RuPaul’s Drag Race 12 – The Ball Ball

So as usual with these bumper ball episodes, I ranked everyone’s looks as they came out, then produced one super MEGARANKING, from top to bottom, based on the combined rankings, and this is that.



1. Jaida Essence Hall

I really loved Jaida’s commitment to all aspects of women in basketball here. The goofy gangly Lisa Leslie WNBA realness of her Lady Baller look. The sheer opulence and richness of the colours of her Basketball Wife look, riding that discrete edge between “overdressing for an end of season awards function” and “ye olde Western bordello owner”. The creativity and fun of making a dress that made it look like she’s actually soaking in her bubble bath after the game, in a gold lame headwrap over an up-do to protect her weave. Jaida might have had a fairly back-burner episode personality wise, but the judges could not find fault in any of her looks, and neither can I. Visually compelling! Consistent thematically! My winner!


2. Nicky Doll

Despite being in the top 3 here on this blog and with the judges, Nicky probably lost a lot of ground in the battle of the Fashion Girls this week, as the judges really went in on her lack of personality in comparison to Gigi. Michelle in particular hasn’t managed to discern any personality from Nicky so far beyond “SHE’S FRENCH!”. Well I say, “SHE’S FRENCH!” is more than enough for me. That beret, those feathers, the little pixie bob halftime show wig (apart from that one strand that would not lie flat and remained spiked out of her head like a broken car antenna the whole time, a relatable flawed queen), the Brigitte Bardot mug, the Guadeloupe resort fantasy of her balls to the wall look…vive la france. I hope some designer is angling to use Nicky as their fashion plate very soon, if it can happen for Miss Fame then…


3. Gigi Goode

Gigi this week showing that she doesn’t need her mother to turn out impeccable looks as whilst her Heathers croquet look was obviously the pick of the bunch amongst her three outfits, the cute 60s pom pom gown was giving me Twiggy, but less boring, and was certainly better than the snakeskin…everything her mother wrapped her up in for the Basketball Wife look. I do kind of like the idea that Gigi is someone what at the mercy of her mother’s taste level on the runway to a degree – who can’t relate to being brought low by your mother’s love of an animalprint? The judges winner of the week, not mine, but hey at least the top three was right, and Jaida already won her half of the premiere so…spread the love around a bit, why not?


4. Jackie Cox

I feel like Jackie is the contestant where I’m most at odds with the general hivemind collective this week but…I thought she had a good week! The soft butch lacrosse look is slightly less well realised than Jaida’s basketball look was but it is 100% more CANADIAN, and I’m still smarting over Brooke’s Beautiful BC Beigeness getting robbed last year, so that’s only a good thing. Her Basketball Wives look was giving me Shahs Of The Sunset Strip mixed with late stage VH1 flavaverse contestant mixed with “on the front of the National Enquirer claiming to be Cher’s long lost daughter”. Her retro-futuristic self-constructed look maybe wasn’t the best, admittedly, but for a comedy queen this was a pretty good run of looks. Sadly, she didn’t really do much in the workroom beyond be only mildly patronising after last week’s “IN IMPROV WE SAY “YES AND”…METAPHORICALLY” tour de force, but she’s still right in the mix for me.


5. Crystal Method

The task for Crystal this week was to change her make-up, in order to appease Michelle, and good for her, she did it, whilst still retaining her essential Crystalness. The bowling alley look felt very John Waters and camp, the Basketball Wife look took probably the ugliest “brought from home” dress (…except maybe Brita’s), and elevated it to skag drag excellence via wanton overstyling, overacting, and general intentional ugliness, and her final self-constructed look took the “party clown”, “gift wrap”, “shapeless chic” vibe that she’s been hovering around for the last few weeks, and elevated it to Carmen Miranda levels of goofy fun. Did she get any credit from the judges for all this? Of course she didn’t, these episodes still have far too many queens in for that, but she’s on her way!


6. Heidi Nina Closet

Speaking of people who exceeded expectations, if Heidi hadn’t completely biffed her final look (I know what she was going for but it looked like the Borg had materialised in the middle of a Macy’s Window December Display and immediately got tangled up in all the christmas lights), the cheapest queen in the pack easily could have justified a top 3 placement for a ball challenge. Her truly vintage golfer look, complete with balls popping out of her mouth and hoo haa AND her Real Housewives Of Atlanta look were both definite toots, and she sold the wiggins out of both of them, both in person and in voiceover. AND she still gives the best talking heads out of everyone. AND her make-up is…well, it’s better. After a rough start, it really looks like Heidi could be in it for the long haul. So Ru probably better get over herself and stop refusing to say her name out loud. Who would have thought that Ru revealing she’s remorselessly pro-fracking would only be the second most off-putting thing she did all week?


7. Widow Von’Du

First of all please someone take the velour off Widow, I didn’t need to see an actual jockey look so soon after I joked about how her scary clown resembled one. Overall a quiet episode for the Widow. I loved her Machu Picchu inspired tent look, her drowning herself under fifty layers of white linens, less so. Hopefully another performance challenge next week lets her push her personality to the fore again.


8. Jan

Jan meanwhile definitely showed off her personality in this sporty episode as she revealed herself to be, in her own words, the Troy Bolton of drag, in that in high school she was a jock AND into musical theatre. Of course Troy Bolton was into basketball and singing not…well, soccer and being a drag queen, so Jan has a little way to go before hitting the same peak of masculinity as Zac Efron in the High School Musical Franchise, but if it was enough to put the bullies at his high school off picking on him for being a sissy, I guess that’s enough. In terms of looks this week, I wasn’t such a huge fan, although I guess all three looks did convey a certain Jan-ness. Actually choosing to turn up dressed AS a soccer ball? Jan. Making your own bag out of a ball and writing “Janel” on it (GET IT, IT’S LIKE CHANEL BUT WITH JAN!!!)? Jan. Spending so much time honing, refining, and perfecting on your make-up and hair that your “self-made” outfit is basically just a bra and a skirt? VERY JAN INDEED.


9. Sherry Pie

Pity the poor producer who chose Sherry to play the substitute Ru role for the episode – the queen who spends their time wandering the workroom asking all the other queens what they’re thinking, where their head’s at, what their ideas are. So much unuseable footage, even more than usual. I feel fairly confident in saying though that, bias against her aside, in this episode the cut-off point between “capable” and “unholy mess” sat pretty firmly between Jan and Sherry though. The Trunchbull dress was a nice idea not carried off particularly well, the halftime girl with the money gun looked alright, but pretty much entirely ignored the theme, and the less said about the slurry of moss and slime she put together for her self-constructed look the better.


10. Rock M. Sakura

Oh Rock. Poor sweet Rock. You knew that when she got her second tragic backstory segment in the space of three episodes (remembering the time a mean gay told him that, as an Asian, he wouldn’t have to put much effort into drag because Asian men are naturally feminine, and deciding that he’d show that mean gay by DOING THE MOST AT ALL TIME EVER) the writing was on the wall, but it is a bit surprising they put so much effort into giving a well-rounded prominent lovable edit to a second boot. Still, he went out in a blaze of glory, absolutely doing the most at all times. The actual giant tetherball that he attached to his head. That absolutely ridiculous padding for his second look. That final outfit, just a…mass of literally as many balls as Rock could stick onto one outfit, traipsing down the runway like the first life emerging from the sea and flolloping onto dry land. All absolutely hideous of course but I’m glad that Rock died as she lived, in a flurry of excess, and am sure that the fan outrage at her early departure will guarantee her a place on a future series, if she wants one. (Also well done to World Of Wonder initially submitting a version of this episode where Rock spent an entire runway coughing and spluttering and making jokes about looking like a deadly flu virus, between this and Sherry I can only envision the absolute carnage going in that editing suite, red lights flashing, klaxons going off, water gushing in through every porthole)


11. Brita

If there was one thing that was going to send Brita’s villain edit into overdrive it was sending Rock home, and my goodness it’s a beautiful thing to witness. That lip-sync for your life was just a masterclass in how to thoroughly win a lip-sync, but in the most villainous way possible. As if the (constant) moving to block the judges eyelines wasn’t enough, when Brita swooped in and picked up bits of Rock’s rapidly disintegrating dress to use as a prop? I gasped. Of course Rock wasn’t the primary target of Brita’s ire this episode (they actually apparently got on quite well), as she threw herself full force into a death feud with Aiden (after their mismatched energies on their improv team last week) which is amazing, because they couldn’t more obviously be the two queens clinging to the last life-raft and beating the crap out of one another to get be the one who dies second. Will their lip-sync face-off be next week or the week after, either way it’s clearly coming soon. Anyway, Brita’s looks this week? When she pulled that plushie baseball out of her own mouth like it was an unholy combo of marshmallow and used condom I felt a bit sick, and her Baseball Wife dress was incredibly ugly (KIM KARDASHIAN? KIM KARDASHIAN? MUGLER? THE MET GALA?!?!?! Not even ALEXIS MICHELLE would be this delusional) but…I have to admit I didn’t hate her pineapple dress. From a fancy dress point of view. It was the least bad one of the three looks she did. Is what I’m saying.



12. Aiden Zhane

My favo moment of the week?

Jan : oh cool, so you’re referencing a referee?
Aiden : huh?
Jan : because it’s black and white!
Aiden : buh?
Jan : referees wear black and white!
Aiden : what’s a referee?
Jan : I like sports!

As all-time iconic bad ball performances go, Aiden’s has to be up there. And then she wasn’t even in the bottom 3! Sure Shuga’s looks from last year probably just about have the edge in terms of sheer hideousness, but at least Suga was trying! Shuga wasn’t weirdly proud of the fact she finished before everyone else and then took a nap when her self-made dress was an ugly corset with dingleberries and a shit pleather hat! Also Shuga could walk! Mostly! I think Aiden was mostly and entirely saved here because she picked up a League Of Their Own dress at Party City and Michelle saw that it was a Madonna reference so gave her an automatic 10 points, there’s really no other explanation. Anyway, based on Untucked, now everyone is pretty much over Aiden and willing her demise, and I can’t wait.

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