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RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 Episode 3 RECAP: The Mother of All Balls

All of the queens meet each other for the first time for this season’s ball challenge, the first queen is eliminated, and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi is a guest judge…

Last week we met the second half of our season 16 queens and they did not come to play. Much like the week before, they each displayed a special talent for Ru and the judges. Following an unforgettable performance in the talent show and a lip sync full of tomfoolery, Plane Jane was the winner of the challenge and immunity she can use for a future challenge. Fan favourites have already been cast and it’s shaping up to be a fun season. This week all of the season 16 queens will meet each other for the first time, they’ll throw a ball in the season’s first design challenge, and it’ll be their last chance to use the Rate-A-Queen system. Let’s get into it.

This week’s episode begins in the werk room. The queens are feeling relieved after a non-elimination week. Over on the couches they congratulate Plane Jane on her win and talk their feelings on Rate-A-Queen. They get interrupted by a video message from the other queens before they make their grand entrance into the werk room one-by-one. They all meet each other for the first time, the New York girls are happy to see each other and others are…less happy to see girls from home in the competition. Over on the couches they talk to each other and make introductions and there’s already drama brewing between some of them. It’s revealed that Plane Jane and Morphine are drag sisters, kind of. Some shade is thrown between other queens and just like that, the race has officially started.

It’s a new day in the werk room and all of the queens enter for the first time together. There are two boxes on the table with Sapphira and Plane Jane’s name on them. Inside the boxes are an immunity potion that they won. Ru enters and tells Sapphira and Plane Jane they can use the immunity potion on themselves or on another queen in need. He warns them that it can only be used once and it has an expiration date (more to be revealed later). Ru announces that for this week’s maxi challenge the girls are having a ball! Not just any ball, but THE MOTHER of all balls. Category one is “Mother Goose”, an outfit inspired by a classic nursery rhyme. Look number two is “Significant Mother ”, an outfit inspired by the queen’s favourite famous moms. Finally, look number three is “Call Me Mother/Father Eleganza”. The queens will have to create a mother of the ball worthy look from upcycled menswear from scratch,

The girls immediately get to rummaging through the selection of menswear and getting to work drawing designs, cutting patterns, and firing the sewing machines/hot glue guns up. Q is feeling really motivated to make it to the top of this week’s challenge. Both Dawn and Q are sewing girls, so the pressure is on for both of them to create stunning looks. Ru re-enters the werk room to check on the progress. He calls them over in groups to get the tea on what they know about each other and what they have planned for the ball. Some of the queens are really ambitious designs. Dawn impresses Ru with her sketch while Hershii renders Ru speechless (not in a good way) with her pleated skirt made of socks. Before he leaves Ru gives the girls one last chance to Rate-A-Queen right after their runway presentations. The three tops and three bottoms will remain on stage to be critiqued by the judges. Since the votes will happen before the critiques, they won’t have the judge’s opinions to lean on while making their ratings. Ru is also holding a dossier containing the Rate-A-Queen results from the first two weeks, which is left in the werk room for them to look through themselves. 

Plane Jane is feeling nervous about her ratings being revealed since she purposefully put Nymphia at the bottom, but the others are excited to see how everything played out. Much to Plane Jane’s relief, it’s not a detailed sheet but just an overall ranking of the group. Some of the queens are feeling bad about being rated so low, Morphine especially. They get back to constructing their lewks. Megami is feeling confident in her sewing skills thanks to her cosplay background. Mhi’ya is feeling frustrated since she’s never sewn a garment before and she is stressed out. Nymphia picks some fun at Plane Jane’s look which spirals into Nymphia asking how Plane Jane voted last week which has Plane Jane worried she somehow knows she rated her last. Nymphia is running around and distracting everyone but she insists she’s being strategic. Mirage is having a tough time with her distressed knit minidress and she doesn’t know how to fix the situation.

It’s runway day and the queens are busy putting the finishing touches on their lewks and getting ready to head out to the runway. Mirage’s strategy is to hide as much as she can from the judges. Hershii is feeling better about the look she created after scrapping the sock skirt. Plane Jane asks Geneva how she’s feeling about her look, which Geneva thinks is light shade. Over at the mirrors some of the queens talk about their family’s reaction to them doing drag. Morphine teaches Nymphia some Spanish, which turns her into the little Spanish shade messenger pigeon between the queens. Some final shade is thrown between Plane Jane and Geneva before it’s time to head to the ball.

Out on the runway Ru introduces this week’s judges Michelle, Carson, and this week’s extra special guest judge, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. The ball begins with the first category “Mother Goose” and the queens strut in their nursery rhyme-inspired looks. Standouts from this category are Dawn, Megami, Q, Nymphia, Sapphira, and Plane Jane. The second category “Significant Mother ” has the queens walking as their favourite famous mums. Dawn, Q, Nymphia, Sapphira, and Plasma stun in their lewks. Finally the queens show off their handmade looks and the standouts are Dawn, Q, Nymphia, Sapphira and Plane Jane. Ru gathers all of the queens on the runway and tells them it’s time to Rate-A-Queen one last time. They leave the stage and head into the private booth to put their final ratings in. 

Back on the stage and asks Sapphira and Plane Jane if they want to use their immunity potion this week, which both decline. Ru reveals the top queens are Nymphia, Q, and Sapphira are the top three queens of the week. Geneva, Hershii, and Mhi’ya are the bottom three of the week as rated by their peers. The rest of the queens are safe and head backstage. Critiques begin with Geneva. Michelle didn’t like that her hat from her Little Miss Muffet look kept flopping and covering her face and Carson wasn’t getting Salma Hayek from her famous mother look. The judges liked Hershii’s first bee look, but didn’t love her mother nature outfit and Michelle clocks the pants she didn’t make for the final look. Carson loved Mih’ya’s Mother Goose look but the judges didn’t love her second look and Isaac called her final look “Forever 21-esque”. Isaac tells Q her Man on the Moon look was his favourite look of the night as well as her Judy Garland look. Ru commends her artistry and craftsmanship. Carson loved Nymphia’s Little Boy Blue look, Michelle says her Angelina look wasn’t her fave but she appreciated the details, and all of the judges call her final look “otherworldly”. Finally, Carson liked the details of her Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater look, and Isaac likes the camp fashion of her final look. Following deliberations Ru announces that Nymphia is the winner of this week’s maxi challenge. Sapphira, Q, and Mhi’ya are all safe for the week. This means Geneva and Hershii are the bottom two and both up for elimination. The two queens lip sync for their lives to Maybe You’re the Problem by Ava Max. Neither of these queens want to be the first to go home, and their performances reflect that. Geneva gives a split which kind of seals the deal. Ru announces Geneva is safe for another week, which means unfortunately Hershii LiqCour-Jeté is the first queen to be eliminated this season. 

Next week on Drag Race: The queens try their hand at improv with an SNL style challenge, drama brews between Amanda and Jane, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is a guest judge. 

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