‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap 9×03: My Little Princess

Valentina’s descent into madness. VH1

Traditionally every season starts with a sewing challenge, but this year they’ve bumped it to the third episode. It seems plausible that this week was originally slated to be produced first, with the order getting scrambled to maximize on having Lady Gaga on the season premiere. It’s unclear if the mini-challenges are a thing of the past or if they’re going to reappear when the cast gets pared down. This week the queens have to recreate themselves as drag princesses (which seems a demotion from a drag queen) and also invent their own surely-annoying little sidekick character. Though the sewing episodes are a touch formulaic (almost necessarily so) they are fun because they divide the cast into talented, competent and completely clueless.

Right away (in tv time at least) a couple of the queens start literally whining about what they’re expected to do. Given that a sewing challenge (if not two) occurs every season, to be surprised or upset to have this be on the agenda is mindboggling. A drag princess is esthetically as close to regular drag regalia as you can get. Post-apocalyptic (like in season 4) is not really anyone’s look. Dress like a princess being a challenge? Bitch please.

One thing to note is that a few queens, like Peppermint, Sasha and Nina, get virtually no screentime this week. Meanwhile Eureka is being edited as the narrator, the same position eventual-finalist Ginger Minj had during her season. Obviously as the cast is full there isn’t time for everyone to make their voices heard during early episodes. The show is also good at being tricky, giving queens a lot of time in early episodes so that when they get sent home halfway it’s a bit of a shock.

This week is the best of this season to date, perhaps solely due to the English lesson that Cynthia ESL Fontaine has to give Kimora Blac. Kimora doesn’t even know what the word “adjective” means and it’s not impossible that she is secretly Gia Gunn’s short-bus sister. (At least a DeLorean is a type of car that no longer exists.) But “adjective”? What is that, second-grade level? Maybe Kimora actually misspelled her last name?

As Ru makes his way around the werk room we start to see an amazing storyline begin to emerge: Valentina’s Descent Into Madness. Her fishy look disguised how looney this tune really is, but she might be Tammie Brown levels of cuckoo bananas. This week she is all wrapped a la Gloria Swanson. Hopefully this escalates over the season and changes in form as well. Little Edie Valentina? Baby Jane Valentina? The possibilities are endless.

The sidekicks that the queens make are mostly either boring or corny. As always with Drag Race there’s a great deal of reliance on dumb puns, a form of humor almost as bad as dad jokes. There are a few queens that definitely stand out. Peppermint’s dark fiery princess is an out-of-the-box look. (Though the idea that because she burned down her kitchen one day, dressing in this manner is somehow “confronting her fear” is a bit of a stretch.) Though she isn’t in the top looks Nina’s alien princess is like nothing we’ve seen on the show before. Valentina does come out in Baby Jane curls, so there’s hope that they make an appearance later on. Trinity ends up taking home the crown despite not really having the best look there.

Farrah Moan’s mermaid look is as boring as expected. After nine seasons one would think “relying on pretty” would be drilled in the contestants’ heads but it seems like a good third of the cast comes unprepared and expects to wing it. Obviously one can’t plan for all the twists, but surely knowing some of the twists would serve a given queen in good stead. It is Aja and Kimora—neither of whom are terrible—who end up being the bottom two.

It’s obvious even before they begin that these two queens know how to turn out a good lip sync, and they really do. Though Aja’s dance moves aren’t particularly precise, her energy and attitude are through the roof. Kimora knows how to perform but Aja steals the show from start to finish. It seemed like Kimora’s nerve alone should have carried her a bit further in the competition, as there are a couple of queens remaining who aren’t that impressive. Yet despite seeing red it’s Ms. Blac who gets sent packing.

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap 9×03: My Little Princess