With six episodes of season 12 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” tucked away and Aiden Zhane, the source of most of the tension so far, out of the way did the queens finally find a sense of harmony with one another? Not so fast! While Brita was on a high after winning another lip sync, fellow New Yorker Jan remained frustrated at having never been among the top performers and Heidi N Closet was still reeling from two-time challenge winner Gigi Goode telling her during “Untucked” that her makeup skills need more work.
So as the social divides between the girls deepened, they prepared for the annual dance and singing showcase “Rusical” episode with model Winnie Harlow and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as guest judges.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 12, Episode 7 to find out who was the top material girl in “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical.” After reading our thoughts on the episode, be sure to sound off in the comments section about the April 10th episode and who you think will ultimately join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.
8:00 p.m. – Following Aiden’s elimination there was one reaction: sadness. That was odd considering there was genuine sadness coming from Aiden’s friend Heidi, but on the flip side fake emotions from her main antagonists like Brita and Jackie Cox. Heidi was particularly miffed by the attitude of some of the other girls, especially Gigi who came for her makeup skills in the previous “Untucked” episode. Widow Von’Du was also put off by the abrasiveness exhibited by Jackie, Sherry Pie and some others who felt the need to point out that she should have practiced more in advance of “Snatch Game.” Widow’s response was to hope that the next challenge would include dancing, one of her strengths, so that Jackie and Sherry would see what it feels like to struggle.
8:06 p.m. – Ill feelings between the girls had not subsided by the next day when RuPaul Charles arrived to present this week’s main challenge: honor all shades of Madonna by singing and dancing in “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical.” The challenge required the queens to cast themselves as a different scripted version of Madonna and then record vocals for the musical with Madonna superfan Michelle Visage and learn group and solo choreography with Madonna choreographer Jamal Sims.
8:08 p.m. – When it came time to cast themselves in roles, the queens grabbed the script and started calling out which roles they’d prefer to take on. Jackie as Boy Toy Madonna, Jaida Essence Hall as Sexy Madonna, Widow as Fempire Madonna, Heidi as Spoken Rap Madonna, Crystal Methyd as Enlightened Madonna and Sherry as Movie Star Madonna all went uncontested. Meanwhile, Jan reluctantly accepted the role of Early Madonna and Brita and Gigi battled to be named Cone Bra Madonna over the leftover Unapologetic Madonna. In the end, Gigi went with the more iconic choreography role of Unapologetic Madonna, leaving Brita with her first choice as Cone Bra.
8:16 p.m. – During their live recordings with Michelle, Jan was the clear standout. As Early Madonna she was in the show opening role and as a trained music theater singer she also set the the bar very high for the rest of the cast. Jaida, Gigi and Jackie were the most timid in their recording sessions and struggled to find their footing within their vocal performances.
8:25 p.m. – Later during dance rehearsal with Jamal, Widow was excited to show off one of her skills, but had to ask for concessions in the choreo because of a cut on her knee that would cause pain when they went to the floor. That Widow was already showing a sign of weakness was music to Jackie’s ears, but that smile quickly faded from Jackie’s face once she had to learn her solo choreography. As the “Like a Virgin” era Madonna Jackie had to exude sexuality while feigning innocence, but that was a dichotomy she couldn’t quite grasp. Once again Jan was in her true element and excelled at picking up her choreography, as did Heidi who had a wealth of moves to add to her Spoken Rap version of the Queen of Pop.
8:36 p.m. – While applying makeup for the main stage, the queens shared stories about important men in their lives. Inspired by Madonna’s own work in the HIV/AIDS community over the year, Heidi opened up about her gay uncle that died from HIV. That loss was a turning point for Heidi because he was a personal mentor for her growing up. Crystal told her father’s story about his new battle with Parkinson’s, a disease that has held her once active and supportive dad back from being the cheerleader that he had always been in her life.
8:45 p.m. – In the performance of “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical,” sure enough Jan opened up like a star, portraying the iconic 80s dancing and look of Madonna to perfection. She was followed by Jackie’s not-at-all sexy version of Boy Toy Madonna who failed to create any excitement whatsoever in the memorable wedding dress look. Gigi’s Unapologetic Madonna, styled as her from the “Open Your Heart” video, was a star and her commitment to physical movement with backflips left the panel gagging. Brita left a lot to be desired in the Cone Bra role, failing to show any versatility or nuance, Jaida was a stunner as the “Justify My Love” era Madonna, and Sherry was serviceable in an “Evita” inspired section. Both Crystal and Widow surprised with exciting and fully realized performances before Heidi showed off her excellent dance skills in the most recent version of Madonna.
9:01 p.m. – For the runway walk the queens had to put on their best Michelle Visage drag in “Night of a Thousand Michelle Visages.” Jan, Jackie and Crystal got the biggest reactions from the judges for their complete and detail-oriented presentations while Gigi was able to impress with a minimalistic choice that was also spot-on. On the other side of things, Brita, Heidi and Widow didn’t really pull their looks together in any impressive way.
9:10 p.m. – Based on their Rusical performances and runway presentations, Widow, Sherry and Jaida were all declared safe, leaving the other six as the tops and bottoms. On top were Gigi, Crystal and Jan and on bottom were Brita, Heidi and Jackie. Though she was technically on the bottom, Jackie got praised to the heavens for her attention to detail in her runway look, but ultimately her failure in the Madonna challenge dropped her to the low group of the week. Jan and Gigi were both well-liked in both aspects of the week’s challenge, but it was Crystal that got the judges most excited because of the growth she’s shown through the course of the season. Michelle was particularly thrilled to see Crystal evolve since she was one of her biggest critics early on.
9:14 p.m. – Brita was held accountable for some slip ups in her dancing, but mostly because she didn’t have an attention to detail in her runway look. Michelle didn’t like that she missed the drop earring in her look and instead went for a button earring that Michelle would never even wear. Heidi was surprised to hear that she was in the bottom after providing excellent dancing, but the problem was that it didn’t exude any of Madonna’s essence.
9:22 p.m. – When it came time to announce the challenge winner, the entire room was aghast when Ru announced Jan as “safe.” Everyone, including most of all Jan, expected to hear her named as the challenge winner so the result left Jan visibly disappointed. Instead, Gigi was once again named the winner, making it her third overall. Because Jackie’s runway look was so good, the panel decided to save her which sent both Brita and Heidi back to the bottom for another lip sync.
9:25 p.m. – In the LSFYL to “Burning Up,” both Brita and Heidi reminded us why they’ve already won these battles before. Brita’s signature “joy” came through in her committed and passionate performance, but she fell back on some cliche moves like using her crotch burning up as a metaphor for the song. Heidi on the other hand added some comedic moments to her moves, like shimmying down the stage on her knees or puffing the oversized bun on her head with the heavy breaths of the song. Heidi’s more inspired takes on the song is what saved her, earning the “shantay you stay” while after three trips to the bottom Brita was finally asked to “sashay away.”
NEXT TIME: The girls create their own products to sell in an infomercial, with special guest judge Chaka Khan.