Despite being thirteen weeks into the season, half the original cast remains after Bosco was saved from elimination by the golden chocolate bar. Bosco is pleased to be present and finds humor in her circumstances after being named as the queen to leave by her fellow sisters. While, in general, everyone seems relatively pleased that Bosco was chosen by the “fickle finger of fate,” DeJa and Jorgeous are notably vocal in their confessionals lamenting over Bosco’s luck.
Bosco takes it as destiny and is hungry to reassert herself as a top competitor. She holds no ill will to being named by the other queens to leave the competition. Denying any sense of delusion, she understands her performance failed and also proves practical realizing that everyone had to give a name. Bosco even earns some rudemption by apologizing to Lady Camden, who graciously accepts the apology and her own role in their kerfuffle over the role of Saltine. Despite seven queens remaining, Lady Camden stresses that they are close to the end and that anyone could get eliminated this episode.
The next day Daya echoes these sentiments, suggesting that being so close to the end of the season is like edging. Despite Bosco’s presence, Jorgeous is congratulated for being a lip sync assassin, having won six lips syncs at this point. There is a call back to DeJa being called a lip sync assassin by RuPaul, but it feels like a lifetime ago in such a prolonged season. The episode kicks into gear when RuPaul enters with special guest Norvina, president of Anastasia Beverly Hills. With no video message this week, RuPaul’s words take on extra meaning. She says that the queens will have a chance to paint her face. It excites and confuses the queens. Is it the inevitable makeover episode? Did Raven go the way of Mathu?
It’s revealed with a mini challenge in which the queens must paint a wall mural of RuPaul and Dolly Parton inspired by an existing artwork in Asheville, North Carolina. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the mini challenge is the way they break up into groups. Angeria jets to DeJa and Jorgeous, who could be labeled Team Jasmine (from the last mirror message). In an awkward moment, Lady Camden, who has a strong friendship with Angeria, appears bewildered and joins the Bad Boy Baby Team of Bosco, Daya, and Willow. They are given 30 minutes to paint using an oversized beauty palette. In the end, RuPaul has a good sense of humor about her portrait (considering what DeJa did to her nose), but the win goes to Team Dolly, composed of Lady Camden, Bosco, Daya, and Willow.
The prize of the winning team is revealed with the main challenge. The winners get to decide the line-up order for the Roast of Ross Matthews. It’s almost surprising that the producers didn’t make it a free for all like the girl group challenge or rusical challenge. However, a team of four deciding the line up for a group of seven is basically a free for all. After a brief overview of the career of Ross Matthews’ rise from “the gay intern” on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to a comedian, cultural commentator, author, and a rotating fixture on RuPaul’s Drag Race, the queens break off into groups to decide the order of the roast. After the friction of last week, Bosco is eager to make things as fair as possible. The winning team considers everyone’s preferences. Bosco decides to open the show. Jorgeous gets her wish to go second, and Willow predatorily claims third place, sensing that Jorgeous may falter. They are followed by Angeria, Daya, DeJa, and Lady Camden, who riskily decides to close the show.
Everyone has a mixture of excitement and trepidation for the challenge. Jorgeous, however, like episodes before, has decided she is not going to do well before they have even started. Early on it is clear that Jorgeous, Daya, and DeJa are the most terrified by their own admissions. Willow, per usual, is excellent at hiding her fears. They all work diligently on material before presenting their rough drafts to Michelle Visage and Dulcé Sloan from The Daily Show.
On the main stage, Bosco opens the practice round. Michelle is quick to bring up her performance last week, but it doesn’t seem to unnerve Bosco. Her dry sense of humor seems to be the potential weak point and she is advised to punch up her punchlines. Likewise, Willow is concerned that her type of humor may not translate to the roast format. Defining her comedy as “rambling absurdity,” Willow is advised to be economic and succinct with her words by both Dulcé and Michelle. Bosco and Willow have a sense of hesitation, which is abundantly absent from Angeria. She is bold and assertive, which creates an undeniable positive energy around her jokes. Daya appears to do pretty well in practice despite her own fears. DeJa laughs at her jokes but they don’t land with Dulcé and Michelle. She is advised to ditch a lot of her material and produce something funnier. Lady Camden, who doesn’t see herself as a comedian, has a natural delivery that connects. Despite the practice round following the final lineup, Jorgeous, who is scheduled to go second, is shown last. This can’t bode well. Jorgeous’ jokes get the dreaded snake rattle and don’t seem to make sense. She is urged to approach the roast like she is talking with her friends. Unfortunately, Jorgeous reveals that she doesn’t have very much material and appears like she is giving up before really starting.
In the workroom, Jorgeous collapses on her favorite oversized ottoman and cracks under the pressure. She seems to give up and is prepared to rely on her lip sync ability. Lady Camden, on the opposite side of the spectrum, is exceedingly confident. In contrast to both, Daya feels 50/50 about her performance. DeJa, who feels worried, calms herself by remembering that she’s been on an upward trajectory after lip syncing on her first episode, to winning Snatch Game. She’s hopeful that she will end up on top.
As the opener, Bosco clearly took the rehearsal notes and sharpened her material. She expertly roasted herself, fellow contestants, and the judges with finesse and ferocity. Despite low expectations, a can’t-do attitude, and an awkward start, Jorgeous’ set wasn’t as bad as she portended. Overall, she gave off a good energy, but she couldn’t overcome some uncomfortable pauses and was tongue-tied throughout. The worst part was that despite some generous laughs from RuPaul, the jokes weren’t very funny. Willow’s plan to follow Jorgeous worked perfectly, and to her credit she accomplished the task of making her material succinct. After a strange start, considering Willow did well, Angeria managed to overcome the lack of punchlines with an infectious and confident attitude. In many ways, where Angeria succeeded is where Jorgeous failed. Daya needed the confidence of Angeria coupled with the pithiness of Willow. Overall, Daya was too self-deprecating, too complimentary to her targets, and took too long to land a joke. Easily the worst of the night was DeJa, who’s penchant for dad jokes proved literal, hackneyed, and unmoving. It didn’t help that the best laugh of her set actually came from Ross – the roastee. Her saving grace was that she had a good sense of humor about her lack of—well—humor and concluded with a funny joke. Lady Camden may have been a little overconfident going in, but her set had jokes, laughs, and a fluidity that others lacked. The Roast of Ross Matthews proved to be a fairly funny affair.
Gone are the days when contestants would be judged in their roast looks. RuPaul announces that the category is TuTu Much. After being lambasted for presenting the same look over and over, Bosco must have been thrilled to have her best look yet with a conceptual take on a ballerina that shocked and showed a different side of her. Jorgeous also avoided a bra and panty look appearing like a leather-clad ballerina that recalled early Madonna. However, the look did cement the idea that Jorgeous isn’t really a fashion queen. Willow, perhaps the most cerebral of the contestants, managed to give a look that evoked both Tu-Tu Much and Too-Too Much, giving an overly exaggerated look that recalled Bjork, a fairy tale evil queen, and a victim of excessive plastic surgery. It was genius and unlike any looks she has presented so far. Angeria again filtered the assignment through her lens of pageant excellence, but the look could have been more impactful if she had exaggerated the size, as well as the number, of tutus. Likewise, Daya was very much on brand giving a punk interpretation of a ballerina in tattered tutu and ripped tights. As DeJa walked down the runway, it was clear that her look was not going to save her. An ill-fitting cocktail dress that the judges remarked was tulle but not tutu. Lady Camden closes in a category that was made for her. She did not disappoint by going the classic route. It’s almost a shame that she and Daya weren’t next to each other as they served as perfect counterpoints for one another.
As the contestants wait for the judging, their collective looks show the variety of this great cast. Bosco is praised for both her sharp performance and “sharp” look. Jorgeous proved to be too in her head and is even urged by RuPaul to not take life too seriously. A defeated attitude led to a defeated performance that had the judges doubting she has the requisite skill set to win this competition. While not the funniest of the group, Willow stands out for her intelligence. Ross says that he loves the way that she thinks. Willow is always able to apply her unique point of view and skills to each challenge and produces something memorable. In addition, her look is one that RuPaul and Michelle will not forget. Angeria, certainly not one of the funniest, won over the judges. Where others were hesitant, Angeria was resilient. The opposite was true of Daya, who was critiqued for showing her nerves, and even worse vocalizing them. The judges struggle to compliment her performance or look. Perhaps the greatest affront to the judges is how DeJa didn’t take their advice from the rehearsal into consideration. Not listening to the judges is a quick way to go home. Lady Camden is praised for her smooth delivery, poise, and exquisite look. Like DeJa, she is lambasted for not listening to the judges concerning the echo joke, which she extended during her set. However, unlike DeJa, Lady Camden’s reckless boldness seemed to tickle the judges who made numerous callbacks to the echo joke. It was proof that Lady Camden was memorable. Willow, Angeria, and Lady Camden are deemed safe. Bosco, for her performance, look, and the franchise’s love of a phoenix storyline, is declared the winner. Daya, DeJa, and Jorgeous are left on stage to see who is in the bottom two.
RuPaul shocks everyone by declaring a bottom three that must lip sync for their lives. After a lip sync tournament, a three-way lip sync feels a little unnecessary. After complaints about a never-ending season and non-elimination episodes (myself included), the idea of a double elimination so close to the end feels a little cruel. All of that said, RuPaul makes it clear from the start that only one of the three will remain. It’s an interesting three to have in this position. Jorgeous has lip syncing for the fifth time and is a bona fide assassin that everyone fears. DeJa and Daya have actually already lip synced against one another with DeJa winning and sending Daya home (or so she thought). Furthermore, Jorgeous and Daya have butted heads throughout the season.
The selected song is “Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo. It’s punk pop teenage rage perfectly suited for Daya and better suited to Jorgeous than DeJa. While it is hard to gauge when more than two are performing, it feels as if it’s a two-way race between Daya and Jorgeous. After five lip syncs, Jorgeous’ moves are still impactful if not slightly familiar. At the same time, this is Daya’s fourth lip sync after losing to DeJa, losing a lip sync for a win to Lady Camden, and beating Jasmine in LaLaRuPaZa. Ultimately, Daya is declared the winner with Jorgeous and DeJa having to head home.
Were Jorgeous or DeJa going to win the competition? No. DeJa, a front-runner for Miss Congeniality, has the honor of being a Snatch Game winner. Jorgeous faltered in numerous challenges, but her place as a top-notch performer was never in doubt. A favorite of the audience and RuPaul, will have a bright future. The sudden exit of two contestants narrows the field to five and suggests that there will only be one more episode before the reunion and finale.
- The episode really should have featured the other six contestants eating their RuPaul chocolate bars.
- The Snag tights product placement felt very prominent.
- Is the painting set the same one used way back in season 6 when they had to make modern art with their bodies?
- Definitely one of the most interesting runways.
- Making it a three-way lip sync felt like RuPaul selected ‘All of the Above’ on a multiple choice exam.
- Thank god Daya changed her shoes for the lip sync and avoided pulling a Kornbread.
- My top four remain: Angeria, Bosco, Daya, and Willow. (But wouldn’t be upset with Lady Camden in there).