‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ 12 episode 9 recap: If you can’t vote for yourself, how you gonna make the right ‘Choices 2020’?

As the field of candidates narrowed on season 12 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” it became readily apparent that soon a choice would need to be made. The field was down to the top 7 as RuPaul Charles asked the queens to take the podium and explain to the nation why they should be crowned “America’s first drag queen… President?”

That’s right! This week it wasn’t about becoming a superstar, but instead the leader of a nation. What issues, policies and platform heels would the queens focus on as they prepared to debate each other? With questions from moderators (and guest judges) Rachel Bloom and Jeff Goldblum, some girls find that their voice is for the people while others become their own worst enemy.

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 12, Episode 9 to find out what happened in “Choices 2020.” 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.

8:01 p.m. – After weeks of being safe, Widow Von’Du was relieved and proud to have finally shown what she’s made of by handily defeating Jan in the Lip Synch for Your Life. Her joy was matched by Heidi N Closet who earned her first overall challenge win of the season a week after falling into the bottom 2 for her second time. Their results showed that this competition is in the hands of any of them and that at any point they could be a top or a bottom. That was a hard pill to imagine for someone like Gigi Goode, growing cocky with three wins under her belt and not-all-that-humbled by her first trip to the bottom.

8:04 p.m. – The next morning Ru arrived to make it clear to the girls that their “pussy is on fire 24/7.” That set up a mini challenge where they’d have to assemble quick “cat drag” and then perform their best kitty girl interpretation using cat toys and a litter box. Jackie Cox was deemed the winner for her purrrrrfect Persian glamour cat that had Ru howling with laughter. The win didn’t give Jackie an advantage for the maxi challenge, but it did provide her some confidence as they looked ahead to the first ever drag queen presidential debate!

8:14 p.m. – To help the queens prepare their platforms, Ru returned the work room with season 2 alum Raven for some much needed guidance. The key takeaways from Raven’s visit were pointing out to Heidi that she use her most obvious characteristics to her advantage, warning Widow that she can be her own worst enemy if she keeps preparing herself to be in the bottom, and agreeing with Jaida Essence Hall that coming from the pageant world is the kind of experience that lends itself well to the debate format.

8:30 p.m. – As they assembled their looks and beat their faces ahead of the debate, the queens discussed their real life experiences with politics. Crystal Methyd described what it’s like to be a queer person in a household of Tr*mp voters and Jackie opened up about how the blatant racism of the Muslim travel ban devastated his own family in one of their greatest times of need. As always the queens showed us the power that political decisions have over our lives and how they have direct impact on our lives. There’s a dangerousness in that, but Jaida reminded the girls and us that we have to stand up to it and continue to show the country and world that there is value in the lives of the minority groups attacked by the president’s actions.

8:42 p.m. – For “Choices 2020,” the first drag queen presidential debate, Rachel and Jeff wanted to know from the queens what issues they’d stand up for if elected. The goal for the debate was mostly to provide comedic relief through interpretations of presidential candidates, but some of the girls were much too stiff. Widow created an aggressive, angry character that was fully realized, but failed to drop any punchlines in her pitch. Jackie was funny, but came with only one joke–that she is Canadian and not actually qualified to run. On the other side of the political spectrum, Crystal shined by “Making America Glitter Again” her primary goal and Jaida proved to be quick on her feet by engaging in tactics to confuse the other candidates and the moderators with meaningless words and by dodging the hardest hitting questions. Sherry Pie once again relied on the same older woman character that she had used in previous challenges.

8:57 p.m. – On the runway, the girls walked in the “Stars and Stripes Forever” category, showing off their best patriotic looks. The standouts in fashion this week were Widow who wore the black and white stripes as a homage to Black culture from the past and present, Gigi in her perfectly assembled revolutionary minuteman garb and Jackie in a stars and stripe caftan and hijab as a statement that America is for everyone, regardless of religion, culture and race. Closing out the show, Jaida strutted in a superhero outfit that displayed her body-ody-ody and showed Jeff how magical a perfect tuck can be!

9:05 p.m. – Based on their debate performances and runway presentations, Ru, Jeff, Rachel and Carson Kressley deemed Jaida, Crystal and Heidi as the top three queens of the week. Ultimately they were most taken with Jaida’s quick wit and commanding feminine runway look and so she was declared the winner for the first time since her first challenge.

9:07 p.m. – On the other side of things, there was a lot of constructive criticism for Widow who was clearly getting inside her own head, preventing her from escaping the lack of confidence that has plagued her for a few weeks. Widow was joined in the bottom three with Jackie, whose debate performance was too one note to in comparison to the judges favorite runway look of hers, and Gigi, whose lack of knowledge about politics held her back from knowing how to create a character for the debate challenge.

9:24 p.m. – In the end, Widow and Jackie were the worst of the week and asked to step it up in the LSFYL to Katy Perry‘s anthem of self belief “Firework.” Fittingly, the song provided Widow the inspiration to dig deep and reveal the passion she has for performing. Despite delivering a great lip synch, Jackie threw down with something just as committed, but more engaging with comedic elements and her own personal connection to the lyrics. That both girls were so deeply entrenched in the theme of the music created an emotional aspect to the LSFYL that we rarely see, one that made Jeff wipe away his own tears as Jackie was declared the winner and Widow was asked to “sashay away.”

NEXT TIME: With only 6 queens left, the time has come for them to prove their skills in the makeover challenge! This season Ru is surprising superfans with the chance of being dolled up into drag the sisters of the remaining queens.

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