RuPaul’s Drag Race 8 – RuCo’s Empire

Farewell My Sweet Cucu

The Aftermath : After last week’s double elimination, you’d expect a double dose of mourning in the workroom as the mirror got wiped clean. Not so! Thanks to Ru’s mysterious phonecall, the focus of discussion was not how sad everyone was going to be that they’d never get to see Dax! dressed up as Jem & The Holograms or a black April O’Neill or a minor character from Adventure Time, but rather who was going to be the queen who was going to drop everything to take part in the show. Bob floated Victoria Porkchop Parker, Betty brought up the post modern pimp-elephant in the room and made the same Shangela joke we all did, but sadly nobody suggested redemption for Milan.

It’s past time. #milaninvasion2k16.

Regardless of which queen Ru asked to return though, Betty tried to get everyone to agree that all of the rest of the queens should bully, ostracise, and ignore her.

Betty really making her case for Miss Congeniality more and more with each episode isn’t she? (Still it’d be better than when everyone voted to give it to Ivy Winters *shudders*)

The Mini Challenge : Betty’s bitter side rolled on right into the introduction of the Mini Challenge – as RuPaul walked into the workroom, the queens were obliged to do the requisite scattershot product placement that the show needs now that Absolut pulled out of its sponsorship deal, in this case all gagging on a suit that RuPaul wore

except Betty, who wandered off. And possibly spat on the floor. I’m not really seeing a nice friendly tie-in World Of Wonder web series about the wonders of Nyx Cosmetics with this one. As for the suit itself…well you be the judge

The challenge itself? As the show continues to pay tribute to the most exciting events of 2015, the challenge was to reward the Supreme Court justices of the USA for legalising gay marriage by giving them a free makeover. Sadly this did not involve photoshopping lipstick and glitter and star shaped eyeliner onto a picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg until she resembled Lil Pound Cake, but instead the queens themselves dressed up as judges to show them how it could be done. Given that the queens only had 30 minutes to put a look together and spent most of it playing with their gavels,

it was mostly done badly. Most of these looks looked a bit like if a client in a makeover challenge (which is coming back this year apparently YUSS) had just…done it themselves. Blindfolded. My personal props go to Naomi

for looking sexy, in a Hole album cover circa 1994 sort of way, Derrick for showing us all her

Whitesnake, Kim Chi for

the first time her anime schtick has really popped for me (even if her Ching Chang Chong joke made every part of me look for a fire exit) and

Cynthia, for reminding me that Sarah Palin has her own court show now and that civilisation as we know it is about to end. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to stock up on Dom Perignon and Haribo and lock myself in my basement. Naomi won the challenge, because she didn’t look like shit. Her prize was to be a team captain for the upcoming challenge. The other team captain being our new contestant…

a statuette of RuPaul. Oh no wait, it’s Naysha. I would offer my thoughts on this, and how it’s left the first two weeks of the show feeling kind of meaningless and sloppy but…she’s not really going to appear again this episode so I’ll save it for when she’s relevant.

This Week’s Gratuitous Shot Of The Pit Crew:

I think the sight of this might have been what killed Scalia.

The Team Pick : Again, just so you know where the queens stand vis a vis one another’s performance abilities :

Team Naomi

1. Robbie Turner
3. Bob The Drag Queen
5. Chi Chi DeVayne
7. Cynthia Lee Fontaine

Team Naysha

2. Derrick Barry
4. Thorgy Thor
6. Kim Chi
8. Acid Betty

…or it must just be an indication of how much any of them wanted to work with Acid Betty ever again. Interested in how Cynthia felt about her PR sister overlooking her for her team? Well tough, because like I said, Naysha is going to be irrelevant as possible this episode woo hoo.

The Challenge : For all those of you who lived through Series 7, hold on to the edge of your seats and draw your breath and pray for Jesus to deliver you, because this week’s challenge was a…scripted teams acting challenge. I know right? This year’s (first) stab at everyone’s favourite challenge was to be themed around the hit new show of 2015 – Empire. If this means next year we get a spoof of American Crime Story with some poor queen welded into a Marcia Clarke wig I’m all for it. Personally I’ve only seen one episode of Empire. It involved Alicia Keys trying to act. It was enough. (Actually this challenge really should have had an Alexis Mateo cameo and yes that it is the only time I’ll ever say that). Each team of five was given their own individual skit to perform for special guest judges Faith Evans, and An Actress Who Is In Empire, with each queen given their own role to play. These roles being :

The Sexy Mistress : Naomi & Thorgy (and then Kim Chi, because she couldn’t do her original part and had to be subbed out)
The Crazy One : Robbie & Acid
The Hood One : Chi Chi & Naysha
The Butch Lesbian HONK HONK GET READY TO GO HOME HONK : Cynthia & Derrick
The Only One Who Gets Any Good Lines AKA Cookie AKA Taraji P Henson AKA The Only Reason Anybody Watches Empire Bob & Kim Chi (and then Thorgy, because…well I already said)

The Drama : Yes, for two weeks in a row most of the drama on one team was down to the fact that they had to accomodate Kim Chi’s…performance abilities. In this case the problem seemed to be that she was delivering all her lines in a garbled shriek at such a pitch that nobody could understand what she was saying. And after last week’s coddling of Kim resulted in no real net benefit for her and held the entire team back, this week she was quietly shuffled into a side role. Which she also couldn’t really do, but then Faith Evans just told her to do a tongue pop after every line (every. line) as a crutch. And then had to teach Kim how to do a tongue pop. Oh KIM. Also potentially dragging the team down with Derrick Barry

‘s wig. Did someone feed it after midnight? Also she had the butch lesbian role so she was bad. That’s the rule. Even though her performance wasn’t any more stilted than half of the rest of the queens (and unlike Kim, at least you could understand what the fuck she was saying) mash your face into the Shade Noise Button and show everyone looking disgruntled with her ass. From the other team, Chi Chi adroitly recognised another potential problem with the team. In her own words “they should be worried…because they have a lot of girls who are just…like…not black?”. Don’t worry Chi Chi – on this show, crudely drawn ethnic stereotypes are for everyone to enjoy.

Meanwhile over on Team Naomi there were also two problem team members (I know right, it’s almost as though the show got 20 minutes chopped off it from the last two weeks and had to simplify the editing) – Robbie Turner who was being an overbearing thespian, directing everyone else and as a result blanking on her own performance, and Cynthia, whose acting style was

much as you’d expect. Cucu has a lot of volume but she doesn’t have the range. Naomi Smalls of course didn’t care – she was too busy getting her life at meeting the wife of one half of her name’s inspiration, whilst pretending to be the other half.

The Melodrama This week’s sad story came from Thorgy, who shared it with Robbie, who was teasing out her wig for the runway the whole time.

This made the whole thing feel very like it was being shared between two hairdressers. Or Robbie was getting sucked off the whole time, you decide. Anyway, Thorgy’s mother died of cancer when Thorgy was just 19, and she never got a chance to say goodbye properly, because his father and sister hid her deterioration from Thorgy whilst she was away at college, so as not to spoil her good time. Which Thorgy understandably has a lot of conflicted feelings and thoughts about. Poor guy. As a side note, young Thorgy’s Mom looked

a lot like Thorgy, and young Thorgy

looked a lot like one of The Monkees.

The Performance So how did it go? Well better than Shakesqueer, so that’s a start. I could at least follow the narratives here. As usual though, the success or otherwise of the contestants in making their mark fell 90% down to which part they’d managed to claw themselves. Kudos to Betty and Robbie for struggling through some of the worst writing ever on this show (if you’re going to go offensive and do the full schizoid split personality bit it’s not even that hard to make funny so lord knows what happened here) and Chi Chi and Naysha for both injecting their hoodlum characters with the requisite amount of snap. Particular congratulations to Naysha for managing to pull off

physical comedy, which you never can guarantee with the pageant girls. The stage was set though for a true battle of the New York Comedy Queens, as Thorgy and Bob threw down as two very different Cookies, one

ghettofabulous, the other

Kateysagalmazing. And as much as Thorgy had the more sympathetic, less boastful run into showtime…Bob nailed it harder. Don’t get me wrong, Thorgy was a clear number 2 for the challenge, but Bob owned the set, milking every line from the “A -HE-HE-HE-HE-HAYYYYYYUM” that presaged her entrance, to her pouring herself out of her fur coat and into her gold jumpsuit, to her

screamtake to every single shot of vodka she hurled into Naomi’s face before stealing her shoes. This was Bob’s challenge from the get-go, and her win was well deserved. Even given the lumpy tin foil sausage on skates she turned herself into on the runway. Now let’s all loosen our corsets and breathe a sigh of relief until we have to sit through one of these challenges again.

The Runway The theme this week was rollergirl realness. And yes, the queens were required to wear rollerskates so let’s get the highlights of that out there asap

Drag is pain. Also Chi Chi’s decision to stretch her leggings over her actual skates is one of the most charmingly fashion backwards things this show has ever borne witness to. Bob was most obviously the one who had never worn rollerskates before, although she tried to distract the eye from this by adopting a robotic character. Originally this was going to be some TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE bullshit where she actually turned into a car

which sadly never got realised, because I would have paid good money to see how ridiculous that would have looked. The winner for me this week, whilst Thorgy and Naysha were both cute and on brand, was Robbie

for the second week in a row nailing exactly what she was asked to do, which only makes her week 1 Doggy Treat Tits fiasco even more baffling. LOOK AT IT. You can smell the hairspray and JD and dusty aircon and shattered dreams. Those are her mother’s own sunglasses as well, and I live for it. At the other end of the scale, Naomi continued to wear the same damn outfit every week, Kim Chi continues to disappoint on the runway despite supposedly being a look queen

(this was supposedly inspired by Galliano. I’m detecting a…different muse) and Cynthia

good lord. Did Tina C die in vain?

This Week’s Greatest Guest Judge Insight : Faith Evans taught us all, at Bob’s request, that it’s always best to slap a ho with your leading hand. In Faith Evans’ case, this is her left. (Also from onset reports Faith was high as fuck the entire time *heart emoji*)

The Lip Sync : With Bob and Thorgy having been called in the top (alongside Acid Betty, just so Michelle could tell her off for being one note, because there was nothing really memorable about her performance – I would have given the third slot to Chi Chi myself, but I do love her), Kim Chi got yet another free pass, as our bottom 3 was Derrick (for lacking soul and personality), Robbie (for not taking direction and producing endless excuses) and Cynthia (…for everything). I would have given Robbie the tick to go on through based on her runway outfit alone, but Michelle didn’t like it, and worse didn’t even see how it was rollergirl, because Michelle is BLIND APPARENTLY, so she ended up in the bottom 2. This criticism from Michelle would gall less if she wasn’t in love with Bob’s outfit, which was terrible, and the only excuse I can find for her is that she was feeling extra robotic

having just got back from blowing C3PO. Joining Robbie in the bottom 2 was Cynthia, because some brands of ESL are more hilarious than others. In deference to our guest judge, the lip-sync was to be to “Mesmerise” by Faith Evans. The first lip sync of the series that I’ve not heard of before. Cynthia and Robbie were given a choice as to whether to perform in heels or on wheels, with Cynthia electing to take her rollerboots off and perform in heels and Robbie choosing to keep them on. So really, you know who’d won before it even started. Fortunately, Robbie justified her stay on the grounds of talent as well as courage, as she turned it out so hard (spinning, gliding, sassing, sassily breaking, and finally hurling herself off the runway at the end of it all) that you’d almost think she’d only been put in the bottom two to create a dramatic and memorable lip sync performance. But this show would NEVER, right? Cynthia, much like she did everything else on this show, handled her departure with good grace and whilst yelling about her cucu. My mind can’t help but go back to her confessional last week, when she said that her sister Naysha had so much more to show, and that she wished she’d stayed.

Careful what you wish for I guess.

The Untuckening : Outside of all the usual clucking about who was in the top andd who was in the bottom, two fun storylines wove their way through Untucked. Firstly, that Chi Chi is a massive whore who is unafraid to talk about what she likes (tall musucular guys with BMWs and big dicks), who amongst the rest of the cast she would fuck (Bob and Naysha because they both have big dicks), and whether she’s had sex in drag (yes). Those of you who didn’t realise this would only consolidate her place in my top three obviously don’t know me very well. Look at her face here whilst she’s talking about big dicks.

Woman after my own heart.

The second storyline revolved around our first sappy video from home of the series. And as Kim Chi had to this point got through the whole episode without crying, it was for her from her best friend Trixie Mattell, who wanted to thank her for getting her her first gig and being an all-round amazing person.

This would probably have been a lot more moving if Acid Betty hadn’t been sat there heckling the whole time about how awful Trixie’s make-up looked. Whilst not qutie up there with Bianca’s takedown of Laganja over her own family video, this was beautiful for a number of reasons :

  • I don’t like Trixie
  • If we’d got a third straight episode of Kim crying over something without any blowback I was going to go drown myself in maple syrup with candy floss armbands
  • It provoked

this face from Derrick, as in her role as Queen Of Untucked, she was NOT HERE FOR THIS, telling Betty to knock it off being rude. With Bob as back up. And so the Untucked wheel turns. You never know just who’s going to be alligned next but you know it’s going to involve Derrick and the New York Girls in one way or the other.


12 thoughts on “RuPaul’s Drag Race 8 – RuCo’s Empire

  1. jgcameron1992

    I’M SO UPSET. Bye Cynthia!!!! I’d much rather they kept Cynthia and didn’t bring Naysha back, especially considering what the challenge is next week.

    I can’t help feeling this task was tailor made for bob. Don’t get me wrong, he was great, but he was always going to be with an empire inspired spoof wasn’t he?

    1. monkseal Post author

      The whole elimination order is such a mess at this point maybe Cynthia will be called back into the competition halfway through the reunion.

      1. Sue Howarth

        I have introduced my 9 year old niece to the program. Normally she lives on a diet of Next Steps, she is all over the eliminations and is particularly thrilled by returning Queens

  2. Sue Howarth

    If next week is a singing challenge then the following week should be Snatch game as we will be down to 8 queens. It is going to be a stellar Snatch game, Naysha surely going next week and everybody else should be able to do a strong character, Naomi possibly at risk?
    I have a new snatch character up for grabs. Queen of Thorns, acid tongued schemer in Game of Thrones, who comes with the additional advantage of wearing Emma Peel boots

  3. Chris

    Wondering if Kim’s getting free passes because (judging from what I’ve seen of her lipsyncing on Youtube/general performance skills on the show) the second she steps up to lipsync, they know she’s toast.

  4. Patrick

    The main challenge was kinda blah for me – I hadn’t seen Empire before so had no point of reference, the jokes/writing were naff, and all the queens were crap at acting apart from Thorgy & Bob. I assume if the writing had been better it would inherently make the queens better, but who knows.

    As tends to happen when I hate a main challenge, the runway was awesome.

    How Kim was rollergirl I’ll never know. Did Galliano do skates?

    At least Lucian is back next week.

  5. lucy

    after latrice’s delightfully hammy butch lesbian (get those NUTS out of MY face) they really should have retired that role


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