RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9, Episode 5 Recap: Keeping Up With The Couleé

Previously on Drag Race: Nina Bo’nina Brown let her emotions get the best of her. Trinity Taylor and Eureka got really shady with each other. Shea Couleé and Sasha Velour killed the competition and probably inspired a crapton of fanfiction. And Dame Charlie Hides basically laid herself down on the runway and let the Trinity train smash her to pieces.

After Charlie’s elimination, the queens regroup in the werk room and talk about what a let-down that lip-sync was. Eureka throws a little more shade at Trinity because she didn’t quite get the message across last week. Then Nina Bo’nina Brown starts an interesting (read: eye-roll-worthy) series of confessionals showing off her jealous side and, for starters, wishing for last week’s winners to land in the bottom.

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Nina Bo’No She Betta Don’t… Brown.

Mini-challenges are ba-aack! The girls are tasked with getting into quick drag and posing for selfies with the very attractive Pit Crew studs. Alexis Michelle has the boys hoist her up all diva-like, Cynthia Lee Fontaine takes the blurriest fail of a picture, and Valentina has RuPaul introduce her as Miss Venezuela and then does a “cholo homeboy” deuces pose with the guys – so extra! I love it. But the ambitious Ms. Michelle wins the mini-challenge. Ehh, sure.

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ROBBED.

And just as I was having fun, RuPaul brings up the Kardashians and everything is ruined. This week’s maxi-challenge is a lip-sync extravaganza that’s all about Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and I’m just going to focus on the “lip-sync extravaganza” part because those are always a blast and I’m really not about to start keeping up now.

Having stolen, I mean won, the mini-challenge, Alexis Michelle is in charge of assigning roles. She gives herself the part of Kris Jenner, then hands the other queens their parts. Some are happy (Trinity, Sasha, Shea), some are not (Cynthia, Aja, Nina). Nina gets pretty sassy about her role and I’m a bit saddened that, having finally gotten some real screentime five episodes in, Nina is acting so poorly throughout.

The girls start preparing for the challenge and Farrah Moan is fangirling about the show. She tells Valentina all about the Tyga/Blac Chyna drama (is it me or is Blac Chyna totally a drag name?) and Valentina puts on her best listening face as Farrah rambles.

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“Mm-hmm oh wow this is so fascinating please tell me more.”

Out of nowhere, Eureka is using crutches this week. Apparently, that whole knee-popping bit from episode 2 was foreshadowing for a big storyline for the season’s big girl. In other words, the cheerleading challenge done broke Eureka.

Nina starts looking for clothes in her suitcase, revealing to Aja that she never unpacked because she thought she’d be first or second to go. Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is a proper inner saboteur. Ms. bin Laden Brown showing all the other girls how it’s done.

It’s time for the ladies to learn choreography for the act, and managing them are Todrick Hall and his super-talented friend, Chester Lockhart (I’m not kidding, y’all, look him up, he’s awesome).

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Plus they look totally adorable together.

Eureka is using crutches throughout dance rehearsal and I’m just appalled that any of this is actually happening. At the very least, she’s definitely showing Charlie “I don’t lip-sync” Hides how it’s done. Nina continues to make annoyed, bitter comments at everyone and is just a real downer in general.

The next day, Eureka approaches Sasha Velour and Valentina and sincerely apologizes to them about her eating disorder joke, showing that rare kind side once again. Sasha and Valentina open up about their issues with eating and Shea follows suit. This is such a rare moment because eating disorders are almost never addressed on TV, especially by men. It’s so good to have these gorgeous queens tell the world about their imperfections and shine a light on this society’s deep issues with body image.

On that note… time for some glam! RuPaul finally looks like herself again and I can breathe at last. Meghan Trainor is this week’s guest star and what in the name of Magnolia Crawford is she wearing.

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Really, bitch?

Time for the Kardashian extravaganza! Right away, it becomes obvious Cynthia didn’t do a great job memorizing her lines because she’s practically faking it through the whole act. Nina would probably do great if she wasn’t channeling Charlie Hides’ “dead behind the eyes” look the whole time. Alexis Michelle and Shea Couleé kill it. Eureka does her best but her North West is visibly a bit stunted (I wish to apologize for that terrible joke).

Now for some fur on the runway – and hey, it’s longer than 10 seconds this time! Trinity looks gorge. Sasha Velour is taking a page from Katya‘s book and going Russian. I’m not a fan of Nina’s hair, though the rest of her outfit is pretty snazzy. Aja looks exactly like Farrah Moan did last week? Valentina looks stun. I’m not a huge fan of Shea’s outfit but the judges eat it up, so, good for her. Eureka looks great, but oh god, the crutches. Cringe.

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She could’ve at least stoned the crutches. Amateur.

Alexis Michelle is told she was best in show, but her outfit is terrible. Oops. Cynthia is read to filth for not knowing any of the words. Nina is attacked for being paranoid and bitter and sheds a single, gorgeous, mascara-laden tear.

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Art.

The girls head to the Untucked lounge (and Eureka is put in a wheelchair – seriously?), where Farrah Moan cries for about half an hour. Out of the blue, Alexis Michelle goes on an angry rant at everyone else for allowing her to go out on the runway in her mediocre outfit. Sooooo she’s blaming the other queens for not looking good? Okay, werk.

Back on the main stage, Shea Couleé beats Alexis Michelle to the win and becomes the first queen to win two challenges this season!

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Bam!

Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Farrah Moan fall into the bottom two, cry it out a bit, then perform a lip-sync to one of Meghan Trainor’s ditties. After Trinity Taylor’s slayage last week, this feels a little ho-hum and I’m almost expecting a double elimination.

Oddly, someone from the crew runs up to RuPaul as the lip-sync ends and Madame Charles steps away from the set. When she returns, she shocks everyone with this bombshell: Due to her injury, Eureka is the eliminated queen this week. Everyone cries and hugs her and it’s the saddest thing. Eureka is invited back for season 10, but in the meantime, she is asked to sashay away.

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Say goodbye… and hello to the first contestant on season 10!

Cynthia and Farrah are both saved thanks to Eureka’s misfortune, and it’s the most bittersweet ending to an episode yet this season. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of Eureka, but she’s talented as hell and she deserved to sashay away in a proper elimination, not like this. Hopefully, she’ll get her due next year.

Time for the weekly runway-down! (No?)

Peppermint – This week, candy girl proved she didn’t deserve to be eliminated last week, with a solid performance and a cutesy runway look. I’m still waiting to be wowed by her, though.

Trinity Taylor – Trinity picked herself right up with a great Paris Hilton impression and a beautiful runway outfit – and she’s technically the winner of her rivalry with Eureka, even though that didn’t quite end the way anyone expected.

Sasha Velour – Sasha did great this week, though it didn’t get her in the top. I’m still confident she’ll go all the way in this competition.

Alexis Michelle – Alexis finally left the safe zone, came this close to winning, and took it out on everyone else. I always knew this Jewish kitty had some hidden claws just waiting to come out. She’s a troublemaker for sure.

Cynthia Lee Fontaine – I’m a little glad Cynthia was allowed to be in the bottom 2 this week, because it shows the showrunners are still willing to recognize her failures. I hope she either steps it up or doesn’t overstay her welcome. One or the other, gurl.

Nina Bo’nina Brown – Nina continues to prove her inner saboteur is one of the biggest around – and I’m not just talking about them hips. I really hope Nina recognizes her own self-made talent and womans up. And for god’s sake, lady, unpack your suitcase!

Aja – Aja seems resolved to show more body-ody-ody and improve on her makeup skills, and it’s working for her so far. I’m just not sure how far it’ll get her.

Valentina – The runway is, as always, her forte, and she never disappoints there. In the challenges, though, she’s not always the best. I still think she’s doing great overall.

Farrah Moan – She’s cute, bubbly, and fishy, but I think we’ve seen just about all there is to see from her and she’s starting to struggle to stay out of the bottom. I unfortunately don’t think she’ll be around much longer.

Shea Couleé – Having now won two challenges (in a row!), Shea is firmly on her way to the top 3 – and I’m not really sure what, if anything, can stop her at this point. You go, girl!

10 girls remain, y’all! Screentime will start to feel a little less scarce going forward, and I’m excited to see what comes next. See you squirrel friends next week!

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