The musical (or "rusical," as Drag Race puts it) is a fundamental challenge.
Dancing, singing, acting, the queens have to prove they're a triple threat on the main stage. And with a social media-themed rusical on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13 Episode 8, the queens felt the pressure more than ever to shine and define their characters.
In particular, certain queens felt the tension more than ever for what it meant to get a starring role. (Looking at you, Denali!)
Denali's journey through "Social Media The Unverified Rusical" is the classic case of the inner saboteur.
Her biggest enemy was herself because she kept doubting her drag ability and putting too much stock into getting ignored by the judges. Denali is a fierce queen and can serve it when ready!
I agree she should've been at the top during RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13 Episode 7. And her edit this round started like she was poised to be ignored yet again. (That's a boiling pot of true tea, honey.)
Olivia Lux: How do the other girls feel just being safe this week?
Rosé: I’m a little up and down tonight. Like, I’m still a little confused, but I’m very proud of what I did.
Denali: I’m mad!
Losing her audition to Rosé could've been the nail in her coffin had she not found the confidence in herself. And, a pep talk from Anne Hathaway didn't hurt either!
Denali served it during the rusical and shined in her role as the Russian bot. Matching this type of confidence and star quality could propel her far into the competition.
The same goes for Gottmik and her performance during the Maxi Challenge.
Gottmik, as the second Russian bot, did an amazing job! She brought punk energy with a mix of "Boris & Natasha" vibe to the main stage. She matched Denali's steps, and even more importantly, she had a blast.
Whenever a queen can shake off the uncertainty and have fun, it usually spells success in the round.
The earlier rehearsal with Jamal Simms didn't show much confidence in her viewers' odds, but her "fakeout edit" pleasantly surprised us. Gottmik (or even Denali) could've won had Rosé not killed it all around.
Speaking of Rosé, she ate this round-up like it was no one's business! It's great whenever a queen wins a challenge that specializes in their passion.
Jan lost the Madonna rusical during RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 7, but Rosé's win here feels like a justified redemption for that travesty.
Rosé brought a great mix of comedy and sexiness to her role as Foxy. She matched the steps beat-for-beat, she played well off of Olivia Lux, and she gave the fun, cheeky moments that RuPaul loves to laugh about.
Plus, her runway inspiration as The Mask made me smile because it was a stylish pop-culture nod that looked great on the runway. (We'll get into the runway outfits in a bit.)
The social media-themed rusical as a whole was a fun and campy show. Though, compared to past rusicals, it falls somewhere in the high-middle.
The rusical had plenty of musical parodies and references, like from Chicago and "Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl. If you're a theater buff (or casual fan), you'd have moments to smile over the clever nods.
I NEED a Russian bob moment!Gottmik
More than half of the queens left their marks in their roles. In addition to Denali, Gottmik, and Rosé mentioned above, Olivia Lux, Utica, Elliott with 2 Ts, and Tina Burner all did a good job.
Olivia performed strongly in her lead role with her singing, dancing, and acting. Shockingly, she didn't end up in the top again; Olivia may have been the fourth-highest spot since the Top 3 were REALLY strong.
Utica and Elliott both had decent performances. Neither stole the show, but they weren't bad. They fell squarely in the middle due to their safe performances.
Tina Burner ending up in the bottom three might be a case of splitting hairs.
Was she terrible? No, she served a good performance and hit her vocals/dance moves. Did she make some questionable choices that worked against her? Absolutely!
The judges zoned in on her for not finishing that lip-sync before her death scene. The decision seemed like an artistic choice, but the move felt out of place with everything going on around her. She could've done something else to land the laughs instead of not lip-syncing.
It's not a world-ending moment like how the judges made it seem, but if Symone and Kandy Muse hadn't bombed during the rusical, Tina would've landed at the bottom.
One bad decision can sometimes ruin everything.
The "Yellow, Gorgeous!" runway was fun, upbeat, and playful. Maybe it was the color that brought up everyone's spirits?
The runway had an interesting mix of campy ensembles and chic gowns. Tina Burner, Symone, Kandy Muse, Elliott with 2 Ts, Rosé, and Gottmik were the round's favorite looks.
Both Tina and Elliott dressed as fashionable taxi cabs, and while Elliott's outfit was arguably better in the pair, both looks were fitted and stylish. Symone matched her consistent trend of wearing deconstructed looks and coming out on stage serving flawless skin. And Gottmik kept her trend going of creative ideas that are fitted to her body.
Kandy Muse and Rosé both brought pop culture references that worked for the theme.
Beyoncé's Lemonade and her yellow outfit are iconic! Jim Carrey's The Mask is iconic! Both queens hit the mark with their inspirations.
Though, Kandy Muse and Symone ending up at the bottom two was the right call. Their runways couldn't make up for the terrible performances they gave during the Maxi Challenge.
Did anyone else see the cringe looks coming from the judging panel?
Symone couldn't serve fierceness during her singing and dance numbers, and Kandy was too messy in her outfit/wig. Neither brought the polish or fire that was needed to make it far in this challenge.
Gottmik: She’s so cute.
Symone: Not a mean bone in her f****** body.
Utica Queen: Oh, you want a mean bone? I can’t believe she won with that hairline. [Points to Olivia Lux]
Utica Queen: [In confessional] Come on, edges girl!
Kandy has had an ongoing problem with being a polished queen, so her results weren't too surprising. But Symone?! Her tumble this round was a sharp downward fall.
She should hope there aren't any other singing or dancing challenges soon.
The lip-sync of "BO$$" by Fifth Harmony being a double save wasn't surprising.
Firstly, both Kandy Muse and Symone ended up at the bottom; it's no secret both queens are favorites of RuPaul. The biggest key was how hard they served it during the lip-sync and the reaction from the other queens.
Both Symone and Kandy brought it on the main stage!
[In confessional] I 100% chose Denali to f*** with Rosé’s brain.Tina Burner
The song was made for an epic lip-sync, and the pair easily flowed into the rhythm of the track. Once the judges were laughing at the comedic moments, the outcome was set in stone.
Though, RuPaul had me fooled with the elimination and surprise save of Kandy Muse. Sometimes Drag Race knows how to pull the wool over our eyes. It's not a big twist, but the conviction for the reveal until the final moments hit its mark.
I tip my hat to you, Drag Race!
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Could you imagine if RuPaul's Drag Race UK judge Graham Norton came to guest judge? Tina Burner's and the queens' heads would be spinning.
Denali and Rosé battling it out for the role felt like two BFFs fighting over a boy. It's so much drama, but it's sad to see.
Kandy post-filming will be in a better spot than the other queens. She knows how to deal with trolls and rude fans online from the Drag Race community.
Utica has a real shot at winning Miss Congeniality.
- Tina Burner keeps referencing that Olivia Lux is secretly shady. Is this a foreshadowing for a villain edit later on?
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "Social Media The Unverified Rusical"?
Are you happy with the double save? Which queen shined brightest during the musical? Who do you think is the next queen to get the cut?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.