Forget a foundation to support first-out queens. What this show really needs is a foundation to support queens who suffer debilitating injuries while filming it. For Season 15, please book Miss OSHA. Her talent show routine can be writing citations for unsafe work environments. RuPaul will be SHOOK!
Because ONCE AGAIN another big gal has exited the competition early due to an on-set injury. Kornbread “The Snack” Jete — an obvious frontrunner this season — was pulled out after she messed up her ankle in the Episode 4 challenge. The urgent care doc said she shouldn’t stand on the ankle for any length of time, and as any Drag Race alum can tell you, those queens are standing in heels for LOOOOOOOONG stretches at a time. This follows Victoria Scone (UK3) and Eureka O’Hara (S10) in gals who had to be removed due to injuries they suffered on the show, and other girls — Charlie Hides in S9, Madame Laqueer in S4, I’m sure I’m forgetting others — have also been seriously hurt shooting this show. This is a DRAG competition. Not Survivor. Something is wrong when queens are being hurt this badly trying to do drag.
It’s a real shame about Kornbread. She’s great and clearly was going to make it very deep in this competition. And I’ll be honest, I’m worried that her unplanned absence is going to impact this season overall. UK3 is a prime example of this. The producers obviously counted on Victoria making it super far in the competition. Once she was gone the cast was completely unbalanced, and the middle of that season sagged. The same could be said of Season 9 and Eureka. I hope that there are enough talented queens in Season 14 that one unexpected out doesn’t shift the whole energy of the proceedings, as thus far I’ve really enjoyed it. But I am concerned. (I also would note that at no point did Ru specifically say that Kornbread has an open invitation to return to another season. That is worrisome, as she’s said that on camera for all the other major injuries that I can think of.)
As for Episode 5 itself, after Kornbread’s sad exit, I was very entertained. That minichallenge, in which the queens popped balloons on the Pit Crew’s asses, was a RIOT (I am amazed the Pit Crew went along with it, but am so glad they did). And the main challenge, which saw the queens creating fake PSAs for a foundation that raises awareness for first-eliminated Drag Race queens, was such a fun, meta idea. I’m not sure the rhyming part of it was required — although it certainly upped the challenge when writing/memorizing the script — but overall I thought it worked really well.
It also gave us a chance to admire some of the show’s first-out queens, Season 7’s Tempest DuJour, Season 9’s Jaymes Mansfield, and Season 13’s Kahmora Hall, all of whom were great sports and made terrific second impressions. Tempest showed us that she’s a great brassy broad, Jaymes was bubbly and shady, and Kahmora proved that she’s funny as well as fashionable — and quite fashionable in that exquisite Bob Mackie gown in which she glided down the runway.
I won’t bother going into all three teams individually, but I did think the judges got the tops and bottoms right. Bosco, Angeria, and Lady Camden came in top, with Bosco getting the win. I’m glad to see her get the spotlight because I think she’s been consistently very good and getting paid dust. Camden is getting such a fascinating edit. She’s clearly great but she doesn’t believe in herself yet, so we’ll see if this high placement gives her the confidence she needs (I thought she was gorgeous in that very charming tea set runway). And Angeria has now placed high or won every single episode in which she has appeared, and I do not think any queen has ever had a track record that good in this show’s history. She is coming out STRONG. But can she keep performing at that level?
On the bottom end of the group we had Jorgeous, who knew she was going to stumble in a speaking challenge and DID; Jasmine Kennedie, who was stiff and didn’t take direction well; and Orion Story, who lacked energy, a character, and oomph. Jasmine was spared, and we got a B2 of Jorgeous vs. Orion to guest judge Ava Max’s “My Head + My Heart.” Jorgeous was very good, she knows how to move her body. But I was surprised by how tentative she looked in the face. She had to know she was going to crush poor Orion, who…tried. I guess. But her sad bunny ears fell off, her wig stayed on solely through the power of prayer, and she removed her shoes which — for the second time this season — is an unforgivable sin. And Orion was sent home, again.
I was glad that Orion was brought back after her E1 ouster, but I don’t feel like she really showed us much more than what she initially did. I find Orion to be a very endearing person, and I think her drag aesthetic is interesting. But as a performer, there were no levels. She was simply there. I’m sure she tried hard, and I’m glad she got her shot to show us what she can do. I am especially glad she was on this season, with what appears to be such a lovely, supportive cast to give her a strong sisterhood.
Next: a design challenge in which the queens much repurpose tacky shit ordered by Michelle Visage. SILENCE! Bring back…my animal prints.