RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE recap: “Wizards of Drag”

With Acid Betty gone as of last week, the question presents itself: who will be the bad queen now?! It might appear that Bob the Drag Queen, who lorded his second win over everyone’s head at the start of this episode (“Has anyone ever won three before?”), might be gunning for that role.

The queens were introduced to Marc Snetiker, a writer with Entertainment Weekly, who was given the honor of judging this week’s Mini Challenge, the annual Reading is Fundamental challenge. Each one took turns standing before her peers, tearing them apart one by one. To my ears there were only a few good lines here…

Bob: “It is very hard to have an intelligent conversation with Derrick Barry. The only thing harder is Robbie Turner’s wig lines.”

Robbie Turner: “Kim Chi, you are stomping for the gods on the runway.”

Kim Chi: “Chi Chi, your drag is like turkey neck, cheap and no one wants it.”

A peek behind the curtain. Kim Chi finished her reads and RuPaul uttered, “who knew that [wit, presumably] was lurking underneath that—“ and everyone busted out, “We ALL knew.” And it’s true. We all know how smart and witty Kim Chi is. The big surprise is that it took this long for Ru to see it.

Marc Snetiker deemed Bob the Drag Queen the winner, solidifying his sprint to (at least) the final three and (more likely) the crown.

Speaking of peeking behind the curtain: the Maxi Challenge this week was a Wizard of Oz theme and the queens were paired with stars from the Lifetime TV show Little Women LA. A makeover challenge, the competitors were tasked with making original drag couture for themselves and their “Little Women” companions inspired by a character from the Wizard of Oz. Bob’s win translated in no way toward this challenge because each lady was allowed to choose the queen she wanted to work with.

Briana had the Wicked Witch and chose to work with Kim Chi.

Brittney had the Citizen of Emerald City and chose Thorgy Thor.

Christy had the Cowardly Lion and she chose Robbie Turner.

Elena had Glenda the Good Witch and chose Bob the Drag Queen.

Terra had the Tin Woodman and chose Derrick Barry.

It’s important to acknowledge here that the character isn’t the Tin Man that we’re familiar with from the film but the Tin Woodman from the book. It appears necessary, given the “Citizen of Emerald City” character as well, that perhaps for permission (or payment) reasons the show had to model the book and not the film.

Jasmine had the Scarecrow and chose Naomi Smalls.

Tonya had Dorothy and chose Chi Chi. Note there were no ruby slippers in the book!


In the Werk Room Derrick Barry was questioned on his plan to dress up a body suit similarly to what he’s done pretty much every week so far.

Before leaving the room, RuPaul threw one more caveat at them: on the runway they had to perform a “dreamy interpretive dance, set in a poppy field.” What?! The biggest problem with this element of the challenge is that, while they prepared in teams and criticized other teams from across the room, we had no idea what exactly it was they were to interpret. We didn’t get to hear the song until it was performed. You know how when you’re watching a show, and you’re thinking, “Well, THIS is what I’d do if I was there?” Couldn’t happen in this instance.

The makeup mirror confession moment this week was all about the common experiences between little people and gay people, in that we’re objectified by the sometimes ignorant masses.

Along with RuPaul and Michelle Visage, guest judges this week included Ross Mathews, Todrick Hall, and Marc Jacobs.

Highlights for me included Kim Chi, and Naomi Smalls. Lowlights were from Derrick Barry and Chi Chi. Bob the Drag Queen wasn’t looking all that great either. The interpretive dances were presented in a montage so we didn’t suffer each one alone. It was for the best.

The undisputable winner of the challenge was Naomi Smalls. Her scarecrow was spot-on and, coming from the previous week when the judges instructed her to do more than just wear a two-piece bathing suit on the runway, she delivered.

In the end, while Chi Chi DeVayne teetered on the line, the bottom two left to lip synch for their lives were Robbie Turner and Derrick Barry. We all know there’s pretty much a two-strike rule on RuPaul’s Drag Race, so it wasn’t looking good for Robbie at this point. But: I’m still not clear on how Derrick has made it this far. Last week was TOTALLY his time to go. It’s almost like he’s paying part of the production costs or something, like he’s got an ownership stake in the show so he has to stick around. It baffles me.

So, of course, when the lip synching was all over, he’s the one who stayed.

I’m starting to wonder if they’re severely editing these lip synch performances too. It seems like each week the winner is hands-down better at writhing and slithering around the stage while the loser lags just a step behind the beat.

Robbie Turner grew on me. He was completely invisible the first couple episodes and then, from nowhere it seemed he became one of the few (along with Thorgy Thor, notably) who could walk us through the episodes with enough wit and personality. And for that, he’ll be missed.



See also:

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Supermodel Snatch Game" (season 8 episode 5)

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Wizards of Drag" (season 8 episode 6)

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE recap: "Shady Politics" (season 8 episode 7)



Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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