“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1311 Recap: Beauty and the BEAST

I must’ve licked sunshine, anti-depressants, and the blood of Christ, because I’m feeling good! After last week’s frustrating goodbye, the Drag Race universe has righted itself. And by that I mean the queens I personally like are doing well.

We begin with the goodbye, as Rosé says that she saw her and Denali together in the top four. I DID TOO, BABE. Utica is happy to have finally won — being paired with Symone will help with that — and Kandy says it’s time she show her own winning side. Olivia refuses to drop her smile as she insists she has no hard feelings against the queens for saying she should go home.

It’s a new day in the work room and Symone is feeling great! As she should be! Always! She’s feeling so good she tries to stir up some drama by asking who’s surprised to still be there, but no one takes the bait.

The mini challenge this week is Are You Smarter Than the Pit Crew? Olivia says she loves quizzes with adorable straight A student energy. This game show is Drag Race trivia only. There are questions about Alyssa Edwards and Lil’ Poundcake and which queen’s catchphrase is Bam! Kandy may not be good at math, but she knows her Drag Race and she wins. Sickening, no?

The maxi challenge this week is soda commercials. It’s the branding challenge, so each of the queens is tasked with coming up with a soda and making an ad that not only sells the drink but also their very essence. And speaking of essence, season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall is there virtually to offer some words of wisdom! She tells the queens to have fun and that insecurity leads to bad drag. Whenever she was enjoying herself most was when she did best.

The queens are all over the place as they put together their ideas. Tina’s plan is so elaborate that Olivia calls it a full on movie trilogy situation. Utica wants to lick her can because it’s unsanitary and fun. And Gottmik has misunderstood the concept of a storyboard, opting instead for a convoluted text based color coding system. Gottmik’s soda makes you “delusional” which I must point out was Jinkx’s perfume concept in her branding challenge. But originality aside I like what Gottmik says about realizing that her personality is part of her brand — she’s more than her mask!

Tina struggles during the filming as she repeatedly flubs a line. And Olivia struggles because she can’t stop smiling, preventing her makes-you-smile ad concept from having an arc. The other queens range from chaotic to confident. Even in the taping Symone is the standout as Ross and Carson whisper her praises.

As they get ready for the runway, Tina and Rosé bicker a bit because Tina takes issue with Rosé calling herself a comedy queen. Rosé doesn’t really engage, but admits in the confessional that she definitely thinks she’s funnier than Tina. The conversation pivots to the serious as Kandy talks about being gay bashed in 7th grade. Three other boys tackled her and broke her arm to the point she needed surgery. Kandy says it made her a fighter. It’s been so nice seeing Kandy’s journey and watching her realize she doesn’t always have to fight — but still can when necessary. Rosé is offering words of comfort, but it looks bonkers because her face is painted red and she has weird troll ears. Because what’s the runway? BEAST.

Utica looks hot as Maleficent, once again showing she’s a fashion queen, not a comedy queen. Tina is a bunch of stuffed animals sewed together. Olivia is a turquoise monster thing with horns. Gottmik is a purple monster with big eyes on her shoulders, a teeth skirt, and her nipples as nostrils. Kandy looks absurd in a latex alien suit with a blow up alien attached to her — the concept is she crashed her UFO and her friend is hurt?? Rosé really does look great as she goes full theatre kid committing to her monster walk. And Symone is a sexy fox. I’m not saying I’m a furry, but maybe we’re all furries when Symone looks like that.

Utica’s commercial is bonkers as she pitches the aforementioned sunshine/anti-depressant/blood of Christ combo. She sucks on a cow’s utter and licks the can and it’s very silly. I thought it was funny and represented Utica well, but the judges hate it. Kandy’s ad is funny because Kandy is funny but it’s also absurd. And the judges love it! We all know I love Kandy so I’m not complaining, but given her runway I was surprised the judges were so harsh on Utica and so lenient on Kandy. Especially after Kandy shared her trauma — the show loves to send queens home after they do that!

Tina’s commercial is solid but boring and thank God the judges finally call her out on it. We’re too far into the competition to get by on boring competence. The contrast is made clear when she’s followed by Symone, who is so fucking funny! Everything she says is funny and the commercial is creative and cohesive. She is a top five ever Drag Race queen.

Gottmik’s Gott-Sexxx Sex Juice ad is ridiculous and hilarious and the judges hate it. Like I GET their critiques. But I just love Gottmik so much. Their negative critiques continue for Olivia as they call her out for the lack of story arc. But they love Rosé! They say that Rosé can come across as stoic, and it was nice seeing a fun side to her. It’s so interesting when the judges express something that shows they’re getting a very different perception of a queen than we are backstage. Stoic? Rosé? Maybe week one.

Symone wins! And then guess what? Rosé wins too! Even Rosé seems surprised and it’s very sweet. Kandy and Olivia are safe. The bottom is Gottmik, Utica, and Tina. Thankfully my favorite himbo bimbo’s time is not cut short and Gottmik is declared safe.

Utica and Tina lip sync to “My Humps” and I immediately was brought back to my 6th grade dance. My friends make fun of me for not knowing the lyrics to any songs, but turns out I still remember every single word to this Fergilicious hit. Utica has a lot of fun with it and Tina just sort of does Tina. It’s not enough and Tina is asked to sashay away.

We’re down to the top 6. And now I like all the queens. The goodbyes are about to get harder and harder.

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ Congratulations to the winner of RPDR UK season 2 Bimini Bon-Boulash!

+ Okay but seriously can we talk about UK for a second? Drag Race has long history of fatphobia and the show was long overdue to have a fat winner. I’m not going to argue with anyone who wants to celebrate Lawrence Cheney’s win — especially given the hate she’s received. But the show has also never had an out trans winner. And, look, giving the crown to one queen on a spin-off is not the same as addressing the fatphobia and transphobia that’s been inherent in the franchise since its first season. But if there was going to be a political choice, I feel giving it to the trans queen WHO ACTUALLY DESERVED TO WIN would’ve been the way to go. Especially since the UK is such a transphobic country. But I think it’s just as likely Ru pointedly DIDN’T want to award a trans queen in the UK. Divina de Campo, rightful winner of UK season 1, is also trans and supposedly she discussed that on the show and it was cut. I don’t think Lawrence won because Drag Race was trying to make a statement. I think Lawrence won because Drag Race WASN’T trying to make a statement. Anyway, we can analyze Ru’s politics all we want, but as my friend Laura pointed out… sometimes his taste just sucks! Bimini doesn’t need a crown to be my winner.

+ Back to the US, here are the rest of my top 4 queens of all time along with Symone: Jinkx, Bob, Raja, and Adore.

+ Rosé was holding hands with Gottmik in the beginning of the episode. She moved on from Denali fast.

+ Gottmik describes her commercial character as “literally me but sluttier” which is also how I describe the protagonists of all my screenplays.

+ The judges say they can’t remember the name of Gottmik’s Got-Sexxx Sex Juice but I even remember how many x’s she put in sexxx. Explain that, Michelle.

+ Tina and Rosé bicker a bit more in Untucked. Tina says she’s not snapping at Rosé and Rosé sings: “That’s what you juuuuuust did.” I would totally go see Rosé perform post-pandemic, but I think it’d be even more fun to go with her to Marie’s Crisis.

+ Tina’s mom shows up with a video message and it makes Tina really emotional. Tina says that her mom has had depression and bipolar her whole life and it forced Tina to be strong from a young age. This did endear me to Tina and I wonder if she would’ve been more fun on the show if she didn’t feel that need to be strong all the time. Maybe a little vulnerability would’ve allowed her to go beyond competence.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone with Gottmik, Rosé, and Kandy rounding out the top four

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Gottmik

+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: SYMONE AS A FOX

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 547 articles for us.


  1. Well now you’ve spoiled UK2 for me! Why would you do that, isn’t this is a US recap? I’m waiting for this US season to be over before watching the next UK, and now you’ve completely ruined it. I guess that’s what I get for reading your recap. Won’t happen again.

    • If you only read the first note don’t worry! It was a joke, not a real spoiler!

    • I’m not sure it’s totally reasonable to expect that a Drag Race recap in general be spoiler-free?

      • I think it’s a perfectly reasonable expectation for it to be spoiler-free for a completely different show, even if it is related. It’d be like reading a recap of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and getting a spoiler about The Good Place (they have the same creator, in case you weren’t aware).

  2. YES to all UK thoughts. It was both a good but also a little sad!

    I’m pretty excited to watch Rose show that she can be funny and weird – I was THRILLED to see her go full red, and it was so NEAT to see how she pulled off matching her body makeup to the outfit.

    I fiercely love Gottmik but I am curious how long she can be designated safe based on runway looks, and I’m really hoping that she has another Snatch Game moment where she shows the judges that she can crush the main challenge AS WELL as the runway.

  3. I honestly did not understand how they went through the whole runway without a single Furry comment this week.

  4. The judges’ comments this week were baffling, honestly. Utica’s runway was stunning, and their critiques of her look made no sense. Kandy’s runway should have landed her in the bottom. I COULD NOT believe she was safe with that look. Tina has stuck around for way too long, but I actually thought she did okay this week, in that her commercial actually had a clear before and after. (Though her runway was pretty bad imho.) Gottmik’s commercial made me laugh a lot, and I got what she was going for, even if the judges didn’t. And her runway was so unique! Symone is hilarious and so incredibly talented… but I wouldn’t call a furry in a bikini top and cut-offs “couture.” I think I only agreed with their critiques for Olivia and Rosé.

    At this point, I definitely see Symone, Gottmik, and Rosé in the finale, and it’s that fourth spot that’s up for grabs. I don’t see Utica making it that far. The producers seem to want to keep Kandy around (for the drama, I suppose), but people keep forgetting that Olivia has two challenge wins. In conclusion, this season has gone on for one million years, and I miss Denali.

    Just a quick note on Drag Race UK: Bimini is my winner too. I honestly think they chose Lawrence because she’s Scottish, not because she’s fat. They couldn’t give the crown to two queens from England in consecutive years. All in all, though, the stakes feel a bit lower with UK because there isn’t a cash prize on the line. My roommate pointed out that no one cares about the Vivienne’s web-series with Baga, but we were all thrilled when the Frock Destroyers put out new music. So I hope that competing on the show supercharges Bimini’s career, that she gets lots of cool opportunities from this, and that we see more of her in the years to come.

    • Ahh! Thanks for that comment about UK. My Americaness is showing as I did not even consider the politics of having a Scottish winner vs another English winner.

      And yeah the judging was baffling and I fully acknowledge if I wasn’t such a Kandy fan it would’ve really annoyed me.

  5. Utica’s commercial literally made me laugh so hard. I felt like I had licked “sunshine, anti-depressants, and the blood of Christ.” And she looked stunning.

    • Same. Sometimes you can really feel how the show is edited to show you who is next getting the boot. Sigh.

      It’s Symone’s to lose. Really can’t see that happening.

      Top 5: Shangela (Shangie Was Robbed!), Sharon Needles, Jinkx, Sasha Velour, Monet X Change

  6. Yes, Bimini won, with the rest of the UK Dolls, Laurence Chaney, Tayce and A’whora making up the top four. Commiserations to Ellie Diamond who just missed out on a place in the final.

  7. UK season 2 had such a bizarre arc. Pre-covid it looked clear that Lawrence would win, but in the second wave they gave Bimini a winner’s edit and then didn’t deliver, which is no favour to Lawrence and actually really pisses me off, like what were they expecting? Apparently lockdown was much harder on the Scottish queens than the London queens, which explains how Lawrence lost some of her earlier shine.

    OF COURSE the first fat winner in the anglophone world is being bullied and accused of being given a pass or unfairly favoured, after having had her body mocked all season. The whole thing makes me really sad.

  8. I’m dying to know who got booted from your all-time top five for Symone. My top five: Bob, Shea, Adore, Shangela, Alaska. Actually that’s top five of greatness. I also have a top five of affection which is Alexis Mateo, Roxxy Andrews, Adore, Shangela, and Katya.

  9. I haven’t started RPDR-UK2 yet, but.. If you haven’t watched Drag Race Thailand, you absolutely should. Of its two seasons they’ve had a big queen and a trans queen win.

    I haven’t been able to find anywhere to watch the first season, but I’ve been watching the second season on wowpresents.com. It has multiple trans contestants, and I feel like there’s a lot less fatphobic ridicule.

    It’s so much fun to watch, and I feel like the challenges are way harder than the US–the judges are STRICT. Also season two has my absolute favorite makeover episode in drag-race herstory — so wholesome and sweet.

    Just want to spread the word so more people check it out and experience this absolute delight.

    • Hey, I don’t know if it’s avaiable where you live, but in Brazil I stream DragRace Thailand in the telegram app, also there’s this blog called fuzzco news with many DragRace related things to download.

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