As Cynthia Lee Fontaine said, “After the gymnastics challenge… what to ‘spect?”
She's from Planet Azusa and sporting the latest trends.

We knew 2017 would be different. Burnt Orange Baby Hands was inaugurated, the National Park Service became a rogue Twitter warrior, and RuPaul's Drag Race moved to VH1. Yes, there have been upsets, but we have persevered (kinda). When the premiere of season 9 pulled in nearly one million viewers (its most watched episode ever), many people gagged and many smart gays grumbled. But y'all can toss aside any worries that RPDR has crossed over to the straight mainstream and left its queer fanbase behind, because this week's episode, "Draggily Ever After," was a spooky ooky kooky doozy to watch.

I thought we suffered enough of the creepy puppet drag when Nina Bo'nina Brown introduced her horrifying mouse and Georgia peach looks on episode one. No ma'am, Pam! RuPaul decides to subject everyone to terrifying animated drag puppets. I swear on my Ornacia, this is one of the strangest episodes in RPDR herstory. Truly, internet trolls will be spinning this week's weirdness into GIFs for ages.


"Draggily Ever After" kicks off with RuPaul threatening to sick her robot mannequin on all the queens and ends with a fierce-volcano-chaps-wearing-banjee-battle. Confused? So are the judges. That's why (SPOILER) Aja ends up in the bottom two. In between the funkiness, there's more funky: Eureka's a swamp princess, Farrah Moan doesn't know how to use hot glue (or vacuum), and Valentina (already one of the breakout stars of this season) goes halfway in the brow department and manages to become an even more charming alien.

Kimora learns English from... Cynthia?
Kimora learns English from... Cynthia?

For the main challenge this week, Fairytale Princess Eleganza, the queens were tasked with creating a fairytale version of themselves and (cue a scream from Alaska) a poorly animated puppet sidekick. The queens walk down the runway, and then a creature pops up next to them (WITH THEIR FACE ON IT!!! CREEPY!!!) who delivers a horribly long monologue that the queens create through mad libs. Yes, RuPaul, a devotee of gaudy wordplay, instructs the girls to fill out mad libs in the workroom. It's a miracle Cynthia didn't put "cu-cu" in every blank, and Kimora Blac confesses she's not the best at adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or verbs. (That's because she went to the school of body-ody-ody.) Fortunately for Kimora, a non-native English speaker is there to help her out.

Fully emotional and in half a face.
Fully emotional with half a face.

On RPDR, it's a common trope for the girls to have a confessional while putting on their makeup and in half-face. The producers spur them to talk about something personal, resulting in sincere emotions contrasted against ridiculous smears of makeup. It's like the audience is being dared to laugh at the queens, then punched in the gut with some heavy reality. (It's called camp, children.) This week, the girls give us a doozy of a confessional, talking about the Pulse terrorist attack and the friends they lost (only a few months before filming this season). The moment, one of the most heartbreaking confessionals the show's ever had, ends with Velour stating, "We need to come together and be proudly, visibly queer. You can’t move backwards―we need to stay strong."

If you're feeling blue after watching that, watch this video of the Ginger Minj, an Orlando queen, singing "I Am What I Am" with the All Stars 2 queens shortly after Pulse.


And then we get the puppet brigade. A fever dream of a failure, the girls strut down the runway with their magical pervy friends and we're all plagued by these images forever. Scrub my memory clean of this. Someone make a support group. I can't... I can't... But, despite this terror, there are some highlights. Trinity Taylor comes through with a seaside look, winning the challenge and proving she's more than just ass ass ass. Valentina and Shea Couleé turn it out, too. (I'm gonna put it out there: Valentina is marvelous. Unlike many of y'all, I'm here for Valentina.)

In the losing department, Kimora Blac reminds us she should have gone home last week (Mansfield would have killed this week's challenge), and Aja wears all red and gets read because her makeup is rough. (But isn't being rough kinda Aja's thing?) Kimora and Aja are both in the bottom two, which is weird because Farrah Moan's aquatic trainwreck deserved to be in the bottom over Aja. However, the producers are clever, and Aja is able to TURN-IT-OUT with one of the best lip syncs the show's seen in a while. It only makes the audience fall in love with her. Plus, it gives her the gas to become more likable and shut up about all her trashy designer friends in Brooklyn. Kimora (obviously) goes home.

And the local queen says...

Last week, I guessed that Jaymes Mansfield (R.I.P.) was a Pisces... and, as a reader pointed out with this infographic, I WAS RIGHT. Jaymes Mansfield is a freaking Pisces. So, to continue this trend, I've asked local queen Miss Texas 1988 to predict the astrological signs of three other queens on the show...


"Trinity Taylor is probably a Sagittarius because she can be evil as fuck. Of course, not all Sagittarius people are evil as fuck. But the sign's element is fire and the symbol is a warrior with a weapon so... you know... you gotta come to terms with that. She's a strong competitor and she is using those flaming arrows."

YES! Trinity Taylor is actually a Sagittarius, born on December 10.


"I think Sasha Velour is a Virgo. She uses so much detail and gawd knows it probably takes a Virgo queen to figure out how to build a video projection that's synchronized to your performance."

NO! Sasha Velour is a crabby Cancer, born on June 25.


"And Kimora Blac is probably an Ophiuchus. It's that new sign everyone has been trying to shove into the Zodiac which is kind of fake and stupid... get my drift? When Mercury is in retrograde it's ill advised to make sweat-shop labor jokes as a way of complaining about how you're too wealthy to do any type of work. Actually, anytime any planet is in any position that's kind of a bad idea."

YES! If Ophiuchus is a real sign, then anyone born between November 29 and December 17 is actually an Ophiuchus, rather than a Scorpio or a Sagittarius. Blac is born on December 15. In fact, this would make both Blac and Taylor Ophiuchuses. Hot.

(Miss Texas 1988, BTW, recently performed a number as Betsy DeVos at Kremwerk and it went semi-viral. You should check it out.)