The 12th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” kicked off on February 28th by introducing half of the new contestants vying for the crown and title of America’s next drag superstar. Emmy champ RuPaul Charles was on deck, as always, to host and lead a judges’ panel that included series star Michelle Visage, rotating judge Carson Kressley and guest judge Nicki Minaj. In Friday’s second part of the premiere we met the second batch of queens who all walked in a total of three runway shows and performed an original Fosse-inspired musical number to be judged by RuPaul, Michelle, rotating judge Ross Mathews, and guest judges Thandie Newton and Robyn.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 12, Episode 2 to find out what happened on March 6, beginning at 8/7c. After reading our thoughts on the episode, be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite queens on VH1’s reality TV show, who annoys you the most, and who you think will ultimately join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.
7:59 p.m. – Last week we met the first batch of S12 queens: Brita, Nicky Doll, Jackie Cox and Heidi N Closet made their own early mark on the season, but it was Gigi Goode and Widow Von’Du that were named the top 2 after the first challenge and runway. After strong performances by both of them in the lip sync to Nicki’s “Starships,” Widow came out on top to become the season’s first weekly champ. Which of the six girls in the second batch of queens will snatch that accolade for herself? Let’s meet them!
8:00 p.m. – Before the episode, VH1 posted a disclaimer to address the public statement made earlier in the day by contestant Sherry Pie when accusations of catfishing surfaced. In the allegations, Sherry misled a number of men to believe she was a casting director for upcoming projects and asked them to perform humiliating and degrading sexual acts on camera. Sherry owned the behavior and apologized for it, and VH1 and the production staff of the show made the decision to disqualify her from the crown and rescind her invitation to appear on the grand finale, while vowing to air the season as originally intended out of respect for the other contestants and the crew of the show.
8:02 p.m. – Rock M. Sakura was the first queen to enter the workroom this week, feeling her anime and manga-inspired aesthetic all over the furniture before noticing that the previous group of girls wrote on “We done already done had ourses” on the mirror, alerting her to the fact that she isn’t as alone as she thought. Dahlia Sin entered shortly after, noting her bloodline as a member of the House of Aja and making it abundantly clear that she’s prepared to be one of the cattier girls of the season.
8:05 p.m. – Sherry, the self-proclaimed “queen of camp,” came through the door next promising to bring the laughs this season. Next was another New York queen, Jan, a bubbly girl with a lot of ambition. Jaida Essence Hall strolled in next in a shiny bright blue gown, intimidating the other girls with her glamour and the “gold glistening shoulders.” Last was oddball Aiden Zhane, with a “spooky” alternative look that Aiden proudly owns because of her originality.
8:12 p.m. – Ru joined the queens to confirm their suspicion that there was another group of girls that they’d meet at a later point, and that they’d be competing in this stage of the competition against only each other. He tasked the six with their first mini challenge: presenting a Spring and Fall look in a fashion show runway to introduce their style to the audience.
8:18 p.m. – In the Spring portion of the show, Rock M. showed off her “harajuku fantasy” in a printed outfit she made herself, Dahlia arrived in a neon short dress that showed her curves, Sherry went old school glam in a royal blue dress, Jan went avant garden in a corseted and flowered mini, Jaida turned out a classic lady-like dress with cut outs and Aiden was weird as ever in a bright yellow dress with a floral head piece. Then, for their Fall look most of the girls extended the aesthetic from their Spring look, though with a little more body coverage: Rock M. and Jaida gagged in sophistication, Dahlia and Sherry went darker in all black pieces, Jan went overboard in an olive green snakeskin fit, and Aiden missed the mark in high socks and a body suit rich in autumn colors.
8:30 p.m. – After sizing each other up as the derobed in the workroom, Ru returned to tell them they’d be performing in an original music number inspired by Fosse called “You Don’t Know Me.” In the number they’d have to write their own unique verse to introduce who they are and together create their own choreography. Of all the girls, Sherry and Jan were most excited because of their natural interest in the subject and their experience working within the Broadway scene in NYC.
8:39 p.m. – During their choreography session and rehearsal, Rock M. was the one that took a lead in organizing the group with the goal of making sure their group was better than whatever the group before them had done. Jaida, worried about her own ability to pick up choreography, was hoping for something less involved than Rock M. began doing and later Aiden struggled picking it up as well. Eventually Jan started giving ideas and Sherry, adding her voice to the mix as well, complicated the session for everyone. By the end it was a stressful and frustrating experience for everyone.
8:50 p.m. – Later, during makeup application, Rock M. opened up about the stress of leading the group through rehearsals and how it triggered for him the memory from his childhood when his mother blamed him and his siblings for her addiction issues. The other queens reminded Rock M. that he’s part of a second family now among them and it helped settle the emotions as they continued to prepare for their first main challenge.
8:58 p.m. – In the performance of “You Don’t Know Me,” a spoof of “Cell Block Tango” from “Chicago,” the first three solos from Aiden, Dahlia and Jaida fell a bit flat for me, with all of them presenting themselves in generic fashion with shallow lyrics. Jan, Rock M. and Sherry were much more lively and creative in their solos, with louder personalities and more comedic elements that hit the mark.
9:02 p.m. – In the tulle-inspired runway, five of the girls arrived in oversized tulle gowns: Aiden in bright green, Dahlia in lipstick red, Jaida in canary yellow, Rock M. in lavender and Sherry in a a more conceptual thundercloud short dress. The only outlier was Jan who played up the pun and designed a tulle tool belt with an orange tulle jumpsuit to look like a construction worker.
9:10 p.m. – Assessing the queens performance and runway looks, the judges appreciated Aiden’s balance of campy and fashion looks, but Ru was concerned with her “meaty tuck,” which is to say that she’s not taping her junk up close enough to her body to make the crotch look as it should. With Dahlia, Michelle questioned how real she was being with her personality and warning her that she can’t just rely on the sexuality. Robyn really liked Jaida’s playfulness and Ross thought that she was so confident that she could sell anything. Jan was both applauded for thinking outside the box in the tulle runway, but the judges also warned her that she can’t show too many sides of herself so quickly because it could get her in trouble in terms of focus. Michelle was confused by Rock M.’s sense of humor, going from a 1920s accent to a fart joke in her lyrics, and Ross thought she could use more of an editing eye. Lastly, Sherry earned high marks for her commitment to putting on a show and having a clear vision for her brand.
9:22 p.m. – Ultimately, Ru and the judges decided that Jan, Aiden, Rock M. and Dahlia were all safe this week, leaving Jaida and Sherry alone on stage surprised that they were the bottom two. That, however, was a ruse as they were actually the top two and would lip sync against one another to be declared this week’s winner. They were given Robyn’s dance hit “Call Your Girlfriend” to perform, but unfortunately they both missed the memo that it’s, well, a dance song. For the entire first half of the performance they both remained in one place on the stage, relying on face and I guess comedy to convey the message of the song, but it was a confusing decision considering how well known Robyn’s dancing in the video for the song is. Eventually Jaida was able to break away and hit the beats of the song harder with some splits and high kicks, building it up just enough to earn herself the win. Overall, it was a let down for the audience and I’m surprised Ru and the judges didn’t express more disappointment in it.
9:29 p.m. – Afterward, when the girls entered the workroom they found the previous six girls waiting for them with evil glares and a huge “meh.” That set in motion next week’s preview where the 12 girls finally meet and begin competing with and against each other in an acting challenge spoofing reality TV talent competitions.