Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race, 14 regular seasons ran their race, alongside 6 All Stars seasons, 3 UK seasons and a single Down Under season. Alongside seasons that we can not mention in Thailand, Holland, Canada and Spain. Because yes, FINALLY, Ru, Michelle, Carson and Ross have granted our wishes, and assembled 8 of Ru’s winner to compete for the ultimate crown. So yeah, yeah, Blu and Willow may already have grown the winner’s circle this reason, we’re about to receive the one queen to rule them all, as the Queen of all Queens. Aka Jinkx Monsoon.
First up we re-met Shea Coulee who is just as damn iconic as always and ugh, I am already overwhelmed by how much I love the dolls. We then got a recap of her two iconic runs, thankfully not having to rehash her crushing heartbreak when Sasha destroyed her in the Charlie Hides induced lip-sync for the crown. Anyways, her entrance paid homage to Coco Montrese, so yeah, I still love her. And love how desperate she is for her second crown. She was quickly joined by the delightful icon, Jaida Essence Hall who thankfully is coming for a victory lap after winning via zoom. Oh and remember how she destroyed Season 12 and charmed us while she did the damn thing?
Yvie Oddly made her triumphant return with a signature cackle and looking like a damn star. Her mug was perfect, her look was perfect, she was magnetic (and perfect). Oh and then she licked her nip, so just like that, she is my frontrunner. Despite her flopping hair. SheDevilByNight herself, Trinity the Tuck returned and once again, despite myself, I can’t help but love her because she truly is born for this race. And ready to uncouple from her twinner, Monet. Speaking of the sponge queen, Monet came in dripping in cash and looking the best she ever looked and ugh, I love her. And hot damn she is ready to come in and fight, you can feel it through the screen.
Continuing working in reverse chronological crowning order, the dolls were joined by the icon herself, Ms Jinkx Monsoon and ugh, I fucking love her so much and am so excited to see her in all her HD glory. I mean, watching the recap of her first season, she is so damn perfect. I mean, Little Edie was just so beautiful. And out of respect for DeLa, Ru should crown her on the spot. Then stop the damn press because Raja is here and ugh, I now am straight up crying. Raja is iconic, beautiful, hilarious and I live for everything she serves. And then wait, we’re jumping out of order and crowwing international borders as The Vivienne crossed the pond to serve UK realness, and well, wasn’t it a pleasant reminder how UK is just the greatest franchise of all time?
They were then joined by a surprise ninth queen, who it turns out was the best non-winner – other than Juju – Raven, who returned as a double first alternate. Though given she won an Emmy, I guess she qualifies? Wait, no – it was a long con as Ru dropped by to welcome the dolls, promptly kicking her out, without nary an apology for crowning my nemesis over her in Season 2.
With the riff-raff kicked out, Ru announced that nobody else will be leaving before the end of the competition as because they are all winners, they won’t be eliminated. Instead, the competition is based on a points system with each episode culminating in a top two, with each earning a star before they lip sync for their legacy. Where the winner would snatch $10k and the power to block another queen from winning a star the following week. And since the four queens with the most stars at the end of the season would compete in a lip sync smackdown for the crown, that is quite the power. Oh and this year the winner will be crowned Queen of all Queens and will score $200k for their troubles.
Oh and if that isn’t enough, the dolls then were put to the test in a good ol’ fashioned reading challenge. Up first was Shea who was hilariously reading Raja for being a drunk, Jinkx for sucking the d and Viv for showing diversity. Jaida was so charmingly aggressive, Yvie was inspired and cute, Trinity was solid, Monet was off the cuff and delightful, Jinkx was on fire from start to finish, with impeccable timing and ugh, good luck girls – because she will slay this competition. Raja then straight up spelt boogers at the girls and left and damn, I love. Oh and then The Viv just destroyed with the roasting skills of a UK queen. Rightly so though, it was Jinkx Monsoon that took out victory.
Oh and then Ru dropped the tea that their first Maxi Challenge would see them write their own verses on Ru’s new track Legends. Oh but not until they meet one final legendary queen. Mother tucking Naomi Campbell and ugh, chuck a phone at me, I’m done. This is the greatest episode of all time. Oh and then Naomi gave them a runway walk masterclass and well, I live.
Naomi loved Jaida’s glide, Raja needed to do nothing new – except to not work with Tyra, I assume. She lived for Jinxk’s silly, fun, drama, loved The Viv’s smoothness and Trinity’s shoulders. Naomi lived for Monet but wanted her to cut out knocking her boots together, while she was delighted by Yvie’s mess and attitude. And then, most importantly, Shea got to receive praise from her teacher Naomi, for doing such a damn good job. Naomi was crying, Shea was crying and well, now I’m crying. This is just too much. STOP IT RIGHT NOW.
The dolls finally got to venture backstage and untuck, with Yvie once again getting fully nude before everyone split up to write their verses. Shea was feeling her oats, Raja was living for her regalness, while Jinkx wanted to share her middle-aged self with everyone and prove she is a front runner. While Jaida considered doing something new, given there is no risk of being sent home. The Viv meanwhile opened up about feeling like she is the underdog given she is representing an entire franchise and NO, Viv, you are a star and you need to believe in yourself.
The dolls returned to the Mainstage to work on their choreography with everyone sharing their ideas, leaving them with a wealth of knowledge to choose from. Thankfully Shea worked through the ensuing chaos, stepping up to give them some clarity, editing everything back and straight up stamping herself as a contender for the crown.
Performance day rolled around with The Viv still nervous about making her US MainStage debut while Jinkx just wandered around being weird and ugh, I love it. Jaida meanwhile thanked Shea for stepping up and choreographing the first challenge, admitting that should she win, she will be worried about her choice of blocking. Though felt it would kinda, sorta be a compliment. That being said, Monet and Trinity were in a corner, locking in an alliance to look out for each other, make sure while everyone is coming for everyone, they can ride through and protect each other. While Jinkx wandered into the scene and asked if they were forming an alliance, like a damn icon.
The dolls opened up about their seasons, with Raja talking about her ugly crying on Season 3 while the queens praised her for being a star on America’s Next Top Model. Remember, that? Jaida meanwhile admitted that her pandemic crowning may have sucked, but she is so thrilled that it led her to this exact point, grateful to have new sisters who love and respect her and ugh, the fact they’re all crying, it is so beautiful. Oh and then Raja offered to make out with her, while Monet promised to block her. So swings and roundabouts or something, I guess?
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by the one and only Cameron D – minus Destiny – for the debut All Winners runway and ugh, I live. Cameron. Mother. Tucking. Diaz. I. Can’t. First, the dolls took to the stage for their remix and well, they proved why they won the damn crown. Raja was a star, Jinkx knocked it out of the park, Monet was perfection, Trinity and Yvie were 100% them – in a good way – Viv hit every damn note, Jaida was a charmer and then, well, Shea shut it down. And likely scored her spot in the top two for the week. As she deserves.
On the I’m Crowning runway Raja was straight up perfection serving queer Louis the 14th and oh, it was stunning. Jinkx was stunning a Mary Queen of Scots, before dropping an Angelina leg. Repeatedly. And it was gorgeous. Monet rocked trans tracksuit queen realness and I love it, while Trinity was all drama in a velvet gown that covered the entire stage. Yvie was a. May. Zing. In a dripping crayon gown, while The Viv was gorgeously delightful, in a full body cream earthy gown. Jaida gave all the drama in purple, complete with a baby crown while Shea gave full Nubian queen and yeah, congrats on winning the first challenge.
Raja received universal praise for the detail she brought to her runway and the artistry she brought to the performance. Jinkx’s praise was for giving glamour alongside all the comedy and for being smutty as hell in the performance. Monet was beloved for giving all the energy and selling everything she did, from head to toe. Trinity was praised for the drama she brought to the runway and her magnetism in the performance, the judges loved everything Yvie served and for being her, while the Viv rightly was praised for doing the UK oh-so-proud. They lived for Jaida being so damn delightful, while the judges praised every single thing that Shea gave this week.
Backstage the dolls were gagged to be so exhausted already and having to navigate an entire season together. Yvie joked about slaying Untucked more than any challenge on her first season before everyone rallied around, thanking Shea for carrying them with the choreo. The dolls praised Jinkx for just being Jinkx as she stomped the runway in front of Naomi Campbell, admitting that only Shea can really give runway out of any of them anyway. Raja gave proud aunty, thanking them for giving them everything before Jaida and Yvie thanked her for being such an icon, particularly because she leveled-up her already perfect Marie Antoinette runway.
Oh and then she gave a delightful speech about being an icon and well, I love her. So damn much.
Talk turned to who would be in the top, with everyone narrowing things down to Monet, Shea and Jinkx while they Monet tried to make sense of them. Jinxk pointed out that Monet and Trinity had conveniently created an alliance, annoying the duo but making everyone’s ears prick up. Viv interrupted proceedings to thank them for being so welcoming, admitting she was nervous to cross the pond but was grateful for how welcoming they have all been.
Oh and then Cameron Diaz arrived and hot damn, I near fainted. She thanked them for being so delightful, giving all the references and ugh, why did she have to retire? She then thanked them for their public service – no joke – while the queens sobbed over how much of a stan she is. Monet then lead the dolls in thanking Cameron for getting all of them and the art, before Cameron admitted she essentially threatens her friends who guest judge to not fuck it up and to learn about what they are charged with doing.
Ultimately it was Monet that joined Shea in the top before they battled for the power to block someone else’s star to Old MacDonald. No tea, all collusion. But since it is the Ella Fitzgerald version, it was kinda perfect. Shea was delightful and hit every lyric, Monet was demented and hilarious from start to finish and ugh, I worry for anyone lip syncing against either of them because it was a damn show. But rightly Shea took out the first win of the season, meaning Monet was immune from the block – werk – before Shea rightly, wisely, blocked Monet’s alliance partner slash twinner, Trinity. Setting the tone for an absolute battle royale. I mean, they are SISTERS?!
Backstage the dolls congratulated Shea on taking out victory, while Trinity was a little bit pressed to have been blocked. Though given Shea explained that she blocked her because she knew she could bounce back and not be phased, she quickly moved on. And ugh, I love how congenial they all are, even if Trinity didn’t realise she essentially got ‘thank you for your patience’-d when you couldn’t be bothered replying to someone at work.
The next day the dolls were still delightful and charming, while Monet was living for her stunning star. Well, before Viv reminded Trinity she won’t have one next episode, since, you know, she was blocked. Monet meanwhile was glad to have not put a bigger target on her back, while Yvie and Jinkx threatened to block the former top two since they already have stars.
Things were interrupted by Ru who quickly announced that not only will they be playing the Snatch Game this week, they’d also be required to give not just one character but TWO. With Ru disappearing, Viv announced she would do the one-two punch of Joanna Lumley and Catherine Tate before pointing out how most of the dolls have won a Snatch Game before. Speaking of winners, Shea would be playing Miss J from Top Model and Elsa from the Tik Tok. And as a geriatric millennial, I totally know who that is! Monet meanwhile was nervous since she has done both good and bad on Snatch Game, before Jinkx announced she would be playing Judy Garland AND Natasha Lyonne and well, YES. Condragulations, Jinxk! Yvie meanwhile was ready to vom, though since she was playing the Boogeyman and Rico Nasty, I think she has learnt to play to her strengths, rather than butchering Whoopi Goldberg.
Ru arrived to talk Snatch with Trinity first up to announce she’d be playing Leslie Jordan and the devil. So an angel and a devil. Raja opened up about how delighted she was to be back, though a little sore from all the exertion. She then read Ru for not giving her the win on her first Snatch Game before announcing she would be playing puppet icon Madame and Diana Vreeland. So, get out of the uber Robbie Turner because you’re about to be taught a lesson.
For Snatch Game number one, Monet went with Mike Tyson, Raja did Madame, Viv went with Joanna Lumley as Patsy, SheDevil by Night went with the Devil, Jinkx slayed as Natasha Lyonne, Yie unveiled Rico Nasty, Shea went with Elsa Majimbo before Jaida debuted her version Prince. And well, I’m wet. But let’s be fair, this was well and truly Monet and Raja’s panel. Though I did live for Jinkx, who likened Jaida fucking Monet as a toddler moving a couch and well, I live. But yeah, Monet’s pitch-perfect Mike Tyson and Raja being a killer icon as a damn puppet stole the show!
For round two, Viv played Nan from Catherine Tate, Yvie debuted her boogeyman – and fucking flooded my basement – Trinity was an itty bitty Leslie Jordan, Jaida went with Lady Chablis, Shea was a star as Miss J, Raja again slayed as Diana Vreeland, Monet went with drag Martin Lawrence before Jinkx stole the show as Judy Garland. I mean, Renee Zellweger eat your heart out because this was the character study we ALL needed. Though Trinity’s Leslie Jordan wearing a condom as a raincoat was pretty damn perfect. But since Jinxk referenced the season 5 makeover and Dave the veteran worrying she killed Judy Garland, there is no blocking her star this week. It was perfect.
I mean, is this my camera, Broom? It’s a set Broom, it’s made of cardboard. I. Con. Ic.
Runway Day arrived with Yvie glad to get her redemption, though everyone agreed the top three are clearly Jinxk, Trinity and Raja and well. It is what they deserve. Raja admitted she felt she would be happy to just be safe, though was thrilled to have defied expectations and slay. Trinity was thrilled to maybe get cash and the chance to block someone, though not get a star. While Shea pretended she was not at risk of getting blocked. Jinxk and Monet kikied, with Jinxk admitting her strategy should she win the lip sync would be to block someone with a star and well, Monet was Ner. Vous.
Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by the iconic Daphne Guinness – and well, wow – for the Pleather Principal runway where Monet gave full guilded, warrior glamour. Yvie was ani-mazing, Raja was a slutty madame – and I LIVE – while Trinity was a pastel, bimbo delight before The Viv was ravishing in red, serving drama and looking PERFECT. Jinkx was perfect as a dominatrix Mary Poppins before Jaida took us to the snake Matrix while Shea cracked the whip as a Basquiat catwoman.
Monet was praised for her Snatch choices, though they lived for Mike Tyson a little bit more. Oh and they felt her runway was perfect. Yvie’s boogeyman was universally beloved, with her runway even more well received. Raja received universal praise for all that she did this week, none more so than how surprisingly dominant she was in the Snatch Game. Trinity once again was beloved for Snatch Game, particularly well received for making such strong damn choices. The Viv was praised for being SO good and looking even better but it was Jinkx that received the best praise of all for just all around knocking everything out of the park. Ev. Er. Ry. THING. Jaida was praised for her stupidity and having fun, while the judges lived for Shea’s runway more than her very solid Snatch Games.
Backstage Yvie was thrilled to get her redemption, while it was Jinkx who was delighted to hit every single note she wanted to. And, I assume, live up to everyone’s very high expectations. Raja meanwhile continued to run away with the joy of the episode, having everyone in hysterics. Monet threw it down, praising Jinkx for being the absolute blueprint for Snatch Game before everyone devolved into madness as they tried to discuss the strategy of blocking, unsure what would be good for them. The dolls then spoke about their Kiki, Kai-Kai and Marry choices before Daphne Guinness dropped backstage and she autographed Jinkx’s wig that she had modeled after Daphne in her Jinkx colours!
Ultimately Jinkx – of course – and blocked queen, Trinity took out victory for Snatch Game. And while Trinity couldn’t take out a star, she would be able to win the lip sync AND block a sister. But as soon as Adele’s Rumour Has It started, while Trinity was coming for two out of the three mocking her plastic surgery, it was Jinxk who well and truly won the lip sync. She was stupid, kooky and oh so fun and rightly earned her star, some coin and well, the chance to hand out the platinum plunger of blockage to Shea. Much to the absolute delight of Trinity. De. LIGHT.
As everyone ventured backstage, I quickly caught them between the mainstage and the Werk Room to explain that I have quotas to meet and since Broom is not eliminating them this season, I’ll be catching up with them in reverse alphabetical order, based on those with the least stars every second week. Super simple to follow, no? In any event, they got it and as such, Yvie was primed and ready as I screamed her name like I was Frau Farbissina and pulled her aside to give her a regal peptalk.
I gushed – both literally and figuratively – about how great her Snatch Games were and that she clearly came back ready to slay the game and have fun doing so. Her confidence glow-up since winning was evident and her energy has already been so much fun to watch, and did I mention her sexy Boogeyman? Anyway, her run thus far more than earnt her a Birryvie Tacoddly to celebrate her strong start and fuel her for the rest of her run.
While some may argue a meal this good could give her an unfair advantage as she progresses through the competition, I don’t really mind. Because it is, so damn good. Hot and spicy, dripping in cheese and packing a sharp punch from the salsa, it is the perfect combination of flavours.
2-3 cups Birriana Goodchild, shredded with an equal amount of the braising liquid
⅔ cup coriander, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 lime, zested and juiced plus extra to serve
salt and pepper, to taste
12 small tortillas
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese, or regular mild cheese like mozzarella
Prepare your birria as per Brianna’s recipe (or get a store-bought portion, I don’t mind).
Next, combine the coriander, onion and lime zest and juice with a good whack of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and leave to reast for half an hour so the flavours can mingle and the juice cuts through the onion a little bit.
When you’re ready to go, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Dip a tortilla in the braising liquid and pop in the pan to char a little bit. About 30 seconds or so. Flip the tortilla, sprinkle with some cheese, followed by the beef and then close over to form a taco. Cook for a couple of minutes untl the cheese is gooey. Flip and cook for another minute.
Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done, keeping the cooked ones in a light oven to stay warm.
Once they’re all done, serve with a generous spoon of the coriander salsa and some extra braising liquid, for dippin’ and some lime wedges. Then devour, messily. Just like Yvie would like.
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