Drag Race Season 14 Episode 3 Goes Balls to the Wall: Review


This week’s episode of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race has everything: a room full of gay men freaking out over a bug, 14 very colorful and eclectic wedding gowns, and TWO whole balls. Believe it! It’s the ball episode, featuring a whopping 42 looks. Confused by that math? So are we. Speaking of confusion, clearly, the judges are having an off week by continuing the controversial opinions and placings during ball week.

As has been heavily speculated online this past week, RuPaul did bring back both first eliminated queens, Daya Betty, and Orion Story. Hopefully, they turn it out: both queens are quirky and it would be a shame to not have more of that to balance out the polished pageant queens this season.

But that’s not the only gaggery of this week’s episode: this season’s “game within a game” comes in the form of chocolate bars, one for each queen. RuPaul gets to live his Willy Wonka fantasy because one random chocolate bar has a golden ticket in it, which saves the queen holding it from elimination. The twist? Nobody knows which queen has it until it’s time for her to sashay away.

The week one queens were tasked with serving three looks in the “Hide and Chic” ball: zebra print resort, leopard evening gown down, and a wedding gown eleganza look from scratch – in all the rainbow colors of the animal kingdom. Queens who debuted last week had the theme of “Red White & Blue” ball’s three looks: red hot resort, evening gown down: all in white, and red, white, and blue wedding gown eleganza.

RuPaul’s Drag Race (Image: Screencap)

With all 14 queens together for the first time, the runway got fierce, and not just thanks to those queens in animal print. For the first round (resort wear), the standout looks were Jasmine Kennedie’s 1940s bathing suit lobster claw pinup and Alyssa Hunter’s “Racing Stripes” zebra jockey ensemble. In round two’s evening wear category, the showstoppers of the were Angeria Paris VanMichaels in her solid white peekaboo pants pageant gown, Daya Betty in a Jean Harlow moment, and Lady Camden in a structured whimsical cocktail dress. Honestly, the looks were all fine, but they all lacked whimsy and flash; this white evening gown brief was a missed opportunity for someone to bring out an iconic Björk swan gown tribute or go full white marble living statue. This is season 14 – you don’t think the judges have seen every variation of glamorous eveningwear by now? Where’s the creativity?!

Finishing up the evening wear category on the animal print side of things, Willow Pill, Bosco, and Kerri Colby all turned it out with the 90s inspired looks that served leopard print luxury. Rounding out the ball looks were wedding gowns, which were largely underwhelming (as were the majority of these ball looks), perhaps because it’s hard to make crappy animal prints and garish red and blue sequin fabrics into a wedding dress. However, the queens did their best with what they were given and turned out some finished looks…despite half of them looking like they were participating in a fourth of July pageant at a county fair and nowhere near anything wedding.

Alyssa’s “New Look” bronze leopard dress was beautifully tailored and worked so well within the “safari madness” craze of the 1950s; Bosco and Orion both had looks that fit them like a glove and were beautifully made. Speaking of beautifully made, on the red, white, and blue side, Jasmine’s dress was a parade of textures, shapes, and detail for days. Jorgeous rocked a fun dress that served body-ody-ody, and DeJa Skye clearly had an emphasis on silhouette and structure (a given that she’s a seamstress).

Sadly, there’s always that one “Drag Race” queen who is hopeless with a sewing machine, and this season’s hapless seamstress is June Jambalaya. Her wedding look was draped fabric pieces over a tube dress, and not helped by her hiding half her body with a bouquet of palm fronds. Kornbread “The Snack” Jete made some choices and they were loud and bold, just like her.

I’m not sure if RuPaul really had too much coffee this judging or has just finally completely lost it, but holy hell the critiques this week were nothing short of manic. The judges kept critiquing the red white and blue girls’ looks for not reading “wedding,” but seriously – it’s basically impossible to make The Fourth of July seasonal section at Joann Fabrics into a glamorous gown that reads “wedding,” no matter what veil and bouquet it’s paired with. Reading all these queens for following the brief is a busted move. But I digress.

Willow Pill wins this episode with looks that are vaguely reminiscent of Jinkx Monsoon. Sadly, Jasmine was just safe when a higher positioning was more than deserved (why did we not get a winner for each ball?!), leaving Maddy Morphosis and June Jambalaya in the bottom to lip-sync for their lives to Kylie Minogue’s “I Love It”. June went full-on wild and took off most of her dress, her wig, and her shoes. Maybe it’s just Maddy’s blonde hair and adorable county fair dress, but she’s giving off hella early Trixie Mattel vibes and it is giving the children life.

June lost the lip-sync, and revealed her chocolate bar was just chocolate – no golden ticket to immunity. Next week sees another annual staple return: the acting challenge, with guest judge Loni Love. RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Friday nights on VH1.

Posted in: TV | Tagged: drag race, recap, Review, rupaul, Season 14, vh1

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