Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, the queens were tasked with creating comedy pilots where Shea and Sasha dominated, Alexis blamed her poor performance on writing the script … and Valentina and Nina were terrible. Valentina then decided it was a good idea to lip sync with a mask on to avoid learning the lyrics, which backfired completely with them having to start over and her missing 90% of the lyrics, leading her to sashay away.
The queens returned to the werk room in complete and utter shock that the judges favourite – the beautiful, that looks like Linda Evangelista – Valentina was eliminated. Needless to say, her message was heartbreaking. After cleaning the mirror, Nina wasn’t feeling good about the loss, blaming Valentina’s exit on being in a team with her. She then continued to sulk after killing the lip sync, pissing of Peppermint, Trinity and Sasha – who am I kidding, it pissed off everyone – who were sick of it and just wanted to focus on the competition.
The next day Ru dropped in to announce this year’s makeover challenge, where the queens had to turn members of the crew into glamorous members of their drag family. As the winners of last week’s challenge, Shea and Sasha were tasked with pairing the queens with the crew members … and sadly did a really fair job, giving each queen someone that seemed similar to them. In the words of Black Eyed Peas, where is the shade?
Nina got paired with a visual artist, which seemed like a match made in heaven for her. Sadly though she doesn’t sew and was planning to make their outfits … which could be amazing, or an absolute disaster. Despite picking the crew member with the strongest family resemblance to her, Shea’s soon-to-be drag sister was not on the same page wanting to be Natalie Portman in Shea’s world of Naomi Campbell. In the words of Scooby-Doo, ru-oh!
On the plus side, all the other queens found it hilarious.
My new favourite Trinity was all about taking charge, getting straight down to business with Rizzo saying that they will be wearing a swimsuit and that if Rizzo doesn’t tuck it in, Trinity will be pulling it back for him. Given that Rizzo is a babe, I’m hoping that scene is included in Untucked.
Ru returned to check in with the queens, where Alexis and her crew member were getting along like a house on fire with Brady adopting the sass and really excited to werk, girl. Sasha and the very serious Duncan were also getting along really well, with Duncan excited to make his kids proud. They also bonded about over intellectualising things – dream!
Seriously, Shea and Sasha did a great job pairing up the queens – well, except for poor Shea – as Sarge and Peppermint were also getting on like a house on fire and have the same happy, sassy sensibilities. I mean, I wanted to be shady about one of the pairings but the crew is too delightful. I mean seriously, Sarge for season 10!
On his way out, Ru dropped the bomb that in addition to the runway each pair would be lip syncing to his song Click Clack which you just know Sarge is going to slay and win a lifetime supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills, or something.
As expected Nina was struggling with making the outfits and to even get the machine threaded, needing Shea to show her how to work the machine and hopefully save her ass. Duncan was having a great effect on Sasha, making her feel relaxed and allowing her to get out of her own head.
Realising that the sewing was not going to work out for her, Nina nixxed making the outfits and started to scrounge through her closet for something for crew member (whose name I keep missing). Meanwhile Rizzo opened up to Trinity about why he volunteered to be a part of the challenge, not agreeing with the way that society defines and divides gender.
The queens and crew returned the next day for challenge where Nina’s crew-member gave her a pep talk, telling her to be proud of her achievements and to stop doubting herself. Nina then opened up about depression, connecting with her partner who also had struggles with depression and addiction.
Trinity and Rizzo then got to work on the tuck, which sounded like some fifty shades of tucking were going on behind the screen. I was terrified, confused and most importantly, a little too aroused.
We finally arrived at the mainstage – where Ru’s dress was amazing, completely covered in the her phrases … in Japanese. Trinity and Rizzo, and Sasha and Duncan owned the runway … and the lip sync performances, which were all pretty amazing.
As it should have been, the judges absolutely lived for Trinity and Sasha’s sisterhoods, while Sarge and Peppermint were praised for their hilarity, despite the ugly outfits. Thankfully Sarge is down for next season. At the other end of the spectrum, Nina, Shea and Alexis were read for not knocking it out of the park.
Thanks to Sarge, Peppermint scraped through before Trinity took out her third challenge win. Coming as a surprise to nobody, Sasha was declared safe before Nina was sent to the bottom two with Shea. Given how she has completely dominated the season, Shea was also able to dominate the lip sync … which wasn’t difficult given Nina was completely defeated before it had even begun, taking her inspiration from the lip sync style of Charlie Hides.
While she was disappointed to sashay away, I could tell that Nina was also relieved to be eliminated from the competition and able to get out of her head. Given that I’ve known her for such a long time – being a regular of any and all scenes in Atlanta – I knew that after one of my more aggressive, Tyra-esque pep-talks, I’d get through to her. Plus, my Nina Panini Brown is so delicious that I bribed her into cheering up before letting her eat.
Smokey, fresh and a little bit zingy, this is the perfect sambo to defeat your inner saboteur … or epic hunger. But mainly, the inner saboteur thing.
Nina Panini Brown
500g flank steak
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chilli powder
pinch of nutmeg
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 lime, juiced
1 cup passata
4 turkish rolls
1 avocado, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
enough sliced vintage cheddar for 4 panini
Combine the tamari, cumin, chilli, nutmeg, garlic and lime in a bowl, toss through the steak and marinate for an hour or so.
Heat a skillet over high heat, reducing to low once the pan is scorching. Brush the pan with some oil before adding the steak, and cooking for a couple of minutes each side, flipping once. Remove from the pan to rest for ten minutes, before thinly slicing. Add the marinade and passata to the skillet and bring to a simmer before tossing through the meat. Remove from the heat.
Split your buns – my favourite pastime – smear the insides with your creamy, sliced avocado, top with some sliced onion and baby spinach, a generous helping of the wet meat and a layer of cheese.
Toast in a sandwich/panini press for five minutes before devouring immediately.