Ten queens stood before RuPaul on the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, all told that this was their last chance to impress him and save themselves from elimination … again, and again, and again.
On last week’s episode (aired Friday, February 10), the remaining contestants were all put to the ultimate test in the season 15 Lalaparuza; a lip-sync tournament, for the uninitiated. Performing in a sickening series of high-octane lip syncs over the course of the evening, seven queens managed to secure their spots in the competition, while three — Anetra, Jax and Spice — were left with one final Lip Sync For Your Life.
Given the opportunity to save one of the other two queens, Anetra chose to spare Spice (in one of the funniest confessionals of the season), leaving her and Jax to duke it out to CeCe Peniston’s “Finally.” Finding every last drop of energy they had left after a grueling set of performances, both queens put on a show. Ultimately, Anetra earned the judges’ approval, sending Jax packing.
Billboard caught up with Jax following her elimination to talk about her strategy in the Lalaparuza, how she’s evolved since the show, and her reaction to Anetra’s surprising choice at the episode’s end.
How are you feeling after your time on the show, Jax?
Girl, it has been a journey — I’m simply a very different person than I was when we filmed. My Drag Race journey was critiques on how to heighten myself; the judges told me that I was already a superstar performer, and that I just needed a certain polish in certain areas, and to learn more about my proportions. The second I got home from the show, the first thing I did was I went into my closet, and threw everything out. Every single wig, all of my makeup, we just had to start from scratch here. That Jax is dead, this is the new one.
I appreciated at the outset of this episode that you straight up said “I’m pissed that I was in the bottom.” Tea time — do you feel you deserved to be in the bottom both weeks prior to this?
I mean … it maybe shouldn’t have been me. That seems to be the consensus online, so who am I to disagree? We’ve been talking about “drag delusion” a lot on this season, and I like to think that’s not the case here. People are saying I didn’t deserve to be in the bottom based on the challenges — I will say, if I was in the bottom for my runways, I was like, “No, I didn’t like my outfit either.” But also, I made all of my outfits myself for the show. Would I wear them now? Depends.
It’s worth pointing out that this is one of the most competitive seasons of the show I’ve seen in a minute. Like, there aren’t very many “obvious early-outs” this season.
Completely! That’s the thing, going through this, we all kept saying, “There are no flops.” The judges have to nitpick and hone in on things because everyone was really doing well this season.
We should take a second and talk about the “Sweetest Pie” lip sync before getting into this week, because you basically broke Drag Race Twitter with this performance. What has it been like to see that response from fans?
I just had to do what I know how to do, which is turn the party! It’s been great, it really helps solidify things for me. Like, you can not like me for whatever reason, but at the end of the day, you’re not gonna deny that I turned that out. Sorry ’bout it!
Let’s walk through this episode. What was your immediate thought when Ru walked in the work room and said you would be doing the Lalaparuza this week?
I was like, “Yay! Sickening! Finally something I’m good at!” But with Drag Race, there’s always gotta be a twist — it was The Hunger Games, girl. It was Effie picking the names out of a bowl to see who’s gonna fight to the death.
That brings up the tactical aspect of the Lalaparuza here — when Mistress picked you as her opponent, you chose Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It To My Heart” as the song. What was your strategy there?
Based off of what was still available in the list of songs we got to choose from, that was the one that I had performed before. I knew I could turn it out, I always have a good time doing this song, so I said, “Let’s just have some fun.” I knew Mistress and I would perform it very different ways, too, so it seemed like a good opportunity to show off our different styles. Obviously when you’re lip syncing, you can’t really see what’s happening with the other girl, but it was definitely one of those where as we were waiting for the announcement, we were both like, “How is this going to go?”
If you had been the one who got to choose the first queen to lip sync against of this group, who do you think you would have picked?
Ooh … that’s a good one. Strategically, you want to pick the weaker performer, but I would also want to give myself a little bit of a challenge, to be real. If it came down to it — and I’m not calling her a weak performer, I just think we would have a fun time performing together — I think me and Marcia would have given a great lip sync. I know that we both really wanted to do “Boys Don’t Cry” by Anitta; that was the song I know we were both thinking would be the most fun to perform.
We get to the final twist of the episode when it’s down to you, Anetra and Spice, where Anetra decides to spare Spice and lip sync against you. On a scale of one to Alyssa Edwards, how gagged were you when she said Spice’s name?
In the moment, on first reaction, I was fully like, “God damn it, I thought we were friends.” I really thought she was going to save me because we had done all of these challenges together. But then I realized that she just wanted to battle — like, if you’re gonna be doing a lip sync smackdown, you want to prove that you’re good at what you do. I took it as a compliment at the end of the day. We had both done two lip syncs prior to that, so we were tired, we didn’t know how it was going to go.
You did great — and I do hope you’re walking away from this season knowing that, despite the loss here, you’re still maybe one of the fiercest lip sync artists to appear on Drag Race.
Thank you! There’s no secret that the fan base can be a little bit crazy. They love to say lots of things about us girls, but the one thing they can never take away from me is, if you come to see me at my show, you’re going to be entertained. No one ever walks away disappointed from my shows. So yeah, being able to solidify that within the Drag Race realm is such a feat that I am so thankful for.