Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race 13 new queens and Eureka arrived to battle it out in the Drag Thunderdome known as Drag Race. (Side note: where is my damn Mad Max musical parody with a flaming guitar that will break a girl’s knee?) There were fights, zaddies, butterfly genocide and arguably the worst scripted challenge of all time – until All Stars 4, obvi – but the stand out moment happened way back in the first episode when Vanessa Vanjie Mateo backed off the mainstage in last place repeating the now iconic line, Vanjie. Miss … Vanjie.
And she appears to have been going ever since, as she’s back, back, backed right into the Werk Room for a second shot at the crown – glowed up and thrilled to be the first one to enter this year’s fray. Though given she is first, she opted it was best to hide behind a conveniently place screen and spy on her new sisters as they enter. Speaking off which, the iconic Nina West arrived and I already love her – campy and comedic, she is energetic and fun. She was joined by Shuga Cain who I was about to say was the oldest 24 year old I’ve seen, until we learnt she is in fact 40. And damn is she b-b-bangin’. They were joined by Alyssa’s baby girl Plastique Tiara who is fishy as hell and seems to be super sweet to boot, so I want to take her home and make sure she is well fed, making good choices and is going to bed at a respectable hour. (That’s it for parenting, right?) Speaking of good choices Mercedes Iman Diamond arrived and did a Middle Eastern – I think, thanks to my knowledge of Jennifer from RHONJ – call and damn, I live.
The queens were joined by Scarlet Envy and well. I feel she is better than her entrance look. Hopefully.
Honey Davenport was next to arrive looking stun, much to Shuga Cain’s delight, before everyone started speculating about the potential of a returning queen joining them like Eureka, Cynthia and Shangie is seasons of yore. On the count of three they said the magical words, and the icon herself manifested from her privacy screen and cussed them out for taking her tagline. Honey was thrilled to see what Vanjie has to offer this season given she never had the chance last year. But before we could hear anymore she and the queens were joined by fellow Davenport, A’keria who did her family proud serving full glam-mour. Winning the entrance looks thus far, Yvie Oddly arrived attached to a feather boa slithering on the back of a remote control car. It was weird, wacky and I LIVE. Wait, no, Silky Nutmeg Ganache is my favourite – serving creamy, dreamy and packing cookies in her titties. Shut it down, I’ve got my winner. Well done ladies, go home, forget you, it’s done.
Wait, no, Brooke Lynn Hytes is my winner pick – and proving why Canadians are the best – arriving in full mountie attire. And then I saw her out of drag and I want to immediately mount this mountie and become the great white north, south, east and or west. His missing ballerina toenail or not. Thankfully I was able to dry out my basement before Ariel Versace arrived serving quinceañera bride realness. She was followed by Ra’Jah who I assume will make it to the finale, given she is a Davenport-O’Hara. Though hang on, maybe the Davenport will prevent her from getting there despite the O’Hara ways. Speaking of legacies, Kahanna Montrese – Coco’s baby girl – arrived and I am so happily pregnant despite never wanting children and hating oranges. Kahanna is hot. Rounding out the pack was Soju, who arrived serving fishy samurai realness, thrilled to be off YouTube – as she is a famous YouTube recapper – and actually in the race.
With the starting list sorted, Mama Ru arrived to welcome the queens to the Drag Race family now filled with 126 daughters, which I had simply assumed was a nice speech about sisterhood for an Emmy’s Showreel until she shared that they’d be kicking off the season with a cheeky photoshoot mini challenge with Drag Race alum. After hiding Bianca Del Rio’s photo, Ru welcomed Scarlet Envy to pose slash art direct the shoot … opposite the iconic Aunty Raja. Olives were involved, Scarlet ate them, Raja was an icon. They were followed by Shuga Cain and the jush herself, Jush-mine Masters. TBH I didn’t pay much attention because I live for Jasmine and she can do no wrong. Honey Davenport was paired with her Drag Aunt-In-Law Manila Luzon – never forget – and they obviously slayed, as did Ra’jah and Ginger Minj. Well, if Ra’jah could keep her earing on. Vanjie and Farrah Moan channeled hooker realness, Brooke Lynn Hytes served zaddy realness with Ongina – she can lift me up and throw me down any day – Plastique slayed with Sonique, Soju and hey, Porkchop! Ariel was paired with the beast herself – not Michelle – Eureka, Nina and Emmy Nominee Raven slayed, Mercedes and Emmy Winner Delta Work sat around, not that Mercedes cared what she did. Kahanna and Derrick served Vegas glam, Kimora was pressed by A’Keria’s love of cherries and Silky owned it with Mariah. As did Yvie and Adore and I would love them to get married. Given how seriously Silky took the art direction of the shoot, she took out the win and damn was she thrilled.
The girls started to get out of drag and basements were flooded. Vanjie loves Brooke, Brooke loves Vanjie, Soju loves twinks and somehow Scarlet falls into that category. Before we get anything glorious like Alaska helicoptering around the season 5 Werk Room, Ru ruturned to announce that this week’s maxi challenge would require the queens to make an outfit out of trunks of past queens’ junk. Given Silky won, she was able to dish them out. She snatched Peppermint for herself, gave Scarlet Violet Chachki, Bebe to A’Keria, Alaska to Yvie, Kim Chi to Soju, Laganja to Ariel, Detox to Brooke, Katya to Kahanna, Kennedy to Ra’jah, Bianca to Mercedes, Thorgy to Nina, Sharon Needles to Shuga, Sasha to Plastique, BenDeLaCreme to Honey – this really feels like a shameless link-fest, but it isn’t – and Valentina to Vanjie.
The queens grabbed their boxes with Scarlet discovering Violet’s junk is better than everything she brought. Vanjie too was feeling triggered by all the tulle, concerned that she won’t get her redemption and will back out again. Soju however was living for Kim Chi’s box and was confident, despite not having ever made a dress. As sweet as it was that she was inspired by her Korean culture, I hope she heeds Vanjie’s warning to cinch her waist to avoid going home. While Silky started off charming she quickly became too much, annoying me and literally every other queen who was desperately trying to avoid following Vanjie’s first boot lead. Kahanna was rocking an eye patch and let’s be honest, I haven’t been more aroused by an eye patch since LeeAnne Locken’s fiance started wearing one. Poor Nina was struggling with Thorgy’s box and crumbling under the pressure of applying year after year and being a legend of the community.
We stepped out of the Werk Room to discover my dear Miley Cyrus was getting into drag to spy on the girls while working on their make-up slash trash Silky and I love her. Even though the fact her Hannah Montana schtick was quickly discovered as Silky grabbed her and screamed in her face, I still love shenanigans and Miley so I don’t mind. And I’m just thankful she lived through her manhandling. She checked in with how everyone was feeling and told them all to just breathe and, like her godmother Dolly told her, be yourself.
While Miley joined Michelle, Ross, Carson and Ru on the judges panel, Plastique kicked off the runway serving floral fish realness. Brooke Lynn Hytes owned it as a neon superhero and I want her to win. Honey served BenDeLaCreminal realness, Ariel served Poison Ivy sexy, Yvie was pink, plastic and perfect, A’Keria wore wig on wig on wig in honour of Bebe and Scarlet looked stunning. Then came Soju and well, it was like a blown up Lil’ Poundcake and while I love her, I can’t. Ra’Jah was glittering and gorgeous, Mercedes was a ‘70s something, Shuga Cain was ‘80s cute, and Vanjie came to slay, and guarantee she makes it to episode 2. And Silky was a mess, as was Nina’s pineapple upside down cake inspired dress and Kahanna looked like someone tried to rip her outfit off. And given how hot he is, it may have happened.
Ultimately Ariel, Yvie, Ra’Jah, Silky, Shuga, Scarlet and Honey were declared safe, while the judges got to work critiquing the girls. They loved literally everything Plastique served, felt Brooke well and truly owned the challenge – congratulations Brooke, there is no way you’re losing – and they felt A’Keria going big will keep her from going home. Then it came to poor Soju and while they too liked the Korean inspiration, they felt it was a mess. We then learnt that Soju has tendonitis and a cyst that popped before realising she overshared and damn I love her and need her to stay. Mercedes make-up was read for filth and when Carson described the outfit as sexy Seaworld worker, I kinda started to like it. Vanjie received universal praise – despite her anxiety – and Nina got read for filth, which she agreed with before breaking down and admitting that she is in her head and is so scared. Mauling victim Kahanna also admitted that she bombed the challenge, before sharing that having Coco as a mother had her in her head, given people automatically assume that she will live up to her family line.
More importantly, Michelle said uncohesive.
Obviously Brooke was crowned the winner, while A’Keria and Nina were sent to safety along with Mercedes – just – leaving Soju and Kahanna to lip sync for their life TO THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS BY HANNAH MONTANA. Sadly while I was living, Soju was dying as Kahanna well and truly lived up to the house of Montrese, hitting every damn letter of the lyrics and flipping around the stage. Soju was super cute and sweet, but that isn’t enough when faced with a Montrese and like Vanjie cautioned, she became the first boot in a sea – or cyst – of tulle.
After making her way back into the Werk Room leaving a trail of ooze behind her, I couldn’t re-cyst pulling her in for a hug to remind her how loved she is and that despite leaving first, she will always be a fierce icon. Particularly given the fact that cyst talk makes me happier than Vanjie walking backwards off the mainstage and my Rew Wine Sojus combined.
Yeah, yeah – jus is a gravy and isn’t technically a meal. But try tell that to Soju and I. I mean, wine and bacon are delicious. So why can’t we simply enjoy those two together? Sure you could slather this sweet nectar on steak and some garlicky mash.
But you could also just drink it.
Red Wine Sojus
2 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ cups red wine
1L beef stock
1 bouquet garni
Place the bacon and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally for five minutes, or until starting to caramelise and stick to the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute before adding the wine and stock. Crank the heat to high and bring to the boil.
Once rollicking, reduce heat to medium and simmer for a few hours, or until the liquid is halved and has thickened slightly.
To serve, strain into a gravy boat and like I said, pop it in a wine glass. Though if you’re not feeling adventurous, just serve with steak.