Last week on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 13 we said goodbye to sweetheart of the season LaLa Ri after confident dancer Elliott with 2 Ts outperformed her in the lip sync for your life. The two fell to the bottom after struggling to make their mark in an improv challenge spoofing late night talk shows. Olivia Lux managed to earn her second straight overall win for the season, putting her on pace with Symone as the frontrunners to take the crown.
This week, the girls must prove they can be a triple threat when they take the stage for singing, dancing and acting in “Social Media: The Unverified Rusical.” Which one of them will get the most likes from the judges and which one will get the dreaded unfollow?
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 13, Episode 8 to find out what happened on February 19, beginning at 8/7c. After following along with our live updating blog, 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.
8:01 p.m. – LaLa’s exit was particularly sad for the girls because of how much positive energy she brought to the werk room. It was also the first time one of the premiere episode challenge winners said goodbye, giving the Porkchop queens confidence that they could finally shed that reputation and move forward. That being said, Denali was holding on to resentment for having not won yet and for Kandy Muse calling her “forgettable” during the Reading Is Fundamental mini challenge. At this point, everyone’s eyes were on getting those wins so that they can prove to the judges and each other they’re contenders and not here to play.
8:05 p.m. – The next morning RuPaul Charles arrived to introduce the annual rusical challenge, a gauntlet of singing, dancing and acting in a spoof of musical theater. For this performance they’d each record their part with Michelle Visage and then learn choreography from Jamal Sims before performing as their social media characters lie in front of the judging panel. For Rosé and Tina Burner this was the ultimate opportunity for them to show off their strongest assets as drag queens and so they were determined to nab the premiere roles in the show.
8:07 p.m. – While sitting down to the cast the show, everyone wanted to get the role that best fit their strengths. Eventually selection came down to three roles and three queens: Denali, Rosé and Utica Queen. For Utica, coming off a week where Olivia had stolen her ideal role from her she was not going to back down this week and so stood her ground against Denali for Lady Tweets. Denali also wanted the role of Foxy, which was the showgirl of the rusical and Rosé’s top choice. In order to determine which of the two would get the role, both sang a small part of the song and left it up to the group for a majority vote. As a trained singer, Rosé won that vote in a landslide and so Denali, bummed out, was left as the second Russian Bot character with Gottmik, who had actually wanted one of those two characters.
8:17 p.m. – While preparing for rehearsals later in the day, the siren blared in the werk room to announce a special appearance (via video) by Les Mis Oscar winner Anne Hathaway. Anna confessed to being a huge fan of the show and wanting to stop by to provide some pointers on musicals and performing in general. Fresh off the mini-tryouts of their own, everyone wanted to know what it’s like when you don’t get the role you want and how to make it the role you got your own. Anne said that the best way is to “steal the show anyway.” Her advice pumped Denali up and gave her the confidence to make the Russian Bot character her own by pulling from references in her own figure skating background and letting that inform her interpretation of the character in order to make it stand out from the rest.
8:22 p.m. – During vocal recording sessions with Michelle, Tina was once again triggered by what she thinks is Olivia’s secret diva behavior, but Michelle was just happy to see there was a could queens that had the vocal chops to make her job easy. Symone, Kandy and Elliott were not those queens, however, and without the singing voices cautioned them that they’d have to fully commit in order to overcome the disadvantage of weaker tracks. Having been eager to take on the role of Lady Tweets, Utica realized she may have taken on too big of a task once she realized spitting rapid fire lyrics in a rap was harder in practice than it seemed reading on paper.
8:31 p.m. – Jamal did his best to inspire each queen to inhabit the spirit of their character through dance, but hit a wall when it came to Symone remaining timid in the face of the “hot bitch” En Vogue choreography he wanted her to do. “Wiggle to the top” queen Utica had an equally rough time coordinating her own hard-hitting moves and Kandy wasn’t bringing enough energy to her sultry set. Confident and determined to be the stars of the show, Denali and Rosé all boosted Jamal by working quickly to learn the steps, but Denali’s strengths put her scene partner Gottmik on edge for not being able to live up to her energy and natural skillset.
8:40 p.m. – While painting their faces for the show, the queens discussed what it’s like to manage social media reactions as public figures. Kandy went to bat for her sister Aja on social media after her Untucked bout with Valentina and was attacked for it. She told them how hard that is, but then she also became a successful meme with one of her tweets and felt empowered by owning even the embarrassing moments. Tina also opened up about her past relationship with “Drag Race UK” judge Graham Norton and what it was like to be on the arm of a famous person and having paparazzi stalk your life for a photo. At this point they all understand that social media and public attention comes with the territory of being on a show like Drag Race and seem prepared to weather those storms, whatever they may be.
8:50 p.m. – On the main stage, Ru and Michelle were joined by Ross Mathews and Jamal as this week’s panel. The night started with the rusical, opened by an in control hostess Tina and lead character Rosé. In a scene with Olivia and Rosé together, the show set a high vocal standard that would ultimately leave all the queens to follow with a lot to live up to. Symone, Utica, Kandy and Elliott combined for a “Chicago”-inspired number and while all of them got through their segments well enough, none of them managed to get out of their heads long enough for a breakout, scene-stealing moment that Anne said they’d need. That became even more apparent once Rosé re-entered for her solo number and then Gottmik and Denali closed with their Russian Bot scene. Here Gottmik managed to execute everything Jamal had wanted her to, allowing her and Denali to do what needed to be done.
9:05 p.m. – For the runway, category was “Yellow Gorgeous” with each queen strutting down the catwalk in their best yellow look. Tina opened in a taxi cab dress with high beam lights on her breasts, Olivia remained classy with an elegant lace dress with feathered arm poofs and Symone went for “bird from the hood” in a yellow feather coat and neon chaps. Utica went medieval in a 14th century sideless gown, Kandy was inspired by Beyonce’s yellow dress from “Lemonade” with flowers in her hair and Elliott also came down in a taxi look that she thought was less dated than Tina’s. Rosé paid tribute to Jim Carrey’s character from “Mask” complete with green face, Denali slithered in a yellow python jumpsuit and Medusa headpiece, and Gottmik closed as a crash test dummy with a bondage latex twist.
9:12 p.m. – After considering their complete presentations for the week, Ru let Olivia, Utica and Elliott exit backstage as the safe queens while the other six remained to hear critiques as the tops and bottoms. Ross liked Tina’s runway look for its campiness, but Michelle was disappointed by the rusical performance because it didn’t live up to the high expectations they had of someone who should have been a stage pro. Symone also got high marks for the runway, as always, but Jamal couldn’t get over his disappointment with her low commitment level in the rusical. Kandy was also in the bottom despite a gorgeous runway look, but once again the performance was a let down for what the judges called a messy one that lacked precision. As one of the tops, Michelle wanted to know from Rosé why her yellow look was actually orange, but Ross was happy to announce that she lived up to the high expectations by nailing all aspects of the show. With Denali, Ross felt that she was that supporting character that unexpectedly steps up to steal the show with their shorter scenes, but Michelle wasn’t completely sold on a runway look that relied too heavily on a headpiece. Gottmik got better marks for the runway than her scene partner and Jamal was so impressed with her ability to overcome the struggles she had during rehearsal in the final presentation.
9:23 p.m. – After further deliberation, Rosé was declared the clear winner of the week, not to anyone’s surprise. That left Gottmik and Denali as safe among the top, and they were joined by a shocked Tina who was relieved to be named safe after convincing herself she’d be up for elimination. In the bottom two, Symone and Kandy went head to head in a lip sync to Fifth Harmony‘s “BO$$.” Despite being close friends, both girls went full on in the battle to own the uptempo song, remaining captivating with animated interpretations of the lyrics and confidence they hadn’t shown in the rusical. It was clear that the judges were eating up both girls throughout, but ultimately a decision had to be made. Ru gave the “shantay” to Symone, safe after her first lip sync, and a “sashay” to Kandy who had fallen into the bottom for the second time. As she walked away to say her goodbyes, Ru stopped her and said that actually she’s “safe to slay another day” because she wasn’t ready for her to go. The rare “double shantay” meant that no one would be eliminated this week and that the final nine would all continue, perhaps requiring two to go at once later on.
NEXT WEEK: The queens unite for a “Corona Can’t Keep a Good Queen Down” mini documentary that will show how they and the crew managed to remain safe and the struggles they faced filming the series during the middle of the Covid pandemic.