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« Splendid Sally makes "Maudie" a delight | Main | Wonder Winner »
Saturday
Jun172017

RuPaul's Drag Race - Season 9 Reunion

Chris here, with a quick RuPaul's Drag Race check-in! By now I'm sure you've seen our Mama Ru is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly! If you wanted some bonafide proof that the cult show is now firmly in the mainstream, look no further. And don't forget that this season was actually still produced by Logo before the move to VH1 - expect season ten and the inevitable All Stars 3 to be huge.

This was was the reunion before next week's finale crowning, and each of the queens were in peak gorgeousness. But honey did this rehash make up for every single complaint that contestants about a lack of shade over the entire season. While most Drag Race reunions have been forgettable in later seasons (remember the unfiltered days of Tammie Brown daring to shade Ru herself?), this one ended with a bang.

Topics included Charlie Hides's feast of excuses about her lackluster lipsync, Alexis Michelle's hurt feelings over the Reading challenge, and Nina Bo'nina Brown's lingering resentments and paranoia, with Shea Couleé and Aja running on a platform of Not Having It. But the real fireworks came at the subject of Valentina's angry fans and her Miss Congeniality win, with Val forced to finally speak up against the hatred the other queens have received. I'll never understand the nastier side of this show's fanbase when Drag Race is so joyful - shade and hate are two very different things.

Though I eventually warmed up to her, I’d firmly argue that the cracks in Valentina’s veneer have been there from the very beginning. But never were they more apparent that the whiplash she gave from raising her voice to Shea to instantly going all smiles once called out. I think anyone would get defensive when taking it from all sides like she did, but when defending herself she didn't come off nearly as sincere as the queens calling her out.

All that kind of took the attention from the bombshell that next week's finale will include a sudden death lipsync battle between the Top 4. How does this show continue to succeed? By constantly tweaking the format. Stay tuned to see how it plays out next week - but I'd imagine Peppermint just got a major boost to her chances of winning.

With all the shade thrown, the biggest delight of the episode was the treasure trove of reaction shots of the queens. Let's rank some favorites (though I'm sure I missed some greatness, how could you not):

10. Peppermint's stone-faced double take when Valentina equates herself to Selena. Remember how Tyra Sanchez said she was like Beyoncé...

9. Kimora Blac's accusatory finger wag to the finale lipsync news. That look and finger says: you bitches are gonna kill eachother. Remember when Kimora was actually a little funny?

8. Aja when Alexis defended Valentina's preparedness. When there are excuses: [insert Aja here]

7. Farrah Moan being told to shut up by Valentina. Whether constantly crying or being a brat here, Farrah was truly the baby sister of the season.

6. Shea to "Nobody can do Alexis Michelle like Alexis Michelle". [tire screech]

5. Aja when Farrah told Valentina "You don't love me". Aja is the queen of extra, but even she is frozen here - did anyone expect that kind of gumption from Farrah?

4. Alexis during Kimora and Nina's bickering. When the T is tart but delicious.

3. Eureka during Shea and Nina's bickering. I'm so excited we'll have Eureka's big mouth back on season 10. Shea and Trinity weren't joking, she's a major threat.

2. Nina Bo'nina I Second That Motion Brown. Was she acknowledging Shea's ace impersonation of Valentina or that Valentina never made good on her promise to defend Nina? Either way, Nina was here for it.

1. Aja when Shea dismissed Valentina with "Do I look upset?". This is not RuPaul's Drag Race, this is Aja's Best Face Race. Leave it to our queen of extra to upstage one of the night's best reads with her hilarious response. Aja may not have impacted the competition, but she did give us the season's best catchphrase in her Linda Evangelista rant.

Which of these reaction shots best personifies your feelings during the reunion?

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Reader Comments (15)

Kinda loved it, kinda hated it. To me all of these queens came off looking so so so so bad. It was clear in episode 1 there was a seething resentment towards Valentina (mostly due to her lack of experience I think back then) that probably exploded after she became the star of the season. The behaviour of some fans was enraging and disappointed and I too wished Valentina had acted up more but seems like a weird position to put someone who was "just eliminated" to do. Particularly because I don't recall this type of grilling towards queens like Trixie, DeLa, Thorgy, and so on when their fans also engaged in nasty behaviour. The only one who stepped up when hell broke loose was Katya, from what I recall. Suddenly, Valentina is the villain.

I liked Trinity being more loose, as well as Farrah showing a side we never saw of her. Shea came off as kinda of petty and bothered by the whole thing. Unlike Trinity, she went from calling out to coming off as bothered by a lot of things. Never would've guessed Aja would be my most disliked of the season. Did she have a right to speak out? Yah, but her form and track record indicate once again it came from jealousy.

Valentina didn't compare herself in talent to Selena. She compared her fanbase. And she wasn't wrong.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

So glad Valentina got exposed for being a Taylor Swift-like figure. This episode was such a huge hit to her previously well crafted and maintained personality.

By the way, have you guys seen the video of Eureka saying the N-word? My opinion of her dropped so much.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

I am HERE for this reunion format! It needed to be an hour longer!

Aja and Farrah seem infinitely more likable now. And the queens went in on Charlie (finally) and Valentina. I don't think Valentina should be held accountable for the actions of her--basic--stans. She should be held accountable for not knowing how to lip sync. It's over for these YouTube queens who can't turn it in a club. I hope they do rename Miss Congeniality to Miss Fan Favorite. It would be the ultimate shade--and appropriate.

Shea truly deserves to win this season, but I think Ru is going to pull something crazy. I really think the Trump election has her shook. I hope she sees it in her heart to remain true to the legacy of RPDR, which is that the deserving queen always wins in the end.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBD

I have some mixed feelings on this episode.
The ones that really came off looking bad for me were Shea and Sasha - not for calling out things (it made for a really good TV), but for doing so with what seemed like a lot of ungrounded bitterness. Aja's remarks, combined with her facial expressions and a genuine compliment on Valentina's bitchiness were actually entertaining without coming across as mean.
I'm not surprised by Valentina's "character arc" at all and it didn't make change my opinion on her at all. Likeable or not, she turned out to be the most interesting and most talked about character on season 9, and I hope she can use it to her advantage. Her only major misstep in this episode was not acknowledging the mistake she made of not addressing her fans right after the post-elimination drama started.
Indisputable MVPs of the episode: Eureka and Trinity. So funny! I would cheer for Trinity's win this season, but I want to see them both on All Stars 3 competing against each other, so I hold my thumbs for Peppermint (who should have won Miss Congeniality, but it was indeed Fan Favourite instead!)

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHowler

This is the best reunion EVER!!! Its ironic that the true villain o the season turns out to be also Miss Congeniality aka Fan Fav!! Lol..

Valentina finally revealed the selfish lit bitch she is really is beneath all the sugary and sweet facade. This revelation is even more MAJOR than her botched up lipsync!! And a shout-out to Aja & Farrah Moan for stealing the limelight from Miss Fan Fav!! Even thot the image of Valentina may take a tumble, but as Trinity wisely summarised...she IS the true winner of the season!!

But the MVP surely are Trinity & Eureka...their bitchy exchanges r precious!!! Aja puts it best when she said we are robbed of lipsync battle between these two!!

I said bring back Valentina, Farrah Moan, Aja, Trinity & Eureka for AS3!!! Lol

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

This episode was messy. I can appreciate shade but this was petty.

The outburst to Valentina's win seemed forced and bizarre.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

I feel like they told them to turn it up a notch for this reunion, cuz the drama felt a little forced. Some things definitely needed to be aired out, but the way they attacked Charlie was a bit unnecessary. Her basicness and early elimination was enough punishment, I think.

With that said...there's a little jealousy of Valentina from the other girls showing, but as much as I do like her, she's extremely self-absorbed and borderline sociopathic. She really did not come off in good light this episode.

Peppermint should've been fourth place and won Miss Congeniality.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

This absolutely some bullshit. Where was the outrage (other than Katya) when queens didn't defend Kennedy, Jasmine and even Bob were targeted by rabid racist fans? Kim Chi didn't do shit when Bob was getting racist comments. Trixie did nothing to help Jasmine when she received horrifying death threats after Jasmine came for Trixie in the Glamazonian Airways Untucked. I can't recall any All Stars 2 queens coming to bat for Alaska when she received such vitriol. Not to mention the many queens who back up someone like Jeffree Star who is an actual racist and trash human being - again Trixie and Kim Chi to name a few.

There's a rumor - from the person that leaked Maskgate weeks in advance - that production told Valentina not to address her fans until the reunion for the drama. Valentina did address the hatred she saw during one of Trinity's livestreams in March and she has posted a video on instagram yesterday and her fans are still rabid. She can't control thousands of people no matter what she does and that's the fandom's problem.

Also, when Phi Phi was having a meltdown and WOW and RuPaul did nothing to help her from the violent aggression she received online. Total pot calling the kettle black.

I don't understand what's wrong with Valentina being focused on the competition. Hasn't that been one of the things RuPaul is always looking for? The Selena comment is also being blown out of proportion. How many queens including Shea and Naomi Smalls have compared themselves to Naomi Campbell repeatedly? Valentina is Chicana, can you name some other well known Chicana icons off the top of your head? She's on the money about the under representation and she did not say she was on the same level as Selena. Regardless as a Latinx gay male, Valentina is a huge boon of glamorous representation.

Honestly I've soured on Shea and Sasha - particularly Shea - for their holier than thou attitude. Shea came for everyone viciously and really would not get off of Charlie. She says she wasn't upset but she was clearly pressed. Unless this is the real Shea, in which case she was just as calculating and "fake" as Valentina during the competition. And Sasha will win this next week anyway.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Rech

This is a relatively better season. Valentina, Sasha, and Alexis are my top three of the season. Each of them will be an unusual winner.

Shea is my least favorite of the top four. I don't get the love for Shea. I hope Sasha wins next week. She will be a deserving and unique winner. But queens like Kim Chi and Milk, who are known for their creativity, never win. This worries me. Also, the fact that Trinity was mentioned in SNL a couple of weeks ago makes me think that the producers want Trinity to win.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Spoiler ahead****do NOT scroll down if u dun wanna spoil the finale...


Rumors on U tube comments has it that the reunion was taped one day AFTER the finale. The final four were narrowed down to two via two lipsyncs n the final two will battle it out for the crown.... I dunno how tru issit but rumor has it tt Shea n Trinity din make the cut, Tt's y Shea was being so caustic in the reunion bcos she knows tt she has notink to lose..

N the final two were each crowned winner n Ru will pick her choice nex wk..

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

I love Aja and her street realness. Go Brooklyn.

"You don't love me" was my favorite line

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSister Rona Barrett

Get a grip - Valentina's fans! I'm a fan too and I like that's she showed she's flawed like everybody else! Sh stayed true to her character - a true Telenova Villian(ita).

Claran - not everyone wants to be spoiled, you know. Geez.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGolden

@Andrew Rech

THANK YOU!

I for all am up for admitting Valentina's flaws, but I think the fact that these queens were being nasty to her since the very first episode shows to me it's been jealousy all along. This need to paint her as some self centered villain is weird to me.

I couldn't believe Trinity got all season long saying she wasn't there to make friends but to win, at the Reunion MINS BEFORE they came for Valentina they all agreed it wasn't RuPaul's Best Friend Race. And they're upset she's focused on winning?

I was so frustrated watching.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

Valentina was my favorite early in the season but she performed in a club in the area where, let me tell you, everyone in the room was EATING UP her downfall during this episode. Sorry but if you hear enough people say she's rude to those around her... yeah. I enjoyed the shade throwing but Shea just seemed so threatened. Feeling like Trinity might take this now. Still wish it would be Peppermint, the ACTUAL Miss Congeniality.

June 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I love that Valentina (who I still think is great) told Pharrah Moan to "just shut up already" literally minutes after winning Miss Congeniality. That award should've been Peppermint's.

Literally the only three who came out of this episode looking good were Aja, Peppermint and Trinity. There have been rumours swirling about Shea's nastiness off camera and I'd believe it after this. She was acting like she'd already won.

June 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

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