Strike a pose! Madonna is in the house on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 7. (Well, more like drag impersonations of Madonna.)
The latest Rusical captured the life and superstardom of the queen of pop. Dancing, lipsyncing, and personality are the keys to win this challenge. But, the latest twist with these Rusicals seems to be including vocals from the queens themselves.
And based on the final product, the queens of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 aren't great singers. The fierceness and drama were there, but this is one skill off the list.
Speaking of drama, the queens carried over their animosity built up during RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 6.
Look, this isn't RuPaul's Best Friend Race. This is a competition, and when the queens finally realize that, the game flips a switch and the queens get more competitive/cutthroat.
Friendship and love are still present, but they have their eyes on the prize more.
Heidi N Closet and Widow Von'Du let it be known that they were offended during the events of Untucked. The queens hurt their feelings, and just like Jasmine Masters, they had something to say about it.
Gigi Goode: Listen, Heidi, I …
Gigi Goode: Go ahead.
Heidi N Closet: I never said I didn’t know why I was in the bottom.
Gigi Goode: I really respect you and what you do.
Heidi N Closet: I respect you, but I lost some respect for you today.
Gigi Goode: Ok. Well, I’ve spoken my peace.
Nothing Gigi Goode could say would change Heidi's opinion.
Though, while I understand where Heidi was coming from, she did act like the victim. Gigi didn't come for Heidi and her aesthetic directly; it was a conversation that spiraled.
Gigi said what she said about Heidi's makeup and they need to move on.
Regarding Widow, her animosity with Jackie Cox might be a plot that develops throughout their time in the competition. Did you notice the number of shade rattles that popped up in their confessionals?
The editing set the stage for them gloating whenever the other flubbed and misstepped during the performance.
Between the two, Jackie has a tighter lip and is playing the professional game. The editors only had light comments and eye looks to fuel the narrative from her.
Widow, on the other hand, had the soundbites that fueled the fire and gave us life!
Widow Von’Du: [In confessional] Y’all know what time it is, ‘cause I do: it’s time to learn this cho-re-og-ra-phy! So, the b****** that were like “I’m a singer!” … well, guess what b****, I’m a dancer!”
This is one of the reasons why we should all be thankful for Widow Von'Du being around. She speaks her mind, enjoys the drama, and has a smile with her shade.
The entire plot was a full Petty Betty moment than being nasty or shady. It was tongue-in-cheek reality TV drama; not like the uncomfortable drama of "Brita coming for Aiden Zhane" type of shade.
A Madonna-inspired musical was the perfect choice for the Maxi Challenge.
Madonna is an icon! And, she's had different transformations throughout her career, so the queens would look aesthetically different from one another.
It's the same as the Cher musical from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 Episode 8. Various vibes, outfits, and musical styles.
[In confessional] Brita, you really just had to fight Gigi for this Cone Bra Madonna and you were in the bottom two last week, so you really got to step up your Madonna p**** now, girl!Heidi N Closet
In hindsight, Gigi Goode benefitted tremendously from Brita digging her heels in the ground and refusing to give up Cone Bra Madonna.
No one wanted to be Unapologetic Madonna, but based on the performance, that role had the biggest spotlight and the look that won over the judges. The leftovers worked out in her favor; it's like when the smallest roles in the Rusicals get the biggest laughs or iconic lines.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache as Oprah during RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11 Episode 4 comes to mind. If Brita had agreed to switch, everything would've changed.
The problem with RuPaul's Drag Race is that their judging is unclear, biased, and skewed. If they like a particular queen, they'll throw out any of the requirements that would've nabbed a win for another to justify raising someone.
And when challenges have multiple skills needed (i.e. singing, dancing, acting, fashion, personality), the priorities of what is valued gets shifted for each queen.
Based on the rehearsals, Jan excelled head-to-tails over all of her competition in the singing and dancing parts. Sure, she went to a musical theater school and had the experience already, but this Maxi Challenge was something in her wheelhouse.
Even Michelle Visage complimented her in rehearsals for the work she was putting in.
In the dancing department, Widow Von'Du and Heidi N Closet shined during their choreography rehearsals. They had the dancing skills to back it up.
The editing was prepping us as viewers for their breakthrough moments.
Furthermore, the edit highlighted all the missteps from the frontrunners, like Jackie Cox, Gigi Goode, Jaida Essence Hall, and Crystal Methyd.
Jaida overcame her initial poor vocal recording, so I expected she'd end up in the "safe" category. The others, on the other hand, seemed like they were struggling hard and couldn't land a note/step.
This is a case of the diversion edit. (I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.)
The editing faulted some queens to build up an arc where they later shined during the performance. They had their "overcoming it" moment to get out of their heads and dominate the song like a seasoned natural.
Gigi and Crystal benefitted from this arc the most. Gigi's lack of confidence with her singing/dancing and Crystal's poor singing didn't come up once during the judging panel. All that mattered was what was shown on the stage.
They killed it during their parts, so it was irrelevant in the judges' eyes. And that's not to say they didn't deserve it.
Gigi's and Crystal's performances were fun and had the Madonna flair!
Though, based on the Madonna Rusical overall (and the runway), Jan should've won this Maxi Challenge.
Her Early Madonna role had the best singing, it had the most amount of choreography (that she aced perfectly), and she gave plenty of fun humor that captured that time in Madonna's life.
Plus, her Michelle Visage look on the runway was incredible! The flight attendant outfit was stylish, detailed, and she looked exactly like the judge.
Jan had this challenge in the bag. It's shocking that she didn't win.
This goes back to my critique above about the skewed nature of the judging.
The performances weren't equal to each other. Some queens had lots of dancing/singing while others got a few lines and minimal guided steps. (Seriously, Sherry Pie stood at a microphone for her set!)
Gigi did a great job with her number and showcased her Unapologetic Madonna. But, she had more help from back-up dancers and did a backflip (that she's already shown she's strong in).
Plus, her Michelle Visage runway outfit was two pieces of bikini fabric and long pink nails. If anyone else tried it, they would've been read the house down.
It seemed more like a second-place than dominating first.
The judges have their favorites. RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 has become a tad predictable.
Based on what has happened so far, I can make a strong prediction that Gigi Goode, Jaida Essence Hall, Jackie Cox, and Sherry Pie will make it to the end. All the challenge wins might float between these four. (Though, with Sherry's disqualification due to catfishing and fraud allegations, that opens it up at the end.)
Let's hope that something shakes up the game because the season is heading down a very formulaic path.
For the "Night of a Thousand Michelle Visages" runway, the top looks were Jan, Jackie Cox, Jaida Essence Hall, Crystal Methyd, and Sherry Pie.
The ensembles had strong attention to detail and their makeup looks were flawless. If Jaida's Madonna performance had been stronger, her Michelle Visage "Icon" look would've pushed her into the top. It was that good!
RuPaul: I need to remind you that this is a mother of two. A mother … of two.
[All the judges laugh]
Michelle Visage: Two breasts.
Crystal dominates with red, and Jackie captured the full essence of Michelle Visage with her look. From the nails to the corset to the hair, the outfit is the epitome of Michelle.
That look helped her avoid ended up in the bottom two. Though, it was Brita's and Heidi N Closet's night to be in the bottom.
Heidi's aesthetic has become a major plot point for her time on Drag Race. She's either lacking with her ensemble or her makeup isn't hitting where it should be.
Both areas were a struggle during her Michelle Visage runway. The outfit/hair was a bit too simple, and her makeup was too pale. When the light hit her straight on, she looked like a ghost.
Heidi N Closet might be a case of someone refining their drag look once they leave RuPaul's Drag Race.
Just like Chi Chi DeVayne, Aja, and Monique Heart, the extra time of viewing themself on TV and the funds of working will go into their drag look. She'll polish her look and come back stronger than ever.
Heidi's future might be in an appearance on RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars.
Brita, on the other hand, went too much into her head.
The Madonna performance wasn't that strong; she flubbed a few lines and steps from the choreography. And, if the judges start nitpicking small details like earrings, you know that the queen is ending up in the bottom.
They were finding any reason to further push the slide, in addition to her challenge performance.
Her earrings aren't the main reason why Brita had to lipsync for her life a third time. It was Brita's time.
Not many queens survive the third lipsync; it takes a complete mess from the other performer or personal preference from RuPaul if they make it through.
Once Brita ended up in the bottom, it was pretty much a given that she was heading home.
"Burning Up" by Madonna as the lipsync song was a good choice since it's upbeat and fun. Both Brita and Heidi utilizing an energetic and comedic number matched their styles beat for beat.
Overall, the lipsync was average.
No wow moment to hook us in. No iconic decision that will make this a standout in the future. It's a simple number that delivered an expected outcome.
Come on! Where are the performances?! I'm ready for two lipsync juggernauts to fight it out.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Who else eye-rolled when Brita and the other queens talked so nice about Aiden Zhane after her elimination? Widow Von'Du was right about the changing script. Didn't they all just spend weeks talking trash about her?
Crystal Methyd's and Heidi N Closet's mirror moments were heartbreaking and raw.
Jackie Cox's attempt at sexy dancing needs to be a GIF.
- The trailer for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 8 looked so shady for Jan. Of course, she'd be heartbroken that she lost the musical challenge; the edit was the shadiest queen of the round.
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical"?
Will Jan ever win a challenge? Is Gigi Goode destined for another win? How will tensions develop between Widow Von'Du and Jackie Cox?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.