Derrick. Is. Finally. GONE!
Kittens, we’ve come to it: Season 8’s Top 4 contestants, squaring off to make it into that Top 3 trio for the Drag Race season finale!
Kim Chi won last week’s challenge with 3 incredible runway looks, but she recognized she couldn’t rest on that victory, and would have to work harder than ever to make it to the final round.
Lights, Camera, Core Strength
Per the producers’ instructions, the queens entered the workroom this week in full face and hair (aka they woke up at 4am and hate life right now). Ru was waiting for them, vixen that she is, and told the girls they will perform in Ru’s newest music video, “The Realness,” directed by ginger beefcake Jayson Whitmore.
This was the week’s only challenge, but it would come with a mountain of work. And the queen who would be eliminated this week? Deleted from the music video forever.
It was a full day of exhaustive shooting, and each queen was required to prepare 3 looks. For the first round of filming, the contestants were each adorned in black leotards with monochromatic sashes of chiffon attached to their shoulders. They all looked like Endora from Bewitched reimagined as Mortal Kombat characters, and that sounds ridiculous, but it made sense in a way—be magical and slay your rivals.
The queens were told to execute “flowtography,” putting that fabric to work in a wind machine while they lay on a huge black box, belly up, suspending their legs out before them with no support while the other queens stood out of frame holding additional bolts of fabric to billow around the star-of-the-moment.
No, apparently Drag Race could not afford more techs to hold cloth.
Yes, this was a reminder to all of us: do more crunches. While wearing chiffon.
Naomi Smalls was the first to give it a go, and while she struggled with core strength, Jayson Whitmore directed her to make her leg movements more graceful, and she integrated this feedback to succeed with the shoot.
Bob the Drag Queen, however, floundered on the box like a live fish on a cutting board. “I went from Viola Davis to looking like Patrick Ewing,” he said—and it wasn’t too far off. But he still delivered some usable clips.
Chi Chi DeVayne was given excellent feedback and did well with the “flowtography” as it were, and Bob laughingly shared his resentment in the confessional: “Fuck you, you cheap prison trade bitch.”
Last was Kim Chi. Even the most beautiful swan waddles, and Kim has demonstrated that she is stiff, has no rhythm, and lacks coordination. So predictably, she struggled, and for the bajillionth time this season, she fell. But somehow she managed to fall while she was already lying down.
Avant-Garde Film Stars
The queens were then dressed in avant-garde looks. Bob started things off in a sharp Modesque dress and red bob wig. When Jayson instructed her to give more energy, she hammed it up, death dropped, stuck a feather in her hat, and called it macaroni.
To offset her doomed first shoot, Kim redeemed herself with her outstanding avant-garde look, remaining stationary as much as possible. Naomi strutted on set afterward in a hooded transparent blue leotard with white thigh-high boots and a short blonde wig, serving catwalk for the camera.
While Chi Chi is normally renowned for her dance ability, she struggled in her pleather-on-nude floor-length gown, because her heels kept getting stuck in the loops of fabric. Her look was excellent, but it definitely held her back in the shoot. Jayson: “Have you ever danced in a gown before?” Chi Chi: “No.”
Who’s the Fairest?
In the next clip, the queens faced their worst enemies: a vanity-sized mirror. Bob kicked things off again in a gorgeous conceptual look, one hand painted jet black, the other sparkling gold. But Kim was quick with the quips in her confessional: “His right hand looked like he fisted a coal mine. And his left hand looked like he fisted a gold mine.” We could only BE so lucky, Kim.
Naomi worked her reflection with a glamorous Old Hollywood auburn wig, and Chi Chi looked stunning in a green frock, while Kim killed it with long cyan hair and a fitted, sleeved gown.
Then, out of nowhere, Bianca Del Rio shows up! Winner of Drag Race Season 6—and based on the following year’s dud of a show, winner of Season 7, too—announced to the queens that she was ready to shoot with all the past seasons’ victors. A little late to the party since this happened in Episode 1, but we get it, Bianca, you still exist.
In the Workroom
While the girls prepped for their final runway debuts for the judges, Chi Chi asked a poignant question: “What do you think each of you has learned about yourself throughout the competition?”
Bob recognized that he may come off as arrogant, but that it’s rooted in confidence. He explained that he had trouble accepting himself as a child, but he learned to start with something small and work his self-admiration up from there. Kim’s answer: “People just like me for who I am, and I don’t have to be anybody else.” And it’s true, at least according to Naomi, who has dubbed Kim a “big lovable panda.”
Chi Chi talked about how she once hated that she’s from a country town in Shreveport, Louisiana, and that she speaks with a thick accent, but she has learned to accept herself more through this competition. And Naomi had a similar takeaway for herself: “I need to stop comparing myself to others and just appreciate what I have. I really did find myself here. That’s the best prize.”
Before they left, Chi Chi laughed at how the girls think she eats strange things—and girl, they’re not wrong; you ate possum—but she called Kim out for her strange taste in food. “This bitch,” she murmured, fingering Kim, “says she eats fried chicken buttholes.”
Kim’s response: “So? You eat other people’s buttholes.”
The Final Runway
This week’s judges were Season 8’s staples: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Ross Mathews. Together, they would review the queens’ video performances, judge their runway looks, and deliberate on the contestants’ performance throughout the entire competition to determine which of them would not make it to the Top 3.
First on the Runway was Bob in a beautiful feminine tuxedo, complete with a sequined jacket and fitted leggings. Later, after the judges apparently got to see the music video cut (though we didn’t—poor form, producers), Ross said of the look, “I was sort of torn on those leggings. But I think this is a really good place for your drag.” And Michelle reminisced about Bob’s body of work: “You have managed to be hilarious throughout, and you have also listened to the judges and grown.”
Chi Chi then hit the stage in a bubblegum pink sequined gown, with full pageant hair, enormous earrings, and amazing makeup. Michelle later told her, “You look stunning.” Carson spoke about her growth in the competition. “Your taste level was… um… questionable,” he said, but impressed upon her how she has improved in the competition. “Chi Chi,” said Michelle, “if I had moisture left in my body, I would probably shed a tear for you tonight.” #menopause
Next was Kim in a breathtaking sequined black skirt and feathered corset with pheasant tail plumage, plus a half-mask reminiscent of Maleficent, with long DMV-chic nails. “I think you’ve really gotten to a place where you can work it now,” Michelle said of Kim’s performance ability. “There wasn’t one look you didn’t kill. Thank you for bringing your artistry to the runway of Drag Race and sharing it with us.” Ross followed up: “And seeing your journey of self-acceptance, it’s really impressive.”
Naomi finished off the runway couture with straight black 70’s hair and a strapless magenta bell-bottom jumpsuit. Shark-sleek and ready for the catwalk, she brought it with this final look. “What I love most about you is you’re so sweet,” Michelle later said to Naomi. Carson pointed out her growth as well: “You listened, you worked, and it paid off.” Ross: “We all have those moments when we decide to bust through. There was just a moment when you said, ‘I am in.’”
Now Season 7 was boring as fuck, but one great concept that came of it was a new final runway tradition: advice to your childhood self. As with last year’s contestants, Ru brought out pictures of each queen as a little boy and asked them all to share their insights of today with the boys they were back then.
What wisdom would Bob share with little Bob? “Hey girl. You’re gonna want to change for others. Do not do that. I was so different than every guy in my family. But once I realized how important it was to be me, I really shined through.” And with one last dash of comedy, “And don’t take out that student loan freshman year of college. Just pay for it out of pocket.”
What would Chi Chi tell little Zavion? “Never be ashamed of how you walk, talk, because that is going to be the key to your success.”
What would Kim say to baby Sang? “When you grow up, people might shame you for being too different and not fitting in with the rest of the culture. You’ll feel like you’re trapped in the wrong body. You might think of harming yourself. But I just want you to know it will all get better. It turns out what you’re ashamed of are the traits people will love you for. What you thought was all just a dream will come true for you.” Ru herself responded, “It didn’t just get better, Kim. You became fierce.” And Kim gave one last tip to her younger self: “Oh, and go to a dancing class as soon as possible.” Kim’s emotional speech was truly moving.
What advice did Naomi have for little Davis? “Davis, you’re gonna go through a really confusing time where people are gonna make fun of your mannerisms and the way that you look. But embrace it, because that’s what makes you special. Do what you do best, and that’s just being you, because that’s what people are gonna love you for.”
Ru then brought the competition to a close with the usual question, “Why should you, and not your competitors, be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar?”
Bob’s response: “I have statistically done the best in this competition. And you reward the person who has done the best with the highest reward. I serve the people, I serve the community, because the community has helped me grow into who I am today.”
Chi Chi: “I have demonstrated the talent and the willingness to grow. I can work a runway. I’ve just blossomed, and I think I should be America’s Next Drag Superstar because I’ve shown the most growth.”
Kim: “I have been professional and creative. None of the girls will ever come up with the things that I do. I don’t want to become America’s Next Drag Superstar, I am America’s Next Drag Superstar.” (*mic drop*)
Naomi: “I love drag, it’s what gets me up in the morning. I don’t pigeonhole myself into being a standup comedian, or a dancer, or a look queen. I want to show people I am what I am.”
The judges then deliberated while the queens walked offstage, discussing each contestant’s full performance throughout the season. Bob was acknowledged as hilarious, and while she wasn’t the most glamorous presence, she would certainly excel as a comic performer. The judges talked about Chi Chi as an incredible lip sync performer who launched herself out of the Bottom 2, twice. Though she’s not the most original contestant and she could stand to deliver more artistry, the judges respect her talent. And they all agreed Kim left them spellbound week after week, never having to lip sync in the Bottom 2, because of her incredible skills with conceptualization and execution. Carson asked, “But does she have the ability to command the stage and work the crowd? I don’t know.” Naomi was praised for her wow-factor looks, her skyrocketing growth in the competition, and her kind disposition. Carson said, “Compared to the other girls, I just don’t think she’s there yet.” But Michelle and Ross both adamantly disagreed.
ALL the queens are tasked with lip syncing to The Realness by RuPaul. Kim wisely stayed put and vogued with her daggerish fingernails while Naomi gave flirty runway walks for days. Chi Chi’s fabulous boogie shined, even in another floor-length gown, and Bob owned the lyrics with comedic delivery.
After an entire season of material, and with so much riding on this final elimination, Chi Chi DeVayne was told she would not be joining the other queens in the Top 3.
She took the news gracefully and graciously, and thanked the judges for their support.
And now, kittens, the time has come! On May 16th, one of 3 remaining queens will be crowned Season 8’s winner!!!
So, who are you rooting for? Are you #TeamBob, #TeamKimChi, or #TeamNaomi? Comment below or shout it out on Jetspace Magazine’s social media channels!