RuPaul’s Drag Race – ‘Make Dat Money’

After Carmen is eliminated AGAIN, the remaining queens enter the work room and see his farewell message, wishing them luck and offering them this sage advice “Turn it out and don’t be a sprepper!” (As we learned in drag lingo 101 last week, a “sprepper” is a combination of Sprite and Dr. Pepper that is, as Raja put it “sweet but not so delicious”…and yes, this will be on the test.) Raja confessed that after his first time in the bottom two last week, he cried – but vows to kick everyone’s asses and win the title.

I think he has definitely got a chance and…oooh gurl! You got She Mail! This week, girl Ru makes a lot of money metaphors like “You’ve gotta fake it ’till you make it” and “ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent”, which leads Raja to joke that the challenge this week will be “Prostitution.” (Love that Raja!) Boy Ru enters in some nautical-themed pea coat. He’s had a few really good weeks, so I’ll give him a pass tonight. For this week’s mini-challenge, the queens have to become selling machines on the hot new cable channel “RuVC”. They have three minutes to pitch a product they choose from their bag of drag tricks. Whoever convinces Ru to order his product wins.

Check out more of RuPaul’s Drag Race – and videos too – after the jump!

Our first pitch on RuVC comes to us from Raja, looking slightly frightening in a blond wig and hot pink glasses. He’s pushing a product that has aromatherapy benefits, healing powers and can even increase the libido – it’s Raja’s gaff (which I’m assuming is his tuck aid – right?). He less than gracefully removes it from behing the on-set sofa and proceeds to put it on his face (ewww!) Manila, looking glam with a red wig and floral dress, actually looks like he could get a gig on QVC. He is pushing “MANila” spray – which can be used on hair, as a tabletop cleaner and a makeup finisher. It can also be used to stop pantyhose runs. Manila is really selling it; and I love how he says the purchase includes a “travel cap” that goes on top. I think he nailed it. Yara is wearing a crazy blond wig and is selling the “pop-it-on”, a HUGE braided ponytail thingy. Yara puts this thing through the ringer using it to scrub the body of a mannequin and clean the table – all while displaying that wacky Yara charm we’ve all grown to know and (in my case at least) love. Alexis also could get a gig on QVC, starting his pitch off with the familiar “I have a secret to tell you.”) He’s selling his hip pads. I don’t need any extra stuffing in the hip department, but he really does a good job at selling – even throwing in “But wait, there’s more!” and including a second set of pads absolutely free! You know, I’d probably spend a fortune if they had drag queens on QVC or Home Shopping Network! In a surprise move, Ru “ordered” the pop-it-on. Yara wins! Yara’s prize is “one million dollars”. Yara freaks, Manila looks disgusted and the pit crew (woo hoo!) enter with briefcases full of dough. Unfortunately for Yara, the cash is multicolored RuPaul bucks. Ru announces that this week’s challenge is the most expensive in the show’s history. What could it be?

Ru announces that this week is the “Make Dat Money Ball”. Each queen has to come up with a “portfolio” of three different looks – “Swimsuit Body Beautiful”, “Cocktail Attire after 5pm” and, of course, “Evening Gown Eleganza”. For the evening gowns, the queens have to use the Ru dollars and have $2.5 million worth to craft a gorgeous gown. Since Yara won the challenge, he’s got the extra $1 million at his disposal. The queens get to work. Manila says he’s exhausted and isn’t looking forward to the third challenge in a row where they have to come up with multiple looks. Raja says he feels like a “glamorous sweat shop worker”. Manila cracked, “That’s just because you’re Asian.” While Alexis is trying to put together his swimsuit, he starts talking about how the judges have criticized him in the past and feels he just can’t please them. Raja thinks Alexis’ insecurity is all in his head. None of the queens saw this coming – and neither did I. Maybe the pressure’s just getting to him.

The pressure seems to be getting to the other queens – especially Yara, who is burning himself with his glue gun and shouting expletives. Alexis has no clue how his looks are going to turn out and Raja models a horrid gold lame leopard print top (luckily, he sees the error of his ways and scraps it.) In through the damn squeaky door comes Ru to check in. Alexis tells Ru he’s really worried about the challenge. He also admits he “has no clue” about what he wants to do on stage. Ru asks him who he feels his biggest competition is and Alexis quickly replies that it’s Yara. Yara says he’s broke, but he’s still fabulous (I agree!) Ru asks Yara what he’d do if he won the $75K from the show and Yara replied that he’d move to the States to design dresses, which is his passion. Ru asks Manila if he’s surprised he’d made it so far. Manila says he’s not, but is surprised at the talent of his competitors and all of the tough challenges. He admits he has made friends on the show but isn’t afraid to stab them in the back if he has to. Ru thinks Raja may be a bit over-ambitious with his looks (he’s making a top hat out of coins and cash. I can’t wait to see it.) Of course, when Ru’s around, there’s always a twist. Not only do the queens have to come up with three looks, they’ve also got to choreograph and perform an opening group number for the ball. Since Yara won the RuVC challenge, he’s in charge. They’ll be performing to “Just Wanna Dance” by LaToya Jackson. Of course, this means Miss LaToya is going to be a judge. Alexis’ stress level is getting higher, as you can see in this clip:

Alexis starts packing, and Yara’s in shock. He tells Alexis he’s been doing so well, but Alexis says he just doesn’t want to be there anymore. Yara volunteers his help and tells him to think through his decision before walking out the door. Yara admits he feels angry that Alexis is talking about leaving. Alexis finally just walks out of the work room. Is he coming back? Well, of course he is! After the commercial break, Alexis returns and just walks back to his table and continues his work like nothing ever happens. Alexis has decided to stay in the competition and win the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. He’s putting the “queen” in “drama queen” that’s for sure! It’s time for the queens to start working on their big opening number. Yara decides to split the choreography duties between Alexis and himself. As you can see in the clip, not all drag queens have natural rhythm:

The next morning, the still-tired queens return to the work room and continue working on their outfits. Raja knows the importance of this challenge because it’s one of the last ones. Yara’s elganza gown is really elaborate – he used almost all of the Ru dollars he had on it. Raja thinks it’s a bit over the top – and that’s saying something. As they get painted for the runway, the queens all speculate as to who’s going to be in the top three – Yara wants it badly and says he’s prepared to “let them have it!” Let’s hope he does!

Put the bass in your walk – it’s runway time! Ru – eternally stunning. Tonight’s judges are Michelle Visage, photographer and hunk Mike Ruiz, Starter Wife author Gigi Levangie Grazer and, last but certainly not least, LaToya Jackson. The queens kick off the ball with the big musical number, modeling their swimwear creations. The swimsuits are cute enough (Yara’s gold coin covered bikini is my favorite look) but wow, Raja really has no rhythm whatsoever (the lame song isn’t helping, sorry LaToya.) After the routine is over, the queens model their cocktail party attire. Yara’s gold dress and black veil is best described by Mike Ruiz, who says Yara looks like he’s “getting ready for Liberace’s funeral.” Ouch. True, but, ouch. As much as I love Alexis, some of his outfits have a “one note” quality to them – like his gold cocktail dress. It’s the cha cha fringe on the top and bottom that give the dress an all-too familiar feeling. I love Manila’s 80s-looking bubble dress (not on me, mind you, but he wears it well.) I don’t know what to make of Raja’s cocktail look. It’s got a gold party hat that says “I own everything” and a shiny mini dress. He says it’s heiress and a little avant garde. I don’t see it.

And now, the money shot (for real) – the gowns. Yara’s really is extravagant with head to toe dough (he’s even got money – and credit cards – worked into his headpiece. I like the concept, but it’s just too busy. Alexis is described as a “goddess of the sea” in her gold coin bustier top with seashell looking designs on the chest and cascading mermaid skirt made of dollar bills. Alexis wanted a tropical, pageant look and he did it. Mike called it “The Little Mermaid meets Li’l Kim“. Manila’s dress is quite stunning, with a pink over the shoulder ruffle and “blooms” made of the green bucks. Great huge black side-swept wig too! Okay, I love, love, love Raja’s look. I forgive him for the choreography fail and the cocktail dress. The top hat is awesome and the dress itself is made up of shredded bills that manage to look like feathers. It’s really spectacular.

During the judges’ critiques, Yara says his gown was inspired by Alexander McQueen, which got a collective “Ooohhh” from the judges (not sure if that was a good or a bad thing). LaToya thought the gown was too busy. Mike said the cocktail dress was “a little morose” and was hoping he’d be “more effervescent”. Alexis got kudos for his gown, but no one liked the bathing suit or cocktail dress. Manila used the crumpled, sweaty dollars he receives as tips during drag shows as his inspiration. Clever. LaToya thought his hair was a little bit too big, to which Manila replied “How dare you! I’m a drag queen!” Manila was complimented on his St. Tropez ready swimwear and cocktail dress too (Gigi said it was “very Mahogany” and wanted to go to that cocktail party.) LaToya loves that Raja demands attention with his confident runway strut, but thought his cocktail dress was too plain and reminded her of a “Pointer Sister”. Ru asked all of the queens why they felt they deserved to be the big winner. Yara said “I’m so broke” and told the judges he longs to live the American dream and is “the full package”. Alexis didn’t really answer the question, but said if he did win, he’d treat the title with respect, honor and pride. Spoken like a true pageant queen! Manila feels he represents the support of a loving family and carries a message of love and support. Awww. Raja wants to leave a legacy for all of the little boys who were teased and afraid and don’t know that they can go against the grain and express themselves however they want to – including saying “F**k you” when they need to. If you had to vote for the best speech, Raja’s would surely have taken the prize.

As always, the queens retired to the Interior Illusions lounge while the judges got a little raw. Well, mostly Mike – who said it looked like Yara was “run over by a Brinks truck” and described Alexis’ swimsuit as “a middle-aged woman trying to get laid at Jones Beach”. Wow! Michelle thought Alexis looked like something out of Beetlejuice in his big cocktail dress and tight, teeny bun. All of the judges loved Manila’s looks and runway presentation. Ru said Raja’s gown was “breathtaking” while Michelle had two words for his cocktail look, “Oil can”. Ha! Raja’s speech really moved Mike. Ru’s made his decision. Not surprisingly, Manila won the challenge and Raja is safe, leaving our Puerto Rican bombshells to face off in the lip sync for your life. Yara looks like he’s about to cry. Not good. The song for the week is “I Think About You” by Patti LaBelle. Alexis starts strong and Yara looks like he’s already kind of checked out – then he starts removing his clothes. This is never a good thing. Poor Yara collapses to the ground in tears. As the song ends, not only is Yara in tears, but Mike and LaToya are dabbing their eyes. What a heartbreaking elimination. Of course, it’s time for Yara to sashay away, and I’ll miss him much! We’re down to the final three – who will be “America’s Next Drag Superstar”? I love them all, but I have a feeling it may be Miss Raja – feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and, until next week, can I get an “Amen” – and a special “echa pa’lante” for Yara too? Next week is the clip show and in two short weeks, “America’s Next Drag Superstar” will be chosen. I promise Nicolette will be back with us for the finale! See you then!

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