Previously on Drag Race España the dolls were inspired by All Stars 2 as they were tasked with acting in horror sequels – Thelma and Weezy for lyf! Despite not getting all the references, it was an altogether solid challenge, with Pakita, Pitita and Bestiah continuing their streak as the front runners with the stand out scene, ultimately landing Pitita her second win in as many episodes. At the other end of the pack, Kelly was read for a totally bland outfit and for blending in during the challenge, rather than over acting. While Clover was read, for reasons. When it came to the lip sync, the duo were once again solid, but Clover’s energy proved the key as zaddy Kelly rolled on home.
Backstage the dolls were very sombre to have lost sweet Kelly, particularly Clover who felt guilty. Well, until she read Kelly’s farewell message, which was super long just to make her work hard to clean it off. Everyone sat down to share their love for Kelly, with Hornella particularly struggling, given she wished she had been able to help her more in the challenge. Clover opened up about feeling like she has to represent all women in the competition – no terf-ing here, JK Rowling – and was glad to dedicate her lip sync to the trans community. Whether she got the flag right or not. While everyone congratulated Pitita for slaying, Pakita was even more fired up to beat her in the next challenge, given she had been pipped at the post. Twice.
The next day the dolls were ready to slay, whether The Macarena can vogue or not. Vania meanwhile appeared to be crumbling under the pressure as she was starting to get sick, in addition to her insecurities playing on her mind. Thankfully though her sisters rallied around and gave her all the love. Supremme interrupted the lovefest to drop by and put them through their paces in a little reading mini challenge. So yeah, not so little. Despite losing a fair chunk in translation – not many jokes about finding the library or ordering at a restaurant – The Macarena was brutal with jokes that sometimes landed while Bestiah’s brutality never missed. Pink was camp and verbose, Pakita had jokes, Hornella was living her best life reading everyone for filth, Pitita was read as she tried to read, Clover was all energy, Visa was fun and Vania rallied, giving sweet and smut in equal measure.
Despite getting through the challenge, Vaina started to break down, overwhelmed by the competition and feeling trapped. Though Supremme and her sisters assured her they are here to support her and as such, she was good to power on in the competition.
But back to the mini challenge, Pakita took out victory before Supremme gagged them with the news that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be playing the Snatch Game. Which we immediately pivoted to as Supremme introduced Karina and Pupi Poisson’s version of Karina as guests. We then learnt that The Macarena was playing Paca La Piraña, Bestiah went with Herb, Hornella was playing Juan Carlos I, Vania played Bárbara Rey, Pink went with Lola Flores, Pakita gave slutty Peppa Pig, Clover gave feisty Maite Galdeano, Pitita transformed as Sara Montiel while Visa SERVED as Paulina Rubio. And given I don’t get any of the references, all I had to go off was the iconic way Pink Chadora served character and had the dolls in stitches, and is far and away the winner of the challenge. At the other end of the pack, The Macarena felt super flat while Bestiah gave dippy but lacked the jokes and Pakita went off the rails, despite a killer concept.
Dia de eliminacion arrived with Bestiah feeling like she is marching to her doom post snatch game, while at the other end of the pack, Pink was feeling super confident. And while it was rightly placed, it did piss off Hornella. Pitta was roped in on the drama and while she didn’t want to start, you best believe she calmly finished it pointing out she can string together sentences. Pink continued, however, getting annoyed that Pitta told Hornella that she took up all the oxygen on set and while she thought she was calling her out, Pitta calmly reiterated that both Pink and The Macarena talk a lot and didn’t really leave space for anyone else to perform. Which led to Pink explaining she just wanted to volley – alright Ru – leading to them kissing and making up. Well, for now. Vania meanwhile assured the girls she was feeling much better today, explaining to us that she just needs dick. Which, preach.
As they beat their mugs Visa opened up to Bestiah and Hornella about the liberation that came with her runway last week. In turn, Hornella shared that her look was to challenge the stigma associated with being HIV positive, and as someone that is positive, it really meant a lot to her that she was able to share. And while every franchise does these powerful, emotional chats pre-runway, España really is the one that does them best, TBH.
Supremme, Ana y Los Javis were joined on the panel by La Terre and while I have no idea who she is – as is often the case – I know, deep within my bones, that she is an icon. On the Show Your Feathers runway, Clover was a stunning, sexy black swan, Pink Chadora served cock a doodle do me, as she laid a golden egg, The Macarena gave showgirl peacock before Pakita stomped looking like a glamour-goth burlesque bird. Pitita stole the show as a single baby blue feather made solely of feathers, Bestiah was a club kid warrior, Hornella was a demonic bird doing fashion week, Vania meanwhile stole the show off Pitita with a glamorous showgirl that runs the strip look, while Visa was camp as hell serving Dia de Los Muertos complete with an iconic, oversized hat.
Pakita, Vania, The Macarena, Pink Chadora, Visa, Bestiah and Hornella were deemed the tops and bottoms of the week. After Clover and Pitita were sent backstage, Pink received universal praise for Snatch Game and for doing glam and camp on the runway. The Macarena meanwhile was read for being forgettable in Snatch Game despite her look being solid. Pakita was read for her slutty Peppa Pig, though praised for giving character on the runway. Bestiah was read for being confusing during Snatch Game, though praised for a stunning runway. Hornella was praised for nailing Snatch Game and leaving room for the other girls to shine, while Vania too was beloved, given she and Hornella bounced off each other so well. Oh and her runway was rightly deemed the best of the night, in my head at least. While Visa was praised for her wit and charm on Snatch Game and for giving such a commanding, polished runway.
Backstage Clover and Pitita were just grateful to survive the week, before they turned their attention to the girls, assuming Hornella or Visa had the win in the bag. While Pitita was unsure what they would think of Pakita or Pink, given they were funny but the Peppa Pig was a mess and Pink refused to answer questions. The tops and bottoms joined them with Hornella and Vania thrilled to be in the top, as was Visa while Bestiah wasn’t shocked to be in the bottom. The Macarena meanwhile was ready to lip sync, feeling calm and focused, as was Pakita, despite feeling like she didn’t do bad, was just disassociated with herself and the game.
Ultimately it was Pink Chadora that took out a second win – much to the shock and horror of Pitita – as she vowed to split her prize with Hornella. Speaking of Hornella, she was then sent to safety with Visa and Vania before Bestiah narrowly joined them, leaving The Macarena to face off against Pakita, just as they predicted. As soon as the absolute banger, Desátame by Mónica Naranjo, kicked off, it was clear that both dolls were not going down without a fight. While The Macarena leant into camp and old lady dancing, Pakita focused on all the emotion of the song, revealing nips and stomping the house down (boots), which obviously saved her as The Macarena was eliminated once again.
As she ventured backstage, she ran directly into my arms, so grateful to once again have a friend there to support her post-elimination. This time, she was far less disappointed with how things turned out, getting the opportunity to show a little more of herself and prove to the world – like Jaymes in All Stars 8, kinda – that all it takes is the wrong challenge, at the wrong time is all takes to take you from a likely fifth placement, to last place. And after that pep talk, all it took was a big batch of Mushroom The Tacarenas to have her primed for the much-teased return challenge.
This spicy, rich, meaty – ironically – dish is the perfect treat for meat free Monday. Or any day, TBH. Hot and spicy, with the earthiness of mushroom and the zing of slaw, these tacos will quickly find their way onto your regular rotation.
Mushroom The Tacarenas Serves: 4.
Ingredients 600g mushroom meat 5 garlic cloves ¼ cup chipotle in adobo sauce, roughly chopped ¼ cup coriander, leaves and stems separated and roughly chopped 2 tbsp olive oil 400g tin tomatoes 2 tbsp tomato paste 2 cups vegetable stock kosher salt and pepper, to taste 500g red cabbage, shredded 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons 1 tbsp champagne vinegar 1 tsp raw caster sugar 8 flour tortillas
Method Combine the mushroom meat, garlic, chipotle, coriander stems and two tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl and massage with your hands to break up into a pulled pork-esque consistency. Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry for a few minutes, or until browned and sticky. Stir in the tomatoes, paste and stock, and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or so, or until the mushroom is soft and sauce deep and thick. Remove from heat and season.
While the mushroom is simmering, combine the cabbage, carrot and coriander leaves in a bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and a teaspoon of salt and toss through the slaw.
To serve, heat the tortillas – in a pan, microwave or oven, I don’t mind – and top with some slaw and the mushroom meat. They devour, joyously.
Previously on Survivor the top eight tried to regroup after an explosive tribal council, none more so than Jamie, who not only was blindsided but also saw her idol walk out of the game in Kane’s pocket. After Frannie took out an epic overnight reward featuring letters from home, she took all the mothers with her, leaving Jamie to do damage control with the boys. Despite telling them nothing but the truth, the boys didn’t believe her (fake) idol walked out the door and as such, she emerged as just as big a threat as challenge beast Frannie. After Carson took out immunity, the tribe tried to figure out which threat was the more pressing issue, with Frannie tragically booted – behind Carolyn’s back who was the only one pushing for Danny, no less – to reunite with her boo, Matt.
Which makes me so happy, despite the loss.
Back at camp Carolyn couldn’t hide her rage at Yam Yam and Carson for not just booting her bestie Frannie, but more importantly, for leaving her out of the vote. While Yam Yam knew it was never going to go down well, he admitted he didn’t expect it to go that badly. She cried and yelled at them as she tried to process the betrayal, while the rest of the tribe huddled at camp glad to not be involved. After Yam Yam went to keep them happy and explain Carolyn was just frustrated – complete with painting her as a massive threat – Carolyn explained to Carson she just never expected they would betray her and as such, she just needs time. Meanwhile Danny was also feeling nervous after his name came up, while Heidi iconically admitted to us that it was totally her that voted for him, but she had zero intentions of telling him that, so instead threw our dearly departed Frannie under the bus.
The next day the tribe woke up for some morning yoga as Jaime asked them all to share and ugh, she is so sweet and I hate how well she thinks she is playing – because she is doing well, TBH – while the producers troll her. As part of their sharing, Heidi opened up about her struggles in life, moving from Puerto Rico barely speaking English, always pushing hard to get what she wants and you best believe she is bringing that energy into the game. Carolyn and Yam Yam took a quiet moment in the dunes to clear the air, assuring each other that it is water under the bridge. Carson soon joined them with the trio proud of how solid they have played as they locked in their final three. Oh and their next plan was to out Heidi for voting for Danny at the previous tribal council to sow a little chaos. After Yam Yam filled him in on the truth, Danny wasn’t sure how it could even benefit her game and as such, went directly to Heidi to see if it was true. And as is fast becoming tradition this season, he believed Heidi’s lies that it wasn’t her and instead decided he needed to come for Yam Yam and the Tika trio.
The tribe came together to enjoy some quiet time by the beach where Carolyn unveiled her lobster shell jewellery and nail adornments. And since she is now one with the lobster, she went frolicking in the ocean as Yam Yam fished, singing Little Mermaid, whether CBS would pay for the rights or not. So yeah, they need to edit the new movie ASAP. The duo then caught up to lock in their next target as either Danny or Lauren, though Yam Yam admitted Danny will likely do whatever they say at tribal council, so they should consider keeping him. Sadly for them, that will not be the case as the rest of the tribe were quickly locking in against the Tika trio – NOOOOOOO – specifically Yam Yam – double noooooo – given he is so likeable. And while they all admitted they love him, they were wise enough to realise that it is that exact thing that makes him a threat.
My love Probst made his episodic debut for the famed Last Gasp immunity challenge where everyone would have to stay under a grate as the tide rises, with the last person under the grate winning. Or two, if the tide starts going back out like last season. Despite not being able to 3D print this one, Carson admitted he practised it in a bathtub, which of course. Yam Yam spoke about trying to become one with the ocean despite how cold it was, while Lauren was already miserable as she shivered away. Everyone was still going after 30 minutes after which Lauren dipped out followed by Jamie as the water started lapping at her nose. After the grate became submerged it was Carson that was next to exit, followed by Carolyn and breath king, zaddy Danny. Heidi and Yam Yam continued to battle for a few minutes before Heidi dropped, handing Yam Yam immunity as he sobbed and his tribe mates looked on with pride.
Back at camp Carson and Carolyn spoke about how critical tonight is for their end game, given Tika is currently outnumbered, should everyone rally against them. Which they obviously did, locking in Carson as the next biggest threat. Danny told Tika that he and Heidi were planning to split between Lauren and Jamie, which Carolyn hilariously saw through as a lie. The Ratus however were just worried about upsetting Carolyn if they blindside Carson. Heidi meanwhile was focused on figuring out if there is a counterplan so she can find the right time to play her idol. Carolyn on the other hand tried to convince Yam Yam that Danny is lying to them and is planning to target Carson, so instead wanted to flip the vote on Danny. Given she wants meathead journey revenge, but also because he is more likely to snatch immunity.
Carson approached the Ratu girls to share his fear that he is Danny’s target, floating the idea of joining together to split up Danny and Heidi. And while he was confident they were on board, they were thrilled to hold the power to decide which group they go with. Carolyn meanwhile was busy reiterating to Yam Yam how important it is to save Carson, begging him to stay strong on Danny and leave the rest to her. While he cautioned her to stay calm. She then joined Carson and filled him in on her idol and assured him she would play it, though she then kinda spiralled about all the variables. Particularly nervous about playing her idol for Carson and getting voted out as a result.
At tribal council Jamie spoke about the fluidity of the game, just needing to find a group of people with a shared target at each vote. Danny meanwhile admitted he was tired, but knew that everyone is a threat and as such, has tried to stay vigilant. Heidi spoke about the need to take risks to make it to the end, while Yam Yam shared he is dedicating all his time to thinking about the jury. Which is draining, but thrilling. Carolyn too has been spinning out by the constant thinking, while Danny spoke about the importance of being chill like a seasoned fighter. Which made Carolyn roll her eyes, given it felt like a dig TBH, is not the case. Lauren meanwhile tried to shade Carolyn for being emotional while she said that she is more experienced and cerebral, which lol, Carolyn runs circles around everyone.
Sadly she then got emotional, sassing out Danny before admitting to Jeff that even he was pissing her off right now. Thankfully Jeffrey praised her for always speaking her mind and fighting, while Yam Yam alluded to the fact he is very nervous about losing an ally tonight while Jamie just wanted everyone to play their roles. Danny was confident in the people he was working with, while Heidi is nervous given her name keeps coming out. Oh and Carson is just nervous, given he knows he is a target and is just proud of himself for achieving so much as a sweet, quirky nerd and ugh, I love him and if Ratu joins with Soka, I am going to riot. Yam Yam praised Carson for being such a sweetheart while Carolyn admitted she is very nervous, particularly since she has had to put her trust in people that betrayed her last tribal council.
With that the tribe voted – Carolyn for what felt like an eternity – before Carolyn whipped out her idol for her sweet baby boy Carson. Sadly for her, it wasn’t necessary as she negated two votes for him before Danny was booted from the game. Complete with his De Niro impersonation for his friends back home which was just dorky and sweet and I miss him already. Given he took it so well, I pulled him in for a massive hug at Ponderosa and thanked him for providing so much levity this season. And guaranteeing a zaddy is cast in a future returnee season, which honestly, is enough to earn you a Sheetpanny Massachos.
This tweaked version of an Antoni number is so packed full of flavours you’ll return to it week after week. A kick of spice and a punch of zing, everything works together perfectly to warm your heart on the coldest of days.
Sheetpanny Massachos Serves: 6.
Ingredients 500g chicken breast, roasted and shredded ¾ tsp chilli powder 5 tbsp fresh lime juice 3 tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo, diced 1 tsp kosher salt 450g tomatoes, diced ½ small red onion, diced 2 tbsp seeded jalapenos, diced 3 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped plus extra to serve 400g can black beans, rinsed and drained 350g Tortéa Leoni Chips 450g vintage cheddar, grated 1 avocado, diced sour cream, to serve
Method Heat the oven to 220C.
Combine the shredded chicken, chilli powder, three tablespoons of lime juice, the chipotle in adobo and ½ tsp of kosher salt. Next, make the pico de gallo by combining the tomato, onion, fresh jalapeno and coriander with a tablespoon of lime juice and ¼ tsp salt in another bowl. And rounding out the prep, combine the beans, a tablespoon of lime juice and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl and gently crush them to absorb the flavours, but still retain their shape.
To assemble, arrange half the corn chips on the sheet pan, followed by half the chicken measure, half the pico de gallo, half the beans and half the cheese. Now, here is where things get weird, you repeat the process again. Wild, no? Transfer to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Serve piping hot, topped with diced avo and sour cream, before devouring.
Previously on Survivor the dwindling yet iconic Tika tribe tried to rally after Josh idolled Sarah out of the game. Despite Yam Yam being the only person blindsided in the process, he tried to make amends with Carolyn and Josh, and enjoy their time. Josh meanwhile tried to pretend he found another immunity idol, though sadly for him the beads from treemail fell apart in Yam Yam’s hands as Carolyn realised he was also using the exact same note from the first idol. After losing the latest immunity challenge, Carolyn had an awkward journey-feast with Brandon and Danny which made her realise that the alphas were banding together and as such, targeting Josh was the smartest move. Thankfully for him, however, there was no tribal council at all as Matthew’s shoulder felled him from the game.
The next day the Tika trio were nonchalant about avoiding certain doom as Yam Yam and Carolyn debated the pronunciation of bag – or is it baeg? – just like my mother. Josh meanwhile was thrilled to still be alive in the game, though well and truly ready for some new company. Right on cue, we dropped by Soka where the tribe read treemail advising them to drop their buffs, pack up their belongings and bounce. Tika too were told to pack, while Ratu was thrilled to learn that the non-merge (and then I assume real merge) will take place on their beach, meaning they could just chill. Carson meanwhile was ready for some chaos before pointing out that the wording of the note means they haven’t merged, but does confirm his idol is powerless. As such, he announced that he had one, leading to Lauren sharing the fact that she has an extra vote. For reasons.
Soka and Tika arrived and everyone did some casual getting to know you, while Kane was just nervous about where he stands and how exactly things will play out in the larger group. Josh meanwhile was thrilled to be away from Yam Yam and Carolyn, unaware that Carolyn had spread information about his idols to Brandon during their journey and for some reason, he lied and told him that he does in fact have one. After he caught up with Jamie and told her the truth about being down to a fake idol only, she caught up with Heidi and Frannie to talk about his idols or lack thereof, with Jamie confident he does have an idol, despite her being the only person he told the truth to. Confused? Same!
The group came together at camp to talk about the pre-merge phase with Josh being a little extra about Yam Yam turning on him, despite the fact they were on opposite sides of the vote and there was no real betrayal. Feeling nervous, Yam Yam started to make new friends, catching up with Matt who assured him everyone doesn’t hate him and instead Josh was meant to go at their next tribal council on Soka, and to him, he is still the next target. After Yam Yam explained that Carolyn is being super quiet at the moment, we ventured back to camp where Carolyn admitted she was super nervous about keeping her personality in check to get people on her side. Before she went and told them all she loves sweating. Thankfully though, it was quickly brushed over and she was able to lay low as she wanted until it was the right time to reunite Carson.
Speaking of Carson, the right time came about later that night as they caught up on the beach and pledged their undying loyalty to each other. Yam Yam then joined them to lock in a secret trio, agreeing to keep their distance for the next while and come back together to take control later on. Once the big threats have finished cannibalising themselves, that is. Also that night, Matt and Frannie were sleeping next to each other and being cute and flirty and I want them to adopt me. Or at least make me a flowerboy at their wedding.
The tribe came together with Jeffrey for the Earn the Merge challenge – eyeroll, of course – with the tribe split into teams to race to push a massive boulder along a course to collect keys, climb a tower and use the keys to unlock puzzle pieces and solve a puzzle. Oh and in addition to getting buffs and immunity at tribal council, the victors also got a feast. Matt, Frannie, Carolyn, Carson, Brandon and Jamie faced off against Heidi, Danny, Lauren, Yam Yam, Josh and Kane with the latter getting out to an early lead before the other group overtook them on the next two obstacles. They continued to pull away until Danny and Josh pulled everyone from their group up the wall. However, that headstart meant nothing when it came to the puzzle, given Carson had repeatedly studied it before the game and solved it in a matter of minutes. Earning the merge and handing his group a feast.
Back at camp the losers were heartbroken to be starving, while Yam Yam was terrified about being the most likely target. He caught up with Danny and Kane, suggesting they should get rid of Josh next which annoyed Danny, given he didn’t want to make any decisions without the winners present. As he worried about putting his foot in his mouth, Josh was busy locking in Lauren and Heidi to get rid of Yam Yam and while they pretended to be on board, Heidi still felt like Josh was a bigger issue for her game. Idol or not. The victors meanwhile were giddily smashing their food before talk turned to tribal council with everyone happy to get rid of Josh too. That being said, Brandon was worried about the idol and as such, needed to identify a backup, with him more than happy to get rid of Kane for voting for him at the first tribal council. Oh and then Carolyn straight up told them Josh does not have an idol, calmly articulating his entire web of lies yet for some reason, nobody believed her.
Everyone reunited at camp with Jamie worried about how easy the plan to get rid of Josh came together, though was confident in having Kane as a back-up. Frannie meanwhile was assuring Josh that Kane is the target, leading to Josh approaching Yam Yam to bury the hatchet and tell him they should come together to get rid of Kane. And while Yam Yam pretended he was ok with things, he assured us that Josh is far and away his last option. Brandon meanwhile wasn’t overly worried about the Josh plan falling apart, given he has his beef with Kane. Carson meanwhile warned Kane that his name came up at the feast, however Kane in turn stupidly threw Carson under the bus by approaching Brandon to see what happened. And while he calmly admitted he did throw his name out there, he approached Carson to tell him how stupid it was. Oh and then Kane’s nerves got the best of him, approaching Matt and Danny to throw out the idea of changing the vote to Yam Yam. Matt then told Josh he was the target and hot damn, it is a mess and everyone seems confused.
At tribal council Carson spoke about how difficult it was to keep track of what was happening during the scramble, while Kane assured everyone he is operating from a place of trust and will vote based on that. Yam Yam admitted he is at a disadvantage, even more so given he just can’t stop running his mouth. Ever. Josh downplayed his bond with Yam Yam and Carolyn, pointing out he is more Soka strong. Essentially. Talk turned to idols, with Brandon not sure what exactly is going on and who could have them. Carolyn agreed there were a lot of variables to work around, while Heidi felt like it was hard to keep up with the plans, given everyone has their own opinions. Yam Yam admitted he was feeling very nervous and unsure what conversations he could trust, while Matt felt that this non-merge is intense and he honestly doesn’t even know what is meant to be happening tonight. With that the non-tribe voted and no idols – real or fake – were played as they banded together to finally oust Josh from the game.
Obviously Josh was super gutted to have found himself booted before the legit merge and *gay gasp* not on the jury, meaning in the words of the great Kat Edorsson, he is no longer datable. As he arrived at Loser Lodge I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that Kat is wrong and any man would be lucky to have him, despite the fact he and Yam Yam couldn’t get it together and run the game with the rest of our queer fam. I congratulated him for doing all that he could in the game, despite essentially being shut out on both of his tribes and toasted his run with a big vat of Joshuarrabbiata Wilder Sauce.
While marinara is the most famous of the tomato based sauces, my heart belongs to its spicy cousin the arrabbiata. A delicate hint of garlic and a kick of chilli work together to provide a complex, rich sauce that elevates any pastas. And is super easy to make, to boot.
Joshuarrabbiata Wilder Sauce Makes: 2-3 cups.
Ingredients 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced 3 red chillies, halved, deseeded and roughly chopped 1 tbsp tomato paste 800g canned whole peeled tomatoes 1 tsp raw caster sugar 2 tsp balsamic vinegar salt and pepper, to taste
Method Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for about five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chillies and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes.
Stir in the canned tomatoes and sugar, bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and a good whack of salt and vinegar before serving, with your fav pasta. Or if it isn’t about the pasta, pop it in a cup and drink it down.
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.
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.
Previously on All Winners just after winning her first star in the ball alongside Trinity, Jaida pointed out that since she blocked Jinkx, now Monet was the only challenge winner who hadn’t been blocked. Which was quickly pointed out to be wrong, since she now also falls into that category. In any event, it didn’t matter to either of them as both Jinkx and The Vivienne absolutely dominated as they improved their way through Judge Judy-spoof, Fairytale Justice. Despite Raja once again delivering another strong performance and Yvie being a sexy Big Bad Wolf. After Jinkx and The Vivienne landed in the top two, The Viv demolished the lip sync and while it is unclear how much influence Jaida had, she blocked Monet.
Who was NOT happy about it.
Backstage The Viv was well and truly feeling her oats, thrilled to finally have her star turn, with all of her sisters thrilled for her to get a star. Yvie joked about poor Jinkx not landing her second star, with Jaida adorably singing an apology before Raja rightly called out Ru for not giving her a damn star yet. This was interrupted by the arrival of Monet who was completely irate about the fact that she was blocked though desperately trying to hide it. She then played into Shea’s lie that the platinum plunger comes with a little extra power and I live for the fact everyone is just playing along and adding to the paranoia. The Viv then explained that she only blocked her because she was next in line and well, the other person she wanted to block wasn’t eligible. Which put Jinkx on notice.
Oh and then Yvie got her wang out. Again.
The next day Jaida was jacked up on coffee, though not like Ru on the enema, before Ru arrived to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would write an uplifting commencement address for queer graduates around the world. Oh and Carson and Nikki Glaser would be on hand to help them work through their set AND since Monet was blocked, she would be able to set the order. Adding to the fake-secret that the plunger comes with power. Oh and Ru was in a giving mood, so the winners of this week’s challenge would also receive TWO stars. One to keep and one to give to one of their sisters.
With that, the dolls were thrilled at the prospect of getting two stars as they split up to plan their sets. Yvie was going to lean into her fun side and hoped the judges would laugh along with her, while Jinkx and Raja were brainstorming their ideas. The latter of which was planning to play a mountain top cult leader and while Jinkx was loving the idea, she was worried about whether Raja would be able to turn it out. Trinity meanwhile was sewing away in the corner while Shea was struggling to focus given Jaida was living her best life with a xylophone and generally being loud. As the rest of the dolls were dishing out shade, Monet decided that she was going to work her blockage into a free star, first trying to be kind and asking everyone where they would like to go in the set. And then asking them to consider giving her a star if she followed through. Which she mostly did, giving herself the opening slot, followed by Shea, Trinity, Raja, Jaida, Yvie and Jinkx, while The Vivienne would close the show.
Monet was first to workshop with Nikki and Carson with them living for all her jokes and sass, though encouraging her to add a little bit of heart as well. Shea meanwhile was leaning into the fact she is beautiful, cool and perfect, with a fuck you to society for making her question it. The Viv meanwhile was going to shade her struggles with sobriety, Trinity was just going to have a tonne of fun mocking her struggles with learning growing up while Jinkx obviously delighted them with her set about getting run over in Amsterdam. Or getting a condom stuck inside herself. Then Jaida was just an absolute delight being completely silly and wild. Nikki and Carson meanwhile advised Yvie to add a few more jokes because her concept could be great. But only if she gets out of her head. And then Raja confused the shit out of them with them also advising her to add more funny, despite Raja feeling like it was perfect. Like a fucking icon.
Is this going to be a Katya’s Krisis Kontrol moment? I damn hope so.
Runway Day arrived with Jinkx succumbing to Jaida’s tajin shots while The Viv and Raja were fanging for some wine. As they started to beat their mugs Jinkx admitted that she just desperately wanted to beat The Vivienne, given they truly are each other’s biggest competition and she spends most of her time watching her, wishing she thought of whatever she was doing first. Oh and then everyone shaded Jaida for not being blocked yet.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined on the judges panel by Nikki Glaser as Monet opened the Draguation Ceremony looking stunning in pink and gold. And while she started slowly, losing her comb at the time she praised her Season 10 runways gave her the energy she needed that by the time she channelled James Earl Jones, I was sold. Shea was as stunning as always and slayed her performance, reading her sisters and praising herself for being popular. Trinity was absolutely hilarious as she joked about being unable to read her palm cards before she quickly leaned into the heart before pivoting back into silly fun comedy. And again, she is a star. Raja meanwhile stole the show from start to finish; weird, wacky and oh so fun. And yeah, this is a Katya moment and I am so glad she was smart enough to trust in herself.
Jaida kicked off the second half with a bang, joking about being from Trump University and just being stupid and packed full of charm. Yvie stumbled onto stage and dropped all her cards in a hilarious bit and while her set wasn’t packed with laughs, it was full to the brim with heart. Sadly for her, she was then followed by Jinkx who once again gave a masterclass, having killer framing devices, hilarious jokes and was so smart with all the genuine emotional beats she added. And while The Viv also gave an absolute killer performance, complete with a face plant finish, coming after Jinkx was always a hard act to follow.
On the Veiled It runway, Monet was stunning in an hourglass baby blue bird in a cage number. Shea was a mash of bright pleated fabric and looked stunning and Trinity was perfect in a red widow slash wedding gown. Raja meanwhile stole the show as a literal covergirl while Jaida was the sexiest black widow known to man before Yvie was bright, beaded perfection. Jinkx looked gorgeous dripping in lavender and butterflies, while The Vivienne gave S&M shimmering stunner, complete with ball gag.
The judges loved everything Monet did this week, particularly for serving glamour on the runway. Shea was praised for her zen vibe and giving complete perfection on the runway. Trinity was praised for showing her heart and having fun, and more importantly, for looking glorious doing it. Raja was praised for landing everything weird and wonderful and for serving something different and intellectual on the runway. Jaida was praised for being fun and charming and for the sexiness she brought to the runway while the judges loved Yvie’s look and her pratfalls. Jinkx once again received universal praise for each and every thing she did this week, with Ru even jumping on the joke and suggesting she was the one that ran her over. While they lived for The Viv’s commitment in the challenge and the sex she brought to the runway. Before the dolls went to Untuck, Nancy Pelosi dropped by to thank the queens for all that they do and ugh, I live for Queen Nancy. With Raja thanking her for her shady clap which has become a masterclass in shade.
Backstage Yvie once again received praise from her sisters for her runway and all the details she added to it. Trinity meanwhile was busy making narratives for everyone’s looks, before Shea turned her attention to Raja and how much she killed the challenge. And completely leant into her own brand of humour and ugh, I love to see everyone living for her. The Vivienne praised everyone for sticking to their brand and shaded Monet for giving her the perfect spot to shine. We then got a flashback to when the girls were getting ready, talking about who would deliver their dream commencement speech. Raja then spoke about graduating in ‘92 and hot damn, again, I want to age like Raja as she is perfect. She opened up about how difficult it was in High School at the time while The Vivienne opened up that yes, they have High School in England and honestly, she lived her best life as a queer kid in private school. And then Jinkx gave all the heart talking about how privileged she felt growing up in a queer friendly environment like America. Comparatively. While Shea was inspired by TV to come out and literally exploded her way onto the social scene.
Oh and then Monet brought up Sum 41 as the dolls read her pussycat wig before Nikki dropped by to kiki with girls. And stop them from stealing the dress off her body.
Ultimately Jinkx and Raja took out victory and were told that they will be gifting their extra stars at the beginning of next week’s episode. But first, the lip sync for that little tip and well, it was stunning. In a fun, they are so cool kinda way. As soon as Lizzo’s Better in Color kicked off the girls were straight up living their best lives. Jinkx was serving stupid white lady dancing while Raja was just oh so cool. Ultimately though, it was Jinkx that took out another win and promptly blocked The Vivienne, because obviously.
Backstage Raja was thrilled to finally have a win for what should have been her fourth one and ugh, I love to see it for the icon. Trinity led the dolls in congratulating them on their win and while Jinkx was clearly the frontrunner, she did point out that someone else will have two stars this week when she gives one away. The Vivienne arrived and admitted that she was completely expecting to be blocked by Jinkx and while she explained she did it because Viv is a competitor, Viv was sure Jinkx was just doing it for good old fashioned revenge. Talk turned to who Jinkx and Raja would be giving their stars to, with Yvie trying to play on their emotions, while Trinity reminded them that she was very helpful when it came to design challenges and the dolls best remember it. And Jaida wanted people to give her a star for her perfect nipples. Which is an argument I can get behind.
The next day the dolls returned to the Werk Room where Trinity was ready to be given a star, while Raja was just thrilled to be in the star club. And once Ru arrived, everyone was in said club as Raja gave hers to sweet Yvie. While Jinkx gave hers to Jaida, proving that nipples can get you everything. With that out of the way, Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge the dolls would be serving ‘00s realness for this season’s girl groups challenge, in throwback appearances on TRL. Ideally without Carson Daly. One group would be performing the love song 2getha 4eva and the other would get Titanic, the ultimate break-up anthem. As usual they would be writing their own verses, recording the tune and then performing live on the mainstage. Oh and Ru said they could pick teams however they want, so they just drew a line in the middle of the room and ran with it.
As they sat down to listen to the tunes Yvie was feeling confident in getting a shining moment, while Trinity was triggered by the fact Justin Timberlake would never love her. As everyone tried to select songs, The Vivienne pointed out that she wasn’t thrilled about people selecting their team and then leaving the dregs together. And while Jinkx suggested they all just pick the song they like best and fight it out if that doesn’t leave equal teams, The Viv ending up relenting and sticking with the original groups. And girl, it is tense. And you know she is going to fight.
The dolls split up to work on their songs, with team Monet, Shea, Trinity and Raja forming M.S.T.R. and planned to position their performance about losing the E of their group M.S.T.R.E. The other girls meanwhile leant into their status as the leftovers, calling themselves The Other Girls and planned to frame their band as all the girls that were kicked out of girl groups and were going to be camp and fucking stupid and ugh, I love it.
M.S.T.R. were up first recording their song Titanic, with Raja admitting she hopes nobody wants her to explain Y2K since she partied through the era while the rest of the girls were at school. Monet was planning to channel Britney, Trinity was working through her passion for JT while Raja wanted to sound young. Shea meanwhile was rapping and living her best life and I love it. When The Other Girls took the mic they were totally bonkers and ugh, I love it. Like Jaida’s rap involved fart sounds and Yvie was doing dial-up modem sounds and it was just delightful.
The teams came together for a quick dance battle as they returned to choreograph their performances with The Other Girls continuing to be fun and bonkers. And while they wanted to intimidate their rivals, they were mainly confused about what was going on. M.S.T.R. meanwhile had varying degrees of skills, with Monet and Shea living their best lives, while Trinity and Raja both would have preferred if they showed off sexy, stripping.
Runway Day arrived with both groups ready to slay, with The Other Girls continuing to be wild and ready to be silly, while Raja led her team in some yoga. Everyone split up to get ready with Shea and Trinity talking about being proud of how far they’ve all come before Shea opened up about worrying that she was blending into the back of the group. As everyone beat their mugs, Trinity joked about being annoyed by Jinkx for giving a star to Jaida over her, with Jinkx admitting she was debating between the two of them, not saying she was avoiding Trinity as she is more likely to score more stars. Monet reminded Viv that she was blocked before Jinkx awkwardly pointed out that she would have made a different decision if she knew they’d be in a group together. Oh and Raja encouraged her sisters to look like Michelle Visage in her Season 3 era on stage.
Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by Tove Lo on the judges panel as Ross dressed as Carson Gayly as M.S.T.R. debuted their song Titanic and well, it was a bop. Monet was perfect, Trinity was manic and fun, Shea was sexy perfection and Raja was perfect, like Paris in the Stars are Blind era. In the best way possible. Then The Other Girls arrived and it was completely ridiculous in all the right ways, Viv was self-deprecating, Jaida was just stupid, Jinkx was fun holding on to her youth and Yvie was all fire from start to finish. As a malfunctioning robot.
Then, on the runway we’ve all been waiting for, Monet kicked off The Night of 1000 Dolly Parton’s runway serving glamour in the coat of many colours gown. Trinity was perfect in a shimmering yellow number, Shea served biker Dolly in the best way possible, Raja was iconic in silver as she played her nails down the runway, The Viv was eerily accurate in a stunning blue number while Jaida was the personification of Dolly and I love it. Jinkx meanwhile gave ‘80s fun and ugh, I loved it too. While Yvie was manic and having the absolute best time.
The judges lived for everything Monet served this week, particularly for how she served something unique on the runway. Trinity was praised for such a likeness on the runway and being silly in the performance, Shea was praised for being smart, fun and full of glamour. And for also doing something special on the runway. They loved Raja for being the worst dancer in the group and living the best life, while she was beloved for having far and away the best runway. The Vivienne received glowing praise for being hilariously stereotypical and for literally inhabiting Dolly on the runway. Jaida was praised for being so silly and fun, in the performance and on the runway. The judges loved Jinkx’s old lady and for her simplistic Dolly runway, while Yvie’s robot was iconic and everyone loved everything she did this week.
Backstage the dolls were living their best lives as Raja opened up about how much Dolly means to her, with Monet admitting she didn’t even know about Dollywood. That being said, she loves her as the dolls spoke about how iconic she is. As she deserves. Jaida continued the love, talking about how great her team worked with everyone agreeing they knocked it out of the park. And had so much fun doing it. Talk turned to who they think will be in the top with everyone agreeing that The Viv will be in the top alongside either Monet or Yvie. Though not that it means anything to Viv since she is blocked. Raja then led the girls in a communal scream – as Monet pretended to participate – before Tove Lo joined them and looked to be having the time of her life as she gushed over all of them. As everyone got ready to return to the mainstage, Trinity took some time to heap Monet with praise and remind her how proud she is to be her twinner and ugh, it truly was beautiful. As was Jinkx awkwardly strumming the ukulele at the end.
Ultimately it was The Vivienne and Yvie that found themselves in the top two, lip syncing to my absolute favourite Dolly Parton number, Why’d You Come in Here Looking Like That. And well, it was just as iconic as I want for that song. Yvie was camp, silly and absolutely killed it, but shit, The Vivienne was absolutely amazing as she gave every single Dolly-ism and well, was perfect. Stunning. I love her so much. Someone that may not love her however was the Jinkx as after she took out the win, she immediately returned serve and blocked her teammate.
Since everyone has taken out a win now, I quickly ran the numbers and was shocked to find that Shea was next for a date. As per the last alphabetically, ranked by wins rule which is SUPER easy to follow. After I quickly yanked her aside while they reset the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her how much of a star she is. And while she didn’t take out the win this week, she was just like Beyonce. And since she knows we’re dear friends, that meant a lot to her. As such, I gave her a quick pep talk for the second half of the competition and fed her soul with a nice, warming Shea Vindouleé.
There is nothing better than a vindaloo! Smooth and earthy, yet packing a wicked heat to it, it can wake you up, warm your heart and clear out your nostrils – which is good with flurona rolling around – all while tasting delicious.
Shea Vindouleé Serves: 4.
Ingredients 8 dried kashmiri chilies, stemmed, seeded and soaked in boiling water for five minutes, liquid reserved 2 onions, sliced 6 garlic cloves 1 tbsp minced ginger 1 tsp paprika 2 tsp cumin ½ tsp pepper 2 tsp malt vinegar 3 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp chilli flakes ½ tsp ground coriander seeds 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves ½ tsp kosher salt 2 cups beef stock 800g tinned tomatoes 1 tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp tamarind paste 1 tsp muscovado sugar 500g diced lamb rice, to serve
Method Pop the hydrated chillies, half the onion, garlic, ginger, paprika, half the cumin, pepper and malt vinegar in a blender with half the vegetable oil and a couple of tablespoons of the chilli water. Blitz until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides and re-blitzing or adding more water may be required.
Place the remaining oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook off the curry paste with the remaining onion, chilli flakes, coriander seeds, fenugreek and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, or until nice and fragrant. Stir in the stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, tamarind paste and muscovado sugar and cook for a further five minutes. Fold in the lamb, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for half an hour or until the meat is nice, tender and reduced. And you know, cooked through.
Serve with freshly cooked rice and devour, gloriously.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race fourteen news queens entered the Werk Room, again split into two batches of seven. Unlike last season, Ru got a little bit cheeky and implied that Orion Story and Daya Betty were felled in their respective first episodes. Only to gag the dolls by welcoming them back when everyone came together. The gags kept coming in the third episode as all the queens lined up to select a RuPaul chocolate bar with Ru explaining that after a queen loses a lip sync they would each open theirs. If it is chocolate, they sashay away as normal however if it was golden, they would live to slay another day.
So yeah, Ru is in her Wonka era now.
Sadly for June Jambalaya she did not have a golden ticket, making her the third boot that is the official first boot of the season. She was soon followed out the door by Alyssa before Kornbread’s onkle went cleek and she was medically evacuated. Orion then officially exited the competition before we farewelled Maddy and the lovely and iconic Tranos herself, Kerri Colby – that look, OMG.
After what felt like weeks of non-eliminations and the worst Snatch Game on record, Daya was delighted as Jasmine Kennedie was finally sent packing before Bosco found the golden ticket. As we had another non-elim, Ru got crafting and booted DeJa and Jorgeous in a double elimination. Only to decide that neither Angeria nor Willow deserved to miss out on a place in the finale, giving us our first ever top five.
While poor Angeria was eventually cut on finale night, alongside Daya and Bosco, Willow’s reprieve landed her the crown after a mindblowing lip sync against Camden. And well, I am absolutely thrilled for her.
On paper, Camden may have had the stronger track record but Willow’s consistent place among the top queens and her general star power always made her my favourite. In life and for the crown. I mean, list of ten of the most iconic looks of the season and Willow would be half of them. On top of that she is funny, can dance, is kind and just so damn cool. Which is why she more than deserved the crown and the piping hot Willow Country Poil.
I talk a lot of shit about seafood, particularly crustaceans since we all learned from Drop Dead Gorgeous, you just don’t know when they last cleaned their house. But a good ol’ Low Country Boil is a dish I will gladly make an exception for. Spicy, sweet and wholy life affirming, this southern classic is near perfection.
Willow Country Poil Serves: 6.
Ingredients 100g old bay or cajun seasoning 2kg small washed potatoes 3 medium red onions, peeled and thickly sliced 1kg smoked pork sausage, cut into thick coins 8 corn ears, cut in half 1.5kg prawns
Method Half-fill a large stockpot with water and stir in the seasoning. Bring to a rollicking boil and add the potatoes to the pot and bring back to the boil, cooking for 5 minutes. Add the onions and sausage and cook for 15 minutes, before adding the corn and cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the prawns and cook until they turn pink, aka are cooked.
Drain the food into a colander, discarding the liquid, and serving on a platter. Or newspaper if you’re less uptight/scared of eating outside due to birds than me.
Previously on Australian Survivor the final four met Jonathan on a cliff over a watering hole in the middle of the outback, ready to hang over the edge for their final immunity challenge of the season. Because surprise, as we’ve expected, there was going to be a final three this year! As everyone has speculated throughout the season, Shay took out the final endurance challenge of the season, leaving the boys and Chrissy at risk. Despite assuring Chrissy that she had her back, the boys tried to run interference and confusion. Or at least Josh did, as Mark quietly joined the girls to eliminate Josh as the final juror AND Fourth Place Robbed Goddess of the season.
The next day Chrissy was heartbroken to discover that she had burnt her socks while trying to dry them on the fire before Shay interrupted her bickering with Mark to pull them aside for a walk. Mark admitted that he is proud to have made it to the end though is super grateful to Sam, given she played a massive part in him making it all the way. And PREACH, because she was an absolute powerhouse this season. Mark then opened up about his time in the military and how tough it was and that living in the bush had reminded him of some of the situations he had encountered, leading to him breaking down.
And again, congratulations Mark. But damn, Chrissy was so sweet as she told him that he will now have memories of his time on Survivor when he sees a creek, rather than the trauma of war, and helped him process his emotions. So he can win the competition and Chrissy just gets our hearts, I guess?
The trio headed back to camp where they discovered a huge basket of food for the traditional final three feast as we heard from Shay, who was proud to show that women can be strong icons and ugh, I love her. While Chrissy was just completely shocked to have made it to the end, she reminded us that her name has never come up and that proves that she has played a strong game, though the fear is that a jury may not value it enough to reward her with a vote. Though trust and believe she was ready to tell Khanh how bloody good he has looked, rocking his fashions on the jury.
The final three arrived at tribal council where Jonathan introduced the jury and ran through how this evening’s proceedings would go. Each member of the final three would get to make their pitch, followed by the jury asking questions followed by an open forum. Oh and then they will vote for a winner.
Mark kicked things off talking about how stepping out into Samoa changed his life, though lost the game of Survivor, making him and Sam enter this game with a steely focus. He highlighted that he has been playing a strong strategic game from the very first tribal council by taking out Andy as a threat. He then chose to stay away from Sam at the swap before ruining the season for me by taking out Sandra. He then praised Khanh for playing such a strong game which is why he blindsided him at the merge before praising Jesse as one of the biggest threats, which is why he had to go. He then continued the praise game, explaining he has been pumping Josh up all season to have a meat shield at the end of the game and as such, his departure is why he is sitting there.
Shay meanwhile spoke about how she has fought hard throughout the entire season, losing her allies before merge came and at her lowest after being sent to Purgatory. She then fought her way back and has pushed herself all season. Oh and she also won the most immunities throughout the season. Chrissy went a different route, telling the jury that she has played a far stronger game than any of them even realised, relying on her biggest strength, her personality. One by one she formed bonds with everyone in the tribe, before she went against Croc to save Jesse post-swap which ultimately cost him his place in the game, leading to her taking out Ben. She then said that while she loves Josh and sees him as her family, getting rid of him was her big move.
She then finished it off by praising the jury for being icons that taught her a bunch too, just for good measure. And damn, may she will actually take it?
Jonathan then opened the floor to the jury with Khanh questioning Mark over how he felt about screwing his wife over to get to the end with him admitting that they were always playing the game for one of them to win and they had to do what they had to do. Jordie jumped in to question why he made Jordie feel like shit for sending Jesse from the game when he did the same thing, which led to Mark apologising for making him feel a bit shit to get himself further. KJ meanwhile asked Chrissy whether putting the needs of those she loves in the game ahead of herself ruined her game with Chrissy explaining she did end up turning on Josh. In no small part thanks to her kids.
Michelle asked Shay how she would rate her game with Shay giving herself a solid 8 – no 8.5 – explaining that she always played from the minority and as such, she couldn’t pull the big moves like everyone else but she fought tooth and nail to get to the end. Josh meanwhile cussed out Chrissy for voting him out despite the fact he voted against her too. She explained that things felt off with him after the immunity challenge and as such, she knew he was making a move against her. He then asked Mark why he also turned on him with Mark essentially giving him the, too bad so sad, it was what I had to do to give myself the best shot at the win. Since that is why he is here, for his family.
Speaking of family, Sam was up next, who spoke about how much the jury loves the game and while it is obvious she is voting Mark, she wants to know what winning would mean to Chrissy. She opened up about coming into the game having zero clue about the journey she was signing up to and well, yeah, the jury didn’t like it. Jesse followed it up asking Mark how managing his threat level got him to the end, with Mark opening up about trying to make as many friends as possible and then essentially laying as low as possible. And then when Jordie identified him as a threat, he just agreed that he was so that it kind of disarms the issue. Leading to Jordie praising him for being a role model to him and his brother and damn, they really are telegraphing this win, no?
With that the jury voted before Jonathan wheeled out a TV to Skype with their loved ones with poor tired little Harry just wanting to go to sleep while Sam and Mark held back tears over how much they missed their son. Jonathan then wheeled out his dad and stepmother in the flesh before the tears really started flowing. Shay’s parents and Ben arrived on the scene with her mum rocking pink hair like an icon and well, her dad is adorbs, so I love them too. Chrissy’s daughters were then wheeled out and once again, I am crying. I’m also crying to see Croc again, given he was the iconic alpha male winner that we deserve. Most importantly, her daughter Lulu is a Jonathan stan too and well, I love her. Particularly since she felt sad for Chrissy having to sleep in the dirt for almost 50 days.
Chrissy admitted that it is what it is at this point, while Mark was grateful to have his parents here while Shay would be honoured for the jury to crown her as their winner. Sadly for her though, they did not, as the votes all piled up on Mark and handed him the win.
As soon as she wandered out of tribal council, I pulled Shay in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a job well done. While the jury clearly didn’t appreciate her gameplay, there is no denying that she dominated physically and when nobody is willing to play with you on a strategic level, what else do you do? As such, I toasted her success and celebrated her with a piping out Shayelle Larbjoie.
Piping hot and packed with flavour, there is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked larb. And while I may not be perfect (at cooking larb, at least), this is still a glorious punch of flavour. Hot, salty and sweet, it fills your palette with joy. Basically.
Shayelle Larbjoie Serves: 4.
Ingredients ¼ cup jasmine rice 2 tbsp vegetable oil 6 shallots, sliced 500g chicken mince 1 tsp muscovado sugar 2 tbsp fish sauce 2 limes, zested and juiced 1 tsp lemongrass 2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced ¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped ½ cup mint, roughly chopped salt, to taste
Method Place a wok over low heat and toast the dry grains, stirring frequently, for about five minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, grind and set aside to cool. Add the oil to the wok and fry half the shallots until crisp. Scoop out and transfer to a sheet of paper towel.
Crank the heat to medium and once scorching, add the chicken and cook until browned and crisp. Add in the sugar, fish sauce and lime zest and juice and stir until sticky. Add the ground rice, raw shallots and herbs and cook for a further minute before seasoning to taste.
Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of fried shallots and then devour.
Previously on Australian Survivor the Brawns continued their reward streak and to make matters worse for Andrew, he got whacked in the nads while losing another challenge. Meanwhile Simon found not one but two idols in the space of mere minutes and obviously grew in confidence. Shocking everyone Brawn turned things around, bucking tradition and winning their second immunity challenge. Back at camp George decided his best chance of survival was to target Laura while Joey locked the alliance’s vote on George. Until, you know, he walked into camp wearing an idol, and as such, Joey flipped things on Mitch instead, booting him from the game and flushing George’s idol with it.
We first checked in with the Brawns tribe where spiders were nesting in Shannon’s knickers. While that alone is concerning, the scariest part is the fact they were holding their own shape. Before we could explore that further, Flick explained that the tribe were living their best lives, focused on training to keep their winning streak up. Speaking of winning, Simon was thrilled to secure himself a path to the endgame with his two idols. That being said, Gerald knew about the idols and was extremely focused on getting him out toot suite. Gerald checked in with my Queens Kez and Flick, spilling all the deets on the idol. And just like that, the trio got to work planning to raise Simon up so that he was so confident that they could blindside him.
Over at Brains the tribe were soberly eating their prison food, with Rachel only happy with the fact she drew a line in the sand with George at the last tribal council. And well, let’s just say that George now had Rachel in his sights. His first move was to confront her in front of everyone and when she was unapologetic, they fought. With Laura and Rachel then muttering about him. It was a move, but I never said it was a wise one. We finally go to learn more about Cara, who in addition to real estate and her empathic abilities, is an expert in meteorology. And well, she and George have really been vibing and she is confident in her abilities to temper his worst impulses and keep things tight, hopefully going to the end together.
Joey meanwhile was growing cocky, catching up with Laura and Andrew to laugh about how screwed the minority are now that they’ve taken control. Which is never an endearing look.
Jonathan made his triumphant return to our screen for the reward challenge where the tribes would weave through a series of obstacles while tethered to a rope before digging up sandbags and tossing them to smash six targets. For choccy milk and lamingtons, which again, bloody iconic combo from the reward team. Brains quickly got out to an early lead, given their smaller bodies made it easier to work through the obstacles. Sadly Cara started to struggle, tying things up for the tribes. And well, then George and Wai literally tied themselves into a knot and well, all appeared to be lost for the Brains. As Rachel screamed at George from the side of the course, Emmett started to taste the chocolate milk in his mind. Then Joey and Andrew happened, smashing target after target in quick succession before Brawns had a last minute surge, stealing victory out from underneath the Brains.
Wanting to create some drama, Jonathan offered the Brawns the chance to invite one of the Brains over to share the reward with the Brawns opting for Joey, hoping his big mouth will give them enough information to create drama post swap.
The Brawns and Joey arrived at their bush cafe, with Joey continuing to be loud and energetic, unaware that they invited him over solely because of that. As everyone smashed their lamingtons and milk, Simon asked the obvious question, how in the hell did he land on the Brains tribe? While Simon softened him up with compliments, the girls went in for the kill, asking what happened at the previous tribal council and why George didn’t go since he clearly hates him. And well, once he popped he didn’t stop. Making Flick a very happy girl with all the free flowing information.
Back at Camp Brains, the tribe were heartbroken to have come so close to winning again with Wai promising to try her best in the next challenge. As everyone assured her that she is valued, Rachel opened up and said that George bitching about the tribe in front of the Brawns isn’t helpful before a challenge and creates disharmony, distracting from the task at hand. This obviously pissed off George, who stormed off with Georgia sent to follow him and try to keep him in check. The one positive of the scene is that we then finally learnt more about Georgia, who was using her forensic psychologist background to try and understand George a bit better. Sadly for her, all it did was piss him off, making her the new biggest target in his eyes.
Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the Brains were delighted to see a puzzle was in the mix, while the Brawns were obviously terrified. For the challenge, the tribe would paddle a boogie board out to an apparatus to release five keys before getting wheeled back in, one at a time. They would then use the keys to release puzzle pieces and then, you know, solve the puzzle. Importantly, Simon is in his speedo. As is oft the case, the Brawns got out to a sizable lead at the start of the challenge, powering through the physical side of things. While George reminded the Brains not to worry, given they have a puzzle to sort things out again. Sadly with Wai on the bench they had no real leader in the puzzle which allowed Simon to direct his tribe to yet another victory.
Back at camp the tribe joined together to lament their loss, while George knew that his luck was about to run out. Joey meanwhile was feeling super confident, joyfully swimming in the billabong with Georgia and Laura, talking about how much better things will be once George is gone. That being said, this is Survivor and when people’s backs are against the wall, they get crafty. George joined with Cara, Baden and Wai, identifying Georgia as their best chance to get out. But to do that, he needs some luck. As such, he and Cara went hunting for idols and while the cool kids mocked them from the billabong, Queen Cara took the throne, finding her first idol. And you best believe she was ready to do whatever necessary to keep her alliance safe.
Cara, George, Wai and Baden caught up again, with George quickly suggesting she play the idol for him given he is their only target and as such, they can take out Georgia instead. That however made Cara nervous that the other alliance could opt to change the vote to her and as such, she wasn’t sure whether it was worth the risk.
Laura meanwhile started to grow suspicious about George or Cara finding the idol, rallying the troops to float the idea of splitting the vote JIC. That being said, there is no way they can do that without flipping someone over. And instead of getting Baden or Cara, Joey decided the Wai was the best idea, given she is logical. He, Cara and Hayley pulled her aside and while they were confident they did enough to charm her over to their side, she wasn’t sure who to go with. You know, since the person that saved her on day two is also the most volatile person in the game.
She took the information to George and admitted she was thinking about flipping and as such, he emotionally begged her to cast him aside after this tribal council, not before. With that Cara, Baden and George got together, with George assuring her that he wants her to play the idol for herself and only herself. Before they decided the wisest move was to put on a massive display of pass-the-parcel with the idol and once they’re all confused, hope Wai is spooked back to their side.
At tribal council Cara kicked off the proceedings by wearing her hidden immunity idol, with George suggesting he may have something up his sleeve too. Joey wasn’t sure what the plan was with Cara’s idol, though he desperately just wanted to get rid of George. Aka the bad egg. Cara then continued to earn her Queen crown, admitting the tribe have nothing in common and as such, she is struggling to deal with the people that aren’t wanting to work together to let people flourish. As Wai started talking, the theatre commenced, with Cara whispering in Baden’s ear before passing the idol over to him.
While Hayley admitted their game was making her nervous, her alliance have definitely come up with a couple of different plans to counteract whatever they’re doing. George admitted that while he desperately wants to win the game, when watching Wai struggle on day two, he realised that winning at all costs was not him and as such, he is happy to exit the game with his head held high. George admitted there is no hope for him before Wai and Rachel admitted that there is a lot of tension in the tribe, but more importantly, Baden passed the idol off to Geroge. Wai spoke about the alliances changing day by day, admitting it has definitely changed for her from day two to now. This elicited more compliments from George, successfully guilting the hell out of Wai.
With that the tribe voted – Wai for George, calling him out for holding the day two stuff over her head like parents that tell their kids they should be grateful they have a roof over their head – before Cara played her idol for George. And oh God, Queen Cara, no. The votes rolled in for Cara and Georgia, ending in a 3-3 tie. As such, the tribe revoted and poor Queen Cara found her torch being snuffed. But gagatondra, all was not as it seemed, as she found a Brawn buff on her way out the door, directing her to head over to Brawn and join the new tribe.
As she stumbled through the bush in absolute darkness, she eventually arrived at her new camp and proceeded to dive on to her campmates. Startling them awake, either delighting or enraging them. Or potentially a bit of both.
We checked in with team Brains the next day, where George suggested that putting snake skin on a tree was the cause of all of their misfortune. As such, he removed it and tried to stay quiet while the majority rejoiced in their growing power. Joey spoke about the excitement of the last tribal council, despite the fact George was still in the tribe. Joey went to Laura and Andrew, pledging his undying allegiance to them and Georgia, meaning Hayley, Rachel and Wai were just numbers waiting around to be picked off after George and Baden. Speaking of George, he was heartbroken to have lost his best friend Cara, however was immensely grateful that she gave up her game for his.
Oh and now George was over Wai, given she betrayed the good guys.
Despite not being able to look at her for hours and hours, he eventually pulled Wai aside to find out why she turned on him. Wai called him out for being volatile and how it is hard to be around and as such, she opted for the more peaceful path. While George argued that he was iced out by Joey from day one, Wai still couldn’t see the value of realigning with him. Particularly because she doesn’t like to feel indebted to him for the entire game because she is playing her own, damnit. Like a queen.
The next morning Cara was getting a deep dive on the Brawn tribe as Simon sexily walked out of the billabong in a speedo and the rest worked out. Oh and then she got food with flavour, and ate off crockery. There were blankets, dance class and well, the Brains are dead to her. Officially. And she looks forward to spilling the tea on Joey and Laura’s bullshit to everyone that will listen.
With that, she pulled all the Brawns around to talk about how awful they are, while playing up how loyal George is. As she continued to talk smack, Simon quickly deduced that she has no intention of aligning with any Brains and as such, he can pull her in and take control of the tribe. Particularly since she just wants to raise people up. Sadly for him, Shannon also identified her as a priority ally and quickly went walking for firewood for her to bond.
The tribes reconvened to meet Jonathan where the Brains were gagged to see that Cara was still in the game, none more delighted to see her than George. Meanwhile Joey looked ready to kill and Rache continued to try in vain to get George to stop talking shit about the tribe. Cara meanwhile said that she was thrilled to finally be on a tribe with heart, while Simon agreed that she was a very welcome addition. In any event, this week’s reward challenge would require everyone to hold a barrel of water up with a tribe out if any person drops their bucket. Though they can pass their bucket off to others. Oh AND it was for BBQ. As you can imagine, this challenge isn’t overly exciting to write about however after Wai and Shannon tapped out, the latter used it as a chance to woo Cara who was sitting out of the challenge. Sadly for her though, Simon was watching the entire interaction.
Just as I say it isn’t exciting to write about, Chelsea accidently took her hand off a ring while passing one along and got herself eliminated from the challenge. And just like that, Brains were well positioned for victory. She was followed out by Dani before Gerald started to struggle under the weight of two buckets, as did Daini and Flick. After what felt like an eternity of struggle, poor Gerald couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping the buckets and handing Brains their first ever reward. Leaving Cara to once again starve.
Oh and was the snake skin actually cursed? I don’t want to say George was right, but George is probably right.
Back at camp Brains, the tribe were delighted to see their abundant feast awaiting them, quickly firing up the barbie and smashing everything in sight. We then learnt Laura is into angel golden showers, while George was just thrilled by how great he did in the reward. Talk soon turned to Cara surviving the previous tribal council and joining Brawn, with Joey disappointed to not be able to take out another target. As such, Joey followed Baden into the water and quickly got to work teeing up a new alliance. Tragically for the former though, it was right in front of Hayley who decided now was the time to make a move and take control of the tribe.
Slay Queen Hayley.
Over at the Brawn camp, the tribe lamented their loss while Kez encouraged everyone to just keep going. Gerald on the other hand was heartbroken to have lost the challenge for the tribe and as such, felt like a target. Cara tried to rally everyone around, putting her empath powers to use. She then straight up identified Daini’s broken jaw and Shannon’s reproductive concerns and damn, she is a witch. While everyone else was crying, moved by the experience, Simon was more focused on trying to build his own bond with her before they go to the next challenge.
As such, he asked when older women go through menopause, implying she is old and just, no. Simon, no.
My love Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race up a ramp to collect ropes, build a bridge with them, cross said bridge, climb a tower and retrieve an idol and then work through obstacles before untying a platform which they need to use to lift the idol up and hook it in a cage. Oh and in addition to the challenge, Jonathan announced that a hidden immunity idol is at the end of the course and if they want it, they can go for it. Though risk annoying their tribe, obvi.
While Brains started strong, the Brawns quickly pulled away before George disappeared to make a snatch for the idol. Sadly for him, Hayley and Gerald quickly joined him, with Queen Hayley snatching it and returning everyone’s focus back to the challenge. While Brawn was still out in front, Hayley worked furiously to make up for slowing them down. Again both tribes somehow caught up at the end, but they were no match for Cara who played a calm, critical role in helping Brawn secure another immunity win.
Back at camp Joey was very blasé about the loss before Rachel encouraged everyone to go for a swim to get all the dust off themselves. As she and the alliance of four caught up, Joey obviously suggested they finally get rid of George. As everyone agreed the tribe will be so much calmer without him, Joey suggested that they split the vote between George and Wai just in case he has an idol. Everyone joined back up at camp, with George congratulating Hayley on snagging the idol and cheekily asking if she would play it for him. Which Joey felt was insufferable, though Hayley did slyly suggest that anything is possible.
Preparing for his inevitable boot, George once again wandered around looking for a miracle. He first tried for the boldest, pulling Joey and Laura aside to float other names that would be decent targets given there are weaker people in the tribe. Like say, Wai or Rachel. Joey and Laura caught up with Hayley to reiterate his pleas fell on deaf ears, however that made her frustrated given the hierarchy of the tribe is blatantly obvious and frankly, boring, if someone doesn’t step up with a big move.
As such Hayley approached Baden, suggesting that instead of following along with orders they instead take control and flip the vote on Joey. While Baden felt it was a bold choice, he was also keen to stir up some drama and force the other group into playing. Next up in her plot was talking to Rachel, who felt it was too risky a move to make. Hayley then went to Wai and knowing that she would be a tough sell, told her about the plan to split the vote on her. As such, she wanted to vote for Joey instead. While Wai was scared about burning more bridges, Hayley pointed out that if George goes, she is clearly next and as such, they will just get picked off one by one. But Wai just wanted a little time to figure out her options.
By the fire George made things awkward, asking Wai if she reflected on the last tribal council and how horrible she made him feel. And ugh, that may have been enough to turn her off joining Hayley, isn’t it? And given Hayley didn’t even get a chance to talk to George, there is no way this plan will come together, is there?
At tribal council Hayley spoke about voting Cara out to try and improve the mood in camp, with Rachel agreeing it definitely improved things as they enjoyed their feast. Georgia spoke about it being hard to vote people out, while Baden shared that he wasn’t concerned about being voted out yet and is doing what he is told. That is, until he needs to turn the tables on someone. Joey admitted to having a solid alliance, while Hayley said that pecking orders always change but she hopes her relationships will make the difference.
Laura spoke about not having a pecking order within the alliance, while Jonathan pointed out that that is what the people on the top say. Wai admitted that there is a plan at this tribal council, while Andrew agreed that something can always happen and people can pull something out of their hats. Hayley shared that she believes the tribe will be united after this vote, before George reiterated that he is an asset to the tribe and he doesn’t believe that would be the case if he goes.
This made Laura smirk and while she agreed that he was good in the reward challenge, he doesn’t contribute much in camp. As George told everyone to look forward, Georgia reiterated past behaviour is the best indicator for where things are going. That being said, Hayley tapped George on the elbow and mouthed to vote for Joey, giving him a cheeky grin, while Hayley said that everyone has had the discussions they needed to to make their decision.
With that, the tribe voted, Hayley stood firm and held on to her idol while the cool kids split the votes on Wai and George, before the votes piled up on Joey and he was booted from the game. As Hayley ascended the throne and George dodged yet another bullet.
Joey being the most eager, upbeat and energetic person on the season, he was still peppy and positive by the time we caught up in Loser Lodge. Pulling me in for a hug and ready to celebrate his entertaining, albeit short run. Emphasis on run, which is how we first met. You see, I was formerly a champion marathon runner and had a startling rivalry before my career was derailed by a hit and run – the car hit and I ran away because I wanted to watch TV, true story.
Despite the rivalry, Joey took me under his wing and nursed me back to health to the point I can now go for a bit of huffy puffy at the speed of Kath Day-Knight. Needless to say, that kindness is something I have never forgotten and as such, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate his game with some velvety Nachoey Cheese McCann.
I know American food often gets a lot of shit, but if you’ve read more than five recipes on this patch of cyberspace, you know that I passionately love it. And this gooey cheese is no different! Spicy, creamy and oh so moreish, there is nothing better to eat when you’re down.
Nachoey Cheese McCann Makes: 2 cups.
Ingredients 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp flour ¼ tsp smoked paprika 1 cup milk 1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
Method In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 minute.
Slowly add milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Add cheese and cook until melted, 5 minutes, then stir in salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.
Previously on Australian Survivor, David secured back-to-back wins in the reward and immunity challenges. Most importantly, he also gave us two beautiful nudes scenes which really does count for something, in my mind. The best of which occurred at the reward, where he had taken his allies Sharn, Moana and Tarzan for an overnight holiday and showered in nature like an actual God. Despite that majesty, the reward meant he left Jacqui alone back at camp with the minority alliance and boy did they work her! At tribal council, Jacqui flipped to their side and they loaded their votes on Moana, while her former alliance all voted for her. While the minority alliance was keen to go to rocks, Sharn convinced them that she would join their side if they let Jacqui go and as such, she headed out to become the queen of the jury.
Back at camp things were decidedly awkward as Sharn tried to act like she was friends with everyone, officially killing off her chances at winning the season. She buddied up to Brooke and Shonee first, the latter of which rightly pointed out that David only wants to keep people he can beat around and as such, she isn’t making it to the end. She then swung by David and Tarzan to pretend that everything that happened at tribal was simply one big act, when in actuality, Tarzan knew she was now lying to them given she mouthed at him to vote Moana in the revote. When I was about to love him, he opted not to call her out and now I am sad and need him to go.
The next day Sharn was still busy buddying up to the Vakama trio when a cow straight up wandered into camp. Obviously Shonee and Brooke approached to see if it would like any pats or better still, to join their alliance and go to the final four with them. Feeling nervous about being replaced by a bovine, Sharn sidled up to David again and reiterated that she is still definitely with him and was solely telling them everything they needed to hear. Which again, is why she lost her first game. And is why she is now the perfect person to take to the end. While David didn’t say that, he did assure her that he is still all in on taking her to the end. And coupled with Shonee’s comment about him only wanting to take people to the end he could beat, that should tell her what he thinks of her current chances.
The tribe all sunbaked by the shore and gossiped before a stewing Tarzan won back my heart, pulling Moana aside to let her know that Sharn was gunning for her at the last tribal council. And given he is so honest, Moana originally wanted to believe him but instead, she and David blindly assured him that Sharn wouldn’t have meant it and he must have misunderstood her.
With them occupied, Brooke and Shonee went hunting for an idol for a little bit before gossiping about Sharn losing five jury votes if she dicks them over. Oh and then Shonee reminded us that she is the reason Sharn lost her first season and should she fuck with her, she will gladly makes sure she comes second again. Elsewhere the erstwhile runner-up approached AK to assure him that she is all in with the alliance and while she is keen to get rid of Dave, she also wants to make sure they do it at the right time.
My love Jonathan arrived for the immunity challenge where each tribemate was required to keep themselves wedged between two frames with the last one standing winning immunity. Aka when you used to try and hold yourself up in a door frame and act super cool in the 90s. Almost instantly, AK dropped – due to an ACL injury, FYI – followed closely by Moana and Sharn, who is just as hapless at the challenge as she is in the game. When trying to transition to a higher section of the frame, we lost our Queen Shonee before Tarzan followed after 15 minutes. The remaining two fought it out for another full 30 minutes before David started to struggle, wriggling around while Brooke sat motionless in the frame until finally, after 75 minutes, David dropped and Brooke snatched yet another immunity.
Back at camp David was feeling salty as everyone congratulated Brooke on how easy she made the challenge look. With him simmering, Shonee, Brooke and AK went for a walk, hoping Sharn would follow so they could fashion a plan. She eventually followed them to the well, with AK pushing everyone to load the votes on David, offering himself as the other groups target as he would rather get idoled out than be a sitting duck. Sharn eventually disappeared to chat with her other allies, while Shonee and AK laughed about how screwed Sharn is at the end, should she flip on them. Meanwhile Sharn and Moana were locking in the vote for Shonee, with Moana pointing out how happy that would make Sharn since she wants revenge on her for losing her first season. WHAT?! I think it was your terrible performance in front of the jury. Oh and then she suggested she is playing a killer, covert game this season.
After locking in the vote, she disappeared to hang with the Vakama trio to make sure they thought she was in with them. That gave Tarzan time to remind David that he is in grave danger tonight and they really need to think about something other than trusting Sharn. With that, David filled them in on his idol and suggested that he go to Sharn and let her know about the idol and promise her that it is the two of them until the end. He then went and did just that as Sharn fangirled over him and congratulated him on a game well played, she then told us that she could see right through his plan and as such, knew it would be safe to target him tonight.
At tribal council AK admitted to regretting turning on Jacqui, as the risk of rocks was less of a risk than trusting Sharn. Shonee and Brooke joined him by explaining that they were super keen to go to rocks, until Sharn promised to work with them. Sharn then admitted to everything in front of the jury, with Shonee pointing out that should she join the jury because of Sharn, it won’t end well for her. Essentially. Sharn then said that she was happy with the decision she has made for the vote ahead before David tried to play into her ego, saying Sharn has played a great game this season and as such, he wants to face her at the end. AK started to try for the same pitch, encouraging her that now is the time to make a big move and that joining them is pretty much the only way for her to do it.
David tried to remind her that he wants to work with her, while AK and Brooke worked harder, reminding Sharn that taking out David would be best for a lot of people’s games, not just the Vakama trio. AK then started to shoot himself in the foot, talking about changing his mind about who he wants to sit with at the end after each tribal council, based on who is left and how the ones that have gone were voted out. David used this to his advantage, assuring them that he has always been solid and hasn’t swayed from who he wants to go to the final four with. A sentiment which was echoed by Sharn and then Moana.
With that they voted and once again Sharn blindly trusted the strongest man in the game to her detriment, sticking with her OG alliance to send our beloved Queen Shonee from the game. And fuck am I completely enraged! I mean, if you listen carefully during the count, you can hear my screaming expletives from the Jury Villa, vowing to ruin Sharn’s life. While I have slightly calmed down since I am now busy worrying about everyone’s life since COVID-19, I am still furious about her decision to end my queen’s game. But I am no longer planning to ruin her life which is growth. Though let’s be honest, even if I did and she sued me, I honestly don’t think I would need to worry about facing her in court. Given she crumbles in front of a jury, right?
I know, I know – it was a long journey to get ro a boring read about her sucking at final tribal council. But I digress.
As soon as I stopped crying enough to see Shonee in the Jury Villa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and muttered repeatedly about her being a precious angel and needs to win this show eventually and that she better not end up like Cirie, just coming back and never getting the win she deserves. Obviously I sounded completely unhinged but Shon being Shon, she held me tight and assured me that everything is going to be ok.
“But cherub, maybe it would be even better with a little snack, no?”
As it is written, so it shall be done and as requested, I gifted her a piping hot, delicious Shoneedi Burgfax.
I will die on a hill that Oporto’s Bondi Burger is one of the great take-away burgers. Breaded, juicy chicken, chilli that knocks your socks off and a gorgeously creamy mayo work together to create not just a delicious burg, but the perfect way to honour an icon like Shonee.
Shoneedi Burgfax Serves: 4.
Ingredients 2 dried habanero chillies, seeded and chopped 2 tsp hot paprika 6 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp minced ginger ½ tsp raw caster sugar 2 lemons, zested and juiced ⅓ cup vegetable oil 2 chicken breasts, sliced into two fillets each 1 cup flour, for dredging 1 tsp kosher salt 4 burger buns ¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain 1 cup butter lettuce, washed and shredded 4 slices provolone cheese
Method Start by prepping the chilli sauce by combining the habanero, paprika, garlic, ginger, sugar, lemon juiced and oil in a jug and stir until well combined.
Pour half the chilli sauce into a bowl and add the chicken, tossing through until well coated. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.
When you’re good to go, remove the chicken from the fridge and combine the flour and salt in a bowl. One at a time, remove the breast from the chilli sauce, draining off excess liquid before dredging in the flour mixture. Place on a plate and repeat the process.
Pop a large skillet over medium heat and lightly brush with some extra vegetable oil. Fry the breasts for about five minutes each side until golden, crisp and most importantly, cooked through.
To assemble, split the buns – my favourite part – and spread each side with mayo. Place the lettuce on the bottom followed by a chicken breast, cheese and a generous spoon of the reserved chilli sauce.
After spending the start of Oscar Gold hang with current nominee Quentin Tarantino, icon Nat Port, the inspiration for this year’s name – Gold Basketball – Kobe Bryant and the stunning screenwriter Di, I thought I should celebrate some of my favourite Anzac victors. And there is no victorious Kiwi that I love more than Bret McKenzie.
I first met Bret on the set – am I Dr freaking Zeuss? – of The Lord of the Rings, and we quickly bonded over our passion, and talent, for songwriting.
While our partnership fell through and he found success with Jemaine Clement instead, after a few years of mediation and a brief stint in prison for me, we put aside our differences and once again became friends.
In no small part to my dear Amy Adams, who wanted us to be friends again.
After blowing straight across the ditch into his arms in Wellington, I quickly begged him to use whatever sway he has to convince Jacinda to adopt our entire country and call us West Zealand. While he responded with a wry chuckle, I held his head like Gordon Ramsey calling someone an idiot sandwich, looked him dead in the eye and begged him to save us.
He calmly walked me over to his couch, sat me down and talked me through the shame I was experiencing not having Jacinda as Prime Minister before gently reminding me that we have a job to do. And that job is to run the damn odds.
So run the damn odds we did!
For Sound Mixing and Editing we both agree that 1917 is most likely to take it, since they both seem to favour war movies. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford v Ferrari snatch one or both away from the teams.
For Original Score Hildur Guðnadóttir should pretty much clear a space for her little man because she is a lock for Joker. And lastly, in Bret’s former category, Elts and Bernie have it in the bag for Rocketman and I am so happy that I can actually be happy for him.
With that out of the way we caught each other up on our lives and spitballed ideas for the next Muppets reboot before sitting down to a big, warm Breked McKenziti.
Cheesy and gloopy, yet all together comforting and spicy. A baked ziti is one of the most glorious things. Add in some buffalo chicken, and you’ve got perfection.
Breked McKenziti Serves: 4.
Ingredients 500g ziti, cooked to packet instructions 3 tbsp butter 500g chicken mince 5 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbsp flour 3 cups milk 250g cream cheese, softened ⅓ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce 2 tbsp Michelle Branch Dressing ¼ cups chives, roughly chopped 1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
Method Preheat oven to 160° and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
Meanwhile place a dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter until foamy. Add the chicken mince and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes, breaking up the back of the wooden spoon as you go. Add the flour and cook for a further minute, still stirring, until it is a sticky, gloopy mess.
Remove from the heat and stir in the milk until the sauce comes together. Return to the heat and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing and stir until coming together. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes, or until thick.
Add the chives, cooked ziti and cheddar. Stir and transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and goopy.