The Library is Open: Episode 7

This post contains spoilers for episode 7 of season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Also a ton of animated gifs.

In this week’s mini-challenge, the queens play a game with the Andrew Christian-clad pit crew where, given a piece of trivia about the crew member, the queen must guess whether they prefer the “top bunk” or “bottom bunk.” Derrick Barry wins this challenge by guessing the most crew members correctly (only one crew member preferred the top bunk).


For this week’s maxi-challenge, the queens are paired with their bitter rivals and tasked with creating shady political ads. Bob the Drag Queen and Derrick are paired, as they’ve but heads in past episodes. Chi Chi DeVayne and Thorgy Thor are paired, as Chi Chi’s carefree attitude has annoyed Thorgy in past episodes. Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls are paired together because… they were left over? Kim and Naomi have been close friends throughout most of the competition so this pairing was obviously the remainder.

Bob and Derrick both do a good job of making their own political ads and acting in their rival’s ad. Bob’s Michelle Obama inspired candidate plays well off of Derrick’s Michelle Bauchman inspired candidate. Bob, of course, does a much better job than Derrick, with a funny script and expert visual gags. Derrick is stiff in her own ad, but really shines in Bob’s when she pretends to eat a baby.



Kim Chi struggles to throw sufficient shade in her ad, and her food metaphor is undercooked for the judges. It is strange but not very funny (Kim admits to having a weird sense of humor). Naomi’s ad is shady enough, but her pledge to provide plastic surgery for all could use a lift. Still, she threw enough shade at Kim, calling attention to her lisp and runway walk, to pass the challenge.



Chi Chi is criticized for not looking the part in her ad, coming across more manly than she has all season (and that’s been a common critique of hers). Throgy has been told to edit all season, and struggles to do so in this challenge as well, writing boatloads more material than she needs, leading to an unfocused ad with lackluster shade throwing.



On the runway, the queens are given black and white movie realness, inspired by Detox’s flawless season 5 finale look.


The best looks were both clowns: Bob’s Freaks inspired clown, and Kim’s sad French clown.



In the end, Bob and Derrick were awarded a joint win, Naomi and Kim were declared safe, and Chi Chi and Thorgy had to lip sync for their lives. RuPaul delivered on this week’s lip sync: Jennifer Holliday’s “And I’m Telling You” from Dreamgirls. Who hasn’t lip synced to this song, at least in private? Thorgy gives an energetic performance, but fails to match the emotional tone of the song. Chi Chi, on the other land, delivers spectacularly (including a moment where her shoe snacks on her necklace, sending beads cascading down onto the runway at just the point in the song). Thorgy must sashay away.


The Algorithms

Michelle Visage is always challenging the queens to improve themselves throughout the competition. In that spirit, I want to acknowledge one algorithm’s recent improvements.


Support Vector Classifier recently updated its parameters, resulting in a substantial improvement in predictions. Its Kendall’s Tau for season 7 went from 0.22 to 0.77!


Last week, the algorithms collectively predicted that Chi Chi would be going home this week. And while she did have to lip sync for her life, she successfully defending her right to stay, and Thorgy went home instead. The algorithms were predicting Thorgy to go home soon, though, so this wasn’t a huge upset in terms of their predictions. Given the results of this week’s episode, what are the algorithms predicting will be the season outcome? The algorithms have all settled on Bob taking home the crown. All five are predicting first place for Bob, placing her squarely at the top of the collective predictions. Derrick’s win this week places her in the predicted top three, along with Kim Chi. Naomi and Chi Chi are predicted to be going home before the finale, with Naomi going home next. So far, Gaussian Naive Bayes has the highest Tau for season 8 (0.84, though largely because GNB predicts so many ties, which is a drawback of using Tau), with Neural Network not too far behind (0.71). Surprisingly, the Random Forests have the lowest Taus, given that they were the best at predicting season 7.

 ActualSupport Vector MachinesGaussian Naive BayesRandom Forest ClassifierRandom Forest RegressorNeural NetworkAverage Predicted Score
Bob the Drag Queen411111.66
Robbie Turner7163142.76
Derrick Barry115162.82
Kim Chi715413.79
Chi Chi DeVayne193443.89
Thorgy Thor6715665.28
Naomi Smalls498615.37
Acid Betty81111865.82
Naysha Lopez94791097.83
Laila McQueen1191110999.50
Dax ExclamationPoint11911101099.72
Cynthia Lee Fontaine101171212910.42

Additional Reading