RuPaul's Drag Race: Your Pilot's On Fire
May 20, 2017 12:59 AM - Season 9, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The queens are challenged to come up with an idea for a TV series and star in their pilots.

Sashea deliver the goods again with a 70s 'sploitation spoof, capitalizing on their wittiness and chemistry. Trinity, Peppermint, and Alexis also deliver a fun sitcom parody. Unfortunately, Valentina and Nina just never cohere as a team: they both have the raw goods to be funny, but they don't seem to spend their time wisely and end up trying to improv their way through the shooting, with predictably disastrous results.

There's a magnificent club-kid runway, and Sashea are announced as the winners for a second time. Alexis lands in the bottom three for not standing out. She tries to tap-dance her way out of it by saying she had a bigger role in "administration" (lol) but Peppermint is not having it. Ru ends up saving Alexis and throwing Valentina and Nina in the bottom two.

And then, everything goes completely Pete Tong. Nina is doing exactly what she's supposed to be doing, i.e., lip-syncing. Valentina, however, despite wearing a mask that obscures her entire mouth and neck, does not remove it during the lip-sync. This forces Rupaul to, holy fucking shit, stop the lip-sync partway through and demand a do-over. Extra shockingly, Valentina asks to keep the mask on, and is obviously denied. When the lip-sync restarts, we see why: she has completely forgotten or never learned the words, and is sent home (!!!!!). Ru lets her go with a pointed and heartbreaking comment about how she thought Valentina had the stuff to go all the way, and closes with an admonition to the other queens to never just give up.
posted by en forme de poire (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS EPISODE

So I read the Drag Race subreddit every once in a while (which is also imploding for an unrelated reason, btw, something about the mods trying to seek personal enrichment off the site which is a big no-no), and as a result this elimination was semi-spoiled for me because people are sloppy with spoiler tags and everyone and their mom has been humming about #maskgate for a while now.

But the spoiler -- Valentina gets sent home because she won't take off a mask covering most of her face during the lip-sync -- was so outlandish I couldn't actually believe it was true, even when a picture of Valentina in THE ALLEGED MASK was leaked.

It was only when I saw Valentina and Nina getting stuck together that I was like, oh, shit. And then they under-delivered during shooting, and then Valentina came out in that fucking mask and I started hyperventilating a bit.

Since I kind of knew in a vague sense what was coming, the overall effect of watching this episode for me was like watching a horror movie -- the kind where you see the first girl to die making a series of increasingly stupid decisions for no good goddamn reason and all you can do is yell at the screen going PEGGYVALENTINA NOOOO, DON'T OPEN THE DOOR TO THAT SHED, THERE'S NOTHING GOOD THERE
posted by en forme de poire at 1:08 AM on May 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


I may have been screaming BABY NO! OH, MY POOR BABY! the whole way through that lip synch, efdp. I just couldn't believe it. Valentina had been such a strong competitor, my viewing partner actually rattled off a couple of his preferred winner combos at the start of the episode and they all had Valentina at the top.

My poor baby. Like, did she wear the mask as a pre-emptive thing? Was it just conveniently there when she forgot the lyrics? Did she even learn them??

Escandalo!
posted by Jilder at 4:25 AM on May 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


It's funny that for an episode where the runway challenge was "Club Kids," this was my least favorite of Sasha's looks. Although I think her make-up was amazing when I saw it up close in Untucked. Similarly, I loved the detail work on Shea's Club Kid look when I got to see it a little closer. It really captured the DIY aspects of the early scene.

Of course, Pepper's look was sickening, and Trinity was absolutely giving me life this episode. I think I was as surprised as everyone.

I'm glad Nina Bo'nina Boutros Boutros-Ghali Brown is staying, but her weird paranoia is really starting to piss me off. I think her and Valentina's lack of preparation was partly a result of her basically giving up, and it makes me furious.

Valentina's affect is so strange. It's like Norma Desmond with bits of Nancy Spungen. I have no idea what's going on there. In five years, she's either going to be the subject of a fascinating documentary, or our terrifying, radiant God-Empress.

ALL SHALL LOVE HER AND DESPAIR.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:21 AM on May 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


I really felt like RuPaul chose Valentina for elimination over Alexis specifically because she was ready for Nina to be eliminated and thought Valentina could do it. Because man, if anyone else deserved to be up for elimination this week it's Alexis. You do not throw your teammates under the bus like that.

en forme, that horror movie feeling is the best possible description that I could think of for this episode. I got spoiled too, and I think that gave the episode even more drama for me than if I hadn't been spoiled.

Nina's paranoia is out of control. I sort of get it - there is a cultural thing I've experienced in Atlanta among certain subcultures where they won't tell you to your face that they have a problem with you but instead will talk about "people" generally in conversation and you have to figure out that they're talking about YOU. If that's the culture that Nina is used to and she's not aware that other people do things differently, that could be a reason she's assuming that when people talk vaguely about "drag queens who do this" or whatever they're talking about her. Alternately, it's a "You're So Vain" situation; when she is given criticism directly she is completely incapable of taking it. Either way, not doing anyone any favors. And being in the bottom two is just going to fuel her paranoia.

Poor Sasha! Every time she wins a prize it is completely useless to her. First hamburgers for the vegetarian and now hair products for the bald woman who almost never wears wigs?

Trinity, Peppermint and Shea had INCREDIBLE outfits this week. Sasha too, but Sasha is so clearly from that culture that it was expected she'd slay. The whole thing with Shea and the hot glue was fantastic, and Peppermint was, as they say, on brand. But if I had to pick best outfit I would go with Trinity - and out of that group she is generally my least favorite, so for me to say that is a pretty big deal.

It took a long time for this season to coalesce, but I feel like now it's on track.
posted by rednikki at 9:23 AM on May 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Frankly, even before the lipsynch, I would have read Valentina for the red leotard this episode. I liked the mask and the gloves, but if you're going to do a matador look, you have to do some version of matador pants. Red leggings are not going to cut it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:29 AM on May 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also, here is Untucked and OMG is it fascinating this week. (There's some continuity stuff in here that makes it clear that they're editing some stuff to change the order in which something was said but I'm not sure why they did...)
posted by rednikki at 9:31 AM on May 20, 2017


Everything Ru said to Valentina during and after the lipsynch was BRUTAL. Couldn't even pretend to be nice about her disappointment. Legendary, or should I say infamous, exit.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


WOW. I did see Valentina's elimination teased (as others have said, reddit is sloppy with spoiler tags) but I had no idea about the mask business. My jaw dropped when Ru stopped the lip sync. She bit the big one, and she knew it. "The whole world is watching me fail" (Untucked). Sad to see her go, and boy do I sympathize with that feeling. Certainly anyone who does creative or expressive work has had bad days, and it's brutal to imagine doing what these ladies do in front of cameras for 35 hours a day. Glad to see her handle it with as much grace as possible.

Gotta say, though, mad props to Nina for living her lip sync fantasy. It's true—there are many parts to the competition and having the fortitude to deliver a star lip sync even when you're surprised, or crushed with disappointment, is a part of it. I agree that Ru imagined sending Nina home, but this was another Naysha/Laila moment, where someone performs so badly you've just gotta say bye, girl.

I loved the Club Kid looks and felt like this was one of them episodes where the "Precious MomentsTM from Drag Herstory" didn't feel as forced or awkward. Peppermint was smart to go big/bold/clock-this-from-outer-space. I think those looks often translate better to TV. Though I also love the more intricate Trinity/Shea looks. Also, I'm all in for Sasha at this point but I didn't feel like her look was the most amazing this week.

Next week? Sorry, but Alexis needs to go. Probably she's lovely in real life, but the show is getting to her and it's not cute.
posted by Zephyrial at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


Yes! Alexis- you're supposed to be the funny one! Sasha is consistently funnier than you, and she's the weird one! You did a decent Liza, but nothing much since then, and now Sasha is shading Trinity in the workroom, and we get nothing from you!

Also, your green tits looked terrible last week.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:24 PM on May 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Nina's paranoia is out of control. I sort of get it - there is a cultural thing I've experienced in Atlanta among certain subcultures where they won't tell you to your face that they have a problem with you but instead will talk about "people" generally in conversation and you have to figure out that they're talking about YOU.

My partner pointed out that, based on her looks, Nina always seems like a New York Queen, and I agree... which probably means there's a large subset of Atlanta that was talking about her negatively because at one point or another, she didn't fit into that community. But like was said in Untucked, as much as all of that sucks, you have to get over it, and you certainly shouldn't take it out on other people.

As for the rest of the episode, I did the ending spoiled for me last night when Twitter exploded and I'd yet to watch it, but in a certain way, I'm glad it did because I would not have been ready.

And finally, from this week's "tweets I'm very angry I didn't make because they are so good" file:

if you tell your saddest gay story while doing your makeup Sasha Velour appears in your mirror and gives a Queer History lesson

posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:54 PM on May 20, 2017 [12 favorites]


I actually burst into tears when Valentina sashayed away, having spent the previous 5 minutes with my hand clamped over my mouth in horror. I just... Like... Girl?? Why?? Watching Untucked, it was obvious that she was completely overwhelmed, bc she basically didn't start listening to the lip sync music till they gave the 5 minute warning, but I just don't get it. I really wanted to see her in the top 3.

I think Shea kind of has it in the bag at this point, with the other two slots being filled by Trinity and Sasha/Peppermint. I don't really like any of them, though. Ugh, just heartbroken about Valentina. 💔

I want Alexis gone yesterday.
posted by catch as catch can at 3:28 PM on May 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Valentina was this week's Charlie Hides -- Valentina didn't know the song and just. Gave. Up.

So, so sad. I initially said "she shouldn't have gone home," but my wife said "yes, she should have." I realized I was still thinking of Valentina pre-lipsync, but after ... yeah, she was clearly the one to send home.

I comforted myself by remembering she's a drag baby -- she came into the competition with less than a year of doing drag. LESS THAN A YEAR.

TheWhiteSkull: In five years, she's either going to be the subject of a fascinating documentary, or our terrifying, radiant God-Empress.

ALL SHALL LOVE HER AND DESPAIR.


Exactly!

rednikki: I really felt like RuPaul chose Valentina for elimination over Alexis specifically because she was ready for Nina to be eliminated and thought Valentina could do it. Because man, if anyone else deserved to be up for elimination this week it's Alexis. You do not throw your teammates under the bus like that.

The worst part was it wasn't even throwing her teammates under the bus - it was a sad attempt to claim she did more behind the scenes, which neither of her partners would support. So I agree with you on both counts regarding Ru's plan. It just felt like Valentina didn't even expect to be up there, and that alone was enough of a shock to keep her from planning appropriately.

Asking to keep the mask on was her self-inflicted death blow, and then not moving from her spot just nailed her coffin shut.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:11 PM on May 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


My daughter got me into this show a couple months ago. Bingeing old seasons together and watching the new episodes as they air has been really enjoyable and given us fodder for some fabulous conversations about gender and sexuality.

She is a total Valentina stan (Valentina did a show at her college town recently, but she's only 19 and couldn't go to the over-21 club. The club in our city that has the shows is 18+ and when she realized she wouldn't be able to meet Val, she was shattered). She had already been spoiled about maskgate, but watching it happen with her was still awful. Then she texted me this morning that she just realized that Valentina and Chi Chi would be on All-Stars together. MAKE THIS HAPPEN DRAG GODS!
posted by chaoticgood at 4:31 PM on May 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Then she texted me this morning that she just realized that Valentina and Chi Chi would be on All-Stars together. MAKE THIS HAPPEN DRAG GODS!

MY GOD. There's a light.
posted by Jilder at 12:37 AM on May 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Now THIS was an ep to hang from the rafters. Even the guest judges, who are total Who?s, gave good critique and runway sass, and oh, what a runway.

Trinity's look was - surprisingly for me, a Sashea stan - my favorite, and I think she's fully redeemed herself after whiffing the Roast challenge.

#maskgate was so shocking it dragged my attention away from Ru's busted look - that padding was off, and what in the name of all that is holy was going on with the brown-grey lip?
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:10 PM on May 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Ru's busted look

...and the eyelashes, and the panda eyes, and that painfully overfilled upper lip? It's bizarre, RuPaul has always been so shockingly beautiful I cannot fathom how this crazy clown situation is passing muster. On the other hand Michelle is killing it this season.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:38 PM on May 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I still can't get over Trinity's club kid look; to take something that was the opposite of what she would normally do and make such a strong statement of "Yeah, I came to win this thing", I've gone from "not liking her" to "begrudgingly respecting her" to "maybe wanting her to win?" in just a few weeks.

Then she texted me this morning that she just realized that Valentina and Chi Chi would be on All-Stars together. MAKE THIS HAPPEN DRAG GODS!


I have the biggest smile on my face right now imagining this.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:06 PM on May 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Instagram was also totally spoilery about this episode, so I was spoiled for it as well. Nina's makeup made her lipsync pretty creepy.

The one thing that's consoling me about this is that typically someone is brought back /competes back into the competition each season and it *could* be Valentina. Maybe she'll be the first returnee to make it to the end (normally they have been eliminated on the very next episode after they return with - I think - the exception of Trixie). And maybe she'll take out Alexis in the process.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:06 PM on May 22, 2017


I thought Cynthia was the "returning queen" this year and they wouldn't be doing that again. Does it typically (ever?) happen this late in the game?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:08 PM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


They've already had a double shantay, also, when Eureka left. I don't know if there's room for anyone to return based on how many episodes there are left.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:14 PM on May 22, 2017


They're earlier seasons so probably not as applicable, but Carmen Carrera was brought back in episode 11 of season 3 and Kenya in episode 10 of season 4. The year (season 7) that Trixie came back it was in episode 8, though and Naysha was brought back in season 8 episode 3. I suppose anything can happen, but I won't get my hopes up. There's always All Stars 3.
posted by urbanlenny at 3:51 PM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Valentina nooooooooo. Oh, that was crushingly painful. That poor child.
posted by merriment at 7:27 PM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


« Older Podcast: Reply All: #97 What K...   |  Doctor Who: Extremis... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster