Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race instead of delivering a maxi challenge, Ru gave the dolls a reprieve in the form of a lip sync lalaparuza. Which obviously is only a reprieve for the dolls that win their first round. Everyone else, however, had a fight. Despite some of the queens selecting opponents they felt would be the easiest to beat, sweet Anetra focused on battles. Though after watching her lip sync with Sasha in the first round – which should have been a double shantay – who can blame her confidence. Ultimately it came down to three girls where it came down to Anetra to choose one sister to save, sending sweet Spice to safety and fellow lip sync assassin Jax out of the competition.
The next day the dolls were thrilled to have survived the lip sync lalaparuza, with Marcia particularly happy to be safe on the first round. And to not have to see Jax lip sync a sixth time. Anetra meanwhile was thrilled to have faced off against the Simone Biles of drag and come out on top. While Spice wanted to clarify what she said about entering her top era last week, explaining that she actually meant this week while Mistress joked she was thinking about entering her congeniality era.
Before Malaysia could malfunction at that suggestion, Ru dropped by to challenge the dolls to a little mini challenge where they would have to get into quick drag and photobomb some iconic moments from throughout the series to celebrate the 200th episode. Salina slayed Laganja’s entry, Anetra bombed into Willow Pill’s bubble bath, Malaysia joined Vanjie’s exit, Spice hung with Gaga, Luxx grunted through knocking off Ornacia and Vivacious in their opening shoot, Mistress caught Morgan’s ping pong balls, Marcia creeped on Jinkx’s crowning, Sasha creeped on Ru at the Despys and Loosey hung onto Serena in the tank photoshoot mini challenge. Obviously though it was Anetra that took out the win, given it was iconic and hilarious.
Given the episodes are still only an hour we couldn’t dwell on things, so Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge they’d be throwing a 15th anniversary ball. And since that is traditionally marked by crystal, welcome to the Crystal ball! First category the dolls would have to update Ru’s iconic opening racing suit for Start Your Engines. Next up, the dolls would pull inspiration from their favourite balls of yore in the My Favourite Ball runway and close out the show in the Crystalised Eleganza look which they make from scratch. Emphasis on scratch, given it will be fully crystalised. Oh and Loosey is confident, given she makes all her own costumes, so she wants her sisters to know she is the one to beat despite Sasha being right there.
And frequently thinking she should be ranked higher than the judges place her.
After Ru departed, the dolls went nuts grabbing supplies, literally breaking glassware in the process. Mother Sasha was confident in her ability to know fashion and herself, rather than being worried about her lack of sewing skills, while Anetra planned to crystalise Kennedy’s dead chicken. Ru returned with Carson to kiki with the girls, with Spice getting read for giving too much of the same thing and asked to mix it up a little. Mistress meanwhile was sassy as she showed off her big gown moment and while other dolls were going that route too, hers would stand out for being nice. Salina was giving too much and was reminded to edit and sell it on the runway, rather than getting lost in her head. She then opened up about how difficult she has found the emotions of the competition.
Ru and Carson disappeared leading to the girls reading Loosey for being heartbroken over losing the acting challenge. And while Mistress was trying to have a bit of fun, Loosey worried she was trying to get in her head.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls talking about their siblings, with Salina opening about her queer brother before Anetra spoke about not having talked to her mum after she kicked her out for allegedly making everyone in her uncomfortable for being herself. And ugh, her mum is a dumb bitch and I hate her for doing that to Anetra and making her lose her siblings that she so dearly loves. The positive though is that she reconnected with her birth father who has become her biggest supporter and even bought her her first sewing machine. Talk turned to iconic moments of the past, with the dolls throwing out Shangela and Mimi’s fight, anything Alyssa has ever done, Bianca’s Judge Judy, opulence and Ongina coming out as HIV positive. While Spice was grateful Rebecca Glasscock wore jeans on entry, so she and Sugar could trot in rocking mini skirts.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Emmy winner Julia Garner on the panel to judge their 200th episode ball. Well, after Ru debuted her new song Cake and Candy. And while she gave us nothing – obviously – the sexy dancing bakers flooded my basement as they gave everything. Kicking off the Start Your Engines category, Mistress gave a classic racer suit full of all the big girls catchphrases. Spice meanwhile turned it into a mini skirt and avoided strutting, while Luxx made things edgy, Marcia slayed in a pastel mod vibe, Salina was street and sexy, Malaysia was glam and gorgeous in pink while Loosey slayed as Barbie and Princess Peach’s lovechild while Sasha turned it into a glamorous gown, while Anetra was fluro and represented her heritage in all the right easy.
Mistress kicked off the My Favourite Ball runway celebrating the ball ball like a sexy club kid beachball, Marcia gave canvas milkmaid in honour of the bag ball, Malaysia was beautiful in a hair gown for the hair ball while Spice gave little furballs for the ball ball. Salina gave palm tree cash for the money ball, Loosey looked like a hippy made out of doggy bags for the bag ball, Luxx was architectural in a hair ball number while Sasha celebrated weed in the sexiest way for the bag ball while Anetra was sickening and sweet for the Sugar Ball.
Closing out the show Mistress’ gown truly was perfection, not like something she made in under 24 hours. Spice looked like she just extended her usual look, Marcia gave a slutty Marie Antoinette, Malaysia too gave a perfect gown, Salina looked beautiful in her gown – despite it not fitting great – while Loosey mocked herself in a gorgeous runner-up evening wear gown. Luxx gave ice fairy and oh god, how did she make that in 24 hours?! Sasha too was stunning, giving a golden coral goddess while Anetra slayed in a gown complete with beaded exposed spine.
Marcia Cubed, Malaysia and Luxx were sent to safety before the judges praised Salina’s first two looks and how she sold them, though read her final gown for just not having the fit down. Spice was praised for her first look, read for giving furball before Michelle read her for filth for the final outfit, though loved how hard she tried not to trot. Mistress received wall to wall praise for all three of her looks, before Loosey was read for her middle look. Sasha then received all of the praise for thinking outside the box on all of her looks, and for looking stunning while doing it. She opened up about House Colby and how it saved her life and ugh, I love her so damn much. While the judges lived for two out of three of Anetra’s look, particularly her final look which was stunning. Though Michelle cautioned her to try not give so much resting bitch face on the runway.
Backstage the dolls – well Marcia and Luxx, anyway – weren’t loving the fact they were only safe which honestly is kind of fair, given the looks they both pulled together in a day. Malaysia was happy with her collection, though kinda was in her feelings about just wanting to have that star moment, given she is still without a win. Marcia felt she deserved the win while Luxx was enraged that her creative look didn’t get the props it was due, as Malaysia tried to suggest it could have just been that she just didn’t give the judges eleganza. Which was sweet, but obviously meant nothing to Luxx. Just like Art.
The tops and bottoms joined them with the girls not shocked to hear Sasha was beloved for giving vastly different looks. Salina shared how disappointed she was to be in the bottom, despite the judges not really hating anything, just the details. Spice just laughed about how the judges found her funny for not trotting and charming the shit out of them. Oh, but she knew she was in the bottom. Loosey shared she was hit and miss with the judges and then when Malaysia pointed out she had no idea what her middle look was about, Loosey cracked it and the duo started fighting. With Malaysia hilariously just finishing things by telling her the look sucked. Basically. Anetra’s final look was beloved though Michelle hated the colour of her first look, with Spice asking them to consider how green feels about Michelle, since she always comes for it.
Talk turned to Spice potentially going home, with everyone talking about how much she has grown and they love her. And I LOVE it. Oh and then Julia Garner dropped by and spat Anna Delvey lines, so I LIVE for that.
Ultimately Sasha took out her second victory of the season, as Anetra and Mistress joined her in the top before Loosey narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Salina and Spice to battle it out. And as soon as Lil Nas X’s That’s What I Want kicked off, it was clear Salina was surviving, but honestly, I could watch Spice read the phonebook because she is just so silly and joyous and ugh, I love what I love. Though yeah, Salina served a moment, hitting every lyric, finding the perfect balance between comedy and emotion and well, it was only fair she lived to see another day as Spice sadly sashayed away. Via extensive trotting, as Ru and Michelle finally embraced it and cackled along with her.
As she entered the Werk Room, I pulled Spice in for a massive hug and thanked her for being such a glorious ball of joy throughout the season. While the judges never seemed to get her (or Sugar’s) vibe, the fact that her sisters quickly went from hate to love proves that the duo are legit. And absolute delights, so I’m glad that translated to the audience. Given she and Sugar are already uber social media famous – like me, don’t ya know! – it isn’t like she needed much of a pep talk, so instead I toasted her run with a piping hot Pumpkin Spice Bundt.
This spicy number is the perfect addition to any occasion, despite the fact I used a haunted house bundt tin. The earthy pumpkin pairs perfectly with the combination of spices, leaving a moist, cake that melts in your mouth and fills you with glee.
Pumpkin Spice Bundt
2 cups muscovado sugar
115g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups pumpkin purée
½ cup sour cream
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C, and butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the muscovado sugar, butter and olive oil on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add an egg, allowing the batter to come back together before adding the second. Pour in the pumpkin purée and sour cream, and mix until combined.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and pepper in a large bowl. Remove the other bowl from the stand mixer and fold the dry ingredients through until just combined. Pour the batter into the bundt tin, tapping on the bench to remove any bubbles. Pop the tin on a baking sheet if it isn’t stable (the haunted house is far from structurally sound) and transfer to the oven to bake for an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once chill you can either make a little glaze – maple is a particularly good choice – or simply dust with icing sugar before devouring. Either way, you’ll love it.
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