Now the games have truly begun! All 13 queens have come together to find America's Next Drag Superstar on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 3.
The introductions have been made and they've left some impressions; we've assessed their talents and picked out the favorites. But, with "World's Worst," this is where the queens start using their skills where it counts.
It's only eliminations from here on out. And the filler queens seem to be the first go.
First impressions count on any reality TV show, especially when there's a team or elimination component. You want to make yourself look the best compared to others so that you'll be valued and kept around.
The queens from Batch A on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 1 knew when to sit back and listen. Their silent observation was the right call to make.
The remaining queens spilled all the secrets, all the skills, and all the weaknesses that transpired during their premiere.
Why give up the information so quickly? It didn't help anyone to know who fought and who did the best. And it only heightened the slight divide between them.
If this were RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars, they would've given the others a reason to vote them out. Luckily for them, it's not and it's only Werk Room gossip.
Drag Race knew exactly what they were doing by separating the queens in the premiere and highlighting both sides of the divide. It's a subtle move that creates a bit of tension and causes them to judge one another quickly.
Case in point: the Top & Bottom Mini Challenge!
Any challenge that requires someone to rank anyone from best to worst (or strongest to weakest) is a surefire way to create drama. And, it's a visible representation of where someone thinks you stand in the competition.
Jaida Essence Hall and Widow Von'Du didn't hold back when they were shifting the queens around. You could feel the shade as each queen was pulled and bumped down the line. The "shade rattle" background music could've been used plenty here.
RuPaul: Now ladies, for today’s Mini Challenge, it’s time for a queer peer assessment. Widow Von’Du and Jaida Essence Hall, please step forward. You each won your premiere episodes; now based on your first impressions, I want you to line up the queens you just met from top to bottom. From who you think is your strongest competitor to who you think is your weakest competitor.
Jaida Essence Hall: [Confessional] Shaaaddy boots. Shady boots!
RuPaul: Ladies, it’s not personal. It’s just drag.
Aidan Zhane ending up in the bottom wasn't surprising due to her performance and what she discussed during RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 2. She gave them enough fodder to underestimate her as a competitive threat.
Heidi N Closet, on the other hand, is going to show them up!
Once Jaida moved her to the end, her movement had to be based on the aesthetic alone. She didn't know about Heidi's performance talent yet. The rest of the queens are going to be shocked when Heidi brings it all out.
For the Maxi Challenge (a parody of American Idol/America's Got Talent, but looking for the worst talent), picking the right role is a must.
There have been plenty of seasons where queens were sent home because they didn't get a standout part or one that worked for them. Like, Mercedes Iman Diamond on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11 and Latrice Royale on RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars Season 4.
Nicky Doll should've fought harder to break out of the "sexy" role within her group.
It's an easy theme for her since she naturally exudes sexiness. However, the sexy trope didn't give her much room to play with and expand in the group. It's a big difference compared to Rock M. Sakura.
The role of orange wasn't strong enough on its own, but she tried her best to add something to it. That little extra bit of personality does wonders to standout in a group and impress the judges.
Out of all the groups, the Del Rio Triplets (Heidi N Closet, Gigi Goode, and Jackie Cox) was the strongest.
Their performance had a fully fleshed-out concept where each character had a strong presence and a moment to shine. Sure, Gigi Goode did a Weekend at Bernie's parody and was comatose throughout it all, but her body humor added so much to the bit!
RuPaul: Have any of you done improv before?
Heidi N Closer: [Speaking of herself] She has done improv in the bedroom.
RuPaul: Oh my god, you are a character. You are a char-ac-ter!
[They all laugh]
Jackie Cox took control as the makeshift leader and heightened Gigi's performance. But, it was Heidi who shined the best through her comedy and dancing.
I'm shocked that Heidi didn't win the round based on her performance and her runway look. (Seriously, it's jaw-dropping!)
Sherry Pie did an alright job, but Heidi was the breakout superstar of the round. This could be due to editing changes; though, the narrative seemed to support a Heidi win.
The remaining three groups varied since they had a mix of strong and weak players. Some naturally shined with personality and comedy (i.e. Jaida, Widow, Jan) while others faded in the background (i.e. Nicky, Crystal, Dahlia).
The Fruity Patooties could've had a strong showing if their concept was defined. Until Jaida entered as the bad apple, the tone was mellow and one-note.
Plus, Dahlia's lack of energy didn't help to make herself stand out in the big group. Being the broccoli in a fruit group already hindered her since it showed she didn't fit in; with her off-beat energy, she brought down the momentum.
Brita: What do you think of those girls? Do you know any of those girls?
Heidi N Closet: No, I don’t know anybody. We’re sending them home, though. “Team Talent,” my a**.
The same goes for the girl scout troop performance. Widow brought as much humor as she could, but with a weak concept and weaker character archetypes, Crystal and Nicky faded into the background.
The three girls with one mind bit (Aidan Zhane, Brita, and Sherry Pie) was an average performance.
Repeating each other was fun at first, but it got old real quick. They did the best they could, and compared to the rest of the group, the trio balanced each other out.
They started at a "safe" or "above average" level heading into the runway phase.
I wish we had gotten more scenes of Aidan working in a group with Brita and Sherry.
At the mirror moment, hearing both Brita and Sherry confidently state that they carried Aidan and led the group was surprising. We didn't get any context into how they took over the challenge and had they fixed her mess.
This could've been a case of them naturally underestimating her and assuming control since she's weaker.
Part of the lack of scenes might stem from the recent Sherry Pie catfishing/sexual assault accusations.
RuPaul's Drag Race could be editing out more scenes involving Sherry to minimize her appearance. Her disqualification is reducing her presence significantly, which I agree with since this is a serious matter that involves many ongoing updates and affected people in the real world.
The runway of "Bows and Buttons" is a fun and whimsical theme. The queens and their designers let out their creative side, with some of the outfits being inspired by fairytale characters and cutesy animals/items.
My favorites of the round include Rock M. Sakura, Jan, Heidi N Closet, Sherry, Gigi Goode, and Brita.
Anything spooky and fairytale wins me over, like Rock/Jan/Heidi's outfits. This also includes Sherry's reference to Coraline.
But, Gigi's outfit was so creative with an overlay of all the buttons; it's a very simple yet high-fashion look.
Brita's Polly Pocket/Elle Woods-inspired outfit had a fun pink touch that utilized the bows to look particularly girly and upbeat. The fashion skills this season are emerging stronger than ever!
Now that the elimination rounds have started, the judges are getting more critical. I called it during last week's review that the tone was going to change and Michelle Visage wasn't going to be so easygoing anymore!
Crystal's makeup is going to be a problem for her in the competition.
Whereas Biana Del Rio and Trixie Mattel were able to adapt their makeup skills, I don't think Crystal will be as lucky. Her aesthetic is bigger and clownish. That effect will be lost once she changes it up.
Olivia Munn: Until one day I realized, “What is the one thing I have that no one else has? And that’s me.” And you really have such a fun energy that no one else has. That will make the difference for you, not the amount of makeup you put on.
Crystal Methyd: Thank you.
Mark my words: once Crystal Methyd changes up her makeup style, she will be eliminated!
Dahlia Sin, on the other hand, faded too much into the background. She tried too hard to exude her sexy image that she didn't bring much else to the table. The judges are looking for a more well-rounded queen that brings everything to the table.
The lipsync of "Problem" by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea fell flat.
Both Dahlia Sin and Nicky Doll stayed mostly one-note throughout the performance. Even after the beat rose and gave them every opportunity to land it hard, they stayed within the same level. There was no show and excitement to pull us in.
Let's face it: Dahlia forgot her words and put in half the effort.
Nicky Doll kept up with Dahlia, but she delivered on mouthing the lyrics and tried a sexier version of the song. Dahlia did the same sexy theme, but she missed some words and, energy-wise, gave up half-way through. It's not surprising that Nicky Doll won the lipsync.
Though, Dahlia storming off-stage without an exit line was shocking! She was done. (Point, blank, and the period.)
Did you notice Mama Ru's expression? She wasn't happy about the lack of respect. Dahlia won't be coming back any time soon.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Olivia Munn did great as a guest judge. Her advice to Crystal Methyd was impactful and something that could help her, as well as all the queens, in the long run.
Why wasn't Charo a guest judge too? Did her schedule not lineup after the challenge?
The donation to The Trevor Project was a good move by RuPaul's Drag Race. They can't take back what happened during the season since it was filmed in 2019, but them donating an equal sum of the weekly prize money showed that they're recognizing what happened.
- Heidi N Closet's fake teeth flying out of her mouth needs to be GIF ASAP.
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "World's Worst"?
Will Aidan Zhane prove to the others that she is a threat? Will Crystal Methyd heed Michelle's warning? Was Heidi robbed of her win?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.