Can you believe it’s been 12 weeks already? Season ten of RuPaul’s Drag Race is quickly drawing to a close, with our original fourteen queens culled down to just four: Aquaria, Asia, Eureka, and Kameron. Frankly, we’re still smarting over the unjustified elimination of Miz Cracker last week, but reality TV waits for no man.
Unsurprisingly, this final episode involves the remaining queens writing their own lyrics for a remix of one of RuPaul’s songs — in this case “American,” in what the production team must have thought was a great bit of pro-LGBTQ patriotism in the era of Trump. The final four group number is a format we’ve seen and enjoyed multiple times before, including last season’s excellent “Category Is” and the phenomenal “Read U Wrote U” from All Stars 2 — which remains the best group number in Drag Race history. (Don’t @ us.)
The episode kicks off on a slightly sour note, as Asia is “haunted” by telling Miz Cracker she didn’t think she was a star during the runway critiques. It’s not exactly the most heartfelt of moments, as she basically reiterates that she doesn’t think Cracker is a star, but that the judges must have done to bring her onto the show and keep her until episode eleven. It’s such a jarring bit of false self-reflection that we even found ourselves agreeing with Eureka — go figure — who slams Asia’s comments in a bit to camera.
On with the episode proper and there’s no mini-challenge this week — it’s all maxi, with the focus on the writing, recording, and choreography for their “American” remix. RuPaul teases that Todrick Hall will be providing the queens with the “most difficult choreography…… of the season.” Yay? Surely he could have aimed for most difficult choreography of 2018, given All Stars earlier this year had some incredible bits of dancing. BenDeLaCreme voguing while rapping to “Call Me Mother” as Julie Andrews, anyone?
Most of the episode the gives over to the prep work for the performance, so let’s break down each of the queens:
- Aquaria — Frankly, it’s Aquaria’s crown to lose at this point. Despite the editing suggesting she’d completely blown her singing — complete with a number of expressions from Todrick as she flatly delivered her lines — Aquaria breezed through this challenge. She nailed the lyrics, which were amusing, self-promoting, and surprisingly well-delivered. As for the choreography, she proved she can dance with the best of them — even sending waves of fear through the other queens during rehearsals as she aced Todrick’s steps. For the main performance, we didn’t completely love her Old Hollywood pinup-inspired outfit — the pointed breasts were a little too thin and distracting — but there’s no denying that Aquaria was arguably the best in this challenge.
- Asia — Asia made no secret of the fact that she was nervous about this challenge, both rapping and singing, after flubbing her lines and choreography in the Cher musical challenge four episodes ago. But, surprise surprise, after some coaxing from Todrick, Asia delivered some nicely sung lyrics. And she proved her abilities as a seasoned performer as she quickly grasped Todrick’s choreography. During the main performance, her outfit was just a little too showgirl for our tastes, and her lyrics — while poetic — were a bit flat, but she turned out a strong performance regardless. Being a seasoned showgirl is Asia’s bread and butter, so there’s no surprises here.
- Eureka — Given the last time Eureka had to perform on stage we all were forced to suffer through waves of tears, lengthy excuses, and on-stage therapy, it was refreshing to watch her march out to the microphone and slay her rap. Seriously, expectations were not high for her delivery, particularly after the workroom foreshadowing, but Eureka once again turned her irksome personality into a strong performance. And the editing screwed us once again, as it foreshadowed a Bebe-esque bomb as Eureka struggled with the choreography, requiring multiple run throughs, but on the main stage — while hardly the sharpest of the four — she danced her way through her rap with glee. We have to hand it to Eureka, as annoying as she can be out of drag, she slays it when the spotlights are on.
- Kameron — With the most to prove out of everyone here, thanks to lipsyncing for her life three weeks in a row, Kameron was understandably nervous. But, yet again, she proved that she’s a pretty fierce queen. Todrick eked out yet another strong vocal performance, and Kameron’s lyrics were the rawest here, singing to kids like her stuck in bigoted small towns. They were so powerful that Ross gave particular notice to them during the main stage critiques. And, hardly a surprise after three weeks of sending other queens packing, Kameron’s dancing was on point. While last week we’d have prefered to see Miz Cracker in her place, Kameron certainly proved that she’s at least worthy of being in the top four. We just wished she’d left the sleeve covers off her rainbow-inspired costume, as it would have been a wonderful moment for her to embrace her tattoos and physique while singing a song about being gay, proud, and finding herself.
Outside of the main challenge preparations, there were a few interesting moments during the episode. RuPaul once again had the queens appear on her What’s The Tee? podcast, where Asia revealed that both of her parents died when she was 27, which is why she places such strong emphasis on both being self-sufficient, and also finding family connections in her community. It gave a new angle to her stance as mother of the group this season — something even more apparent when Eureka at her obnoxious best badgered Kameron to sing part of her lyrics, forcing Asia to step in and demand that Eureka leave Kameron alone. Even Eureka noted as much in her bit to camera, telling Asia to let the children play (though this was a little closer to bullying, as Kameron said no multiple times).
We also had the girls picking who should be in the top three. Eureka opted for statistics, choosing herself, Asia and Aquaria as they had the most wins. Asia? She picked herself, Aquaria and Kameron, because she can’t stand how loud Eureka is. We’re not sure that’s technically a disqualifier, but it was amusing nonetheless.
In addition, Kameron had a breakthrough moment when she finally picked up her makeup and decided to get ready next to the other girls, rather than isolated at her own table as she prefers. It may have only lasted for a few minutes, as she quickly became far too hot under the mirror lighting, but it was a nice touch and a good show of friendship regardless.
After the “American” performance, it was onto the final runway of the season. Category: Eleganza Extravaganza. With the exception of Eureka, who was just a little too campy for our tastes — though the concept of her dictionary definition dress and Thomas Edison-headpiece was inspired — the queens brought it. None quite matched Shangela’s final runway look in All Stars 3, which remains one of the most gasp-inducingly beautiful outfits to have graced Ru’s stage, but they each offered their own unique brand of eleganza.
Aquaria wowed in a cutout black gown and gorgeous silver hair. And, true to form, she covered herself in stars — even her eyes — because she knows she’s a superstar. Asia’s Egyptian-inspired structured gown was shocking in that it was different to anything she’d worn previously, but the effect was stunning, in Tiffany blue panels and gold sequins. Meanwhile, if ever Kameron needed an outfit that declared “I deserve to be here!” she found it in her bedazzled, lavender sheer illusion. Combined with lavender hair and beautifully soft makeup, this was arguably Kameron’s most jaw-dropping look yet — and possibly the most Eleganza Extravaganza outfit on the runway.
After the judges critiques, the queens were asked to offer advice to their childhood selves and then state why they should be this season’s winner. It’s all stuff we’ve seen before, but it’s nice to watch the queens get emotional — and Ru’s botox almost crack. Then, it was on to the judges’ thoughts, which more than ever seemed to cement that Aquaria is going to be this season’s winner. Maybe Eureka, but the judges really seem to love Aquaria — and, frankly, given her performances recently we’re struggling to disagree.
Before Ru made her final decision as to who would progress to the finale, we had one final group lipsync to RuPaul’s impossible-to-follow “Call Me Mother.” Far from a flawless lipsync — Eureka in particular seemed to struggle — this was a curious moment, as we’ve yet to see Aquaria lipsync for her life. Unsurprisingly, she owned her part of the runway. Kameron, too, proved why she’s become this season’s lipsync assassin, and Eureka overcame her lyrical issues with some strong moves. Asia, for comparison, was bizarrely muted for such an upbeat, frantic track. She knew every word, but perhaps her dress was just too restrictive to really let loose.
Regardless, it didn’t matter. RuPaul tried to build tension, but we’ve known for a while that there wasn’t going to be any elimination. All four queens progressed to the finale in two weeks, presumably for another godawful lipsync deathmatch. Seriously, if this season comes down to a winner takes all lipsync like the end of season nine, we’re storming VH1’s headquarters, because it cheapens the work these queens have done for the last twelve weeks.
But before all that, it’s the reunion episode. That’s next week, and we can’t wait — Vixen going after Eureka, Cracker confronting Asia’s star comments, and the return of “Miss Vanjie” herself? We’re totally there.
And that was episode twelve. What did you think? Did you gag over any moments we missed? Did all four queens deserve to advance to the final? Whose”American” lyrics did you enjoy most? Let us know in the comments!
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Thursdays on VH1.