Home Films & TV RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16, Episode 3 Epic Recap: The Mother of All Balls Unveiled

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16, Episode 3 Epic Recap: The Mother of All Balls Unveiled

by Jonathan Currinn
40 minutes read Send a Virtual Coffee ☕

The third instalment of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16, aptly titled “Mother of All Balls”, brought the queens together for a dazzling display of creativity and competition. In this recap, we delve deep into the overstuffed runway, unexpected connections among the queens, and the twists that kept viewers on the edge of their seats.

We’re sad to see that it was Hershii LiqCour-Jeté who was eliminated in this episode, especially after her honest story of how she has two kids at home. She was an incredible queen and as many of the queens stated in Untucked, she beat a whole host of drag queens to get on the show, and there are many queens, who left first, who have gone on to do amazing things. We’re excited to watch her career soar, and we’re ecstatic to see that she’s going out on tour with her drag sister Kornbread—now that’s a show not to be missed!

On top of that, this episode also brought one of the best clips we’ve ever watched. Just before the main titles started up, during a confessional segment, Dawn sang the theme song. Not only did this showcase her adorable personality but it also showcased her comedy. This extremely cute clip is something we’ve watched again and again, and certainly one we’re going to remember every single time the main titles kickstart.

Dawn from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 singing the theme song.
The official cast promo image for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 starring all 14 queens.

Table of Contents

The Mother of All Meets: Full Cast Gathering Unveils New Dynamics

The much-anticipated gathering of the entire 14-queen cast set the stage for intriguing dynamics, unexpected connections, and a whirlwind of emotions. The episode starts with last week’s queens walking into the werk room after their episode, and as they settle on the couch, the RuMail sound starts and the queens aren’t quite ready for any more twists—or so they thought.

Through the werk room doors come the first-week queens, dressed to the nines and looking extremely fierce. Each queen got their moment to shine as they came through the werk room archway, with the likes of Dawn, Q, and Sapphira Cristál making a brilliant entrance, but it’s undeniable the look that Morphine Love Dion served! There’s a slight pause as the queens stand off from each other before they rush in glee to hug and greet one another.

From hometown reunions to surprising bonds, the werk room became a kaleidoscope of personalities, offering viewers a deeper insight into the diverse world of Season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Sibling Dynamics in the Spotlight: Miami Queens Morphine and Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige Navigate Tensions

Miami queens Morphine and Mhi’ya took centre stage as their relationship faced the spotlight. Tensions emerged, with subtle critiques and reservations hinting at potential sibling rivalry. It expanded even more so later when RuPaul quizzes the queens on their opinions of each other in the Miami drag queen circuit. The unfolding narrative promises an exploration of their dynamics, adding an extra layer of complexity to the competition.

Potions, Ratings, and Unpredictable Twists: RuPaul’s Arsenal Comes Into Play

RuPaul continued to introduce his series of twists, injecting an element of unpredictability into the competition. Immunity potions, inspired by “Death Becomes Her”, raised the stakes. The gorgeous purple potions, which look like expensive fragrance bottles, are later explained by RuPaul who mentions another twist—that the queens who won immunity, Sapphira and Plane Jane, can use their immunity potions to save themselves or one of their fellow competitors.

On top of that, the immunity potions can only be used once and are only available for a limited amount of time so they need to be used wisely—we presume this stops a queen from using it during the penultimate episode, stopping them from guaranteeing themselves a place in the final.

She doesn’t stop there, RuPaul also reveals that this week will be the final rate-a-queen challenge where one more queen will gain the immunity potion, but they also will end up choosing the bottom three queens, and one queen will be going home this week. This continues to test the queens’ strategic thinking although, with 13 queens to rate each, Plane is probably going to have to play fairly this time. Talking about Plane, the episode also shows Nymphia Wind quizzing Plane about her rate-a-queen selections, it’s clear she has her suspicions that Plane selected her in last place, something we know is exactly what happened.

RuVealing The Grand Spectacle: “The Mother of All Balls” Challenge Unleashed

RuPaul went on to unveil the main challenge of the week with unparalleled flair—the “Mother of All Balls”. The challenge, true to its Drag Race legacy, consisted of three distinct categories, each demanding the queens’ creativity and sewing skills. The first two categories were looks the queens brought from home, but the last category was the sewing challenge.

The first category, “Mother Goose”, prompted the queens to draw inspiration from classic children’s nursery rhymes, setting the tone for fantastical transformations. Transitioning to the second category, “Significant Mother”, the queens were tasked with selecting an iconic mother figure who inspired their drag journey, a nod to ballroom culture’s “mother” terminology. Finally, the “Call Me Mother/Father Eleganza” category injected a sewing challenge into the mix. Here, queens were provided with “traditional” menswear to fashion into a runway-ready eleganza look, blurring the lines of gender and showcasing their ability to transform conventional attire into drag excellence.

Once RuPaul exited, the queens rushed towards the menswear, grabbing everything they wanted and needed to make their looks. The challenge ignited a flurry of creative energy, setting the stage for a runway spectacle that would leave a lasting impression on the Drag Race legacy with one particular look set to go down in hestory!

Iconic Ball Challenge: Mother of All Balls Showcases 42 Looks

The Mother of All Balls episode lived up to its name, presenting an extravagant runway with a total of 42 looks from the 14 queens. However, the sheer volume of ensembles, combined with the constraints of editing, left viewers yearning for more. The rapid pace of the runway segment, trimmed to accommodate all the looks, resulted in a missed opportunity to savour each queen’s creation fully. Additionally, the shortage of space for panel puns added to the challenge of fully appreciating the queens’ artistic expressions. Despite these limitations, the queens brought their A-game, offering a diverse array of outfits that reflected their creativity, ingenuity, and distinctive styles.

Dawn: A Vegan Cow, Audrey Hepburn, and Rugged Femininity

Dawn’s transformation into a fashionable cow, paying homage to her vegan lifestyle, kicked off the runway with a playful touch. The Audrey Hepburn-inspired look showcased elegance, though some viewers hoped for a more standout moment. The final ensemble, recontextualising rugged workwear into ultra-feminine attire, with thigh-high construction boots with braces, demonstrated Dawn’s versatility.

Hershii: A Bee, Mother Earth, and a Conceptual Struggle

Hershii made a strong entrance with a gorgeous bumblebee gown, but her journey took a downturn with a conceptually clever yet poorly executed take on Mother Earth. Unfortunately, the final look, while attempting a literal interpretation of motherhood, missed the mark, failing to sell a compelling story. The challenges of the ball proved to be particularly arduous for Hershii and we expect she was missing her kids too which was bound to impact her time on Drag Race.

Mirage: Body Queen’s Character-Based Looks Shine

Mirage, the body queen, confidently showcased character-based looks that highlighted her style. From the cute, character-driven first look to the final ensemble that included a black eye, Mirage’s outfits conveyed a consistent sense of flair and creativity.

Megami: The “Eeyore of Drag” and Impressively Constructed Attire

Known as the “Eeyore of Drag” in Brooklyn—according to Dawn, Megami presented looks that reflected her unique perspective. Megami’s final ensemble stood out for its impressive construction. While the Gaga-inspired look faced some challenges, her overall presentation showcased a distinct drag style, one that is obviously unconventional and she’s set to bring diversity to the runway.

Amanda Tori Meating: From Cat Pelt Extravaganza to Judy Garland Realness

Amanda Tori Meating’s creativity shone through in her outfits. The cat pelt extravaganza, coupled with a tent silhouette, brought a theatrical flair. Her transformation into a modern Michelle Visage was totally iconic and demonstrated a commendable blend of innovation and homage. Then there’s the mother/father look which only gets better the more you look at it, she worked it on the runway and her personality is undeniably addicting. This is one queen we’d love to see live.

Morphine: Fun Narrator with Cute Looks

Morphine, initially portrayed as a strong narrator, surprised viewers with cute looks that revealed a more lighthearted side. Her look inspired by “A Man and a Maid” was flawless. Her confessional about the final look had comedic undertones, showcasing a humorous side to this queen that we cannot wait to see more of.

Mhi’ya: Energetic Performer Faces Rate-A-Queen Results

Mhi’ya, one of the season’s most energetic performers, faced mixed feedback with her rate-a-queen results. Despite a strong first look which brought some Vegas showgirl to the table dressed in yellow, it missed the mark due to the yellow chest feathers covering her face; her second appearance as Lil Kim was giving more Missy Elliott than Lil Kim, although it did match the original look. The final look, showcasing a punk aesthetic, helped salvage her position in the competition.

Q: Gorgeous Looks and Craftsmanship

Q continued to impress with absolutely stunning looks that demonstrated craftsmanship and an eye for detail. Her first look, inspired by “The Man in the Moon” was spectacular! The Judy Garland-inspired Poppy dress stood out for its simplicity and attention to detail. Then to top it all off, her incredibly constructed mother/father look was high-fashion eleganza. Q’s consistent high-quality performances in the challenges showcased her as a formidable competitor and one to watch.

Nymphia: Versatility and High-Fashion Moments

Nymphia emerged as a frontrunner, displaying versatility and high-fashion moments. Her Angelina Jolie-inspired wedding dress, though not a replica, captivated attention, especially as her drag daughters in Thailand all created drawings on the train adding a heartfelt personal touch. The androgynous Little Boy Blue look was outstanding, we just wish we had more time to appreciate it on the runway.

Then the final ensemble completely blew us away, in more ways than one, showcasing Nymphia’s unique style and design prowess, and the fact that she knew exactly how much time she needed so started pestering the other queens in the werk room, all the while she was constructing these ties to hang exactly right, made this an unforgettable and impressive look that will certainly go down in herstory!

Sapphira: Pumpkin Stunner, Eve Realness, and Elegant Menswear

Sapphira continued to be a strong contender, delivering a pumpkin look that was mind-blowingly breathtaking. Her Eve-inspired ensemble and the final elegant menswear look displayed her range and consistent excellence, with the former bringing something new and different from her with a highly thought-out look from the bone-snake to her gorgeous dress, to her snake-skin shoes; while the latter brought construction couture and showed her sewing skills.

Plane: Witty Looks That Needed More Polish

While Plane’s looks were overall witty and creative, it’s missing some polish compared to some of her competitors. Her Mistress Pussy was gorgeous, but her Octomom went too far on the comedic spectrum that it came off as too much of a joke rather than a ball look. Then for her third look, it reminded us of Melinda Verga’s “Vivienne Westwood-inspired” look, only Plane has deconstructed a single suit, and relied on her body to sell the outfit.

Matching tights to her skin tone became an impossible task for her and the noticeable detail was not lost on the Drag Race fans. What’s more, is that she comes for Amanda, during Untucked, when it seems that her look is less impressive than Amanda’s.

She’s clearly there to play the game of Drag Race, but it just comes off as mean rather than shady. There’s no award for being the meanest queen, there’s just no need for it.

Xunami: Love for the Egg Look but Seeking Distinction

Xunami’s egg-inspired look was out of the box (or should we say out of the egg?), effortlessly making a statement with the gorgeous drag Humpty Dumpty into a stunning fried-egg cocktail dress. It brought the story of Humpty Dumpty to the drag race stage and this is another look that is going to live rent-free in our memories and will certainly go down in Drag Race herstory. She then took it to another level by recreating her drag mother’s entrance look which we’re sure would make Kandy Muse beyond proud—she even brought out Kandy’s iconic boombox to complete the look. Unfortunately, her mother/father look had a geeky style, leaving a lot to be desired.

Plasma: Mixed Reception With Tweedle-Dee and Anne Boleyn Looks

Plasma faced a mixed reception with the Tweedle-Dee look both by Drag Race fans and by her fellow drag queens, criticised for readability, especially by Dawn in Untucked but in a shady way (not a mean way) adding to the camaraderie of the cast. Then there was the Anne Boleyn outfit deemed somewhat unappealing and needed to be dragged up a bit more. The final ensemble struggled to make an impact, indicating the need for a standout moment in the upcoming challenges—she certainly has the confidence to be a top contender.

Geneva Karr: Miss Muffet Misstep, Salma Hayek Quizzical, and Ill-Fitting Skirt

Geneva faced challenges with a Miss Muffet look that came across as too heavy, a quizzical Salma Hayek recreation, and an ill-fitting skirt in the final category. Despite these missteps, Geneva’s potential to rebound and emerge as a comeback kid in the competition certainly remains, especially as she was in the Top 2 the previous week—this just wasn’t her challenge.

Judges’ Panel: Isaac Mizrahi Joins the Panel for Critiques and Insights

This week’s guest judge is fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi, who joined the mainstay judges RuPaul and Michelle Visage, as well as alternating judge, Carson Kressley, on the judges’ panel. Their critiques and insights added an extra layer of scrutiny and insight to the queens’ looks on the runway.

Nymphia’s Triumph: Versatility and Style Secure Victory in Mother of All Balls

Nymphia, rightfully, emerged victorious in the Mother of All Balls challenge, showcasing versatility, awesome design judgement, and a distinctive sense of style. All three of her looks were polished, flawless, and absolutely stunning, with her sewing challenge mother/father look set to become an outfit we’ll all be talking about for years. Her triumph solidified her frontrunner status, leaving a lasting impact on the competition.

Lip-Sync Showdown Drama: Geneva and Hershii Battle to “Maybe You’re the Problem”

The lip-sync showdown between Geneva and Hershii added a dramatic finale to the episode. Set to “Maybe You’re the Problem” by Ava Max, the queens delivered a compelling performance as they battled it out by putting on a show.

Both queens gave it their all, doing their best to win favour with RuPaul and carry on with the competition, however, Hershii did get in the way of Geneva at times, so much so by blocking her from the judges, even with the ending pose where she’s right in front of Geneva. We all know that RuPaul is never too happy when queens do that, and we’re not surprised that Hershii is told to sashay away, becoming the Porkchop of the season by being the first queen eliminated from Season 16.

State of the Race: Frontrunners, Underdogs, and the Unpredictable Journey Ahead

As the first elimination unfolded, frontrunners Q and Sapphira solidified their positions with consistent top placements, with Nyphia clearly worthy of the front-runner status too. Plasma and Plane are clearly indispensable characters for entertaining reality television, although the latter is coming off as mean rather than shady. Dawn and Mirage are set to continue to spark up the competition. Underdogs Mhi’ya and Geneva faced pressure to prove themselves, with the latter potentially becoming the season’s comeback kid. Amanda’s season glow-up is going to be gorgeous to watch episode by episode to the extent that we expect a similar glow-up to Melinda Verga’s from Canada’s Drag Race.

Then there’s Xunami, Megami, and Morphine who are incredible queens in their own rights but have yet to make a staple mark on the competition, and although they each have had highlights and memorable moments, we need to see them blow the queens out of the water during a main challenge to have any chance to become a frontrunner.

Drag Race Traditions Continue: The Evolution of the Ball Challenge

The Mother of All Balls episode showcased the evolution of the Ball challenge, a Drag Race tradition. With each season bringing new themes and creative twists, the challenge remains a sacred ground for queens to express their fashion prowess and push the boundaries of drag. It also makes it clear that a design challenge can be unpredictable and that whether you’re a sewing queen or a hot glue gun queen, you need style, finesse, and the ability to create a look from anything and everything.

Cropped version of the official promo image of RuPaul for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 which sees her in a black dress and a huge blonde wig.

What Lies Ahead: Anticipating the Next Chapters in Season 16

As the Mother of All Balls episode concluded, fans are left eagerly anticipating the next episodes in Season 16. The unpredictable nature of Drag Race promises twists and turns, making each episode a thrilling journey of glitter, glamour, and fierce competition. With the rivalry between Plane and Amanda, with the former being mean and the latter not being polished enough but with a massive heart, it’s going to be interesting as tensions continue to flare up.

We absolutely loved that the queens came to Amanda’s defence and when other queens, like Plasma, threw shade at Plane in Untucked, she wasn’t able to retort back and didn’t even know what to say. If you’re planning to be known as the shady queen of the season, at least be quick with your comebacks.

As RuPaul lets the music play, we see a glimpse into the next episode. We saw mother Sarah Michelle Geller on the judging panel which has got us beyond excited that the legendary Buffy actress will be critiquing the queens—we hope she visits them in Untucked. We also saw that the queens are put to the test in a comedy sketch challenge where they will be presenting “RPDR Live!” If anything, we’re getting flashbacks to the awesome “Saturday Night Live” episode that RuPaul, himself, hosted.

As Season 16 unfolds, viewers can anticipate a rollercoaster of emotions, with range, shade, and unforeseen twists shaping the narrative. Armed with talent and determination, the queens are set to deliver a fierce competition, both on and off the stage. Buckle up for another thrilling lap of Drag Race as surprises and challenges await in the episodes to come.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 airs every Friday at 8 p.m. on MTV in the US and Latin America, while the rest of the world are able to watch on WOW Presents Plus.

Airing straight after the main show is RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked – make sure you watch this show as well, otherwise, you’re only getting half the story.

You can easily and quickly follow all your favourite queens from this new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race across all social media by checking out our article here.

The official promo image of RuPaul for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 which sees her in a black dress and a huge blonde wig.

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