The Top 5 have to sing and dance their way into the finals. It's a tradition and rite of passage that many past queens have experienced. Sometimes it's a non-elimination round, while other times the final queen got chopped.
During RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 12, it was a medley of performance numbers from RuPaul's Drag Race Live! And yes, a queen did get eliminated.
The bright shining lights of Las Vegas didn't save a queen from elimination (or grant them the vacated spot after Sherry Pie's disqualification).
There was a lot of uncertainty about how RuPaul's Drag Race would handle the transition from the taped episodes to the current finale stretch. We knew that Sherry had been disqualified by the airing of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 1, but as she made it farther into the competition, it seemed obvious she made the finals during the taped portion.
Would the show simply remove her and make it a Top 3? Or, would they give the Top 5 eliminated queen the spot since Sherry got the cut?
I had hoped for the latter since it would be the "Lipsync For The Crown" bracket and the queen who lost out on the finals would be given their spot. Their chances would be even with everyone else.
The show went with the former direction of keeping it a Top 3, but it's not the biggest disappointment in the world. The process has to change to a virtual lipsync regardless due to the stay-at-home mandate, so this will be a first for the series.
We'll still have the LFTC portion and Sherry will be removed.
Gigi Goode's final run to get a spot in the finale was a strong performance, albeit with a fearful and bumpy edit.
She dominated during the Mini Challenge by adding plenty of humor and Las Vegas flair with her outfit. When she "death-dropped" on the small stage to support her character, that moment sealed her victory. There's no way RuPaul wouldn't award her the win with that comedic move; it made everyone laugh.
Though, it was her time preparing for the Maxi Challenge that lightly put her future in limbo. It wasn't as shocking as RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 7, but she did get in her head a bit.
The editors tried the red herring edit yet again by showing her awkward dancing and unsexy singing during rehearsals. However, we weren't going to fall for that blindside again.
Gigi wasn't landing every note or step in rehearsals, but she wasn't the worst out of the Top 5. Gigi has shown in the past that she can pull a performance through if she believes in herself. This challenge was right up her alley.
During the live portion and runway, Gigi cemented her spot in the finals (in addition to her report card all season). She gave the judges everything they wanted and more.
Gigi landed her notes during the songs, she stomped the steps, and when she came out to perform her rap, she brought plenty of fierce energy that wowed the main stage. The judges love whenever a queen delivers it hard during a rap verse, and Gigi served it in a killer outfit.
Michelle Visage: Guys, you better brace yourselves for this one. It’s the molar opposite of what she’s worn before.
[The judges laugh]
RuPaul: Hey Gigi, how’s your head … gear?
She owned "Still That Bitch" and captured the vibe. Plus, with her retro and geeky look on the runway, she had the round sewn up.
I wasn't a big fan of her runway look. Gigi sticks to the same silhouettes most weeks, so it wasn't surprising that her look followed the same trend. While I understand why the judges raved about it, the ensemble was average for an "Eleganza Extravaganza" runway.
Jaida Essence Hall is a queen that seemed like a guarantee to make it past the round. Unless she completely messed up or got out-shined by the others, Jaida has shown a strong consistency of dominating any type of song and dance challenge.
Sure, her singing isn't great (her sexy rendition during the Madonna Rusical saved her), but her dancing is top-notch.
I just want to make sure that the judges understand that I am Jaida Essence Hall, the “essence” of America’s Next Drag Superstar.Jaida Essence Hall
When Jaida emerged as the only queen who could follow Jamal Simms' choreography, that moment cemented her spot. All she had to do what carryover that confidence to the main stage and serve it to the judges. Which, of course, she did!
Jaida looked like a star during the Drag Race Live! numbers and shined her natural talent. And with her gorgeous golden gown during the runway, she gave Gigi Goode a run for her money.
This was a great round for Jaida.
Sherry Pie barely had any focus during "Viva Drag Vegas," so we'll keep it to just her Maxi Challenge and runway.
Both instances were strong due to being areas that are within her wheelhouse. Sherry has shown a strength whenever the challenge has involved performing, like during acting or musical theater rounds, and the outfit on the runway matched her old Hollywood style.
Sherry kept her consistent momentum, and since she had won a few challenges during the competition, her odds of making the finale were pretty set. Unless she had messed up during the challenge or Crystal/Jackie shined far and above Sherry, the outcome of who would end up at the bottom was pretty set.
Her past report card pushed her into the finals.
Crystal Methyd's performance during "Viva Drag Vegas" is where the uncertainty truly emerged.
Crystal had won the challenge during RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 11, but she still paled in comparison to the stats of the others queens, except for Jackie Cox. Though, the judges love her personality and style, so anything could've happened.
When she started messing up during the dance rehearsals and singing, Crystal seemed like a strong possibility to end up at the bottom. She couldn't nail it, and while her weird personality covers up those missteps with humor, she couldn't completely hide since there were only five queens left.
We’re in the home stretch and I’m feeling pretty confident. And I can taste the Top 4. And now, it’s like … ugh! I need it really bad.Crystal Methyd
Thankfully, she killed it during the Maxi Challenge and matched the level of the other competitors. It had plenty of humor, energy, and she hit those steps, even though she didn't land every note.
Between her two outfits (the orange number in the challenge and the blue runway look), the runway look was hands-down the best. Crystal Methyd loves jumpsuits and this was one of her best; it was elegant, fashionable, and it had the style to match the theme of the runway.
I do agree with Michelle Visage, however, about the orange dress. There were too many colors going on in that look to make it right for the '70s-inspired closing song.
Jackie Cox, on the other hand, seemed like a formality in regards to her outcome.
Don't get me wrong, Jackie is a great competitor and she's emerged as one of the favorites, but compared to the other queens, her chances of surviving to the finale seemed slim. Unless one of the others messed up or she dominated the lipsync, Jackie seemed like the guaranteed next elimination.
Much of her narrative during "Viva Drag Vegas" was about how she needed to snatch a Maxi Challenge win to even have a chance of winning the Drag Race crown. And, that it was time for her to change things up to give the judges something new to impress them.
The edit was setting her up for a surprising victory or framing her elimination plot. Based on her past performance, the latter seemed like the obvious outcome.
When Jackie kept retreading the same issues that plagued her in past challenges (i.e. unsexy movements, weird singing, being too much in her head), it seemed like history was going to repeat itself.
Luckily, Jackie served it during the Maxi Challenge with her heartwarming performance. Her acting and singing during the balled number had plenty of emotion and heart; the scene was her saving grace for making a case against the others.
Unfortunately, her runway look didn't measure up compared to the others. While the gown was sweet and elegant, it also looked ... cheap. The pattern was busy and the material of the gown didn't match the look Jackie was trying to channel.
Since she didn't win the Maxi Challenge, Jackie was guaranteed to be lipsyncing.
For the lipsync of "On The Floor" by Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull, Crystal Methyd and Jackie Cox both went for comedic renditions.
You could tell that they were having a fun time on the main stage. They were dancing, serving comedy, and enjoying their performance for the judges.
The problem, on the other hand, was that the lipsync was average and somewhat boring.
Look, at this point nobody wants to make it all the way to the finish line, and right before you step over it, fall down. I am one step away from making the Top 4. I’m not trying to f*** this up!Jaida Essence Hall
This is the Top 5 lipsync! Queens need to give it everything they've got to earn their place in the finals; this is the all-or-nothing moment to send a queen home. The lipsync stayed at the same energy and felt like the queens held back.
Surprisingly, Crystal didn't deliver more on the main stage. She spent a lot of time just moving around and doing smaller moves; the same goes for Jackie, but she had a more fitting dress that held her back. Not one of the best lipsyncs.
Hopefully, Crystal Methyd delivers an iconic lipsync during the virtual finale or else Gigi and Jaida will send her packing.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
The showgirl Mini Challenge didn't stand out compared to others like it in the past. It came across as filler.
The mirror moment was sweet and heartwarming. Sometimes the show is RuPaul's Best Friends Race.
Did anyone else think the opening blackout was a surprise twist?
- The queens didn't have to talk to their youngers selves this time around. Maybe it got cut since the episode ran long?
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "Viva Drag Vegas"?
Did Jackie Cox deserve to be sent home this week? Did you miss the queens not talking to their younger selves? What drama will be shared during the reunion?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.