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RECAP: RuPaul's Drag Race Episode 11


As one beloved queen departs, the final battle is on

RuPaul's Drag Race dolls beware: You criticize the Needles, you're gonna feel a prick. That's the lesson in this penultimate competition episode, which found the Fantastic Four whittled down to a Terrific Trio.

This week's theme was bitches, which is slightly less apt in this season of friendship than it would have been in previous years. The week's mini challenge found the four dolls crafting drag puppets representing one of their fellow competitors; Chad Michaels' Phi Phi puppet, complete with snaggle tooth, was the winner, so Chad got to assign real live dogs to the girls for the runway challenge. Giving herself the Chinese Crested, Chad passed out a bloodhound to Phi Phi, a poodle to Sharon Needles, and a tiny yappy dog to Latrice. The challenge? To craft three different looks for the runway: daytime realness, party girl, and doggie couture.

All signs point to the episode's end, with conversation about Chad Michaels never having lip synced before and Latrice suddenly criticizing Sharon Needles in confession. And Sharon does seem like a mess this week, chatting with the other queens instead of working on her own designs, even calling Chad over at one point for help with a hem. Of course, RuPaul is no help during her tour of the dressing room, worming her way into the dolls' minds with comments like, "That's... interesting," and "Really?" To their credit, none of them are dissuaded.

On the runway, Phi Phi's dog park daytime realness is more Nicki Minaj character than sweatpants and sneakers, which guest judge Rose McGowan loves. Latrice goes for sparkle over nailing the style; Chad continues his quest to be a '50s movie star (and ageing herself in the process); and Sharon serves up Lindsay Lohan party girl realness, along with a fabulous couture look, which featured boots that perfectly matched her poodle. Chad may have summoned 101 Dalmations, but Sharon moved it to the 21st century. Who wants a fur coat these days? It's all about the thigh highs.

On the runway, RuPaul asks that dreaded question: Who should go home? Sharon and Chad both say Phi Phi, citing her steely ambitions and do-anything-to-win attitude. Phi Phi naturally says Sharon Needles, as does Latrice, surprisingly enough. She criticizes Sharon for getting a pass, even though she routinely walks the runway with unfinished hems and torn seams. Rose McGowan points out the obvious: That even as she was speaking, Latrice herself was sporting a sloppy hem.

Back from the Interiors Illusions Lounge, the queens find out that Sharon (deservedly) won the competition, while Latrice must lip sync for her life opposite Chad Michaels, to the tune of guest judge Wynonna Judd's "No One Else on Earth." Sharon astutely points out that Latrice is doing her soul thing, which doesn't quite jibe with the song, and the editing points to a clear Chad Michaels victory: We hardly see Latrice's interpretation. Sure enough, it's Chad Michaels who gets to stay, leaving Latrice to sashay away. She tearfully thanks RuPaul for seeing something special in her, and changing the world of drag for forever, before walking back up the runway, head held high, to scrawl her lipstick farewell message. So that's it: a final three of Chad, Sharon and Phi Phi. Who will take the crown? It's been a lovefest for Sharon all year long, but will backlash kick in? Will Phi Phi's determination win the day? Only time--and Logo--can tell.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Mark Peikert