RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9, Episode 8 Recap: Michelle Vis-Ouch

Previously on Drag Race: Trinity Taylor killed the 9021-HO challenge and became the second competitor so far with two challenge wins. Nina Bo’nina Brown continued to assume everyone around her was out to get her. And Aja shot herself in the foot repeatedly – and promptly sashayed away.

The queens regroup and discuss winner tallies. Trinity and Shea Couleé are the clear frontrunners, Valentina is still glowing from being told she’s perfect (and beautiful and looks like Linda Evangelista), and Farrah Moan… sounds like that drunk bitter aunt whose husband divorced her years after convincing her to quit her modeling prospects for a family and left her with a gaggle of toddlers and a terminated career: “One day, she’ll run out of perfection,” she drawls about Valentina.

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Alexis looks like she could be her forlorn drinking buddy, actually.

Starting the episode right off with the long-awaited annual homage to Paris is Burning, the queens are tasked with reading each other to filth! No one bombs terribly this year – though Nina stole a few jokes from past seasons, so, hmm.

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Latrice Motherfuckin’ Royale would like her BMW joke back.

Among primary targets in the reading: Farrah’s personality, Shea’s teeth, Peppermint‘s breath (nice one!)… and, most controversial, Alexis Michelle‘s body shape. In the end, Valentina is declared the winner of the mini-challenge!

Valentina
When it’s right, it’s right.

Speaking of reading, this week’s maxi-challenge marks the grand return of the RuPaul Roast – except this time, the target is Michelle Visage! The queens are tasked with roasting the shit out of Michelle – breasts, thighs, all of her.

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But mostly the breasts.

Having won the mini-challenge, Valentina assigns the order queens will be going in the main challenge – but Alexis Michelle requests the floor to address how hurt she was that the queens made fun of her body in the reading. Ruh-roh. Some of the queens apologize, but a few others shrug and go “that’s the way it is!”

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Including Nina, who accents her point with spectacular facial expressions.

As the contestants are starting to write their roasting material, Ru comes back in with Ross Mathews to give them some advice. First up is Alexis, who discusses the body image thing with them. Ru quickly asks why it’s okay for her to make fun of others but not to be made fun of herself.

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SHADE.

Ross and Ru counsel Farrah Moan on how to roast people without just sounding like a complete bitch. Farrah replies with one of her signature whines, so it’s hard to tell if she got the message or not given how often she does that.

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“Ooohhhnnnggggmmmmm”

While the queens are getting ready, Trinity Taylor talks about how thirsty she’s feeling about the Pit Crew boys and makes a 9021-HO-inspired joke (“I want a dick in my mouth too!“), which sparks an impromptu song about dicks from the girls as they’re doing their makeup. Definitely check out that bonus scene on the Logo website.

It’s time for the roasting challenge, and Shea Couleé starts things off wonderfully, tackling the difficult job of opener like it’s nothing. Sasha Velour takes over and thanks Shea for her “extremely edifying humor.”

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And the camera zooms in on this poor woman who is chosen, in that moment, to represent the illiterate masses who do not understand complicated words.

Next up is Valentina, who pulls out her rarely-heard banjee girl accent and calls her target “Misselle” as she makes a bunch of crass sexual jokes. It’s completely the opposite of her usual composed, classy persona and I think that’s why it works well.

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She’s never been more eloguent.

What follows is a series of highly cringe-worthy reads from Trinity Taylor and Farrah Moan, who screw up 90% of their jokes. Fortunately, Peppermint saves the show with a bunch of stellar, well-introduced quips at everyone’s expense. Nina is next with this old-fashioned older woman act that’s not great, but not bad either.

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I just can’t get over those painted-on glasses, though. That was a choice.

Alexis Michelle is last, and tragically, she tanks every single one of her jokes. Her entire look is based on the fact that Michelle Visage hates the color green, and while that gag fails too, it would at least be a decent look if not for those very awkward-looking breast pads.

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She gets bonus points from me for representing the Jewish fish out there, though.

There’s no runway today and the queens are judged almost exclusively on their performances, so Valentina and Nina Bo’nina Brown are safe. Shea Couleé, Sasha Velour, and Peppermint are praised for their jokes. Guest judge Tamar Braxton asks Alexis Michelle why she was painted green, and Alexis’s brutal response: “Well, Tamar, have you ever watched the show?”

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Ohhhh shit.

Back in the Untucked lounge, the queens discuss the challenge, and Sasha asks Nina Bo’nina Brown how she felt about her performance – to which Nina, out of nowhere, accuses Shea Couleé, among other girls, of talking smack about her. Of course, being Nina’s biggest and kindest champion in this group, Shea is rightfully furious and tears her. the fuck. apart.

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“I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you, how dare you?!”

Just as amazing as Shea’s wrath in this moment are the numerous reaction shots around the room throughout the conversation. Here’s a selection of them for your entertainment.

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Exhibit A: Sasha Velour’s incredibly dramatic huffy pose.
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Exhibit B: Alexis Michelle slowly taking out her earphones to better listen to the ongoing drama.
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And last but not least, Exhibit C: Trinity Taylor taking absolute advantage of this moment to completely steal the show.

Back on the main stage, Peppermint is the winner of the week’s challenge!

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Yas. Bitch. Werk.

Trinity Taylor scores low this week, but the bottom two are our resident bitter drinking partners, Farrah Moan and Alexis Michelle. The two of them lip-sync to Baby I’m Burnin’ by Dolly Parton and they both do a pretty damn good job.

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I didn’t know Glinda and Elphaba were such good lip-syncers.

Alexis Michelle pulls a running split that almost tears the stage (and her midsection) apart and that, along with her superior track record, gets her to stay. Farrah Moan is this week’s eliminated queen.

Farrah, you were a fabulous, fishy queen with some killer lewks. But the rest of you needed a little more practice to do well in this competition. Best of luck to you, mawma. I will miss your over-the-top whining most of all.

Time for the weekly run-down, girl!

Shea Couleé – As always, Ms. Couleé rules the school and is never even close to landing in the bottom. Plus, her takedown of paranoid Nina in Untucked was a spectacular display of force and badassery.

Sasha Velour – Poor Sasha keeps getting this close to winning challenges but always loses to someone who’s a tiny bit better. However, unlike Thorgy Thor, to whom this happened last season, she hasn’t let it get to her and remains a driven and optimistic contestant in the competition.

Valentina – Valentina showed a different side to her this week, but it wasn’t enough to get her in the top. Still, she remains extremely enjoyable and fun to listen to (and look at).

Trinity Taylor – Trinity didn’t do well this week, but despite her ups and downs in the competition, I sometimes find myself thinking she’s almost more deserving of the crown than Shea Couleé – just because she has more of a brand than Shea, who’s excellent at everything but is sometimes a bit lacking in the “uniqueness” department. Sue me.

Peppermint – I was ready to write off Peppermint as a very lackluster middle-of-the-pack contestant, but she emerged victorious this week, proving me completely wrong. Peppermint may yet have more to show after all.

Nina Bo’nina Brown – Nina officially succeeded in chasing off her most adamant supporter and friend this week. At this point, it’s clear she won’t last much longer – she has some pretty serious issues and needs to take care of them, stat. A drag competition can wait.

Alexis Michelle – Alexis dropped the ball this week, but I’m glad she won the lip-sync – I’m not ready to say goodbye to her yet. While her looks are never great, she’s very entertaining and makes for excellent TV, and I hope she lasts a couple more episodes at least.

This is it, guys – we’re now down to half the number of contestants the season started with, and every one of them has won a challenge and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. The real competition begins next week – and I am on the very edge of my seat. See y’all then, ladies and gents!

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