RuPaul’s Drag Race review: Praise be to Britney


Another week, another RuPaul’s Drag Race acting challenge. But this time, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey get the televangelical treatment, one to much better results than the other!

Welcome to season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, or as I’m about to start calling it, RuPaul’s Acting Race! Let’s jump right into this week’s episode, because there is a lot to cover, and most of it is about Britney Spears.

Now, the mini challenge was ridiculous, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Ru had the queens pretend to be fans of Seduction — Michelle Visage’s short lived girl group — who were trying to get backstage. They had to convince the door man — Ru — with their powers of persuasion. Brooke Lynn went full Canadian stereotype, Plastique made me cackle by barely even speaking, Silky practically broke down the set, Nina played a (hilarious looking) nerdy girl with big teeth who wants to meet her mom Michelle Visage, and Ra’Jah gave all the attitude!

Ra’Jah and Nina won, and got to pick their own teams for the maxi challenge. This week, in another acting challenge, the queens would be hosting their very own televangelical TV special, but with a twist. Instead of praising the good word of Jesus, they had to worship another kind of deity: pop divas. They got to choose their own, and Team Nina went with Britney Spears, and Team Ra’Jah went with Mariah Carey.

Look, I’m sick of acting challenges as much as the next person, but as soon as I heard “Britney Spears” you better believe I was 100% on-board for whatever they were about to throw at us, even if it was a steaming pile of garbage. Luckily for all of us, it wasn’t! Or at least the Britney one wasn’t. I can’t say the same for Team Ra’Jah doing Mariah Carey.

When Nina’s team chose Britney, they knew that they knew a lot about Britney and that they could make it work. Even if Silky wanted to do Whitney, the general group consensus was Britney for a reason. I have no idea how Team Ra’Jah landed on Mariah, but they seriously shot themselves in the foot with that one.

From beginning to end, the Church of Britney skit was flawless — and I’m not saying that as a Britney stan, I’m saying that as a Drag Race stan who has seen countless terrible skits, bad acting challenges, and horrible parodies to know a standout performance when I see one. You could tell they were prepared right off the bat. Nina and Brooke Lynn stayed in character the entire time, and both their characters were well-developed televangelical Southern ladies. I would say they were the standouts from the group, but it’s too hard to choose!

That’s a lie, I know who the standout from the group was: Vaaaaanjie! I never pegged Vanjie as a Britney stan, but girl knows her stuff! She was flipping that wig as if the spirit of Britney Jean herself was controlling her, she pulled some actual Britney choreo, and as always, as soon as she opens her mouth, we all can’t help but laugh. That girl is a star, and I am so glad she was brought back to show us all what she can do. In my mind, she won the challenge.

But seriously, the whole group was great. I could spend this whole review just talking about the Church of Britney skit. They got in the puns, song name after song name, and they didn’t go mean with their jokes either, even if they included a head shaving bit. Ariel and Silky really brought it home with their song at the end, too. In case anyone was wondering, this is what the inside of my head looks like at any given moment.

Now… with the good, comes the bad. That Mariah skit was not it, in any way, shape, or form. As Ru pointed out, they knew nothing about Mariah, all their jokes relied on her whistle notes, Ariana Grande, and her calling her fans lambs — which they didn’t even know until Ru pointed it out. Who doesn’t know that?! Plus, the biggest faux pas of all: they referred to Glitter, Mariah’s iconic flop of a film, as Sparkle — and they never even noticed! The look on Ross’ face said it all.

Even Plastique, who keeps proving she has a great sense of humor, just didn’t do it for me this week. She tried to make it funny, but her interpretation just didn’t work, as much as it pains me to say that. She did look amazing though, in a very Mariah-esque look, but this was about the acting, and unfortunately she and the entire team couldn’t get it together. Don’t even get me started on the disaster of the song for their show. They couldn’t even sing on the right beat!

It was clear right away that they would be the losing team. Ross told them they had to bring it on the runway, which is so shady but so true, and Ru was even disappointed in them on the main stage. They could’ve picked anyone they wanted, and that’s the worst part. They weren’t given Mariah; they chose her because they thought they knew enough about her to make it funny, when in reality they knew next to nothing. Nobody was to blame here except for every single one of them, and thankfully they all took responsibility when Ru asked them who was to blame on the runway.

Speaking of the runway, I swear Ru just picks the themes out of a hat sometimes. What does fringe have to do with divas? Why didn’t they do some kind of diva-inspired runway? Regardless, let’s talk about the fringe! Honestly, a few of the queens were very basic. Like Michelle said, you shouldn’t be dressed in some fringe dress made for a nightclub performance, this is RuPaul’s Drag Race!

There was something about Nina’s look, with the fringe headpiece, that I really liked. It had great movement. Brooke Lynn’s was fun too, because it wasn’t just typical fringe, it had the whole flower power aesthetic going on. I have to say, the best look on that runway was Yvie Oddly. This girl was so dedicated that she painted her entire body — and I do mean ENTIRE — bright pink and then covered HERSELF in fringe and walked the runway as a jellyfish! Now that is unexpected for a fringe runway!

Nothing is truly shocking on RuPaul’s Drag Race anymore, but Ru did try and pull a fast one on us tonight. He was so disappointed in Ra’Jah’s team that they ALL had to lipsync for their lives. That’s right, six people had to perform on that stage to the same song at the same time, and it was pretty much as disastrous as you would think. I don’t think I focused on one single queen the entire time, except for when Honey was rolling around on the floor after jumping off the stage. Girl, Ru does not like when queens step off that stage!

The most disappointing part of that lip sync was the fact that it was to such an amazing song — “Waiting For Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez — and it could’ve been an iconic lip sync if the right queens had done it, but I truly don’t remember any part of it… except for Honey flailing on the ground! I think it’s pretty clear by now who went home — Honey Davenport. Looks like being from a legendary family doesn’t always help. Just ask Lori Loughlin or Felicity Huffman’s kids this week!

Even though the Mariah skit was a disaster, that Britney skit made me optimistic that this season is going to be good. If we can move on from acting challenges now and see what else the girls have to offer, and if Ru doesn’t pull any more group LSFYL nonsense, then we’re in for a good ride! Now let the music play!

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Random Ruflections

  • Brooke Lynn is really playing up that Canadian character isn’t she? I’m not mad.
  • Nina West killed me, those TEETH!
  • “Gentlemen, start your engines. And may the blessed woman, win!” – Ru
  • Looks like they upped Ru’s prescription this week, she is peppy!
  • “Welcome as we worship our deity, the holy Britney Jean Spears.” Honestly same.
  • Every time Vanjie opens her mouth, I crack up.
  • This list could just be quotes from the Britney skit, but I’ll spare you all.
  • “Come to the light my friend, because oops we did it again!”
  • “Girl… fish turned into a demon!” – Akeeria about Plastique’s demonic character
  • Sparkle?! Sparkle?!?!?!?! Girl, it’s Glitter!
  • “Ru, you know I’m drag-nostic.” – Ross
  • “Oh no my VHS exploded!” – Michelle about Honey on the runway
  • Is Scarlett okay? Why is she standing like that?
  • “Stink, stank, stunk!” – Ru about Team Ra’Jah
  • Um the lip sync songs this year are ON POINT?!
  • Is… Honey okay on the floor?