WHO IS THE MYSTERY QUEEN, YOU ASK? You’d have to be…cucu not to be surprised by the return of this queen.
I’ve been making “cucu” jokes ever since I saw the back of that blue Mohawk. It’s Cynthia Lee Fontaine, the CuCu Queen!!!
The editors must’ve known that we all suspected it was Cynthia because they didn’t give a second between the “Previously On” and the RuVeal of Miss Cucu. I was watching with my friend and we looked at each other. All I could say was, “Well, that was anticlimactic.”
After everyone goes CuCu for her Coco Puffs, the kweens end back to the Werk Room. Cynthia starts by being Cynthia. “I’m in remission and I feel healthier as ever,” she says, and “I’m not gonna take that opportunity that RuPaul has given me in granted.” Whatever, Cynthia can speak two languages and I can barely speak one, so I’m being a bitch.
Lisa Kudrow pops up in a Valerie Cherish moment. She’s the reason that RuPaul opens up every door with “Hello, hello, hello!” Also the fact that a legend like Lisa Kudrow is just used as a 30-second promo and doesn’t get a seat at the judging table means that either Logo is a dumbass or Lisa was like, “I can give you thirty seconds.”
The main challenge this week is a Cheer-Off. Perhaps the most physical activity for these girls, because it’s so completely unexpected. They’ve done underwater photoshoots, trampoline photoshoots, intense dance competitions—but never…sports. Nina, as the Miss Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent, is one team captain and CuCu is the other.
Nina does something that’s either shady or nice, and that’s purposefully pick Jaymes for her team and calling Jaymes an “underdog.” While I agree that Jaymes being the last chosen would’ve probably crushed her, that’s some deep psychological shit to call someone else the underdog. Touché, Nina. So left last is Valentina.
Now, when a queen is left picked for last, and she’s not pathetic, it usually implies a victory edit. Violet Chachki was constantly picked last (that might’ve been because of her odor) but she always ended up killing it. So it’s no surprise that Valentina is picked last. She’s young, coiffed and seemingly too nice.
Team Nina sets up Jaymes versus Alexis. Alexis is so hot as a boy that I literally gaspED when I saw her bald spot. But love is blind, and so am I. Jaymes and Alexis switch roles back and forth between Snoozy and Floozy, in a classic “going home” trope. It’s almost always that the queen on the bottom chooses wrongly and pays the price. Or they completely slay. Either or. One thing that I will say, mind games aside, is that the queens really make an effort (here and on Untucked) to give Jaymes a voice. Whether or not she takes that voice is up to her, but they’re making a definite effort.
On a side note, I could listen to Cynthia say anything. Even when she says, “It’s time for rehearsal” as they step onto the gymnastics mat—it’s funny. Because everything she says is like she’s reading it off a teleprompter in a wind storm. IT’S TIME FOR REHEARSAL.
The queens are, like, actually doing gymnastics. Not just your average tumbles, bitch, but real shit. They have to do cartwheels and full, standing pyramid formations. The instructor is so hot and his name is Dom—during the commercial break, the crew has to mop up the mats.
Kimora’s over it before the activity begins—which, like, is such a pet peeve. This is season 9, you understand what this show is about. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and into weird, unprecedented situations. And if you’re not ready for that, then you’re not here to win. So when Valentina takes being picked last, takes the discomfort and runs with it, I was here for her.
Before, her niceness was cloying, until I realized that she’s just uncrackable. And that, I think more than anything, is what the other girls realize (even on a subconscious level) and resent. She’s being nice because she has no reason not to be, and being nice isn’t a distraction for her. I also finally figured out, after seeing her glaringly smile, who Valentina reminds me of in her testimonial—Audrey Hepburn. The black turtleneck against the dainty features and the wide brows, she’s totally Audrey. (S)he really is stunning, in and out of drag.
Someone else I totally enjoyed that I didn’t think I would was Trinity. I clocked her as a dumb one-hit pageant queen, but she’s totally great TV. I know her runway wasn’t particularly well-received, but I felt like it was one of the most distinctive out of all the queens, and she really committed to the gymnastics.
As they’re getting ready, the queens do their “sob stories” which is a mean way to put it but I can’t think of another descriptor. Peppermint talks about being a cheerleader in high school, and getting physically assaulted for it. It’s an uncomfortable reality for many LGBTQ people, and something that particularly queer people in sports have to deal with a lot, but it’s great that she’s talking about it. Cynthia talks about being in remission and getting a new lease on life. It’s something that resonates particularly with Sasha, who we learned from her Carpool Karaoke has a mother who had cancer, and the moment ends with a group hug.
During the performances, Valentina shines like a star and Jaymes quickly burns out. Shea was funny and dymanic and totally pulled my eyes to her; she’s doing backflips and splits. Eureka does a fucking SPLIT and talks about how her knee popped but she kept going. I love her!
On the runway, the theme is “White Party.” Funny—the Trump administration has that same theme!
My standouts are Charlie Hides, in a frosty, furry ice queen look; Jaymes Mansfield in a voluptuous mistress with the mink look; Valentina in an absolutely breath-taking bridal gown; and Shea Coulee in a Barbarella-robotic look with some gorgeous fluffy hair. Honorable mentions are my thicc queen Eureka in a Dynasty look and Sasha in a weird, graphic, hot lady at the art gallery look.
And completely deserved, Valentina wins. Her cheer routine was bright and energetic and memorable, and her look was a complete 10/10.
Charlie, Jaymes and Kimora are in the bottom three, and Jaymes and Kimora are chosen to lip-sync. Now, I’ll be honest, I truly believe that Jaymes gave a better lip-sync performance (to the B-52’s “Love Shack”) because Kimora was so lackluster with her energy levels. However, looking back on it, I do understand that overall, Kimora has shown more potential than Jaymes. I just hope that Kimora proves that she deserves to be saved.
But I can’t help but feel sad. There’s a quality to Jaymes that reminds me of Marilyn Monroe: this baby-doll sadness. And Michelle was right to point out that her padding is impeccable. She really does harken back to a very specific age, without being trite or vague like other queens might. However, if there was ever a better moment in time to be the first one eliminated, it is now: the universe and popularity of RPDR are well-established, Jaymes got a sympathetic edit and two episodes to connect with the audience. If he plays his cards right, he will up his YouTube game and endear himself to the people. This doesn’t have to be the end for him.
So we say goodbye to Miss Mansfield, and we’re left with 13 queens.
See you next week for…I forget what because the promo for episode 3 was basically just a promo for Wendy Williams.
- Did they give the B-52’s a single piano bench? Because they’re clustered together on the judges’ table like a bunch of Muppets.
- We didn’t get to see a lot of Sasha or Nina this episode (beyond Nina being one team captain) but Sasha’s White runway look was graphic and beautiful, and Nina’s runway look was like an amped-up version of whatever Dax Exclamation-Point would’ve worn.
- I’m beginning to warm to Farrah; she’s an idiot but she’s cute
- Charlie Hides, in Untucked, alludes to a very real problem in the gay community: ageism. He knows that in the past, older queens are typically the first to go home and aren’t always taken seriously. But taking age out of the equation completely, Charlie Hides is incredibly formidable, and her runway look was probably my favorite. It was beautiful, played off her assets and memorable. Taking age back into the equation makes her all the more impressive.
- “My cucu is just shaking right now.”