Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls learnt the Maxi Challenge – or should we say, Maxine Challenge – would see them star in the sequel to Daytona Wind. And while the first one was super fun, it was mostly due to the fact the dolls were gagged by the surprise gas. Despite having the power to assign the roles, Aura opted to give up the campy, lead role and take on a quieter part which she quickly proceeded to bomb. Though Luxx noted, she probably would have bombed any and all roles she had. Jax meanwhile was forgettable and missed all the Drag Race references as Mistress – who inherited the lead role – slayed the game and took out victory. Only narrowly though, over her nemesis Malaysia, as the duo played off each other perfectly. Ultimately Jax and Aura landed in the bottom and like Angela Bassett, Jax did the thing and took out the lip sync, as Aura joined the win to elim club.
Before cursing them to be haunted by the ghost of her father on her way out the door. Backstage Jax was obviously a little nervous about said curse, given she was ultimately the one that sent Aura out the door, though was glad to prove she is going to be very difficult for the girls to send home. After a brief moment celebrating Mistress’ win, Loosey turned the attention back to herself as she complained about only being safe. When it is what she deserved. But whatever. I prefer Spice’s delusion that she is entering her top era.
The next day Spice was still busy trotting around despite Ru and Michelle’s hate, while Loosey asked the girls without a win how angry they were. Which obviously led to all the girls eviscerating her for going full Milk and raging over being safe. Before she could spiral any further, Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they’d all be lip syncing, in a battle royale LalaPaRuZa in full assassin drag. And by the end of the night, one of the dolls will be going home. They immediately split up to beat their mugs, with Mistress super confident knowing Spice, Loosey and Marcia are the easy marks, though admitted to fearing facing off against Sasha or Anetra. As she should, TBH.
We quickly pivoted to the Mainstage where Ru, Michelle and Ross took their places on the panel as the girls lined up to hear the rules. Which were super simple, given they just need to survive one of the eight lip syncs that were about to unfold. And Ru, Michelle and Ross’ coffee enema energy, which is always a highlight to me. Bruno entered the mainstage to toss his balls before selecting Malaysia as the first one to lip sync, meaning she was able to pick her opponent. Ultimately opting for Marcia. Which meant Marcia had the power to pick the song, going with Anitta’s Boys Don’t Cry. And while Malaysia was expecting to steamroll, Marcia had tricks up her sleeves, flipping around the stage and giving sass as she hit every lyric. And rightly took out the first victory, sending her back to safety while Malaysia would have to lip sync again in the next round.
Next up Bruno grabbed Loosey’s ball with her also picking the easy mark in Spice, with Spice selecting Joan Jett’s Do You Wanna Touch. Sweet Spice tried her darndest, bringing all the energy to the performance however Loosey’s choice proved wise as she took out victory and joined Marcia Cubed backstage. But yeah, make no mistake, the lip sync was boring. Bruno wheeled out his balls yet again, this time pulling out Luxx who opted to face Salina. Who in turn chose It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by my sweet Celine. Aka a song she does on the reg back home. And girl, it showed as while Luxx gave all the drama and emotion, it was definitely Salina’s show as she rightly entered the top nine and sent Luxx through to the next round.
Bruno’s balls decreed Mistress was next who chose Jax, feeling she was more likely to pick the song she wanted, Tell It To My Heart by the iconic Taylor Dayne. And despite Jax proving herself to be a bit of an assassin so far, it was Mistress who stole the show, serving reveals, comedy and drama and ugh, she was perfect. And lucky that the judges have already seen Jax’s tricks and flips twice already. As such, Mistress was deemed safe and Jax was forced to lip sync again. Which gagged the safe girls, before Mistress mocked Loosey for doing a shit job and just getting lucky with her opponent. Most importantly, the final round was an absolute battle royale as Anetra and Sasha faced off with the former picking I’m In Love With A Monster by Fifth Harmony. And holy shit, did mother Sasha and Anetra feed us. Every letter was hit, the dolls were on the beat, every flip and trick was perfection and gaggy and well, TBH, I feel like both of them should have been deemed safe. But sadly only Sasha was sent to safety, while Anetra was forced to lip sync again.
Bruno’s balls lined up Malaysia to kick things off again, this time going with the safest bet on stage in the form of Spice. And while Spice wisely chose Don’t Go Yet by Camila Cabello because Malaysia wouldn’t know the lyrics, neither did she. And well it was an adorable mess as they both tried to serve something, before Spice ultimately resorted to the conga. Which obviously led to Malaysia joining the safe girls. Where she promptly pretended she didn’t pick Marcia because she thought she could beat her. But more importantly, the last lip sync would be a throuple as the remaining dolls faced off to Vanessa Williams’ The Right Stuff. With Luxx proving that rage can take you far, as all three of the girls hit every lyric and absolutely dominated, but Luxx just clearly had more fire to stay which pushed her over the edge and sent her to safety.
Meaning Spice, Anetra and Jax took the stage assuming they would battle as a trio before Ru gagged them with a twist, courtesy of Bruno’s balls. You see, he would pull a queen’s name out of his sack and then that queen would get to choose which one of her sisters would be safe. And because Anetra doesn’t enjoy murdering puppies, she gagged the dolls by sending Spice to safety and opted to battle Jax in the final round. And while Jax vowed to make Anetra regret her choice, as soon as Finally by Cece Peniston started playing, it was clear Anetra is really one to be feared. She gave camp charms, sexy moves, hairography and all the attitude as she ran every phrase flipped over the stage before walking the duck all the way to safety, ultimately sending Jax home.
As I pulled Jax in for a hug backstage, I reminded her that a Lalaparuza also cost a lip sync assassin their spot last year – RIP Jasmine – meaning that she kinda, sorta did all she could to navigate the producer’s newest favourite storyline. I reminded her that despite being in the bottom twice in the season, she truly got the chance to shine. I mean, who will be able to forget her skipping with her hair? Not. Me. Plus to misquote Batman like Simon, it is always better to die a robbed goddess than live long enough to become a person production rigged the season for. Which was enough to cheer her up before she even saw the banquet of Jaxfruit Tacos.
I would argue that Mexican is the best cuisine, be it Tex Mex to the more traditional variety. And these jackfruit numbers are even better, since you can pretend they’re a healthy option. Spicy and smoky, the pulled pork-ness of the jackfruit melts in your mouth and makes you want more.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g canned jackfruit in brine, drained
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
400g canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 cup rice
1 ½ cup chicken stock
12 taco shells
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the jackfruit, breaking up with a wooden spoon to roughly shred it. Cook for a further couple of minutes before stirring in the cumin, oregano, half the chilli, coriander, one teaspoon of the paprika, the cinnamon, canned tomato and paste. Stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes, or until fragrant and reduced.
While that is simmering, combine the avocado, tomato and lime zest and juice in a bowl. Set aside. Next, pop the rice in a medium saucepan with the stock and remaining chilli and paprika. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and cook covered until all the liquid has absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave the lid on to allow it to steam a little. Finally, cook the taco shells in the oven for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp.
To serve, fill the tacos with rice, the jackfruit and avocado salsa – adding cheese and sour cream, if they are your jam – before devouring.
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