It's Nina. Miss West if you're nasty.
Brittany: You can tell it’s getting tense as the queens progress. Jealousy and self-doubt are reigning, and our Nina is not immune to it. She knew she needed to step it up, and she did. She, along with Ra’Jah, won the mini challenge where they had to smooth talk their way backstage.
Erica: Yeah, I actually enjoyed hearing the queens critique each other, and I must say, I agreed with their thoughts. Like Miss Vanjie said, Mercedes is struggling in all categories, which is disappointing because she entered the show so strong. And Silky is right about Ariel Versace; As lovely as she is, she is proving to be one-note. But none of that matters as long as Nina is on top and, yes, tonight was her night.
Brittany: After Nina and Ra’Jah won, the queens’ maxi challenge was to create evangelical talk shows that preach the gospel of their favorite diva. Team Nina chose Britney Spears, and Team Ra’Jah chose Mariah Carey (which would later come to bite them in the ass). I was SHOOK that neither team chose Cher. The woman is drag queen gold! Team Nina clearly made the right choice with Britney. It didn’t take them long to get their comedic juices flowing.
Erica: Confession: I am a former Britney stan. I own my fair share of VHS tapes of her heyday tours. I was also raised on Mariah and, although I’m not a Lamb (naming fans is stupid), I know all of the diva’s mannerisms, dahling. So I was ready to judge these queens. Luckily, Nina was in her element as a team leader. If you didn’t know, she has over 30 main stage productions under her belt.
Brittany: I’m gonna need to hear more about your former Britney fandom later. Not winning last week’s challenge was the kick in the skirt Nina needed. She stepped it up this week, and you could tell she was excited about the challenge. Can we also take a moment to talk about RuPaul? She’s great every week, obvs, but this week she was the perfect mix of inspiration, tough love and straight up Ru-ness. Can I get an Amen?
Erica: You took the words right out of my mouth. Like she said, there’s a reason why she’s been the number-one queen in the game for 25 years. I felt like she was talking to me when said, “Find your own rhythm.” (Also ordering her book, GuRu, off Amazon now.) Team Britney definitely found its rhythm with Nina West hamming it up and keeping everyone else on pace. And let’s take a moment to bow down to Miss “I just thanked myself” Vanjie for showing the hell out.
Brittany: Nina killed it as the evangelical talk show host. As Vanjie said, “She’s selling it to me.” And speaking of MissVanessa Vanjie Mateo (I had to use her full name because bitch deserves it tonight), she brought me to tears—the laughing kind—with her performance. Nina did amazing, but—don’t hate me for saying this Columbus—I think Vanjie did better, or at least just as good. This would have been the perfect night for a double win, if it hadn’t happened last week. We knew Vanjie and Nina could be great, but we hadn’t seen the full extent of their talent on “Drag Race.” Yes they’re putting on a show, but Nina and Vanjie are as funny and warm out of drag as they are in drag. It was great to see them shine tonight.
Erica: What a tough act for Team Mariah to follow. Their performance was absolutely painful. I didn’t laugh once. So everyone came for Plastique Tiara’s demon-voiced character, but I appreciated her commitment and her gorgeous getup. Sadly, Ra’Jah and Honey Davenport were extremely off key but didn’t have the comedic chops to at least blame it on technical difficulties or lack of tea. AND HOW DO YOU MIX UP THE MOVIE “GLITTER” WITH “SPARKLE”? That should be cause for elimination right there.
Brittany: They clearly all knew it was bad. They knew it as soon as Ru quizzed them on their Mariah knowledge and all of them failed harder than “Glitter” did at the box office. They would come to regret not changing their diva when they had the chance.
Erica: So back in the workroom we learned three things: Sparks are flying between Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vanjie (Branjie, anyone?); Silky is still vying for optimum screen time (her words of inspiration fell flat to me); and Yvie Oddly will commit to a look at all costs.
Brittany: I am ashamed to admit I spent every commercial break scrolling through social media looking for Branjie news but alas, found none. Yvie is definitely growing on me. She’s so forthright and unique with her drag and her personality. When she was painting herself pink I thought, wait why does she need to be pink for Britney Spears? And then I remembered the runway challenge. And what a challenge it was: fringe, everywhere!
Erica: It was glorious. Yvie was absolutely breathtaking in her “jelly-fringe couture,” as she put it. She out-dragged them all. I almost had a cultural appropriation-induced heart attack when I saw Shuga’s Native American costume until I learned she was actually expressing her real-life heritage. And Nina stepped it up with her outfit. Where did she get that hat?
Brittany: When Shuga came out, I worried it was going to be a Victoria’s Secret runway moment, but was glad to learn it was actually a homage to her history. I loved her outfit and the beautiful turquoise jewelry she wore. Other standouts for me were A’keria, Ariel and Yvie. As to that hat: Who knows. I’m convinced these queens have Mary Poppins-esque handbags that hold their entire wardrobe.
Erica: I should also give a shout out to A’Keria C. Davenport’s creativity with her goddess-like outfit. “Cleopatra, who?”
OK, now I need to take a moment and go in on Mercedes. Her runway look did not pop to me. She used the same colors that Brooke Lynn did during that first week, and all it did was remind me of Brooke Lynn’s superior style. Furthermore, Mercedes disappeared this episode, once again. Her performance fell flat in the gospel show challenge, and she employed that cringeworthy spear line. However, I do think there is a bit of a cultural barrier between her and the rest of the queens. I totally understood her hesitation to talk about her religion, but she does not seem to be making an effort to bond with the rest of the cast. She was incredibly lucky to be on Nina’s team this week and thus safe from elimination. Otherwise she would have been gone, for sure. Please step it up next week, girl.
Brittany: Fortunately, Mercedes was the only flat note on Nina’s team. The rest of the queens shone, and our girl Nina took home first place!!!! As for that other team... Ooh girl. I know I said I need to stop saying “girl” so much, but tonight’s judging was painful to watch. Mama Ru was not happy and summed up Team Ra’Jah’s performance as “stink, stank stunk.” She was so not happy, she made them all lip sync for their lives, a “Drag Race” first. I let out a gasp, as I’m sure everyone else watching did.
Erica: Yes! I was at a watch party and we were all beside ourselves. With that said, that performance was a mess! I don’t know what Honey Davenport was doing on the floor and, judging by her facial expressions, Ru didn’t either! Plastique Tiara’s Ariana Grande ponytail saved her. Also, in some drag queen circles, throwing wigs is considered passé. Ladies, what else can you do?
Brittany: There was a lot going on, and I didn’t know where to look. When it was all said and done, Honey was sent home. True, her lip sync got a little loopy, but Ra’Jah was the team leader and she did just as badly as Honey in the skit. She should have gone home.
Erica: I agree 100 percent. I really liked Honey’s personality and Ra’Jah hasn’t pulled me in since day one. I must say I nearly shed a tear watching Honey sashay away, but I admire her positive attitude.
Brittany: Be glad you didn’t watch “Untucked” then. She literally collapsed on the floor backstage crying. It was rough. (Also if you’re not watching “Untucked” you should be. There’s always tea being spilt, and this week Nina did a spot on Vanjie impression.) Still, it was a great episode and so great to see our girl Nina win.