Wow, this is the last challenge episode before next week’s finale! It’s sinking in for Jinkx Monsoon that she’s won her fifth challenge and fourth Legendary Legend star. Trinity the Tuck is thrilled that she won the roast and feels like she can do anything. Shea Couleé sees no path to the finale and is feeling down. Trinity reminds her that it’s not like she’s been Gutter Shea. “You promised you wouldn’t mention her!” cries Shea.
Ru announces that this week’s maxi challenge is to star in the “Drag Race Gives Back Variety Extravaganza.” The lip sync winner will get a $30k donation to the charity of their choice (plus a cash tip of $10k). The queens will also join Ru and Michelle for the traditional Tic Tac Chit Chat. They’re orange. (The Tic Tac’s, not the queens!)
The big twist is that the winners of the challenge will each receive THREE Legendary Legend stars! This throws everything that has come before, including my precision abacus and Lotus 1-2-3 work, into disarray. Each queen now has a chance to make it to the top 4 and compete in the finale. Everyone is shook, but mostly me. I’m the Queen of Shooketh!
First up for a Tic Tac Chit Chat is Trinity, who describes her journey from a small Alabama town to traveling to 30 countries. Next is Vivienne, who notes that competing in the US is tougher than in the UK. Monét X Change is wearing her own merch and says that she’ll be singing opera in the show. Yvie Oddly sadly tells us that because of her progressive health condition, she is actively losing skills and can’t even stand in heels. Shea is going to sing a song from her new album. When Ru asks when it will be released, Shea responds, “When it’s finished.”
Continuing the chit chats, Raja says she still has her orange Tic Tac from season 3 as a souvenir, but it’s brown now. Jinkx and Ru share their sobriety milestones, two years for Jinkx and 22 for Ru. Kudos to both! Finally, Jaida Essence Hall is feeling newly confident, having overcome deep feelings of shame. We love you Jaida!
It’s runway day, even though there will not be a fashion runway. The queens try to work through the math of the stars and wonder what will happen if there’s a tie, which is likely to happen given the current distribution of stars. And with that, it’s time for the Variety Extravaganza.
Trinity sings a song about southern hospitality in a double denim fantasy look. The lyric I picked up was “‘bless your heart’ means you’re stupid.” So true! She finishes with a wet t-shirt moment when she is doused in sweet tea! Yvie appears to enter draped in pink while toting a green crate. Turns out it’s Yvie in the crate, also in pink, with a hunk doing the pulling (as hunks will). Yvie throws some signature jumps into her song and dance routine, possibly some of the last she’ll be able to do.
Jaida evokes 90s rap with her song “Look Over There!” Her backup dancers all have a pic of Jeff Goldblum on the back of their jackets, who was part of bringing this meme to life. Jinkx slays in a 1940s blue silky gown (with touches of Jane Jetson) while belting out a torch style eleven o’clock number. She finishes, as Carson Kressley notes, with both vibrato and fellatio as she puts mouth to mic. Shea also brings back the 90s in her Janet Jackson style song and choreo. She looks fierce and sounds great. The judges love it.
Raja performs a traditional Balinese temple dance, living out a lifelong dream. It’s a tribute to her dad. Viv sings and dances to “Bitch on Heels,” written by famed songwriter Diane Warren. And finally, Monét. The minute she opened her mouth to sing, I was shook. She sings an operatic aria in a classically trained and gorgeous bass voice. I’m an opera queen and I was blown away. It’s the first time she’s ever sung opera in drag and I’m sure it won’t be the last. And she looks gorgeous to boot. Winner winner chicken dinner!
The top two winners of the challenge are Monét and Shea, each of whom advances to the final four. Jinkx will also advance because of her star count. Sure enough, there’s a tie for the fourth spot between Jaida and Trinity. Ru announces that since she has the most stars, Monét will select between them. This is very bad news for Jaida since Monét and Trinity had formed an alliance, and predictably Trinity takes the fourth spot.
Monét and Shea lip sync to “Supernova” by Kylie Minogue. Both turn it out but Shea gets a well-deserved win. Her epic journey from the back of the pack to the front is complete. Her charity donation will go to the Period Poverty Project.
The four queens who did not make it to the final get another twist: they will compete in their own LaLaPaRuZa smackdown next week where the winner will be declared Queen of She Done Already Done Had Herses and receive $50k. And of course, the winner of the top four smackdown will be named Queen of All Queens and receive $200k. That’s some serious coin!
So whose team are you on: #Shea, #Monét, #Jinkx or #Trinity? I’m feeling a tender spot for #Yvie in the consolation smackdown against #Jaida, #Raja and #Viv. She is a true original and a game-changer for drag. I predict Monét and Jinkx in the final top two lip sync. I won’t be shook if either takes the crown. (Oh who am I kidding?) Til then, keep calm and carry on!
Photo credits: Paramount+