RuPaul’s Drag Race (S12E09) “Choices 2020”

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Our episode this week starts out very light-hearted, with a mini-challenge asking the Queen’s to act like cats. To be honest it was pretty hilarious. It’s fun to see the contestants let loose and be silly, letting us laugh alongside Mama Ru. It was a nice bit of light-heartedness I think we all needed right now. That doesn’t really continue once Ru informs them that the challenge would be based on political debate.

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The majority of the Queen’s seemed confident going into the maxi challenge, with a couple seeking advice during the walkthrough featuring Raven. Being a veteran of the competition herself, she knows her stuff. Her main recommendation was to be silly, make it stupid. Sometimes Queens take the challenges too seriously and it really trips them up, often causing them to at least lip sync for their life if not sashay away. We’ve seen it happen in the past, and it certainly did occur this time around as well.

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This week’s episode of Drag Race was very relevant to America’s current circumstances. There was a political debate theme, and while not my favourite challenge, it does really show what the Queen’s can do on the fly. This is also a challenge that tends to have very clear tops and bottoms. At the time of filming, they weren’t in the election year yet, but I imagine it was still a stressful subject to deal with under those circumstances. From how Widow reacts in Untucked, it’s clear things got to her. It’s sad to see her slip into such a negative mindset, especially when she started out as such a positive person. I get it, stress can be overwhelming. That doesn’t break my heart any less.

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On the other side of things, Jackie Cox was also in the bottom this week. Had she fleshed out her concept more I think she would have been fine, however, she let herself fall into doing the same joke over and over. Jackie’s story is a truly beautiful one. A Persian Queen from Canada, she goes into detail about the struggles her family has faced in America. Hearing how one person’s bigotry is hurting them so directly was heartbreaking. The silver lining was her stunning runway look. It was traditional, yet fashionable, and hit all the right notes. She used it fully in her lip-sync, and I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to her heritage.

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The lip sync was a fantastic example of fighting for your spot. We already knew Widow was going to do her thing, but man did Jackie kill it. It was as though she took every doubt, every bigoted comment and turned it into pure performance fuel. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Widow’s performance, Jackie just took it further. You could tell she was feeling every verse and chorus so deeply, it even moved Jeff Goldblum to tears. TEARS. That is incredibly impressive. Sadly Widow left, but it certainly wasn’t a robbery. It was her time. Thankfully, we have makeovers to look forward to next week! So at least there is some happiness going forward.