Hello, my little chicken cutlets! Welcome back to my RuPaul’s Drag Race recap where I try to Nancy Drew what happened to Mama Ru’s face this episode. It’s strange to think that season 8 is already coming to an end; it feels like just yesterday we were being introduced to Cynthia’s cucu! And now here we are- one step away from the final crowning!
Our episode begins with our queens reconvening in the workroom following the departure of Derrick Hemmy. The workroom environment is surprisingly calm given how far along we are in the competition; season 8 really has been RuPaul’s Best Friend Race. Realistically, any of the remaining queens are deserving of the top 4, and while Bob is still the clear front-runner all the queens are pretty fierce. Kim has won over the judges and audience with her gag-worthy looks and big heart, Naomi has brought beauty and creativity to the runway, and Chi Chi’s hilarious sense of humor and dance abilities have made her the dark horse of the competition. They’re all deserving of the top 3.
Following the pow wow, RuPaul enters he room to introduce the obligatory final four music video challenge for his song,”The Realness.” The queens are then whisked away and forced to do a hellish core workout by laying on an elevated block and acting as if they are falling through the air. Needless to say, things do not go well for our giraffe-legged queens. Chi Chi’s meaty thighs are the only ones capable of the choreography, and Kim Chi topples over like a bag of potatoes. Thankfully, the second segment of the video is an avant-garde lip sync, which Kim excels at. Kim and Naomi look fierce, Bob makes up for her lackluster look with comedy, and Chi Chi gets tangled up in some ugly ass netting.
Next up is the “best drag” runway. Out of all the queens, Kim Chi is the only one to serve a truly memorable look- even if it isn’t the best we’ve seen of her. To be honest though, it’s not like she has much competition- Naomi looks like Malibu Cher, Chi Chi wears a conventional pageant gown, and Bob comes out in a tuxedo. This isn’t to say they don’t all look beautiful! It’s just that this season has been about performance- not fashion. After the runway, RuPaul then asks our queens what advice they would give to their younger selves. Most of the queens speak of self-love, but Kim is reduced to tears as she struggles to articulate her feelings of shame and inadequacy that stem from her upbringing. It’s a heartfelt moment, and thankfully it doesn’t come off as incredibly invasive and disgusting as Pearl’s did in season 7. There is something missing from the overall affair though: RuPaul’s tic tac luncheon! They must have spent all their money this year on the teaser trailer. No snack budget for these hoes!
The last element of the challenge is the four-way lip sync, which is always pretty disjointed and relatively useless in terms of judging who deserves to advance. All the queens perform well- even Kim has overcome her Sasquatch strut. In the end it’s Chi Chi who sashays away. The moment is bittersweet, but not unexpected. Chi Chi got plenty of screen-time this season and was able to win over a fan base of people who never knew she existed; unfortunately her track record was as just not as good as her fellow competitors. She didn’t have Bob’s humor, Kim’s aesthetic, or Naomi’s polish, so it made sense for her to go. Odds are she’ll now be crowned Miss Congeniality, and if there’s an All Stars 3 we’ll definitely be seeing her on it. That is what’s great about Drag Race– you don’t need to win the competition to be successful.
Statistically speaking, Bob is still the winner of this season. She’s destroyed the competition, shown her vulnerability, and proven that her star power is unmatchable. The question is whether or not she’s too similar to Bianca Del Rio to be crowned. Yes, she’s hilarious and well-rounded, but would a queen like Kim Chi be a better fit for RuPaul’s overall brand?
Speaking of Kim, she’s clearly in second place. Her track record is great and she’s never lip-synced. While she may not have the performance chops of Bob, she has an unparalleled level of heart and creativity. Out of the remaining queens she’d be the most diverse addition to the pantheon of winners. But is she enough of a performer to snatch the crown?
Let’s be real, Naomi isn’t winning this season. She just lacks the originality or stage presence of the other two. With that being said, she is FIERCE, and totally deserving of being in the top 3.
Chi Chi was the dark horse of the season. She may not have been the most fashionable or creative, but she was a mesmerizing performer and hilarious jokester. She didn’t win season 8, but she certainly won over the fandom.