The DragCon panel has become a challenge that needs to return in the future.
On RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 9, the queens thrived in having deep discussions that went beyond gimmicks. Sometimes these serious notes balance out the campy and wacky rounds. (And it's much better formatted than the tedious spoken word task on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 6 Episode 11.)
Simple. Grounded. Heartwarming. A strong week for the competition overall.
Before we get into the seriousness of "Menzeses," the campiness of the Mini Challenge balanced out the tone.
You can't have a Drag Race episode without something outrageous happening. Case in point: quick drag challenges.
RuPaul: Can you bend those legs behind your head?
[Lady Camden stretches and puts her legs behind her head]
Lady Camden: Apparently, I can!
Quick drag is so fun and light-hearted that you can't take it seriously at all.
The photobombing twist is a staple on Drag Race, and it works every time. The Mini Challenge this time around was no exception; nearly all of the queens made me laugh and brought RuPaul to a laughing fit.
Willow Pill, Lady Camden, and Angeria Paris VanMichaels can serve a move!
By winning the Mini Challenge, Willow Pill got the power to select her team for the DragCon panels. She made the right call with her strategy of who she picked.
DeJa Skye, Lady Camden, and Angeria all seemed like grounded and level-headed queens who could hold a conversation and meet the tone needed. Plus, they're all funny and work well in groups.
If I were her, I would've followed her direction by picking a team with solid charisma and presenting skills.
Sure, Bosco won the Maxi Challenge, but Team #1 would've had the best score overall. Part of that win came from who was in their group; those decisions for a winning team start right at the team selection.
And we can't ignore how the members of Team #2 played a part in their issues.
Jorgeous isn't the strongest actor in the Werk Room, and she has a hard time showing her confidence in challenges. Putting her on the spot to keep a panel conversation going would be a big hurdle for her.
Jasmine Kennedie and Daya Betty, on the other hand, have issues with working together. Jasmine talks a lot, but Daya gets mean when she gets too competitive. Both queens working together would be like walking on eggshells.
It was a potential recipe for disaster.
Out of the two DragCon panels, Team #1 had the best panel (as mentioned above).
They were succinct, gave plenty of jokes, and tied their personal experiences to the topics in a genuine way. And, the group felt like a natural conversation that would happen between them at a panel.
DeJa, Willow, Angeria, and Lady Camden should consider teaming up again. All four came out looking strong based on how well they gelled as a group.
[In confessional] I have to say, I have observed Daya’s face. She doesn’t seem…the most excited…with the people on her team.DeJa Skye
Team #2's issues, on the other hand, stumbled due to their ongoing issues. Like, Jorgeous stumbled over her words, and Jasmine couldn't frame her words in a succinct-yet-powerful way.
Luckily, Bosco saved the day with her moderating skills. She needs to join a panel, a podcast, or a talk show because she killed it! Bosco was made for a discussion platform; her framing salvaged their performance and made it into a functioning panel.
For the "Shoulder Pads" runway, DeJa Skye, Willow Pill, Angeria Paris VanMichaels, Bosco, and Jasmine Kennedie had the Top 5 best looks.
Willow's and Bosco's futuristic ensembles were stunning and chic. Granted, Willow didn't have any shoulder pads, but the spikey hair and diamond pinstripe suit looked flawless on the runway.
Any hole is a goal.RuPaul
Bosco's Blade Runner-inspired outfit screamed fashion! The simplicity of the metallic bra and the yellow coat made her feel like a sci-fi heroine. She served the main hero energy.
Jasmine's neon yellow jumpsuit was another simple look that worked for her. I liked how she paired the bright neon with jet black hair and black makeup palette; the color palette made the outfit become the star.
Angeria's and DeJa's ensembles, on the other hand, were both showstopping numbers.
Houndstooth isn't an easy pattern to wear, but Angeria's Lady Gaga-inspired queen dress made her exude avante-garde energy. She had the type of outfit that could be used for a performance or used as a work of art.
DeJa's Chanel pantsuit was the look that hit the runway's theme right on the money.
DeJa had the biggest shoulders; this runway's entire gimmick was about shoulder pads. Surprisingly, those shoulders didn't snatch her the win.
Speaking of DeJa, "Menzeses" ended up with two big questions that could split fans. The first: did Bosco deserve to win over DeJa?
Bosco did a stellar job during the DragCon panel, and she had a fashionable look on the runway that I love. However, RuPaul and the judges read her for her simple ensemble. Meanwhile, DeJa had a strong performance as the moderator, and she was praised for hitting the runway theme out of the park.
It's hard to tell how RuPaul scores her challenges. In this case, it seemed like she rated the DragCon panel higher than the runway.
DeJa not winning was a big surprise because her edit had been set up for a possible win. Bosco did a great job, so the win went to an equally strong competitor. Their battle was a tight race.
The second question came from the lip-sync outcome: did this performance deserve to be a Double Shantay?
The lip-sync of "Something's Got A Hold On Me" by Etta James was upbeat, fun, and brought classic Drag Race lip-sync excellence. Nothing outlandish or cringe-worthy, but a solid lip-sync where Jasmine Kennedie and Jorgeous gave us the moves and attitude to match the lyrics.
Emote! Through your face, not your ass.RuPaul
Though, if we had to pick a winner, Jasmine Kennedie served it harder.
She felt the lyrics and showed face to the judges. Plus, her trick of the descending split was the kind of move that would seal a lip-sync victory. Jorgeous did a great job working the stage and bringing the lyrics, but it wasn't a performance that cemented a Double Shantay.
Maybe we had to be there to get the full effect? The lip-sync was a solid number, and both queens staying was a welcomed reveal after this long-awaited battle. Not a bad outcome.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Daya Betty needs to watch her facial expressions. Sometimes you're going to work with people you don't like. She's not hiding it or holding her words anymore; that's going to cause a lot of drama.
Willow Pill's zingers during the panel were both cutting and subtle.
- RuPaul is being more direct with her feedback during the walkthroughs. I liked this decision because it gave the queens needed advice and set them on a path to fixing their issues.
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans.
What did you think of "Menzeses"?
What was your favorite DragCon panel? Were you surprised it was a Double Shantay? Who had the best runway?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.