RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 8 Episode Four

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 8 Episode Four – New Wave Queens

Last week on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Naysha returned, and did not immediately leave! Bob the Drag Queen slayed the RuCo’s Empire challenge. Picky editors managed to find brief clips of Robbie and Cynthia being less than stellar. Derrick was told that her clothes wear her, and that she has no soul.The queens stroll back into the Werk Room to read Cynthia’s farewell message, and then wipe away all traces of her existence. Naysha lets us know she’s sorry to lose her Puerto Rican sister, while Bob calls her Western skating realness the “worst in Drag Race history.” (Note to future contestants: Just like you shouldn’t wear bacon, you should keep away from Western garb. It never works out well.)

Meanwhile, Robbie is shaken. Acting is supposed to be her strength, yet she fell into the bottom on an acting challenge. This had nothing — nothing — to do with the show wanting Robbie to lip-sync on roller skates. As for Derrick, you can see her lack of soul critique literally gnawing at her as everyone else celebrates.

The next day starts with a video from RuPaul quoting New Wave songs. Sure enough, RuPaul enters, channeling the Man in the Yellow Hat to announce the main challenge for the week. The queens will write lyrics for New Wave songs. There is no mini-challenge, and RuPaul tells them to divide into teams on their own. “Anarchy!”

You’d think people would avoid Kim Chi (O, She of the two left feet), but she immediately forms a team with her besties Robbie and Naomi. The three New Yorkers, Acid Betty, Bob, and Thorgy join up just as quickly. This leaves three leftovers, Chi Chi, Naysha, and Derrick. They roll their eyes and move together reluctantly.

Now the teams have to choose one of three different styles (complete with instruction packet and mp3 players): Punk, Party, and Synth. The Besties are happy to grab Punk. But both the New Yorkers and the Leftovers want Party. Bob polls both teams, and Chi Chi is the lone vote for Synth. Bob argues that since all three New Yorkers want Party, and only two Leftovers want it, his team should get it. I’m not sure that’s an iron clad-argument, but nobody has the energy to fight, so the Leftovers are officially screwed.

The New Yorkers grab their Party packet and dance away — rather impressively — in sync with each other. Bob chortles about not only getting the Party packet, but also creating a rift between Chi Chi and the other Leftovers. Those shady New Yorkers!

There’s a low key disagreement among the Leftovers when planning their outfits. They all agree with the idea of incorporating shapes into their looks, but Chi Chi wants to do full body shapes, and Derrick can’t handle that thought. At this point, Acid Betty comments from across the room that using shapes is perfect for the style. “Klaus Nomi was a walking triangle, ” she points out. Leave it to a New Yorker to bring up history!

There’s also shade directed toward the Besties team when they name their group “Chicken Wings.” Something about housewives, chicken wings, and dipping sauces — how does that relate to punk? I guess these queens never heard of Angry Housewives, Seattle’s most successful punk musical. It ran for years. It was all about a group of moms who form a punk rock group. Their big hit was “Eat Your F*cking Cornflakes!”

The New Yorkers are having troubles of their own. Apparently, Thorgy gets distracted by details, irking her team mates. Bob is distracted by the “ugh” sound Thorgy makes when she doesn’t like an idea. Sensing weakness, the other groups start throwing compliments at Thorgy. Or maybe they just like her as much as we do. In any case, Bob is slowly losing his temper.

This results in Bob getting pissy during the group’s studio session with Lucian Piane, RuPaul’s cute music directior/producer. One of the most adorable things about Lucian is how laid back he is. He never gets ruffled, and his notes are always given in the most gentle tones — which must be appreciated when the queens are doing something so far out of their comfort zones as live singing.

Lucian is actually tougher than I’ve ever seen him with the New York team. He tells them that they are being “character-y” and theatrical, instead of “cool,” which the style requires. Bob says he doesn’t understand that note. Lucian mentions a contemporary example: Lorde. “I hate her,” Bob snaps. Lucian is surprised to have a queen come at him like that, since he’ll be judging them all a few hours later. Thorgy is embarrassed by Bob’s attitude. Even Bob is embarrassed. “I may have just lost us this challenge,” he confesses.

In other news, Lucian tells the “Chicken Wings” that they need to tap into the energy of punk. He has them scream, which seems like it would hard for Kim Chi, but it’s Naomi who has the most trouble. With the Leftovers, he suggests that they talk-sing, because they don’t sound good sing-singing. Derrick, who is more Mariah Carey than Laurie Anderson, insists on singing and gets annoyed when Lucian praises Chi Chi for “doing it right.”

On performance day, Chi Chi talks about growing up poor and mentions that she’s currently going through bankruptcy. She doesn’t think any of the other queens can understand what real poverty is. She needs that $100,000. So failure is not an option.

Thorgy complains about being a perpetual challenge loser to Robbie, who points out that Thorgy is consistently among the top three. But Robbie later comments that Thorgy’s really worrying about how she’s consistently coming second to Bob. Especially in the last challenge, where her skating look was on-point, while Bob was dressed up in a random robot catsuit.

But it’s runway time! RuPaul stomps the runway in a 1980s two-toned fauxhawk. She’s got on a blue jumpsuit and big plastic hoop earrings. She introduces Chris Stein and Debbie Harry, founding members of Blondie. Lucian is the third guest judge.

First group to perform are the New Yorkers, who have called themselves “Street Meatz.” Their choreography is very precise and cool, a combination of the B-52s and Devo. Thorgy has on a big, triangle head-piece that is very Devo. Acid Betty has on a feathery poncho that, frankly, doesn’t do much for me. Bob’s face looks like minstrel blackface, but it works. I definitely could buy them as a weird New Wave group. Lucian is smiling.

Dragometry (the Leftovers) is next. They are wearing shapes on their heads — but they look to be made out of black construction paper. By six-year-olds. Derrick looks more like Madonna than anyone else — but at least it’s 1980s Madonna. The judges seem dumbfounded, and there is only polite applause at the end.

Finally Chicken Wings bursts onto the stage. They are all wearing long hair, leotards, and torn stockings. (I think they’re torn.) They bring the necessary punk energy, and RuPaul laughs her head off.

There is a super-brief runway. “Neon Realness” is the theme, and the outfits flash by like strobe lights. Chi-Chi looks like a pink and black meter maid. Bob looks high fashion, with purple paint dripping down her bald head. Thorgy is all green, in a Mary Quant mini-dress. Acid Betty’s lashes are 12 inches long. Kim Chi’s face is divided black and white, and looks like a Picasso portrait. Derrick and Naomi are very basic. Naysha is like a fabulous bird in a skin-tight body suit. Finally, Robbie has mistaken the 1980s for the 1880s, and shows up in an ante-bellum ball gown.

The Chicken Wings are declared the winning group. Robbie wins a wig wardrobe from Weaven Steven (which is one of the best prizes ever). Robbie is especially thrilled because she idolizes Debbie Harry. She says she had a Debbie Harry poster in her room all through high school, which apparently fooled her parents into thinking she was straight. “You mean I was a beard?” Debbie asks.

The Chicken Wings all scamper off to the lounge, while the other two groups are judged. Street Meatz is first, and Bob starts out by apologizing to Lucian for being pissy the day before. Bob’s dislike of Lorde is brought up, and RuPaul brightly announces the Lorde will be guest-judging next week. I think that was a joke, but we’ll see. Chris Stein advises Bob to stay cool — just as a professional thing. Michelle praises the high fashion look.

Michelle finds Thorgy’s runway look too much. Lucian, however, thought she was the star of the group. RuPaul thinks that, with Thorgy, it’s always going to be a matter of editing. Acid Betty’s runway look blows the judges away, but her performance did not.

As for Dragometry, Michelle is happy that Derrick didn’t do Britney this week. Lucian found her performance disappointing, and the judges collectively wonder what Derrick is when he’s not Britney. Does he actually exist? RuPaul loves Naysha’s runway look — especially the ass. Which is both real and spectacular. The group outfits were not great — and this brings up the whole Chi Chi lack of engagement issue. Chi Chi starts to explain about being poor — and Michelle lectures her about making excuses.

“I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus — ” Chi Chi says.

“What is this bus everyone keeps talking about,” RuPaul muses. “Is the bus still running?”

The queens leave and judges discuss their faults. It turns out, Chris Stein is a huge fan of the show. He’s watched every episode. He calls Acid Betty’s runway outfit a “wow moment.” He reads Chi Chi for wearing the same shoes in the performance and the runway. Debbie Harry is very sweet. She defends Derrick Barry’s “outstanding” voice.

The queens return. Bob and Thorgy are quickly called safe. Acid Betty is safe with a warning. Derrick is less safe. But it’s Naysha and Chi Chi in the bottom. They lip-sync to “Call Me” (by Blondie). Naysha is damned if she’s going home again, and Chi Chi is determined to stay. They put it all out there. Naysha starts doing cartwheels. Chi Chi death drops, then jumps up and starts doing cartwheels, and back flips. Naysha’s wig falls off, but Chi Chi’s stays on, even when she’s whipping it against the floor. They both end up crawling over each other like Raja and Carmen in Season 3.

If there was ever a time to call a double-shanté, this would be it. But I don’t think RuPaul could get away with that after a double-elimination, and a returning queen already this season. So, Naysha ends up leaving again. But she smiles and laughs at RuPaul’s puns as she goes.

Link to Full Episode

Unfortunately, Logo is locking their episodes. You need to have a TV provider to see any of the episodes, except Episode One.


Kim Chi can walk when she’s not on a runway. She flies down the backstage steps, cape fluttering. Naomi is happy that Robbie won, but impatient to win her own. All three Chicken Wings are wearing pink and yellow. That’s a lot of pink and yellow. They grab drinks and sit, and Robbie asks Naomi why she’s sitting like she’s selling something (on QVC, I’m assuming.) She tells Naomi to sit like a “ho-bag,” so Naomi turns and kneels on the couch on all fours. “Too much!” Robbie cries. “I can see your halo!” Kim laughs.

Naomi asks which of the unsafe queens looked most nervous. Robbie answers Chi Chi, Derrick, and Thorgy. But Thorgy always looks nervous, even though she’s always in the Top Three. Kim says she doubts herself for no reason — but adds that she hates Thorgy’s hair tonight.

Chris and Debbie stroll backstage to wish Robbie a Happy Birthday. Robbie freaks out (in a socially acceptable way), because Debbie Harry was his idol all through junior and regular high school. Kim asks to shake hands with Debbie, so she can say she touched the star. Instead, Debbie sits down and snuggles up to Kim Chi, saying sheher. Kim is definitely into that.

Chris tells them that he’s watched every episode of the show, and asks who wrote their lyrics. Robbie tells him that it was a group effort. In songwriting, Chris says, the opening line is key — and they had the best opening line. Debbie was touched by their performance — it made her think of her own friends, especially when the queens were kicking. Robbie laughs and talks about kicking out the lights last week.

Chris and Debbie have to leave. Chris says, “Good luck and don’t f*ck it up.”

Kim wonders if any of the unsafe queens are crying right now. Naomi goes to get a jacket. “On the way back, could you please tuck?” Robbie calls after her.

The remaining queens come backstage. Robbie notes that they’ve been out there forever. “Who’s in the bottom?” Kim asks. Chi Chi raises her hand. “Basically, I’m hard to work with,” she announces. They discuss that critique and how Chi Chi brought it up herself. Naysha wonders why Chi Chi didn’t speak up before the performance.

Chi Chi, frustrated, says she simply disagreed with the choice of costumes. Bob suggests that Team Dragometry get a boxing ring and slug it out. Chi Chi waves it off, but thinks she ought to have kept her mouth shut on the runway. Thorgy was moved by Michelle’s intense lecture to Chi Chi. We get a flashback to the lecture, with tinkly piano music. Michelle says they (she and RuPaul) can see the magic in Chi Chi, “nourish that magic!” Chi Chi does seem to have absorbed Michelle’s words. “Bitch, be more humble. If you don’t think you have something, ask for it.”

On a side note, it’s great to see the runway outfits for more than a second. In the full light of backstage, and close-up, they look spectacular.

The stagehands announce a little treat and wheel in the TV. Thorgy guesses it’s another message from Trixie — telling Acid Betty how much she likes her make-up. ‘You bitch!” Betty laughs.

It’s a message of encouragement from Chi Chi’s mother. “She’s so sweet!” Robbie says. Kim Chi tells Chi Chi not to cry and ruin her mascara. Chi Chi can’t help it. Her mother is her biggest inspiration. Bob assures Chi Chi that she’s already won something by being on the show. Naysha goes over to hug Chi Chi. Chi Chi goes off to the mirrors to compose herself.

Bob and Naomi give a pep talk to Naysha. Bob tells her to embody the song. Naysha doesn’t know all the words, but shrugs that she won’t be in the bottom two — but she knows she is, and she’s already got her ear buds in. Bob and Naomi move over to the mirrors where Acid Betty is chatting cheerily to the still emotional Chi Chi. Now that I can really see Acid Betty’s look, I can see why Chris Stein called it the “wow moment.” She has on fish gills! And long sharp nails. She looks an even more fantastical character out of Wicked. Maybe there was a mermaid sequence that had to be cut during previews. That’s what she looks like.

Thorgy is also learning the lip-sync song. Just in case, she tells Acid Betty. Betty laughs about her insecurity. She holds her fingers up to her ears. “If I could touch my ears, I would plug them,” she jokes. If she did plug her ears, she’d end up stabbing herself in the brain, that’s how long the fingernails are.

Chi Chi stretches. Robbie asks her strategy. “Dance my ass off,” Chi Chi replies. She does full splits.

Meanwhile Naysha is assessing her chances. The judges didn’t like her group, and Michelle did’t like her outfit. She’s pretty sure she’s up for elimination.

We watch the final lip-sync in slow motion. It’s spectacular, and I can’t help thinking that Naysha still looks like she could have won the title. She remains calm, professional, and gracious even as she walks backstage. She’s not feeling defeated. She served it on the runway — not one of the other queens had a better outfit. She felt like she made the most of her second chance. As she packs up, she writes a sweet, sisterly letter to Chi Chi. Then she picks out a cute swimsuit and a beautiful “sequinced” bodysuit as gifts for Chi Chi, to help her in the competition and to feel more confident.

I can’t say that Naysha is the wrong choice to leave at this point (although, as usual, Derrick was duller). But I can say that she looks and acts like a complete winner. She just happened to get cast on a season of huge personalities. If this had been Season 4? She could have easily taken Phi-Phi’s spot in the final.