As they say, comedy is hard, dying is easy. But for Utica, I don’t think anything about this episode will be simple. I think she will have quite a difficult time navigating the post-show fallout from one of the most scalding edits I’ve ever seen on this series.
But first: the mini-challenge saw glamorous human Anime character Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills judge the queens in an absolutely hysterical bit in which one queen did a make-up tutorial, while their partner blindly acted as their hands, applying the various cosmetics. We’ve seen iterations of this challenge before — I think Season 6 or 7 had one with legs on the beach? — but this was a riot and they should find a way to use the basic concept every season. Personally I found it way more entertaining than puppets. If I’m not being given the assorted bulges of the Pit Crew, this is the kind of buffoonery I want, show.
Rose and Kandy correctly won, and were given the power to set the rundown for the main challenge, a comedy roast of previous Miss Congeniality (and Fan Favorite) winners Valentina (S9), Nina West (S11), and Heidi N. Closet (S12). Rose and Kandy realized that they didn’t need any stunt shows or shenanigans, because they were confident that they could execute the challenge. Somewhere in a drive-thru in Scotland, Ellie Diamond’s b-hole is puckering at this unintentional shade. Kandy made the bold choice to go first, Rose the equally bold choice to close the show, and the shreds of the rest of the queens’ dignity littered the stage between the two.
That’s not entirely true. Of the six, I thought three did really well, one or two did better than the judges wanted us to think, and only one fully bombed. But that one bomb was radioactive. I genuinely think we witnessed the end of that queen’s entire career this episode, barring an extremely deft handling of the blowback on social media. And that’s unlikely.
Since there are only six left, we’ll go through each girl individually:
Kandy Muse: Kandy was solid here. I personally did not laugh at any of her jokes, but many people I know — who are not Kandy stans, who generally have good taste — agreed with the judges that she won this week. I think this comes down to personal comedy preferences. I tend to like jokes with a bit more wit or surprise. Kandy’s jokes were low-hanging fruit, which incidentally is what they call me at the bathhouse. I thought she did have good stage presence — she really needs to reduce her “bitch” count by about 30 percent, it’s a crutch — but there’s no denying that Kandy did well this week. But I don’t think she deserved that win, and she certainly did not deserve the full-service rim job the judges gave her again this week. This kind of over praising is only going to hurt her in the long run, I really believe that.
Symone: This is an interesting case. Based on what we saw, Symone was terrible. She couldn’t land a joke to save her life. She was awkward. She seemed unprepared and flustered. Looked gorgeous, of course — she’s Symone — but this was an awful showing. But in Untucked, the queens seemed to indicate that she did have some good jokes, she just didn’t execute them well. Did anyone see even the suggestion of a good joke in her televised set? I didn’t. I have a feeling they edited this to make her look worse than she actually was. I think this ultimately bodes well for Symone’s chances at the crown. Yes, she has lipsynched twice so far, but that turns her storyline from “obvious frontrunner” to “incredible highs, dangerous lows,” and gives her something to overcome. The judges/producers love that kind of journey. It makes things interesting. I think it all depends on how she picks herself back up from this, because based on next week’s preview, Symone looks very close to her breaking point. I hope that’s not the case.
Utica Queen: Or rather, the corpse of Utica Queen, because she was absolutely murdered this episode. My god. Where to begin? Even in her talking heads, Utica bounced between clueless and vicious, which was so jarring juxtaposed with her “Utica is pure love and joy” schtick. SO WEIRD. Utica’s rehearsal with Michelle and Loni Love was actually more offensive than her real set, and I think that’s the footage that is really going to damn her. There were fat jokes, ugly jokes, jokes that verged on racism, and Utica seemed to double down on the naked antagonism of it all — this is going to destroy her. The best part of Utica’s actual set was Loni Love dragging her for bombing, and then Ru flipping her off not once but twice. Utica obviously knew she was done by the time we got to Untucked, and proceeded to deliver a bizarre, ambiguous preemptive ass saving with the viewers regarding needing to “deal with some things” she should have dealt with before the show. It felt very calculated to me. GPCD Panelist Karissa Kloss (HI KARISSA!) said she believes the producers cast Utica as an opportunity to get an amalgamation of Katya and Crystal Methyd. I think that’s probably true. That’s not at all what they got from Utica. There is something very off there, and that’s not just coming from this disastrous final episode for her. We got that shady edit several episodes ago, with the reading challenge. There seems to be a serious darkness to her that she tries to hide with this bubbly, goofy persona. Quick question: have Pennywise and Utica Queen ever been seen in the same room? Or is this largely a creation of the editors? I can see them doing to Utica what they did to Max in Season 7, making her look unstable and insufferable. Regardless, Utica has a gigantic PR hole to crawl out of, and I’m not sure she has the social skills to do it.
GottMik: I thought GottMik should have won this week. Their set was way funnier to me than Kandy’s, and I agreed with the judges’ points that Mik seemed like a natural behind that mic. There was an easiness to the whole set that called into question the whole, “Oh, I can’t do this challenge, this is the one challenge I didn’t want to do” thing. GottMik said the same thing about Snatch Game, which they also slayed. So is this all a deliberate feint to gain sympathy points? I don’t know, but GottMik doesn’t need that shit. They’re super talented, and what’s remarkable is that I assumed GottMik would be a look queen that the judges would have protect from the bottom in performance challenges. I think GottMik has actually performed stronger in performance challenges than in look-based ones. I have seen pushback online that some of GottMik’s jokes were borrowed/recycled from other comics. Fun fact: most of these queens hire professional writers to create content prior to going on the show. Were the jokes paid for? Borrowed? Stolen? No idea. I do know that GottMik delivered them brilliantly, and they were funny, and I think they got low-key robbed of a third win here.
Olivia Lux: I think the judges were overly harsh on Olivia, again, which should let you know — again — exactly where things are going. If they were going to read Olivia for anything, it should have been that thirsty wig and that cheap-looking garment. (I’m sorry, her look has gotten crustier and crustier as the season has progressed.) I did find her juvenile delivery overly saccharine, and she absolutely could have used it to better, surprising advantage when landing her reads. But she had some great jokes — some of the best of the night, I think — and her critiques were as overly harsh as Kandy’s were overly kind.
Rose: Rose was amazing in rehearsal, and just OK in the live performance. Credit to her for not using cue cards — everyone else did — but even she admitted that she didn’t nail it when it really counted. Not that it mattered. I firmly believe Rose could have gone out there and delivered a Comedy Central-level roasting and they still would have given the win to Kandy, because that’s what the storyline dictates. Rose does get my 80s Seal of Approval for that spectacular Paisley Park number she wore on the stage. That was the only actual fashion on the runway and I was living for it.
Speaking of, no Photo Finish this week, as it was almost universal Moots. We’ll be back next week. In the meantime, how are you doing in our little pool? Check here for the updated scoreboard, and make sure you fill out the poll for Episode 13. Only two competitive episodes left! My god, it’s finally ending!!!
Next: acting challenge, shrinking drag queens, and…Scarlett Johansson?!