So far, so good, so hood
Brittany: It’s the first episode sans Nina, and the queens seem as saddened and surprised by her departure as the entire city of Columbus. From their private interviews, it’s clear some of them expected Silky to go home. It’s always subdued in the workroom after an elimination, but it seems more so than usual without Nina and her brand of Midwest positivity.
Erica: I know you guys are probably tired of hearing me go in on Silky, but I’m just so frustrated. Tonight we learned that, not only did she continue to have pad problems while lip syncing against Nina, but her shoes were in a state of disrepair. They reminded me of the shoes worn by the wicked witch in “The Wiz.” A friend also sent me a video of one of Silky’s performances outside of the show, and it was a mess. I really don’t understand how she made it on the show. Yes, she has some positive attributes—and we’ll get into them during this recap—but I’m just over it. I’ll step off my soapbox now.
Brittany: With only five queens left, the mini challenge was thrown out the door this week. Michelle Visage got straight to business assigning the maxi challenge: write a rap about themselves to be featured in Ru’s song, “Queens Everywhere,” learn choreography and then perform in a music video. And they had to set time aside to record an episode of Ru and Michelle’s podcast “What’s the Tee?” Whew.
Erica: I loved this challenge. We were able to see the queens’ creativity as they penned their raps, and we also got a peek at their vulnerable sides during the podcast. Overseeing rehearsals was YouTube star and “American Idol” contestant Todrick Hall. I’m a little too old to be familiar with Hall, but from what I saw tonight, he seems like a really fun, talented personality. While A’Keria gave us her standard, informative narration, Vanjie was the comic relief. I wrote down so many one-liners. For example, when Hall told her that her rhyme scheme was off, she quipped, “If Nicki Minaj can get away with it, why can’t I?”
Brittany: I was impressed by all of the queens’ raps. Random bit of pop culture: There’s an episode of “The Real World: New Orleans” where Julie—the white, Mormon chick—is challenged to spit a rap and does so successfully. Since then, I’ve wondered: Could I do that? (Answer: No.) Seeing the queens capture themselves so well, while exuding confidence and having fun, was one of my favorite parts of the season.
Erica: I enjoyed everyone’s raps except—shocker—Silky’s. I even liked Brooke Lynn’s line about being “on point(e), literally.” I think I could write a great rap myself. Fun fact: I once wrote all original verses about food to Puff Daddy and Mase’s “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” when I was a kid, and I still remember them. “Can’t nobody take my fries” … anyway, I digress. During the podcast recordings, we learned A’Keria is raising her brother’s young child, and Brooke Lynn has never had a boyfriend, but is open to seeing where her relationship with Vanjie goes after the show. It was a really refreshing look at the queens, although I didn’t buy Silky’s talk of forgiveness while playing the role of the victim.
Brittany: I am going to need to hear more about this ode to French fries later. Also, I’m starting to worry that you have a Silky voodoo doll in your desk drawer… During their dance rehearsals Silky and Vanjie both did well, in large part due to their charismatic personalities. A’Keria struggled and got in her head a little, but she knew this would be a tough one for her. Brooke Lynn looked great, technically, but as Todrick put it, she needed to throw some stank on her dancing. After their dance lessons, Todrick showed them the set for the music video.
Erica: Watching that music video was one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting moments of the entire season! I was so happy that A’Keria got out of her head and delivered a solid performance, though I wanted to see a bit more umph. Although the judges disagreed, I actually thought Brooke Lynn did a fantastic job! But maybe I’m biased because dancers have a special place in my heart. I thought Vanjie had the best choreography and lyrics, but she looked disconnected the entire time. OK, even though Silky was still kinda messy (those pads again, my god), her entrance out of that bathroom stall was hilarious, and she had lots of energy. However, the best performer of the night was clearly Yvie Oddly.
Brittany: I agree; I thought Brooke Lynn did better than the judges gave her credit for. I was looking forward to seeing Miss Vanjie bring it because she was so confident in rehearsals, but her performance was missing something, and her lip syncing was noticeably off. The group dance number at the end went well for all the queens.
Erica: So did the “Best Drag” runway challenge—for the most part. I was a bit disappointed by Brooke’s ballerina outfit. I get what she was trying to do, but I wish she would have taken a more high-fashion approach while still incorporating a tribute to her background: Perhaps she could have stayed “on pointe” and kept the shoes beneath a really amazing gown. Instead, she got shown up by Yvie Oddly, who of all people looked extremely regal, while keeping her signature brand of oddity in small details, like that third eye!
Brittany: I loved Miss Vanjie’s emerald green Vivien Leigh-inspired evening gown. It was a soft, pretty look that balanced out Vanjie’s rough-around-the-edges spunk. After two weeks of critiques about her sloppy dressing, Silky finally seemed to get the message and turned out a body-hugging gown, complete with a built-in corset. The judges’ critiques this week were overwhelmingly positive, save for a few about Brooke Lynn’s “Nutcracker” getup. That, paired with what the judges saw as a timid performance, landed her in the bottom. Joining her, sadly, was Vanjie. Great runway aside, her lackluster video performance was too much to ignore. But before Ru got to the bottom two, one by one she held up a photo of each of the queens as a child and asked them to speak to their younger selves. She also used their real names. (Reginald! Brock!) It was definitely an emotional moment for everyone onstage.
Erica: It was another highlight of the entire season, and it reminded me of the importance of accepting your kids as they are. Children are so vulnerable, and need support and unconditional love from their parents. Some people have expressed that Ru put Vanjie and Brooke in the bottom for dramatic effect, given their relationship. Whatever the reason, I was unhappy, and at one point I thought Vanjie might stay over Brooke! I felt the ballerina was limited by her outfit, while her opponent brought that fiery spirit we saw during the Mary J. Blige lip sync a couple weeks ago. Ultimately, Vanjie was sent home after a scene-stealing exit. I was angry but I had to realize that Vanjie has been given a lot of chances to rise to the occasion in challenges, and hasn’t performed consistently. So I accept Ru’s decision, though I still don’t care for Silky.
Brittany: And now, she has stepped off her Silky soapbox. We know you’re not rooting for Silky obvs, but whose team are you on?
Brittany: Me too. And speaking of, you can catch Erica and I at Axis this Saturday for the club’s 20th anniversary celebration, featuring Brooke Lynn. (And hopefully a Nina cameo? Yes please?) We’re writers so you will likely find us at the bar only talking to each other.