RuPaul’s Drag Race
A double elimination on season 14? It feels like Christmas morning in gay bars all across America (and not just because of the fine white powders covering the bathroom sinks!). Finally, we’re cooking with gas. Two at a time! Get these bitches out of here!!
In the blink of an eye, we’ve exited the drawn-out doldrums of the last few episodes and catapulted straight into the denouement of season 14. We have our top five, and we’re one elimination away from our final four. Bridging the gap is a solidly funny roast challenge that reaffirmed our faith in this season’s early front-runners and a definitive ruling on some of their would-be challengers. (I’ll leave heavy-handed references to the Oscars roast to other recappers.) If you’re anything like me, this episode and its subsequent teaser left you hungry for speculation on which of these queens will make it to the finale. Well, the race may not be over yet, but the final sprint is around the corner. So without further ado, my final five rankings:
1. Willow Pill
Setting aside the hiccup that was Snatch Game, Willow has barely faltered in this competition. She’s slayed each acting challenge, last week’s Rusical, she can choreograph, and this week she adds a stellar roast set to that list of accolades. Willow’s roast extends far beyond her set, however. Throughout the episode, she’s the go-to confessional talking head for explaining why other queens’ roasts are such a booger. On Daya Betty’s laboriously long setups, she remarks: “Oh, so not only was it not funny, you also wasted my time.” But the thing about shit-talking is that you’ve gotta earn it, and Willow has. “The judges are always saying Jorgeous was born for drag. She’s also gonna die for it, because RuPaul’s gonna sacrifice her for seven more years of life. All that will be left is the world’s tiniest sequin bra.” Perfection! It’s a bold move to not only make fun of Jorgeous, but also make fun of Ru’s fawning over Jorgeous, yet Willow pulls it off seamlessly. Her roast set doesn’t quite keep the momentum of Bosco’s and loses a little steam toward the end, but it’s undoubtedly another incredible evening for Willow Pill.
So, where does this leave Willow? For all the talk of Jorgeous being Ru’s favorite, it’s clear he has quite the soft spot for Willow as well. From day one, Ru seemed to “get” Willow, and that affection has only grown as Willow has shown us more dimensions of her talent week after week. That said, her track record (while almost spotless) is decidedly less littered with wins than Bosco’s or Lady Camden’s. But in recent seasons, winners seem to be more based on vibes than on track record arithmetic. One need only look so far as Yvie Oddly, Willow’s drag sister, who snatched the crown with just one win. And if there’s one thing Willow’s got in spades, it’s impeccable vibes. A fan favorite slash weirdo who minds her business on the show and off? Sign me up! Willow is well-positioned to take the crown, and if I were a betting man, my dollars would be on her.
Bosco is back, baby! It’s been a rough month for Bosconsters such as myself. A disappointing Snatch Game, a disservice to the legacy of Nicole Kidman in Moulin Ru, bras and panties in every color … we’ve been in the trenches. But in a true return to form this week, Bosco does what she does best: write jokes. True Drag Race fans might recall the DragCon challenge (which, by my calculations, aired approximately 60 years ago) where Bosco won for her ability to tell some jokes and lightly roast her teammates. So it should come as no surprise when she opens up the roast and kills it. I’ve said before that Bosco is one of the smartest game players Drag Race has ever seen, and her roast only serves as further proof. This week, she takes a page out of the Sasha Velour textbook and structures her set around a couple of different setup/punchline dunks. My absolute favorite joke of the night has got to be “RuPaul, you’re so old when you say you’re vers, you mean you were both hunter and gatherer.” Rotted, ageist, and clever as hell. A perfect roast!
Bosco claims the win tonight, giving her the most chaotic track record of the frontrunners left in the competition: three wins and three bottom placements (or five if you ask Jorgeous). This makes it as easy to make a case for Bosco as it does to make the case against her. Her spot in the top four seems like a given, but can she take it all the way? Hard to say, but this is sure as hell a great time to have your momentum pick back up again.
3. Lady Camden
If Willow has the most consistent record, and Bosco has the most chaotic, I think the medal for most impressive track record goes to Lady Camden. She’s claimed two wins total and received rave reviews for the rest of her run. She might’ve even been a contender for the win this week if it weren’t for her truly befuddling, drawn-out joke of shouting into Ross’s asshole. On the runway, she’s peak Camden in a beautifully appointed ballerina costume, with matching face stoning. But despite her impeccable run this season and delightfully congenial personality, something tells me Lady Camden won’t walk away with the crown this year. There’s no doubt that the judges love her: they’re lavishing her with great critiques week after week. But RuPaul just doesn’t seem as enamored with Lady Camden to the degree he’s connecting with Willow, Bosco, or even Angeria. It’s a nebulous criteria, to be sure, but a crucial one. Camden is a surefire lock for the top four, but she might need to pull out a few more tricks to claim the win.
4. Angeria Paris VanMichaels
Rounding out my guess for the final four queens is America’s Sweetheart, Angeria Paris VanMichaels. This season, I’ve fallen in love with Angeria’s infectious dialect and sweet disposition, as have the judges and her fellow queens. Almost every queen in the competition has at one point or another claimed Angeria as “their best friend,” including Willow, Jasmine, Deja, Jorgeous, and probably many others. It’s giving Miss Congeniality. And the judges seem to feel the same way. One need look no further than her critiques for this week: “I laughed at all Angeria’s jokes,” Ru giggles. “Even though they weren’t that funny!” And laugh they did! It seems harsh, but there’s some merit to it. Angeria’s set isn’t irredeemable, but if any other queen in the cast delivered the exact same jokes without the added dopamine boost provided by Angeria’s southern drawl, I could see them nosediving pretty quickly. On the runway, this might be my favorite Angeria runway yet. She steps out in a beautiful pageant gown layered with tulle in all the right places. It’s both totally on theme and completely original.
So why isn’t Angeria higher in my top five power rankings? Well, despite her two wins and universal adoration from judges and competitors alike, Angeria seems to be on a downward trajectory and this week feels like a turning point. While Angeria shone early on the in competition, establishing herself as a frontrunner with a couple of early challenge wins, it’s been a tough midgame for her. She struggled in Snatch Game, almost fell into the bottom for the Rusical, and this week only her charms kept her from the bottom three. There’s precious little time left for Angeria to distinguish herself and strengthen her case for the crown, and I fear it may be a little too late.
5. Daya Betty
While Daya does escape elimination with a solid lip-sync to Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U,” this week feels like the last gasp of her top four chances. She has the worst track record of the remaining five queens, and most of her narrative this season has been shaped around struggling to free herself from the shackles of the Crystal Methyd mold. Whether you think that comparison has merit or not, it’s been top of mind for the judges since episode one. Daya struggles hard in the roast this week. Nothing she says has any bite, and the setups are drawn-out and pointless. With her muse (Jasmine Kennedie) gone, Daya is simply out of rude things to say. Could Daya sneak into the top four in place of, say, Angeria or Lady Camden? I suppose it’s possible. But even if that were to occur, claiming the win seems almost impossible. But fret not, Daya! I’m sure that’s somehow Jasmine’s fault.
N/A — Jorgeous
The queen who was born for drag has officially lipped her last sync. For one brief moment, I was truly convinced that Jorgeous would be the first queen to win six competitive lip-syncs in a single season, but when the chyron read “Good 4 U” at the bottom of the screen, I knew it was over. Jorgeous can out-perform Daya Betty in many genres, but Gen Z pop-punk is not one of them. But what a performance to go out on. I can’t take my eyes off my screen as Jorgeous delivers some of the worst jokes I’ve ever heard in my life to what would be total silence if not for RuPaul’s uproarious laughter. We knew Ru was a simp for all things Jorgeous, but I don’t think I understood the extent of his obsession until this moment. To watch RuPaul not just enjoy Jorgeous, but be the only one who enjoys Jorgeous in the moment is mesmerizing. How many takes do we think the producers had to delete of Ru saying “Jorgeous, shantay you stay” at the end of this episode before finally saying Daya Betty? My guess is between four and ten. Jorgeous is sad to go home but not nearly as sad as RuPaul. Pour one out for him tonight, girls. She’s in mourning.
N/A — Deja Skye
You had a good go at it. Thanks for your input.
Until next week!