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RPDR Recap and Power [Bottom] Rankings: RuCo’s Empire

“Who did RuPaul call?”

That is the question on everyone’s mind as the third episode of Drag Race Season 8 opens. The queens are not happy that another will soon be joining their ranks. Some of the queens considering giving the newbie the cold shoulder. Thankfully, RuPaul soon arrives to put the bitchfest to rest.

This week’s mini challenge is Supreme Court Realness. The queens need to take boring judges’ robes and turn them into Judge Judy couture. Bob’s creation is pretty meh. Naomi’s is ghetto ass-errific. Derrick’s ensemble is very tacky (to be expected from a Vegas queen) and poorly constructed. Cynthia’s look is simple, but she sells it and serves up People’s Court realness. Acid Betty seems to have lost the “judge” aspect from her look. Robbie’s ensemble is completely forgettable. Kim Chi’s look is just okay. Thorgy Thor goes for retro fun and Chi Chi turns out sexy and flirty. In the end, there’s no stopping dat ass and Naomi Smalls is the winner.

Now that the mini challenge is over, RuPaul is ready to reveal the returning queen and it is… Naysha Lopez? This is a bit of a let down. It would have been better if it was Shangela (or any other queen from the history of Drag Race).

Naomi and Naysha are the team captains for the maxi challenge: RuCo’s Empire #DragEmpire. Exactly as it sounds, the queens must perform scenes from a drag parody of the hit series Empire, which Naomi admits she’s never even seen (time to come out from under that rock, gurl!). It’s time to pick teams. Naomi picks Chi Chi, Cynthia, Bob, and Robbie. Naysha picks Thorgy, Kim Chi, Acid Betty, and Derrick.

When it comes to acting, Kim Chi doesn’t have great instincts, but she follows direction well. Acid Betty and Naysha are mostly fine, but neither leaves a lasting impression. Thorgy is hilarious, embracing the role and reveling in beating Naysha with a broom for daring to return to the competition. Derrick Barry has problems connecting with the camera, with the other queens, with the viewers, with her brain cells…

Prior to shooting, Robbie gives his team a lot of good acting tips, but struggles with her lines and delivery once the camera starts rolling. Like Acid Betty and Naysha, Chi Chi is fine, but fine isn’t going to make you America’s next drag superstar. Cynthia is quickly proving Puerto Rico might as well be another planet, because she can’t follow direction or even grasp what she’s doing. Her performance only gets crazier with each take, and not crazy good, crazy that needs to be medicated. As expected, Bob is incredible, milking every bit of the scene for all it’s worth.

Back in the workroom, Thorgy opens about his mother’s death, showing a vulnerable side. It’s important for a queen to show they have many layers and Thorgy has managed to do that in just three episodes. Derrick Barry could use a page from Thorgy’s book.

This week’s runway throws a curveball at the queens in the form of roller skates. Gone are the days when the queens simply had to strut down the runway; now they have to roll. Guest judges Faith Evans and Tasha Davis are present to lend Ru a hand in deciding which queen should skate off into the sunset.

Acid Betty goes full on Thunderdome with her look, once again relying on an oversized headpiece. Naomi Smalls goes for classic pretty in pink lingerie. At this point, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t recognize her if she wore real clothes. Bob the Drag Queen goes for a cyborg look in a metallic catsuit. Thorgy Thor glides right out of the opening of Three’s Company, and like in the mini challenge, goes for a fun retro look. Cynthia Lee Fontaine dons a country-inspired ensemble. Chi Chi DeVayne shows us a trashy neon green halter top. Gurl, just because you’re from the bayou doesn’t mean you have to wear it! Robbie Turner goes with a vintage roller girl ensemble. Kim Chi rolls out dressed like Toucan Sam, but there’s still something cool about it. Derrick Barry trades in Britney Spears for Katy Perry, but she’s still little more than a shallow pop princess. Naysha Lopez emerges as a cross between Tamar Braxton and Adrienne Bailon. It’s not a very inspiring look, but it’s not the worst on the runway tonight.

RuPaul is impressed with their runway looks, but this competition isn’t based on runway alone. After watching the two teams’ scenes, Kim Chi, Chi Chi, Naysha and Naomi are all called to safety. We all know safe is boring on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Michelle Visage loves Thorgy’s performance and doesn’t have to yell at her again for dark eye makeup. The judges like Derrick’s look, but not her performance. They tell her they need to see her soul. The judges warn Acid Betty that her look is predictable. The judges LOVE Bob’s performance, and they like her runway look, but point out it’s pretty basic. The judges don’t understand Cynthia’s look or performance. What’s worse – Cynthia thinks she did really well. Michelle thinks Robbie is a bit over-accessorized. Faith Evans points out that Robbie was inconsistent with following critique during the maxi challenge.

During the judges’ deliberation, Tasha Smith provides the best line of the episode, “What’s sweet got to do with it?”

Thorgy is safe. Bob is the undisputed winner. Betty is safe. Cynthia is up for elimination. Robbie is up for elimination, which means Derrick is safe (but you better werk, bitch!).

The bottom two get the choice of performing in heels or wheels. Cynthia jumps at the chance to change back into heels, but Robbie boldly chooses wheels. They have to lip sync for their lives to Faith Evans’ “Mesmerize”. It’s not a great battle. Robbie is pretty good on skates, but rolls right off the stage. Luckily, the judges overlook her tumble and Robbie is through for another week. Cynthia Lee Fontaine is eliminated, the reunion with her sister, Naysha, short-lived.

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