“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 16, Episode 12 Recap

March 24, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

Who wanted another design challenge? Because you got one! This week, the Top 6 queens were tasked with YET ANOTHER design challenge, this one a room makeover (as previously seen in “All Stars 4” and “All Stars 5”), which admittedly also tested their hosting skills. But given that we already had THREE dress-making challenges, a fourth aesthetically based task seems like overkill. Especially since we haven’t had any scripted challenges aside from “RDR Live” and the Rusical. No “Daytona Wind.” No awful movie parodies. I find that interesting, and I wonder if it was specifically engineered for more aesthetically strong queens to advance.

The episode started off resolving the quasi-cliffhanger from last week, with Q furious over Sapphira Cristal’s questionable challenge win in the corporate presentation challenge. I believe firmly that win was given to put Q into a spiral, and while it obviously worked privately, Q was smart enough to not lash out (see: Betty, Daya; Season 14). She sat there and privately seethed, even as Sapphira and others tried to get her to talk about her feelings.

I think Sapphira was being genuine there, but it was also very much a trap, because the optics of Q telling Sapphira especially that she didn’t deserve a win are BAD. So good on Q for being smart enough to side step that. Later in the episode, Sapphira — almost certainly under orders from Production — again brought the issue up, and shared that she was offended by some specific word Q used regarding this situation and…I did not care for that at all. Q was justified in feeling screwed out of a win that was, in my opinion, pretty clearly hers or Plane’s, and I thought she was quite reserved in her discussion about it. To still get spanked for it seemed like poor sportsmanship to me.


Best “Drag Race” Snatch Game Performance

Best “Drag Race” Runway Look (S7-S12)

Top 10 “Drag Race” Winner Stepdown Looks

Top 10 “Drag Race” Seasons of 2023

Before we got to the main challenge, the queens had a mini-challenge inspired by Tammy Faye Bakker. The folks behind World of Wonder are/were obsessed with Tammy Faye, and they are the producers behind the documentary film and then the Oscar-winning feature film, both titled The Eyes of Tammy Faye. So this is a great example of vertical integration. Come on, business fish! Anyway, the queens had to apply Tammy Faye-inspired make-up and then rub their faces on novelty t-shirts worn by the expanded Pit Crew. I’ll pause and note that several members of the expanded Crew currently have the gays thirsting on social, and that’s great to see. But I would love it if the US show caught up to the international iterations, many of which deploy Pit Crew members of all shapes and sizes. These guys all still look like porn stars. (Not that I’m complaining.) In the end, Plane Jane won, and I suspect that her with that mug will become a popular post-show meme.

On to the main challenge, Bathroom Hunties. (Is that name a play on something? It feels very lazy.) In ANOTHER example of vertical integration, this was pitched as a Paramount+ spinoff show in which two Eurotrash bathroom connoisseurs — played by Michael Face AKA Michelle Visage and Carson Kressley — visited each team’s “luxury” bathroom concept. This felt like a filler challenge to me, although I thought one team hit it out of the park while the others were OK to messy.

I’ll go over each team, from weakest to strongest. I’ll also include thoughts on each queen’s Chains runway.

March April Recap Banner

Dawn & Nymphia Wind: Arguably the strongest duo aesthetically, Dawn and Nymphia gave us the fArt Museum, a bathroom concept inspired by modern art. Their bathroom looked great, but ultimately this was as much about presentation as it was aesthetic, and that’s where they flopped. Nymphia — sporting massive balloon tits, I guess as a nod to a Koons sculpture? — seemingly would not stop talking, and Dawn barely got a word in. She was almost completely invisible invisible in this challenge. If there were synched comedy bits, they didn’t work. There is a solid concept there, but they did not execute on it. On the runway, I thought Nymphia looked extremely sexy in a colorful dominatrix look (in a variety of blues and teals — no yellow!), while Dawn gave us a more dramatic gown that had chains dripping off of it, and across her face. I agreed with Michelle that the chains in the face did not work. I think had they been less heavy it could have been more successful.

Morphine Love Dion & Q: I thought this was the most fun concept, the Naughty Potty, AKA Hell’s bathroom. There were a lot of great ideas packed in here, from the toilet with the jagged teeth to the coat hangers that immediately threw your belongings to the floor, to the cracked mirror shattered by Mhi’ya Iman LePaige. The standout part of their room was the Pit Crew member chained to the wall, who the queens then tickle tortured, who was FULLY and VISIBLY aroused. It took us 16 seasons for us to get boned-up Pit Crew, and I savored the moment. Q was definitely running this presentation, and Morphine just kind of stood and yes-girl’d her. On the runway, Morphine gave us a beautiful gold look with a chain wig. The bottom half was plain, but the top was stunning. Q gave us a high-concept look with black pleather and red plastic chains. It wasn’t one of my favorite Q looks, but it was successful, I think.

Plane Jane & Sapphira Cristal: Plane and Sapphira’s bathroom was aesthetically the most basic. It was just a bunch of old-timey furniture filled with booze. They gave us a speakeasy-themed powder room, and where they excelled was in the presentation. This was fully thought out, they each had characters, they had duo bits, and they sold it all effortlessly. Sapphira was the leader, but Plane actually had my favorite bits. Calling Sapphira by the wrong name each time (“Sequoia”), the fucking TRIANGLE — this duo made up for the relative flatline that was the other two. Sapphira sang again, which is always welcome. On the runway, Plane gave us a look that barely fit the prompt, and that — as Michelle argued — we have seen from Plane before. Sapphira, meanwhile, gave us a Club Kid fetish pup with chains for the collar and mixed throughout the suit. It was EPIC. A very different look for Sapphira, and one that really packed a punch. Again I say: one of the best runway packages we have ever seen on a regular U.S. season.

Sapphira and Plane were obviously the Top 2 for the challenge, and correctly, they BOTH won, giving Plane her third main-challenge win and Sapphira her fourth. That’s impressive. Nymphia and Q were both safe, which left a Bottom 2 of Dawn — who has been Safe literally this entire competition — and Morphine, going into her third Bottom 2 appearance. Normally that would be a bad sign for Morphine, but when the song was announced as “Body” by Megan Thee Stallion, we could see where this was going. This was an annihilation, as Morphine just steamrolled Dawn.

Have we ever had a lipsynch song with more lyrics? I remember Kennedy Davenport complaining about Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” when she was a lipsynch assassin on AS6, but that’s practically a haiku compared to Megan…

And so Dawn was eliminated in her first foray into the Bottom 2. That’s rough for her, but I thought she had a great attitude upon leaving. Dawn did well this season, she just happened to have a group of queens who were just always slightly outclassing her. In another season I think she probably could have scored a win or two, but there are some really strong, well-rounded performers in this group and she just couldn’t break through. She DID make a mark as one of the primary narrators this season, so I’ll be curious to see who fills that void going forward.

Next: it’s makeovers, featuring male dancers from Drag Race Live in Vegas. Having seen that show from the very front row, I can tell you: there are some hot menses in that group…

Miss Our Previous S16 Recaps? Here They Are:

Episode 11

Episode 10

Episode 9

Episode 8

Episode 7

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1

We’re Also Recapping “UK vs. the World” S2. Find Those Recaps Here!

Newsletter Banner

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments