If last week on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was about translating your drag brand on to the face and body of another queen, then this week is about selling that brand message to the masses. After a peer-swap makeover challenge that saw two-time winner Olivia Lux fall to the bottom and send her friend Denali home, host RuPaul Charles thought it’d be fun to double-down on brand messaging with the top 7 by asking them to create and sell in a commercial their own can of soda pop inspired by their own brand as a drag queen.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of episode 11 to see which queens of season 13 made their brand pop and which made it flop in “Pop! Goes the Queens.” After following along with our live updating blog, be sure to sound off in the comments section with your reactions to VH1’s reality TV show and then resume discussing who you think will ultimately join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.
8:01 p.m. – With Denali’s exit, two queens were left reeling–Olivia was named in front of the judges as the queen most deserving of being eliminated by a majority of the cast and Rosé lost the one girl in the competition that she had grown closest to. Meanwhile, Utica Queen was sitting pretty with her first challenge win, determined to continue on that trajectory, and Kandy Muse had her eyes turning her multiple top 3 placements into a solo win.
8:05 p.m. – Before the queens could face their next maxi challenge, Ru arrived to challenge them in a mini quiz “Are You Smarter Than the Pit Crew?” In the quick quiz members of the pit crew asked the group trivia questions based on seasons past and the queen with the most correct answers would be the winner. Despite not understanding the difference between $25,000 and $2500, Kandy topped everyone by knowing that the camera crew competed in a makeover challenge, there was no official “Untucked” in season 1, and that 12 minus 8 is 4. Utica was able to buzz in first only once, but couldn’t come up with the answer to whose catch phrase is “Bam!”
8:10 p.m. – Next, Ru went into detail about this week’s maxi challenge: the creation and branding of their own soft drink. The can of soda should be inspired by their own identity and conveying it to the audience in a 45 second commercial that includes their own original jingle.
8:16 p.m. – During the planning stage, Olivia was caught off guard by how in depth Tina Burner‘s storyboard for her commercial was. It seemed as though Tina was trying to incorporate too many concepts into a short time frame, which was very different from Rosé’s straight-forward plan of a soda for wannabe perfectionists that tapped into the aspect of her drag that everyone has honed in on all season. Gottmik also wanted to play with the idea of perfection, but with a soda that leaves you looking “insane” but deluding you into believing you look sexy. For her this was a departure from her signature clown makeup and an attempt to lean more heavily into the Paris Hilton-like caricature that she did so well with in “Snatch Game.”
8:21 p.m. – Later in the day the queens were surprised by the siren, thinking Ru was adding a twist to the challenge, but finding out that it was season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall on screen for a video conference. Jaida wanted to encourage the girls to stay out of their heads and remain focused on making it to the top 4. She stressed to them that as long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing then you’re going to come across more genuine and your essence will flow naturally. The tips spoke directly to Rosé who felt newly energized by her determination to stay focused on making it to the end.
8:27 p.m. – Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley were on set to direct the queens through the filming of their commercials. Tina was up first, rushing through her many scenes and costume changes only to be stalled by Ross asking for multiple takes saying one line (“Now, not only Victoria has a secret”) that she just couldn’t nail. Rosé’s filming went by like a breeze because of her professionalism, Olivia struggled escaping her own innate happiness in order to look sad, and Symone once again showed how effortlessly she can morph into a comedic character. For her ad, Utica brought in Clara the Cow, which she sipped soda-milk from straight out of the utter, but was a chaotic mess on set. Kandy was also chaotic, but in a controlled way with a clear concept that was easily to convey through many scenes. Gottmik arrived on set looking great, but not wholly like the Gottmik we’re used to and her “Gottmik’s Gottsexxx Sex Juice” idea was so convoluted that Ross and Carson were still confused even after filming wrapped.
8:44 p.m. – With personal brand on their minds, the queens opened up more about their lives back home. It was cute to see the once tense relationship between Tina and Rosé continue to blossom into something more positive with jokes passed freely between the two of them. Their New York sister Kandy explained where her aggressive attitude comes from, explaining that getting gay bashed in her childhood forced her to be more protective of herself and being loud was a way of guarding herself to bullies. In all, it was becoming clear that this cast had truly developed a sisterhood of support, finding it easy to understand everyone’s point of view for what it is and not judging anyone too harshly for it. Kandy, once the combative queen in the room, could now be seen as one of the softest and most vulnerable.
8:51 p.m. – For this week’s “Beast Couture” runway Ross and Carson returned to join Ru and Michelle Visage as judges. Utica began the show in a gorgeous black fur gown accented with yellow and red for a glamorous demon look. Kandy confused in a neon body suit as an alien with another purple alien hanging from her body, Tina destroyed her silhouette by donning an oversized fur suit that was done no favors by being followed by Symone in a curvaceous fox costume, and Gottmik returned to her signature painting style as an odd, big-eyed purple creature. Olivia went full body blue as a monster from under the bed and Rosé went from pink to all red as a feather, furred and sequined demon.
8:57 p.m. – One by one the judges went down the line, watching each commercial and then providing the queens with a full critique of it and their runway look. They clocked Utica for not being clear about her quirky, joyful brand in the ad and for being simply pretty on the runway. Kandy impressed Carson with her big personality that is easily translatable both on film and standing in front of them. Tina was told that she’s becoming expected and complacent by only making safe decisions despite being fully committed to her ideas. Ross said that filming with Symone was a joy and Michelle complimented her for knowing exactly who she is and always doing it with confidence and style. Carson pointed out that Gottmik’s ad needed too much explanation because it was so convoluted, Michelle told Olivia it was nice to see her pushing herself out of her comfort zone on the runway, and Ross said that Rosé’s concept and professionalism on set was “textbook” and a joy to be around.
9:23 p.m. – After further deliberation, Ru announced this week’s decisions: the challenge winners were Symone and Rosé, each earning their own $5000 cash tip. In the safe group was Kandy and Olivia, leaving Tina, Utica and Gottmik as the bottom 3 queens. It was Gottmik’s first time as a low scorer, which probably earned her safety, while Tina and Utica remained to fight for safety in the lip sync. The bottom 2 went head-to-head with “My Humps” by the Black Eyes Peas, a perfectly uptempo and fun song that allowed the two quirky girls to show off comedic elements. Utica decided to lean into her goth look with a monster take on the lyrics while Tina went full throttle with incoherent dance moves and attempts to engage Utica in back and forths. Ru and the judges seemed to enjoy both performances, but ultimately decided that it would be another “shantay” for Utica and a “sashay away” for Tina in her first and last LSFYL of the season.
NEXT WEEK: It’s down to the top 6 and former Miss Congeniality winners Valentina, Heidi N Closet, and Nina West return to the stage for a “Nice Girls Roast.”