RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 8 Episode Two – Bitch Perfect
The queens are new enough to the competition to feel sad about Naysha (and her fine, fine butt) leaving. Cynthia is especially sad. Laila realizes she needs to stand out. At home, she’s the “edgy” one, but she sees that her edge isn’t as sharp as Kim Chi, Thorgy, or Acid Betty’s. Naomi brings up Laila throwing her under the bus during the runway — but she doesn’t seem too upset. She knows that Laila had to say something.
The next day, they are still mourning the loss of Naysha’s beauty. Bob the Drag Queen asks who the second prettiest is. Derrick and Naomi are the candidates. Just as Bob is making fun of RuPaul’s “she already done got herses” catchphrase, the video message starts up. RuPaul says sentences that contain the word “key,” “chord,” and “flat.” So, we know it’s some kind of music challenge. That the guest judges include Jamal Sims (choreographer) and Lucian Piane (composer) confirms it.
Enter RuPaul in another oversize pimp hat. Is this some new RuPaul business venture? The mini-challenge is a Latin dance-off, presented with the help of AB Soto, and the pit crew in mariachi hats. Outfits for the challenge are provided by Out of the Closet Thrift Stores (they benefit the AIDS Health Care Foundation).
Ten minutes later, AB Soto appears to help judge. The queens cha-cha it up. Cynthia serves some serious Latin shimmy, while Chi Chi does an impressive death drop from a standing split. Also — Kim Chi cannot dance. Period. RuPaul declares Cynthia and Chi Chi the winners, while commending Thorgy for her Frieda Kahlo realness.
So, on to the main challenge. It’s rather complicated, but the queens will perform an all-dancing, all lip-syncing extravaganza, based on the movie Pitch Perfect. They will be competing as fictional girl acapella groups: “Lady Bitches,” and “Shady Bitches.” Cynthia’s team are the Ladies, while Chi Chi’s are the Shadies.
They do a school yard pick, with Cynthia going first. She chooses Bob, Derrick Barry, Laila, and Robbie. Chi Chi picks Acid Betty, Thorgy, Dax ExclamationPoint, and Naomi Smalls. Kim Chi is last and goes to Cynthia’s Team by default. Derrick makes the obligatory bitchy comment about how bad Kim Chi is at dancing.
The scripts and mp3 players are distributed, and Chi Chi sits down with her team to plan the performance. She and Acid Betty immediately clash. Thorgy tells us that she’s known Betty for ten years — and that she’s always been an asshole artist. Her work is great, but her treatment of people is so harsh and demanding that nobody in New York wants to work with her.
Since Cynthia’s team is doing well, we get only brief glimpses of their rehearsal. Derrick tells them to do something and they do it. That’s it. Meanwhile, Chi Chi is trying to teach choreography to her team, but it’s too complicated for Thorgy and Dax. Then Thorgy tries to inject some comedy into the dance, which Chi Chi doesn’t like.
Another quick look at Team Cynthia. They are trying to work on character more than choreography. Robbie comes up with an idea for Laila playing Derrick’s little sister. Laila is not pleased. Being a wannabe Britney Spear wannabe is not her idea of standing out.
Back to Team Chi Chi and more drama. Acid Betty complains about the queens discussing shoes, instead of working. She tells this to Chi Chi, who is now so annoyed and frustrated that she can only stare blankly. “I’m just like Charlie Brown’s teacher to you, aren’t I?” Betty asks, laughing. “Wa wa wa wa wa…”
RuPaul and his pimp hat walk in to assess and mentor the teams. Cynthia can’t remember the name of her team, and Kim Chi has never even heard of Pitch Perfect. But RuPaul’s hardest question is directed to Laila — how can she overcome last week’s bottom two status? RuPaul warns her that she needs to shine.
RuPaul moves on to Chi Chi’s team. She bonds with Chi Chi about being southern, then asks how Chi Chi is handling the big personalities on her team. Chi Chi does find it daunting, since she’s used to being the Diva. Thorgy slips in that Chi Chi isn’t liking her comedic take. Acid Betty complains that Chi Chi isn’t being definite in the choreography. Chi Chi replies that she’s isn’t comfortable being a tyrant, so she’ll leave that job to Betty.
Before leaving, RuPaul introduces an innovation to the Werk Room experience. They’ve set up a “Shade Tree,” where the queens can talk about the experience in total privacy. So, it’s like the Big Brother diary room. Hmm. We’ll have to see if this is worth adding.
Cynthia’s team goes to work with Jamal Sims. He looks at what they created for choreography and doesn’t seem impressed. He wants them to be more “up” (as in posture), precise, and classy. He teaches them a simple step-touch routine. Bob tells us that Kim Chi is the worst, but it’s Laila that Jamal corrects. Then he has Kim Chi and Laila do the routine by themselves. Kim Chi finds the rightness and leftness confusing. “It’s like learning English all over again,” she moans. She falls, and the show pretends that this is a major tragedy and not something that happens all the time when learning a dance. “My heart just drop down to my cu-cu!” Cynthia cries in alarm.
When Chi Chi’s team shows their choreography, Jamal says it’s a lot of good ideas. Now they need to clean it up, and make it more coherent. Acid Betty is proud that he’s using her ideas. Jamal also likes a comic bit that Thorgy does. Dax is having the most trouble picking up the moves, but vows to make it work.
Back in the Werk Room, Team Cynthia is rallying around Kim Chi. They realize she isn’t a dancer, so Derrick suggests hitting the beats. Bob tells her to focus on her character. Kim Chi becomes the first contestant in Drag Race Herstory to use the Shade Tree, confessing that she is nervous, grateful to the team mates for helping her, and worried about letting them down. There is something so adorable and puppy-like about Kim Chi. She’s wants to please so much. “I’m just going to try my best and do what I always do,” she says, holding up her hands in a prayer.
Back to Team Chi Chi. They take a moment to rest and rub off their sweat with paper towels. I guess they couldn’t get a sponsor for regular towels on the show? Chi Chi and Acid Betty bicker. Chi Chi tells Thorgy that Acid Betty threatened to throw her under the bus if they lose. Acid Betty cheerfully confirms that. It’s refreshing to see how unabashed Betty is about being the bitch of the season.
Making up their faces the next day, Kim and Chi Chi share notes about rehearsing. Chi Chi had a hard time teaching the others. Kim Chi says dancing is her biggest nightmare. It turns out that Kim Chi grew up as the “weird, fat, art kid.” Acid Betty shares pictures, showing her own fat past. Dax was also overweight, and wanted to be powerful. “They don’t treat you like a person,” Kim Chi says. “You notice that?” Thorgy asks, incredulous. “All the time.”
Kim Chi talks about the challenge of feeling comfortable in her own skin. She tells the others that she’s still a virgin. Acid Betty laughs that she tried to hit on Kim Chi, but Kim was oblivious. Bob comments that Kim Chi doesn’t know how attractive she is.
Chi Chi and Cynthia talk about gangs. Chi Chi wanted to be in a gang when she was younger. She had a gun — which made her mother cry and her father beat her. Robbie asks if she joined gangs to hide her gayness. Chi Chi agrees that that was the case.
Meanwhile, Bob’s eyebrows aren’t even. She goes into character as an internet hater, ragging on herself for not being perfect.
Here comes girl RuPaul, strutting the runway in a gown made out of the trippy background paintings from Yellow Submarine. Michelle Visage is at the judges’ table, looking incredible. Suddenly, we’re watching the Bitch Perfect performance.
The story is that these two acapella groups decide to hold a sing-off (which is thing that happens, as I learned from the acapella reality show Sing It On.) The Lady Bitches, looking like sorority sisters, start with “Don’t Be Jealous of My Boogie,” doing their precise, classy dance moves. The Shady Bitches, all street clothes and gold jewelry, counter with an energetic, rhythmic “Geronimo.” Their moves are more individual and hip-hop. They trade songs back and forth, until Acid Betty’s Shady girl asks why they’re all fighting at all. Kim Chi asks if she can “Get an Amen,” and the teams unite to sing a mash-up of “Glamazon” and “Cover Girl.”
It’s gonna be hard to pick a winning or losing team from that. There were some standouts, but nobody was bad. I’m bummed to think that anyone will be going home.
We go straight into the runway, with the theme of “Movie Premiere Realness.” Cynthia is looking fresh in a glamorous interpretation of a belly-dancing outfit. RuPaul and Michelle agree that she looks like Valerie Bertinelli. Bob is serving some Diana Ross, with a sheer black gown and huge black afro. It’s almost La Porsha amounts of hair. Derrick Barry is cute in orange sparkles. RuPaul calls her Ann Margrock (for all us Flintstones fans). Michelle alert! Laila is wearing a green gown, with an Angelina Jolie leg slit, and long light green Angelina Jolie hair. Robbie Turner has on Marilyn Monroe hair and a strawberry red Vera Wang wedding gown.
Kim Chi wiggles down the runway in a tight mermaid gown covered in cherry blossoms. Chi Chi has a very simple red gown, but she looks beautiful. Naomi is wearing something a little more interesting, with an open skirt that shows off her legs. Acid Betty wears a nude couture dress with an Edwardian silhouette (think My Fair Lady), and a huge spiked hairpiece. Dax wears a big flower in her hair and blue satin dress. Thorgy decided to go in a completely odd ball direction with a silver disco jumpsuit that she made herself.
RuPaul calls out Laila, Thorgy, Acid Betty, Dax, Chi Chi and Kim Chi as the tops and bottoms. Bob looks disappointed to be safe, and she should be, because her runway look was gorgeous.
From the judging, it’s clear that Laila and Dax are going to be the bottom two — they are both told criticized heavily for basic looks and mediocre performances. It’s harder to tell the others. Both Acid Betty and Thorgy are on top. Michelle says that Betty has set the bar so high, it’s going to be hard for her to keep meeting it. Thorgy is praised for both her performance and her team work. Michelle’s only complaint is Thorgy’s make-up which, like Jinkx Monsoon’s, is too dark and dramatic. Chi Chi gets points for her performance, but loses them for her basic runway look. Kim Chi is damned for her dancing, but saved herself by playing a standout character. Her runway look is striking, but her runway walk is weak.
Chi Chi’s performance wins the prize. She gets a weekend trip to New England (which Chi Chi thinks is in Europe), sponsored by My Gay Getaway . Kim Chi barely escapes the bottom. Laila and Dax lip-sync to “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Lucian Piane whispers to RuPaul that this is THE gay song. They go at it, Laila saying that she has a better chance to win, since she can embody the emotion of the song. About halfway through, Laila starts stripping. RuPaul looks bored. Dax also strips — well, she takes the flower out of her hair.
In the end, RuPaul sends them both home. The safe queens look shocked, but Cynthia reminds us that this is the second time that RuPaul let both girls go. What’s shocking is what happens next. RuPaul gets a cell phone and calls… someone. Some mysterious person. She informs them that she just eliminated two queens and asks, “How soon can you get here?”
Who is the mysterious callee? We won’t find out until next week!
Robbie, Naomi, Cynthia, Bob
Cynthia feels okay, but she warns the other queens to watch out, because she’s going to give 200 percent. Naomi is ready to prove that she has what it takes. Her dress looks a lot better not that I can really see it. Bob isn’t satisfied. She asks Derrick if she thinks her performance was “safe.” Derrick says her role wasn’t a starring part. Bob notes that Kim had the biggest part, even though she doesn’t really lip-sync. Derrick notes that Laila “puts herself in the background” by moving to the back of the group onstage. They talk about some rehearsal incident where Cynthia stepped on Robbie’s toes in her high heel, drawing blood.
Naomi is the only safe “Shady Bitch.” She thinks Dax will go home. She rehearsed like crazy and knows that Dax did not. Bob notes that Dax’s gown did not reach the floor.
Naomi thinks Chi Chi won. Cynthia thinks it was Acid “Berry.” (Like the Absolut Vodka cocktail.) They think Chi Chi has the most personality. Cynthia thinks Robbie does the best transformation. Cynthia asks what was the hardest part of the challenge. Bob says it was lack of time, and praises Cynthia’s leadership. Then she makes fun of Cynthia’s accent. They all agree that Cynthia was a great leader. They all find her nice, genuine, and funny.
Bob makes fun of Acid Betty, comparing her to a crazy gunman in her need to be respected. She predicts that Betty will snap on the judges at some point.
The tops and bottoms come backstage, their feet hurting and thirsty for cocktails.
Kim is confused by her critique. She doesn’t know if she’s in the top or the bottom. Laila says she and Dax are in the bottom. “I have travelled literally across the country just to, like, hang out,” she confesses tearfully.
Dax asks the others if Michelle was right about her padding being lumpy.” Bob tells her that her padding is “suspicious.” In confession, Dax complains that they didn’t tell her before the judging. But Bob notes it’s not their job to help others — it’s their job to send them home.
Talk turns to Chi Chi’s leadership. Acid Betty tells Chi Chi that she didn’t make decisions until Betty forced her — and because of that Jamal used most of their choreography. “You hurt my feelings!” Chi Chi exclaims. Thorgy (as in the main episode) notes that Acid Betty does not work well with others. I’m guessing that this will be a running theme in the season.
The talk turns to personal relationships (i.e. dating). Derrick has a three-way relationship (one of whom is “Nebraska,” Alaska’s make-over soldier from Season 5.) She loves it. Betty asks if any of them ever get jealous. “Not now,” Derrick replies.
Kim Chi goes outside, where Dax is trying to chill out and listen to the lip-sync song. “Are you okay?” she asks sweetly.
Back inside, Thorgy laughs about her shoes being so tight, they made her hands turn beet red. Bob calls her sheer black gown is a “nude” illusion. “Nude black!” Betty laughs. Bob jokes that she never realized that Bandaids are supposed to be flesh-colored, because they certainly don’t match her skin tone.
Things break up. Bob coaches Laila on her lip-sync. Kim gives her a pep talk. Laila confesses that it sucks to know she’s so clearly the low girl in the competition.
Back onstage, Dax looks shocked when RuPaul eliminates both of them. She leaves the stage fuming, thinking she worked a lot harder than Laila. Then Laila makes her stage exit, doing death-splats and calling out hashtags on the way. Laila voice-overs her disappointment. She didn’t get to show her best at all. You can hear the tears in her voice.
Clutching her RuPaul figurine, Dax concludes that it’s hard to shine in a room full of stars. Laila decides that she needs to go onto Ebay and order a bigger personality. There’s a lot of voice-over from Laila about how awful it feels to “be a loser.” There’s nothing from Dax, who silently packs up her stuff. At the end, Laila says the standard “you haven’t seen the last of me yet” line, but it rings hollow after everything that’s come before.