Drag Race Recap: A Lackluster Rusical Gets Upstaged by a Lip Sync Surprise

Andy Swift
·4 min read

Broadway may still be dark, but Friday’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race kept the music going (for better or worse) with the debut of its latest Rusical.

The Rusical is a time-honored tradition, one that has previously explored everything from the rise of the Kardashians (R.I.P., Kimye!) to the fall of herstory’s baddest bitches. So, how did Social Media: The Unverified Rusical stack up against previous seasons’ productions? In the words of Dorinda Medley, “not well, bitch.” Seriously, not even a pre-show pep talk from Anne Hathaway could save this one.

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Sure, several queens had stand-out moments — from Denali and Gottmik as a pair of Russian bots to Kandy Muse’s “Womanizer” homage — but to quote Nicole Kidman in The Prom, it lacked a certain… zazz. Unlike last season’s Madonna Rusical, I will not be accepting RuPaul’s support to “binge view” this one on YouTube anytime soon.

Like most challenges that require any element of casting, there was instant drama with this one. Specifically, Rosé and Denali (who are very different, yet also somehow interchangeable?) were gunning for the same role, leading to a sing-off so uncomfortable I cringe just thinking about it. “We have a lot of nerve making them audition,” Olivia Lux acknowledged. “But I want to see it!”

The final vote, unsurprisingly, came out largely in support of Rosé, though Utica Queen and Tina Burner both threw their support behind Denali… or did they? (“I 100-percent chose Denali to f–k with Rosé’s brain,” Tina admitted in a confessional.) Watch it all go down below:

Fortunately, this week’s [extreme Barbra Streisand voice] “Yellow, Gorgeous!” runway offered the queens a chance to remind us why we still love them. Tina and Elliott With 2 Ts both deserve toots for their respective taxi-inspired getups, Gottmik’s Crash Test Dummy tribute could stop traffic, Denali did Banana proud with her “princess python realness” look, and Symone was dressed to kill as a pimped-out Big Bird (her words!). Heck, I didn’t even hate Kandy’s recreation of Beyoncé’s iconic “Lemonade” video dress — and that’s progress!

But only one look elicited an actual audible gasp from me, and that was Rosé’s ridiculous (and well-executed!) tribute to Jim Carrey’s character in The Mask. The green face, the feminized outfit, the big smile — everything worked. Coupled with Rosé’s impressive performance in the Rusical, her victory this week was a foregone conclusion.

As for Michelle Visage’s assertion that Rosé’s outfit was orange, rather than the requested yellow, I’m not sold. I feel like she was just trying to start another black-and-blue vs. white-and-gold debacle, per the week’s theme of social media, and I for one am not biting. … OK, fine, I’ll bite. Cast your vote below:

Despite the judges enjoying their runway looks, Kandy and Symone landed in the bottom two for their lackluster Rusical performances, and rightfully so. But these queens weren’t about to tap out just yet, so from the moment Fifth Harmony’s “BO$$” started playing, it was a fight to the death (drop). Even though I’m proudly #TeamSymone, I truly believe that Kandy won this lip sync — but that doesn’t matter, because neither of them is sashaying (Hath)away!

Real talk, though: We all knew this was going to be a double shantay from the jump, yes? I can’t quite put my finger on why — perhaps it’s because both of these queens seem utterly destined for the Top 4 — but after years of watching this show, you just know when it’s coming. Ru almost got me with that fake-out, but calling Kandy back was as inevitable as Rosé’s victory in a musical challenge. (Sorry, Jan!)

Watch the queens’ showdown below:

Your thoughts on this week’s episode, from the Rusical to the double shantay? Drop ’em all in a comment below.

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