By Mike Fleming
Project Q Atlanta

We’re glad we saved room for dessert before this week’s “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” because the queens serve a feast of cake challenges, and we devour seeing who’s sickly sweet and who came out half-baked.

You might think a whole hour of cake would be the episode of choice for the remaining big girls Delta and Stacy, but the mini challenge sets them straight: a cheescake photo shoot in which the girls must pose nude.

Yeah. Let’s just say the shots are pseudo-artful at best and just gross at worst. Thankfully, Stacy and Delta both use every yard of fabric they are given and cover up almost completely. Well-placed blurs on everybody else’s man-parts help, too. No one wants to see that.

Carmen’s photo takes the win, endowing her with the privilege to pass out a variety of cakes to the rest of the queens for the main challenge: create a couture look inspired by the cakes they receive (top photo). Carmen—a member of the self-annointed “Heathers” clique with Raja, Delta an Manila—plays favorites, but she’s too stupid to really make a difference.

As the queens get started, Ru throws in a twist, asking each contestant to decorate a cake that represents them. Those poor cakes. They all come out looking like 5th grade craft projects, and the whole thing really just serves to distract them from the real task at hand and distract us from their workroom sniping.

On the cake walk, er… runway, the queens really show who can sew and who knows what couture means in their cake interpretations. Carmen’s princess cake, Stacy’s red velvet, and Shangela’s pineapple upside-down look like they all think couture means shoulder baubles (middle photo).

Delta’s “Teen Angel” cake is three layers too thick, Yara’s strawberry shortcake falls flat, and Alexis’ cheescake is a near-miss from creamy bliss. Manila does better, but her carrot belt and rabbit ears don’t really say carrot cake, and her makeup, as the judges note, does look like she had an accident with flour while baking.

The only one who has a real inkling about couture is Raja, who serves chocolate lava as a punk-rock Marie Antoinette would wear it. Even with her undergarment accidentally peeking out here and there, she’s the clear choice on this episode to have her cake and eat it too.

On the main stage, Eliza “Dollhouse” Dushku and the newly svelte Sara Rue join Ru (bottom photo), Michelle Visage and—damn it!—Billy B. again at the judges’ table. We’d love to know why Santino keeps popping in and out and how Billy B. got the gig as his substitute, but the show never addresses it.

When the contestants are each asked who should go home, Raja sums up the consensus best: “Shangela and Stacy, get the f–k out.” Stop reading if you don’t want to know what happens.

In the judging, Ru and the gang give too much credit to Delta and rip too hard on Alexis. On the deserving side, they also diss Shangela and Yara, reserving their harshest critique not only for Shangela’s look this week but for thinking she’s worthy of the competition at all.

Then as if none of that matters, Yara and Shangela are sent to safety. Raja gets the win as cake boss, and the shoulder bauble trio makes up the bottom tier. Carmen’s Jerseylicious princess isn’t the worst, so she says “Thinkyoo” and steps back to make room for Stacy and Alexis to go head-to-head in Lip Sync For Your Life.

In a missed opportunity, the song isn’t Donna Summer’s “McArthur Park,” but someone’s cake does look left out in the rain. Alexis brings high, if frenetic, energy, and based on the edit we’re shown, Stacy gets her just desserts with a ticket to sashay away from the competition.

Seven queens remain, and we’re hoping the halfway point means that the competition and the fierceness ramp up from here.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.