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RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 Episode 5 RECAP: Girl Groups

The remaining queens break into girl groups for an iconic RPDR challenge and music duo Icona Pop are guest judges…

Last week we said goodbye to Las Vegas’s Mirage after the most gaggable lip sync we’ve seen in seasons. Mirage shocked the judges, her fellow queens, and the audience when she revealed she didn’t know the words to Cher’s Dark Lady in her lip sync against Geneva. This resulted in her elimination. On the other hand, Plasma was announced as the winner of last week’s live sketch comedy maxi challenge after she made some serious lemonade out of the lemons she was given when it came to casting. Tonight the remaining queens will split into groups for the iconic girl group challenge and Icona Pop are guest judges. Let’s get into it!

This week’s episode begins in the werk room following Mirage’s elimination. The vibes feel very somber as the queens let Mirage’s elimination sink in. There are a lot of tears from a lot of the queens. Geneva wipes her message away and over of the couches the queens congratulate Plasma on her big win. She can feel the jealous energy radiating off of Q beside her, who tearfully tells the group how much it hurts to be so close to the top but just be safe. Plane kind of takes a jab at Q which rubs some of the other queens the wrong way.

It’s a new day in the werk room and around the table Plane tells Amanda she has a naturally beautiful place. Ru enters the werk room to introduce this week’s mini challenge. The queens will get into quick drag to take author portraits and write short descriptions of their new bestselling books. It’s a little self-promo for Ru’s new book, but it’s a fun break to all of the shade being thrown between the queens. After the photoshoot, Ru announces that the winner of this week’s mini challenge is Sapphira Crystal. For this week’s maxi challenge Ru wants to collaborate with the girls on songs off his new albums in the iconic girl group challenge! Since Sapphira won this week’s mini and Plasma won last week’s maxi and Geneva won the lip sync they will serve as team captains for the challenge. One-by-one they pick the other queens for their teams. Plane Jane and Megami are the last two standing. Plasma picks Plane for her group, which also has Amanda on it, which she’s really not excited about. Ru assigns the songs and the girls break up into their new bands to listen to their songs for the first time. They’ve got to choreograph the routines themselves, so whatever they do, they have to step it up. Some of the girls are nervous about singing, some are nervous about dancing. Geneva’s group has all of the quiet girls, making them the underdogs according to the other girls in the werk room. They also have to write their own verses to the songs. Over in Megami’s group she breaks down about “always being picked last”. Nymphia is nervous about writing her lyrics with the language barrier and her vocal brainstorming is distracting her teammates.

The groups work on choreographing their routines on the main stage. Team Plasma is up first and Plasma takes the lead with coming up with the routine and she’s really going to town with the broadway-level steps she’s giving the team. Amanda kind of takes the lead and eats her up with her national theatre tour background. Mhi’ya seems to be the choreographer of team Geneva and she’s practically whispering the steps to the other queens. Megami is really struggling with picking up the steps and her teammates aren’t really helping her. The other queens suspect Nymphia might be better at the challenge than she’s letting on and come to the conclusion she might be playing a game. Team Sapphira is last to come up with their routine which Morphine takes the lead on. Q is taking a robotic approach to her dancing which has the other queens cracking up at the side of the stage.

It’s elimination day and over at the mirrors Geneva asks her team members who they want to see go home. Megami feels like she has something to prove to the other queens. Q goes over to Plane to address the drama from earlier in the competition. Plane said she has more respect for Q than she does for Amanda which sets Amanda OFF. In confessionals Plane admits she was a bitch to Amanda and says she does want to move forward, so she apologizes for invalidating Q’s feelings. Sapphira asks Plane if she usually has issues with other girls with the way that she speaks, which she does. Sapphira tells her that she can say what she wants, but shit will happen. Plane says maybe she should think about what she says more, but she does want to live her bitch fantasy out.

Out on the runway Ru introduces this week’s panel of judges Michelle, Ts Madison, and this week’s extra special guest judges Icona Pop. The performances kick of with QDSM (Team Sapphira) they do alright, the judges faces are not giving excitement, but in fairness the song was kind of low energy. Lovah Girlz (Team Plasma) which at first glance is giving GaGa’s greatest hits. Their choreo bootcamp paid off though because their performance is miles ahead of the last group. Thicc & Stick (Team Geneva) is last and they’re doing a good job with their performance and the judges seem to like it a little more than the first performance. After the performances the category on the runway is “Faster Pussycat, Wig, Wig” and the queens strut in their fiercest pussycat wigs. 

Following the runway Ru asks Sapphira and Plane if they would like to use their immunity potions this week, and they both decline. Ru calls Geneva, Mhi’ya, Megami, and Nympia forward and congratulates them as they are the winning group of the week. Critiques start with Sapphira. Michelle says she commanded the stage in their performance but Ts said she was in her head a little. Michelle loves her Dr. Evil inspired runway. Icona Pop loves Morphines runway and Ts said she gave great energy in the performance. Ru calls Q’s look a million bucks but she didn’t sparkle and shine in the challenge. All of the judges like Dawn’s performance and Michelle is gagging over her Smurfette lewk. The judges like Plasma’s performance and runway which she’s happy with. Amanda’s padding in the performance was all off and none of the judges like her bird egg runway. Both of Xunami’s outfits have the judges speechless and Michelle is blushing over her runway, she also said she gave a great performance. All of the judges loved what Plane was giving in the girl group challenge and Michelle calls her runway “super fun”. Ru asks the queens who they think should go home tonight and why. Sapphira says Amanda, Morphine says Amanda, Q says Amanda and Xunami, Dawn says Q, Plasma says Q, Xunami says Q, Plane says Amanda. 

Following deliberations Ru announces Amanda and Q are both up for elimination with the rest of the queens remaining safe for the week. The two bottoms lip sync for their lives to Emergency by Icona Pop. Both of them are giving a performance worthy of staying in the competition, it’ll be a tough decision for sure. Ru decides that Q will get to stay and continue on in the competition which means unfortunately Amanda Tori Meeting is heading home, and she sashays away.

Next week on Drag Race: The queens will create their own dolls and market them. Stylist Law Roach is a guest judge.  

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