willow’s liberty spikes in a suit, Angeria’s houndstooth club kid-inspired look, and Jasmine’ssimple but chic highlighter yellow jumpsuit—but most didn’t feature shoulder pads. They may have had shoulder pads, but they featured shoulder stuff. I was genuinely shocked to see that DeJa was the only drag artist to fully exaggerate their shoulder pads. Not only did this hit the brief perfectly, it created a silhouette that was new for DeJa and different to the rest of the cast. The clear runway winner in my book was DeJa.
And honestly? DeJa was the clear winner of the entire week, but for reasons I cannot wrap my head around, she fell second to Bosco. Part of me feels like Ru decided early that DeJa wasn’t the season’s winner, so when DeJa absolutely smashes it, she isn’t given proper credit.
Yet Another… Non-Elimination
I knew Jorgeous vs. Jasmine Kennedie was coming—I’m sure we all did—and while Etta James’ “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” may not have been a track best catered to this match-up’s fullest potential, it was still a great showing from the week’s bottom two. However…
Why aren’t we eliminating someone? Yes, Jorgeous and Jasmine both performed incredibly well. Yes, either one could out-dance the entire cast 99 times out of 100. But this wasn’t the explosive, jaw-dropping, legendary lip sync I expected to see when these two finally clashed—think Season 5’s Alyssa Edward vs. Roxxxy Andrews, think Season 11’s Brooke Lynn Hytes vs. Yvie Oddly—and we just had a non-elimination round.
AND WHAT ARE THE CHOCOLATE BARS FOR IF WE’RE STILL GOING TO DO DOUBLE-SHANTAYS AND ARBITRARY NON-ELIMINATIONS? WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO HAVE CHOCOLATE BARS?
WHAT WAS THE REASON?
*deep, meditative breath*
Anyway, no one went home. And of course I’m excited for both Jorgeous and Jasmine, but this chocolate bar twist is an ill-conceived mess, and I want a refund.
The Snatch Game is finally here on Season 14, which means things could drastically shake up after tonight’s episode. Snatch Game has famously knocked front-runners into the bottom and struggling competitors into the top. It’s often a difficult challenge to predict for anyone who’s not known for stand-up or improv comedy. That said, if she can follow in the footsteps of her Seattle predecessors Jinkx Monsoon (Season 5) and BenDeLaCreme (Season 6, All-Stars Season 3), Bosco could come out on top for a second consecutive week.
‘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.