Home Films, Theatre & TV RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 Episode 5: Girl Groups Take Us on a Rollercoaster of Highs and Lows

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 Episode 5: Girl Groups Take Us on a Rollercoaster of Highs and Lows

by Jonathan Currinn
15 minutes read Send a Virtual Coffee ☕

Another episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 has gone by and another drag queen has been eliminated, but can our hearts really take another favourite being sent home? While we admit that Amanda Tori Meating’s drag wasn’t polished and she didn’t exactly nail the main challenge, her personality effortlessly made her a favourite in our books. She will be missed, but she’s definitely going to be another one who will be a fierce All Stars competitor. Her growth in just those five episodes reminds us of Shangela’s growth.

Amanda Tori Meating posing for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 promo for Meet The Queens in a green and silver outfit.

The Werk Room atmosphere after Mirage’s emotional departure in episode four set the tone for this week’s RuPaul’s Drag Race episode, titled “Girl Groups”. The kinship of the queens was self-evident, with Amanda aptly describing it as a “funeral precession”. Tears were poured both on the stage, off the stage, and backstage. The lesson learned was clear—staying at the top of their game was crucial. Plasma basked in her previous win, but Q’s frustration at not clinching victory for the third time running, after being in the top every single episode, set the stage for Plane Jane to come in with her callous remarks.

RuPaul’s mini-challenge brought some comic relief as the queens embarked on a memoir cover shoot. Sapphira Cristál’s “Throat Goat” emerged victorious, earning her the role of group leader alongside Plasma and Geneva Karr for the maxi challenge. Each of the three queens had to form a girl group, selecting the rest of the queens, one by one, which left Megami as the queen to be picked last. The three girl groups were tasked with writing verses and choreographing performances to RuPaul’s hits from the “Black Butta” album.

Geneva Karr posing for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 promo for Meet The Queens in a green and black outfit.

Team Geneva faced initial scepticism due to their perceived quiet demeanour. Meanwhile, Team Plasma grappled with conflicting ideas, especially for Xunami Muse, who struggled to find her footing. Nymphia Wind had difficulties coming up with lyrics for her verse while Megami was determined to show that she didn’t deserve to be picked last.

When the next day arrived and the queens were getting ready, conflict rose to the surface once again. Q decided that she needed to have a word with Plane to clear the air, explaining that she felt that Plane disregarded her feelings the other day when Q was upset at being in the top but not winning and how it came across that she didn’t have respect for her, but it didn’t quite go according to plan.

Plane decided to hit out at Amanda, once again, stating that she has more respect for Q than she does for Amanda. This brought Amanda into the conversation, who flipped on Plane for dragging her name in the mud again. Plane tried to resolve the issue with Q but didn’t really have a response to either Q or Amanda, and Q walked away unsure if she could trust Plane.

Megami posing for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 promo for Meet The Queens in a rustic-orange and black outfit.

This led to Sapphira having a short mirror chat with Plane asking if her mouth tends to get her in trouble back home and whether local drag queens have also had issues with what she has said, in the past. Plane explained that she doesn’t really take other peoples’ feelings into account before stating that by being artists they are opening themselves to criticism.

Sapphira is clearly the mother figure of the season, while Plane’s plan of playing the game and being the TV villain is one we’re interested in watching play out—who doesn’t love drama? Although, with Amanda gone who will be Plane’s next target? Does this really work out when it’s ultimately up to RuPaul to decide who wins the season?

On the Main Stage, Team Sapphira’s “Star Baby” delivered a memorable performance, despite Q’s dance struggles. Team Plasma’s “Courage to Love” showcased strong leadership from Plasma and Amanda, although the latter’s wig got in her way and her padding wasn’t quite right. However, Team Geneva, aka Thicc & Stick, stole the spotlight with a cohesive presentation and standout verses from Megami and Nymphia.

Mhi'ya Iman Le'Paige posing for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 promo for Meet The Queens in a green and black outfit.

The runway theme, “Faster Pussycat! Wig! Wig!” brought beautiful and questionable looks. Morphine Love Dion looked absolutely stunning in a scratched drag outfit with a red crystallised wig and Xunami brought a flirtatious, hot-under-the-collar matador outfit, while Amanda brought a robin’s nest egg outfit that made zero sense but was totally camp—she clearly has brilliant ideas but they need definition and a better execution. Q brought a gorgeous knight outfit, Plane went bimbo again in a latex outfit, and Nymphia looked sensational in her Asian beauty look that was perfection personified, and she even went the extra mile with the “pussycat wig” theme.

The guest judges this week were the “I Love It” hitmakers, Icona Pop, who are a Swedish synth-pop duo consisting of Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo; they joined mainstays RuPaul and Michelle Visage on the judging panel alongside alternating judge Ts Madison, The judges declared Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige, Geneva, Nymphia, and Megami joint winners, sparing them from critiques. The remaining queens received mixed feedback. Q’s clunky dancing and Amanda’s runway miss were highlighted.

Nymphia Wind posing for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 promo for Meet The Queens in a dark teal outfit.

In a twist, Ru asked the queens to voice their elimination preferences. Divisions emerged, with Sapphira, Morphine, and Plane suggesting Amanda, while Dawn, Plasma, Amanda, and Xunami leaned towards Q. Q, in turn, considered both Amanda and Xunami as potential exits.

In the end, the bottom two, Q and Amanda, engaged in a fierce lip sync to Icona Pop’s “Emergency”. Amanda and Q absolutely knocked it out of the park with tonnes of energy and it really felt like it came down to the wire. RuPaul decided that Q was the winner, leaving Amanda to “sashay away”.

The next episode will see the queens create dolls based on their drag personas in the upcoming main challenge. With Law Roach joining the judging panel, fashion is certainly going to be key. With Amanda gone, there’s going to be a bit less fun shade being thrown about, and tensions between Plane and Q may bubble up even more.

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.

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.

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