Valentina repped Mexico in the season premiere.
A month and a half ago, RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine contestant and L.A. native Valentina (aka James Andrew Leyva) first spoke with us about being on the show and what she hoped to achieve after it aired. Now, seven queens later, her time on the show has come to an end in a blaze of drama and controversy. After never being in the bottom, the pilot that Valentina and her partner, Nina Bo’nina Brown, created for this week’s challenge fell a bit flat and both were up for elimination. Valentina, whose runway look featured a red mask across her mouth, began the lip sync with the mask still on.
After some unhappy mutterings from the judges, RuPaul stopped the song (“Greedy” by Ariana Grande) and asked Valentina to remove her mask so they could actually see her lips during the lip sync. She replied, “I’d like to keep it on, please” but eventually acquiesced after Mama Ru insisted. It then became clear that Valentina had asked not to remove the mask because she didn’t know the words to the song. “In this moment, my mind is just at a blank. I don’t remember the song, I just want to disappear,” she said on the show. As she sashayed away crying, it was no doubt that her legions of supporters felt her pain. We spoke to Valentina again prior to the episode’s airing to discuss her unconventional elimination, her time on the show and how she’s become such a fan favorite since the last time we spoke to her.
LA Weekly: Let’s talk about that lip sync — it was heartbreaking! Was it nerves that made you forget the words to the song or did you…
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