RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 episode 11: She deserved better

Charlie Jones May 10, 2019
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The queens are in shock as Vanjie fails to win.

Same, hun. (Netflix)

The Drag Race queens are back, back, back again!

Drag Race Season 11 Episode 11: Bring back my queens, the verdict

How much Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent was episode eleven packing?

Overall: C.U.N.t.

Apart from some erroneous judging (Vanjie deserved better) and a lacklustre lip-sync, this episode was the MVP of the season.

Not only were we were gifted an iconic challenge, feature-length runway and salivating supply of shade, but—better than that—it finally felt like a real competition.

I was legit on the edge of my seat, for the first time wondering who was going to go home. What privilege!

Main challenge: C.U.N.t.

You know it’s a good one when your first thought is, How have they not done this before?

It was the ideal way to bring back the eliminated queens—along with all their drama, mama—without the faff next week of having to boot out the one they’ve only just taken back.

Mini challenge: C.U.N.T. 

Brook Lynn Heights wins the mini challenge, slapping Nina West.
Brooke Lynn Hytes beats the competition. (Netflix)

Drag Race didn’t try to top Asia O’Hara’s Oscar-worthy performance, opting instead to re-read the queens. And gurl. I’ll just say that for a moment I thought Labour had snuck into power because that library was open and fully funded.

Where was this energy in the reading challenge? Like, were these pre-written by desperate producers or have the queens genuinely just become amazing at improv?

Runway: C.U.

Category is: Drag family values.

So after all that, the runway itself was—ever so slightly—underwhelming.

Perfectly presentable, yes, but—like Ross Matthews’ astute reading of Brooke Lynn Hytes—lacking an edge. Just one truly original moment could have pushed it to the paragon. It’s a small gripe, but I’m worried it might come to define how we look back on the season.

Drag Race episode 11 episode 11: Wiggate

Ugh. I really can’t with this. I have no idea what’s going on and I don’t care. Please stop trying to force this through for some added airtime, Ariel. What’s the moral? Don’t leave wigs in a room full of desperate drag queens?

Ariel Versace caught out on Drag Race.
The receipts. (Twitter/@filibert0w)

Also—since we’re here—it looks like Ariel Versace did actually leave the wigs for Plastique Tiara, according to one Twitter user. So either she’s lying on the show or in this (now deleted) tweet. Either way, I have no issue with made up drama, but for tuck’s sake, make it juicy!

This shade did not spark joy. So let’s take a look at some that did.

Drag Race season 11 episode 11: the shade of it all

The slapback clapback of the week:

Yvie Oddly: “I just know how easy this all is for you, since you only got the same character every time you—”

Miss Vanjie: “So do you, you always playing an ugly Naomi Smalls.”

But the shadiest moments from the shadiest episode came from the show itself. Let’s take a look:

Forgetting the existence of Kahanna Montrese

HOW? Ra’Jah O’Hara and Mercedes Iman Diamond I understand. Full tea is that—though undeniably entertaining—they had more screen time than their talent necessitated.

But ignoring this season’s trade is pure homophobia. Go back to the bus stop and pick him up, please.

RuPaul's Drag Race queen Kahanna Montrese.
Damn, boy. The trade of the season, Kahanna Montrese. (Netflix)

Giving Brooke the villain edit over picking partners

Who would have been a better partner for Silky Nutmeg Ganache? Plastique? Scarlet? Ariel?

“Who should go home tonight?”

I’m living for the fact this is the third time Ru has asked this question. Stir, mama.

RuPaul reading Silky for that messy week

“Bitch, we could see your pads on the runway. You ain’t got an answer for me, really?”

RuPaul on the lip-sync: “Meh”

How does Silky not know the words to “No Scrubs?” Why does Nina West think lightly bopping is enough? Ru’s three-letter judgement might have stung, but it was the tea.

But Drag Race wasn’t done, reserving its fiercest shade for the two most beloved queens: Vanjie and Nina. 

The robbery of Miss Vanjie

Those coats? That look? Ariel’s pristine mug? Vanjie should have won this week, no doubt.

Drag Race queens Miss Vanjie and Ariel Versace are robbed.
A winner is robbed. (Netflix)

They were probably trying to stir up some Branjie drama for next week, but it just came across as cruel. It’s pretty obvious Vanjie isn’t going to win this season, so to take away her one win—a moment she could hold up as proof of her redemption and a nice set up for her inevitable return to All Stars—felt like a misstep.

It had a touch of the All Stars 3 finale about it—which Vanjie foresaw.

“Last time the eliminated girls came back it didn’t end up good, Shangie.”

Nina West: notes on pride

Nina to RuPaul: “Trans is beautiful, it’s part of our culture, now is the time to finally embrace it on the show!”

RuPaul: Eliminated. 

Nina West and Shuga Cain flying the flags.
I am so proud of Miss Nina West. (Netflix)

Nina represented everything good in the world and I’m gutted to see her go. She was also the only one who followed the theme (no, denim is not a value, Yvie), and she’s been carrying the heart, soul and pride of the season since it began.

She also wasn’t worse than Silky.

Don’t get me wrong, they were both bad, but it should have been a double elimination.

It would have been, had Drag Race not pre-planned for Yvie and Brooke’s double save. If that had been an impulsive choice, there would have been the need to get rid of another queen before the finale.

But Nina will be fine. Our eleven-gendary favourite and shoo-in for Miss Congeniality better start preparing for All Stars now—I just hope Drag Race is worthy of her next time.

Drag Race season 11 finale: the top four

A’keria Chanel Davenport deserves a spot in the top.

But I doubt Drag Race would pass up the option of having a Vanjie vs. Brooke / Yvie vs. Silky finale—ending in a rematch of Yvie vs. Brooke. So I reckon her time is up.

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