A certain sect of competitors has long walked the hallowed halls of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And of course, by “rooms” I mean the warehouses of a studio in Burbank, California. But nevertheless, these very special queens move among their competitors, undetected and lying in wait. They look like every other competitor in the work room, but beneath their padding hides a gift from the gods, an innate talent that sets them apart from everyone else at the end of the day. These are drag race sleeper cells, waiting to be activated the moment they hear RuPaul say, “Don’t fuck it.”
These are the Lip Sync Assassins. We just met another one.
You know them and you love them. The always and forever fabulous dancing diva Alyssa Edwards; the ultra strange and infinitely captivating Coco Montrese; jump splitting Estranja Lies; the delicious classic Pepper mint! They are all queens who have made a splash on their individual drag race seasons where their lip-syncs are among the most-watched of all time, and who are often invited back at the show for all stars seasons due to their unforgettable twists, turns, and pussy slapping on the main stage. Legend has it that the sheer strength of Laganja Estranja ass hits the ground caused the California earthquake that inspired San Andreas.
In tonight’s episode, drag race officially wearing his latest lip-sync assassin. Three letters, two springboard arms and a name: Jax. Despite lip-syncing his life against Robin Fierce in last week’s episode, Jax burned down the house in a way that can only be described as “vicious and premeditated arson.”
Before our new favorite arsonist hit the main stage, she had to wade through the rest of the competition a bit. This week’s maxi challenge was a reboot of “The Daytona Wind,” the season 14 acting challenge which confused the queens with its straightforward approach to a mock soap opera, only to have a bunch of surprise fart sounds added in post-production. As childish as it was, it ended up being quite funny. But hammering on that joke for the second time would be pointless when the punchline has already been revealed.
Turns out Ru had another trick up his sleeve in the Klein Epstein & Parker bespoke. This time around, Daytona Wind is a sitcom parody. The queens all rose to the challenge with vigor, especially Mistress Isabelle Brooks and Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, crushing their metal-gate beef from last week– but like most challenges, the combination of ambition and nerves backfired.
Jax leaned too heavily on her character’s description of a weird stoner. She was doing reasonably well for a simple acting challenge, but the camp factor wasn’t there. She wasn’t able to really sell her personality and was improvised against a wall by Mistress, eventually landing her in the final two of the week.
As Jax braced his knees while getting ready for a lip-sync, the new Daytona Wind spin-off turned out to be a bizarre parody of the kind of surreal youtube shit. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something so strange on drag race as I did while watching RuPaul laugh to himself as he said, “This, of course, was a parody of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!“I don’t know how much overlap there is between drag race superfans and fanatics of the Adult Swim comedy series, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say it’s tighter than a stuck tuck.
The challenge’s bizarro final cut highlighted only the most subpar performances, and it was clear that Jax and Aura Mayari were in for a real smackdown. Aura and Jax have recognized that their strength as queens lies in their ability to perform on stage in front of a crowd. What if you had two dancers on stage? Buckle up.
The moment “sweetest pie” by Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion started playing, I sat down in my chair. Compared to last week’s song choice, The Bangles’ “In Your Room” — which Jax already annihilated — “Sweetest Pie” is three times as energetic, with a portion of dancey camp if the pie is cooked to perfection. “I’m a fucking lip-syncer,” Jax said, completely assured before the song began. “No one can do what I do.”
And by God, was she always right. From the first second, Jax was in tune with the song, raising his hand to the pearly gates as Dua Lipa sings, “You’ve never been to heaven, have you?” It was almost an instant foreshadowing of the paradise she was about to lead us to, when she hit a double whirlwind, removing her jacket in tandem with the beat of the song.
The way Jax moves is completely effortless. Even Aura, who put up a decent fight, looked wooden compared to Jax’s fluidity. And that’s a crazy thing to say, because Aura is a stellar dancer! But between the two, there wasn’t even an ounce of competition. Only ten seconds into the lip sync, Aura passed out completely. You couldn’t help but keep your eyes on Jax and Jax alone.
But the best moment came during Megan Thee Stallion’s verse, when Jax kicked back into Meg while rapping, “No more bounce an ounce, pick it up, put it down.” Jax hit every word like it was choreographed – lifting himself up and pushing his hands down – but it all happened completely naturally. She hit moves that gymnasts can’t even do with such precision. If there’s one thing I’m here to do in this recap, it’s start the rumor mill that Jax has rubber bones.
After watching this lip sync a total of 15 times so far, I can safely say that it has entered my personal collection of favorites. I haven’t made this much noise watching a lip sync since Peppermint cocked a fake shotgun and took Cynthia Lee Fontaine to Madonna’s “Music” in season 9. There were several times when I lost control of my body, waving a hand in the air and screaming. This is what the flirt, the thrill of seeing a purely singular performance.
The whole experience was comparable to how movies depict men screaming and screaming over the Super Bowl. With the exception of a lip-sync, this good requires a lot more skill and precision than running, catching a ball, and sustaining a decent amount of head trauma. The only concussions anyone will have here on Super Bowl weekend will be me, when I try to recreate Jax’s effortless springs and have to be airlifted to Mount Sinai. (Seriously, don’t try this at home, let alone in an apartment with a live coffee table.)
Needless to say, Aura was sent packing. She fought well on that stage, but how do you measure up to the story? It’s just not possible. And while Jax hasn’t quite pulled off a challenge yet, she’s solidified herself as the latest drag race lip-sync assassin. In this competition, this status will take you everywhere, even to the final.
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