Rose petals. Dead butterflies. Wig under wig under wig. Every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race takes the lip-sync game to a spectacular new level, and this week’s episode continued that tradition, giving us a rare showdown between two front-runners battling it out to stay.
Brooke Lynn Hytes and Yvie Oddly have both performed incredibly well this season, but they landed in the bottom this week after bombing in the Snatch Game. What followed was the best kind of Lip Sync for Your Life: equal parts collaborative and competitive, with two performers meeting each other’s energy at every point and pushing the other to go harder. Truly legendary Drag Race moments like this are rare and precious, so let’s savor it by breaking down all the goops and gags that made this a lip sync for the ages.
The drama actually begins before the lip sync, during the sequin-themed runway. It’s way too early in the season for Brooke Lynn and Yvie to go home, and they both seem to know it. After butchering her Celine Dion impersonation in the Snatch Game, Brooke Lynn is especially hungry to redeem herself for the judges, offering them a teaser of her lip-sync skills when she first steps onto the runway.
RuPaul knows that she’s going to get a good show if she pits these top queens against each other, and you can feel the fire coming off that stage as RuPaul tells them to not fuck it up. Then the opening notes of Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” kick in and the space transforms into a gay gladiator arena. The song is audio adrenaline for drag queens, sending Brooke Lynn and Yvie twirling, flipping, and sliding for two minutes of lip sync perfection.
The pressure is high, and most of it is on Yvie. She’s going up against a former professional ballerina while still recovering from an ankle injury, but she pumps up the personality while matching Brooke Lynn’s musicality, flexibility, and power. This first “wait a minute” is when Yvie distinguishes herself with her interpretation of the lyrics, changing her expression and body language to move away from the polished pretty of Brooke Lynn.
The wig reveal is a pretty common trick at this point, but Yvie makes it dynamic and surprising by putting it in the middle of a front walkover. It looks like an accident until we see her second wig of beaded braids, which she immediately starts shaking around. She needs to get rid of that first wig early because she’s about to spend a lot of time on her head.
We are all Zaddy Tony Hale in this moment.
Have you ever been on a dance floor when the bass drops in the “Sorry Not Sorry” chorus? People go crazy. Brooke Lynn and Yvie know this is a key moment of the song and make it big every time.
Welcome to Cirque de Drag Race. RuPaul’s reaction says it all.
Lip-sync tip: When your competitor is going nonstop, take a moment to breathe and react. Brooke Lynn wows the judges with physical strength and fluid movement, but Yvie reinforces a character and takes in what she’s competing against before choosing her next course of action.
That course of action? Flash your ass and do a headstand!
Brooke Lynn: Checking her nails while doing the splits. Effortless diva cockiness.
Yvie: Upside down, kicking her legs in the air. This is work and she’s doing a damn good job.
It’s just before the last chorus and Brooke Lynn has the entire center catwalk to herself. She heads upstage to make a major move down toward the judges, but in the lip sync’s shadiest editing moment, the camera cuts away to show Yvie instead.
And this is why the camera cuts away. This is the move that caused Yvie’s ankle injury earlier in the season. She nails it this time, and uses that momentum to send her careening through the rest of the lip sync.
Brooke Lynn gets sexy on the floor while Yvie spins into a shablam. It’s a sprint to the finish line at this point and they are giving it their everything.
RuPaul is orgasming. Clea Duvall is in love. Ecstatic energy fills the room. Everyone is going to need a cigarette after this.
A final shot that encapsulates both of their performances. Brooke Lynn Hytes is the supermodel ballerina striking a powerful pose. Yvie Oddly is the clown marionette whose strings are cut when the music stops. They gave the judges performances that showcased their incredible talent and unique perspective, and instead of going home, both queens cemented their places at the top of this season.