‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season 14 episode 9 recap: Queens host DragCon panels on ‘Menzeses’

In episode 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 14, the queens got a “heart on” on the runway after dividing into girl groups for a retro-inspired singing and performance challenge. Daya Betty, after weeks of whining about perpetual safety, finally won a challenge, while Kerri Colby left pretty behind on the runway and was eliminated by Jasmine Kennedie in the Lipsync for Your Life.

This week, the eight remaining queens get professional for DragCon panel discussions on all things men. Read below for our recap of episode 9 to see which queens serve moderator realness and which ones fail to remain part of the conversation in “Menzeses.”

The eight remaining queens are: Angeria Paris VanMichealsBosco, Daya BettyDeJa Skye, Jasmine Kennedie, JorgeousLady Camden, and Willow Pill.

Following Kerri’s elimination, Jasmine’s emotions continued to spill out over the fact that she was the one to send such a huge inspiration to her home. Kerri was well-liked by the entire cast, clearly, but Jasmine had a special place in her heart for her, inspired by her drag prior to coming to the show and finding a friend on the show that helped her come out with her own trans journey. Daya’s emotions were on the opposite end of the spectrum, proud to have finally won a challenge and not shy about how competitive she has been and will continue to be.

The next morning, RuPaul Charles gave the queens their next mini challenge where they’d “bomb” famous men in photos of them. Once the assembled into quick drag, the queens jumped in front of the camera to humorously add their clownery to photos of guys like Lil Nas X on the red carpet, Billy Porter at the Met Gala and Shawn Mendes at the VMAs. Willow’s “washed up Mary Lou Retton” take on the challenge where she did a headstand on top of a dog in a Jake Gyllenhaal street pic was Ru’s favorite and so she was declared the winner. As the winner, Willow earned $2500 and the right to divide the eight queens into two groups of four for the maxi challenge.

The maxi challenge, as explained by Ru, was their chance to produce their own Drag Con panel on the topic of “menzeses” with one member of the group serving as moderator. Willow went in the direction of choosing queens she hadn’t yet worked with as much as others, selecting DeJa, Angie and Camden. That left Daya, Bosco, Jorgeous and Jasmine as the other group, much to Daya’s chagrin. Daya and Jasmine have had constant low-level tension all season and as Daya explained in a confessional, Jasmine can be an “energy vampire” that derails group projects.

The first step in the brainstorming session was to determine which queens would moderate for their group. Willow’s group agreed that DeJa was the best fit for their moderator and that the chemistry of the other three would work well as long as they see it as three friends just speaking to one another. Chemistry was the thing that worried Camden for the other team, and that quickly rang true when Jasmine suggested she’d be a great moderator and Daya’s reaction was not supportive. Daya sneakily urged the group to go with Bosco as the moderator instead, but Jasmine took that well and was happy to use it as another opportunity to “not talk over others.”

When Ru returned for a check-in, Willow’s group told her that their topics would center around fatherhood because it would give them each space to approach the discussion from a personal place. Angie mentioned that she actually lost a panel category in a pageant once because she was too timid, which served as a jumping off point for Ru to talk to the girls about the importance of being yourself. It was a lesson that spoke directly to Camden, who Ru warned tends to be too shy at times and needs the freedom of her Freddie Mercury moment to return. Bosco’s group decided to discuss men in the realm of romantic relationships, but Ru picked up on the disconnect between Daya and Jasmine and asked them about it. The conversation came back to Jasmine’s tendency to talk over people and so they were warned to make sure there’s direction in their conversation so that the audience has a takeaway or learning moment from the panel.

Ahead of their panels, the dynamic between Daya and Jasmine seemed to have improved. The girls were all smiles and were confident that their practice runs through the night had put them in a good position to execute the challenge in the way they wanted to. The new worry was that Jorgeous might freeze at the mic, but she, too, felt empowered by her group to perform well.

On the main stage, Ru was joined by Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and this week’s guest judge Nicole Byer. Willow’s team took the stage first, opening with DeJa stating their plan to discuss “hot men, fatherhood and relationships & sex.” Very quickly the group found ways to drop jokes into their dialogue. Willow, DeJa and Angie all riffed off of each other easily, but Camden’s energy was much lower than the rest of theirs. The section on fatherhood offered the girls an opportunity to get personal and provide touching moments that the audience could connect with outside of the jokes. Camden even came out of her shell to discuss her relationship with her father and got the response everyone wants, a supportive head nod from Ru.

Bosco’s group followed with a strong opening from her that had Ru cackling straight away. They went into male privilege as a topic first, but Jasmine’s response to the topic went on too long without a break, showing that their dynamic was very different from the previous group. Instead of a conversation among a group of friends it felt more like planned speeches from each of the queens, aside from Bosco who continued to drop the sarcastic jokes in an appropriately professional way. Jorgeous got hung up on her words a couple times, seemingly due to nerves, and it brought down the energy during their personal anecdotes surrounding fatherhood.

After the panels, the queens walked the runway in a “Shoulder Pads” category. DeJa opened with huge squared-off shoulders in a white Chanel-inspired garment and pearls, followed by Camden in a nutcracker costume that began with a mask covering her face entirely, Willow in a “menswear in 2079” punk look, Angie in a houndstooth dress-with-pants garment, Bosco in a yellow trench with a sexy latex lingerie look underneath, Jorgeous in her first pants on the runway inspired by Selena, Jasmine in a simple neon catsuit, and Daya in a camp look with football pads and spikes on her shoulders.

Ru explained that though they competed as teams, they’d still be judged as individuals. Of the eight, Angie and Camden were positioned as the two safe queens while the others remained on stage to hear critiques as the tops and bottoms. Nicole lived for DeJa’s moderation even though Michelle thought she felt a little stiff at times. Carson called her look “high drag” because it’s camp and has a sense of humor while still fitting the scope of the category. The judges were disappointed that Willow didn’t go bigger in her shoulder pads, but Nicole said that Willow knows how to tell a joke and Ru called her “a blast” for transcending the seriousness of her life. Michelle called Bosco’s look simple, but in the panel they all thought that Bosco stood out as both funny and an excellent moderator. Carson and Michelle adored the jumpsuit Jorgeous wore on the runway, but they thought that she receded and was self-conscious on the panel. Despite the simplicity, Carson loved Jasmine’s runway look, but thought that she aged herself for the panel and so the judges were disappointed that she got rid of the playfulness they’re used to. The judges enjoyed Daya’s presentation in the panel and understood her perspective on drag more because of it.

Upon further review, Ru announced the judges’ decision that this week’s winner was Bosco. The other tops, DeJa and Willow, were offered safety, as was Daya, who was the best of the bottom three. That set the stage for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, a LSFYL between Jorgeous and Jasmine. Performing to the Etta James song “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” Jasmine delivered some good tricks like a slow drop-split, but Jorgeous embodied Etta’s energy and the spirit of the song and her blue sequin jumpsuit lit up the stage on its own. While not the choreo extravaganza we were expecting, Ru decided that both of them exceeded expectations and so it was a “double shantay” for the two assassins.

NEXT WEEK: The non-elimination makes way for all eight remaining queens to take part in the iconic “Snatch Game.”

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