“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1308 Recap: Rosé’s Turn

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Episode 1308 Recap: Rosé's Turn
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Theatre kids, this is our moment. Get a ride from an upperclassman, sit next to your crush at IHOP, rank your favorite songs from Rent, and complain about your part, because, baby, we’re doing a Rusical!

Okay, I know Snatch Game is the episode most Drag Race fans look forward to each year, but I’m a gay musical theatre nerd and nothing brings me more joy than some drag show tunes. Why do you think my Youtube search history is filled with Jinkx Monsoon singing Sondheim? Anyway, I was very excited for this episode AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.

We begin with LaLa’s elimination and tensions are high. Utica says she’s helping others succeed beyond her. Denali is mad she wasn’t in the top. The queens are getting catty and anyone could go home.

But that’s not going to stop the lovefest! The next week Kandy talks about how after the competition they should all get a house together in California. Only sensible Capricon Symone shoots down the idea. Rosé says the trade would be ridiculous and Kandy reveals herself to be monogamous for her one and only Joey Jay. Cue dreamy Joey Jay montage.

The Rusical this year is social media themed. Denali wants to be either Lady Tweets or the sexy character Foxy. After giving her preferred part to Olivia last week, Utica insists — she’s playing Lady Tweets. But Rosé is a musical theatre queen and Foxy is the lead role and now she’s insisting too! As Denali and Rosé fight, Gemini Utica says, “I feel like I caused all this drama and I love it.” Elliott suggests they audition and Rosé gets the part. Denali is stuck being a Russian bot with Gottmik.

The queens receive a (virtual) guest visit from the Hollywood star with the biggest theatre kid energy — Anne Hathaway!! I am baffled that Anne Hathaway is a controversial figure as I have always loved her, but maybe that’s just because of my own theatre kid energy and because I’ve seen Rachel Getting Married. The queens are all geeking out in their confessionals and while others cite The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, Symone cites my childhood fave Ella Enchanted, because Symone is the best.

Rosé asks Anne if she’s ever had to fight for a part and she reveals that she was the 9th choice for The Devil Wears Prada. Worried about her scene partner, Gottmik then asks for her advice if you don’t get the part you want. Anne says you steal the show anyway. Denali follows up for accent tips and she tells her instead of playing an accent play a character who happens to have that accent. She ends by saying, “One last thing: Don’t f… orget to have fun!” She’s such a geek. I love her.

The queens record their singing parts and Tina again accuses Olivia of being a secret diva. If by “secret diva” she means Olivia can sing, then she’s right, because turns out Olivia Can Sing! Symone, unfortunately, cannot and so begins her struggles for the episode.

During the choreography session, Jamal Sims tells Symone that she needs to stop worrying about her technique and fake her way through it with energy. Meanwhile, Rosé has enough energy for everyone, because I have never seen a queen want to win a challenge so badly. Denali appears in better spirits after her Hatha-wake-up-call and Gottmik struggles to keep up with the far better dancer. But they’re both having a good time with their goofy Russian accents. Tina says they sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but at least they don’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tina Burner.

The producer prompt this week — asked ever so authentically by Utica — is whether the queens have become jaded with social media. Kandy says that after Aja’s famous Linda Evangelista speech, Valentina fans came for Aja and her whole family including Kandy — for years. Rosé then brings up Tina being Graham Norton’s ex, a true thing that is true! Denali then pivots the conversation to one of my favorite topics: celebrity crushes. Symone says hers is Mr. Nicole Ari Parker himself Boris Kodjoe. Tina says Uncle Jesse which I assume means John Stamos. And Denali — who remember brought up this topic — says the animated Hercules and Aladdin. Look, I’m not judging. Whomst among us didn’t have animated Disney crushes? (Shoutout to Belle, Megara, and not Disney but very important to me Anastasia.)

RUSICAL TIME! Tina is playing the Emshe and look I know I like to rag on Tina, but I am going to do so once again, because how can you remove all the sex appeal out of a Fosse reference?? Olivia is dressed in Mark Zuckerberg drag which means casual college student and it’s very hot. Rosé is doing a sort of sexy Eduardo Saverin thing and the duo just really did a lot for me.

It then turns into a “Cell Block Tango” reference with the different social media platforms. Symone is Instagram and for the first time in the competition falls flat. She keeps her sunglasses on the whole time and her insecurities are obvious. Utica is playing Twitter and her bit is a parody of “Modern Major General.” It’s a lot of words and a lot of wacky choreo but she nails it. Kandy is LinkedIn and is SO HOT. I know, I know — shocker that I’m turned on by the queen playing a businesswoman, but oh my. Elliott is TikTok and is supposed to be doing a Billie Eilish thing but is just boring.

Then Rosé comes back out complaining that her accounts keep getting suspended for showing too much skin. It’s a parody of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and she does Barbra proud. Then Gottmik and Denali come out as the bots and they both do so good in their parody of “America” from West Side Story. It’s then revealed that Tina was Friendster the whole time, but the moment falls a bit flat because Tina is a bit flat. Finally, the whole thing ends with a Les Mis parody about the noble pursuit of truth and weeding out online lies. Overall, a strong Rusical if not quite among the top tier.

The runway theme is yellow! Tina and Elliott are both taxis and I wish someone would drive them off the runway. Olivia is beyond gorgeous in a stunning gown and big ostrich feather puffs. Symone describes her look as “Big Bird went to the hood and got transformed into a pimp” and lucky for me and all of us that includes suspenders. Utica is wearing a 14th century sideless gown and has a whole geeky backstory about it which is very cute. Denali is a python princess, Medusa-hair included. Gottmik is a bondage crash dummy. Kandy is beautiful in an homage to “Hold Up” Beyoncé  with added sunflowers in her hair. And Rosé is dressed like Jim Carrey in The Mask. She describes herself as a cartoon character come to life, so I bet Denali was into it.

Utica, Olivia, and Elliott (ugh) are safe. Tina, Symone, and Kandy (??) are in the bottom. And Rosé and the Russian bots are the top. I honestly don’t remember most of the judges’ critiques because I was SO NERVOUS. I know I love Kandy more than most, but I really didn’t understand how she was in the bottom over Elliott! This is drag. Why would anyone want consistent mediocrity over someone hot with heart and personality??

Rosé wins and I was thrilled for her. Last year, the show broke Jan when she didn’t win the Rusical, and I’m glad that didn’t happen to another of Stephanie’s children! But this is when the celebration ceased. Because Tina fucking Burner was declared safe, which meant Kandy and Symone were left to lip sync for their life.

I WAS SO SAD. I watched the performance dreading the outcome either way — while, yes, also hoping they would at least make out before one of them went home. No make outs, but their performance of Fifth Harmony’s “Bo$$” was very good. Thankfully, the Symone that was missing throughout the episode fully returned when it counted most. Obviously, between Symone and Kandy I wanted Symone to stay. But I was still devastated.

I’d really given up all hope because this season started with three episodes that didn’t have any eliminations. And double saves are usually only for lip syncs like Brooke and Yvie, which this certainly was not. Ru even goes as far as telling Kandy to sashay away! But the only thing Ru loves more than breaking my heart is a manufactured TV moment and as Kandy is walking away she shouts, “Kandy, Kandy, wait! Stop. I’m not ready for you to go. Not yet. You are safe to slay another day.” I SCREAMED!!!!!! PURE JOY!!!!!!

Next week, there isn’t a new episode — instead there’s a documentary about filming the season during the pandemic. Give me all the double saves, all the documentary specials, all the tricks and episodes. May this season last all year long. What else are we doing?

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ I know you’re all wondering what my favorite Rusical is and I’ll tell you. Season 8. Bitch Perfect.

+ This was such a horny episode! And I’m not just talking about my musical theatre feelings! In addition, to Kandy bringing up Joey again, in Untucked Olivia asks Utica to take her on a date after the show. And apparently in the van Olivia and Utica were next to each other and Olivia called it a date. And on Twitter tonight Olivia tweeted at Utica: Date night? Then if that wasn’t enough, Rosé comes over to clear the air with Denali and love on her a bit and in the confessional admits it’s partially because she thinks Denali is cute! I’m obsessed with all of it.

+ The safe queens are talking about nicknames and Elliott says she heard Gottmik call her clique the mean girls. They replay the footage confirming that, in fact, Tina called them the mean girls, Kandy repeated it, and Gottmik pointedly did not. I wonder why Elliott was blaming that on Gottmik! Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Bitch.

+ Today is Rihanna’s birthday — watch this video of Symone getting a DM from her!

+ If Symone had been the top instead of the bottom this week, my headline would’ve been: I’m Changing My Major to Symone.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone (and also everyone except Elliott and Tina)

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Symone, Denali, Kandy, Rosé, Olivia

+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: I’ve absolutely masturbated to that video of Jinkx singing “Last Midnight.” It’s been a long quarantine leave me alone. (Also here she is singing “Origin of Love” from Hedwig if your vibrator needs a second song.)


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