As a person who spent many of his bubbly beverage drinking years in Buffalo, New York, I love love love that someone at Rupaul used the local vernacular as the central pun for the episode titled “Pop Goes The Queens.” In fairness, carbonated drinks are called pop throughout much of the country, but not in NY or LA, the two coastal burgs where five out of the six remaining queens are from. Even the departing queen was a New York City staple.
This week’s challenge was the marketing challenge. The seven queens had to write and edit(?) a 30-second spot for their own personal brand of soda pop. And many forgot that “brand” was the name of the game as neither the judges nor I could remember some of the product names mere seconds after seeing the ad. It was a controversial week, so let’s get right to one of the biggest acts of lip sync robbery of the last few seasons.
Sashay’d Away: Tina Burner (LW:6)
Nobody likes to go full CT, especially in these days of peak-conspiracy theory generation, but there’s no logic to who went home this week. Not gonna lie: I was very ready for the NYC comedy queen to go home. The affable Tina had never turned in a trainwreck, but her outfits were children’s costumes and she never fulfilled the frontrunner rep she had coming in. Even her sole Top 3 finish was for an unspectacular turn in the Disco episode.
However, this week, it was just not her time to go home. She did not have one of the worst two commercials, and her inventive hybrid rabbit(?) runway drag was the first time she showed any true adventure and the judges bizarrely tore it apart. Yet when there were two queens left on stage, she was one of them. Even then, she strait-up hopped rings around Utica “How Is She Still Here?!?!?!?!?!” Queen to “My Humps” in the lip sync. It was clear Utica was going to be told to sashay. However, RuPaul waved goodbye to Tina. I have to wonder if RuPaul thought Tina was trying to coast to the final episode on a sea of safes, or if there was something else weird at play. In any case, she was already pretty much out of the running for the 100k so we’ll move on
6. Utica Queen [12:1] (LW:7)
We’ll give the quirky Minnesota queen one thing: she brings the WTF! every week. On the plus side, her manic sales pitch of a lickable soda can, cow udder drinking and all, was much less off-putting than her baffling take on late national treasure Bob Ross as a paint eating boob (oral fixation much?)–I’m still fighting visions of murderous happy little trees tearing me to pieces every time I close my eyes.
However, it wasn’t even a clear bottom two performance. And her runway was both traditional and risk-taking and subtly beautiful. In any case, into the lip sync she went and after a solid, but hardly special performance, it seemed obvious that the Rasputin of season 13 was slain by a killing-it Tina Burner. However, Utica lives to weird another day. I could see her lasting another week if Kandy Muse is in the bottom with her. I have a hard time seeing her beat Olivia given the lip sync is for your life. However, she’s way too far behind the other three that one of them would have to lie motionless during a song to be sent home in favor of Utica. That would be one hell of a scene, though.
5. Kandy Muse [10:1] (LW:5)
I adore Kandy Muse. I enjoy her antics. I find her endlessly funny. I just don’t get her or the judges reaction to her. Admittedly, I’m not the show’s target market, but still, here we are. After a soda ad where her timing just seemed odd, she wore a green wetsuit in front of Michelle Visage and she still wound up in the top three. Ok, it was partially because of the two greatest words in the English language: default. There were four disastrous ads propping her up.
She’s made it amazingly far after her Rusical reprieve, but it’s hard to see her winning the whole thing. She could sneak into the fourth spot, especially if she lucks out and two of the three near-locks wind up in the bottom one week. However, she has yet to have a week where she amazed. But the judges love her, and it’s hard to root against her (especially since she reminds me of numerous people i went to school with in Washington Heights and the Bronx).
4. Olivia Lux [8:1] (LW:3)
Just three weeks ago she was the dark horse favorite. It now seems like forever since Olivia Lux was on a mid-season roll. It appeared that the cheery neophyte queen who, while a piano bar mainstay, just started doing serious drag less than two years ago, could do no wrong. In fact, I’m pretty sure we called her “unbeatable” but we’re pretty clear we don’t know what we’re talking about.
It will take a lot of grit to pull out of this nosedive, but she’s been indefatigable so far even during three weeks of mis-steps. She’s still probably the odds-on favorite to pull the last spot on the finale, but she would have to pitch two perfect games of drag to put her back on the path where she could win the whole thing. There’s still a sliver of light in her season 13 championship, but it’s dimming fast. I’m calling it now, though. She’ll find herself a spot on the wall of fame as the champion of RuPaul’s All-Stars 7.
3. Gottmik [7:2] (LW:2)
While I’ve never been quite as hyped on Gottmik as the judges–her drag is sometimes more gimmicky than edgy–she has rarely showed a true flaw in her armor. That was until this week when her utterly confusing soda ad where even the product name was 34 words long put her in the bottom. That she didn’t have to lip sync was likely a combination of her freakily fun Pan’s Labyrinth-esque runway outfit and that her report card to date warranted her getting away with just a warning.
We doubt she’ll slip again before the final, but anything could happen and the road got a little bit tougher for her as Symone just is not messing around right now.
2. Rosé [3:1] (LW:4)
Maybe Tina Burner should not have questioned Rosé’s comedy chops. The NYC musical queen has displayed her versatility all season. She’d probably even be a lip sync assassin, but she’s never found herself in the bottom two. In fairness, she did lose her only lip sync in that dumb Pork Chop week, but let’s never speak about that RuPaul shortcut again. She’s only even missed the top twice in 10 challenges.
So, here we are, Tina’s home, Rosé earned her second win and you have to consider her a cinch for the final four and a contender for the top, although that’s still a long shot, because her competition includes…
1. Symone [3:2] (LW:1)
Since finding herself lip syncing for her life four weeks ago, the early front-runner has been leaving everything on the floor. This week, she was raucoulsy funny in her simple-but-effective promotional campaign, and she made me almost understand what motivates furries in her freaky fox on the runway outfit. We don’t want to Monsoon her, but we have a hard time seeing how she loses. In fact, we’ve run 14,000,000 simulations and only one scenario led to her loss (oddly enough in that timeline, the crown went to ’80s one-hit wonders Dexy’s Midnight Runners).
Stranger things have happend, but right now season 13 is Symone’s drag race to lose.