What do Enya, a toaster, and a bathtub full of spaghetti have in common? Maybe nothing before the Season 14 premiere of Drag Race, but now they are all linked to one of the most instantly iconic performances in the show’s history. Amid the usual lip syncs, burlesque acts, and fierce dances Drag Race fans have come to expect from the talent show challenge, Willow Pill came completely out of left field with a strange, artsy routine that left everyone gobsmacked. After confusing everyone into hysterics, Willow Pill explained the meaning behind her Drag Race Season 14 talent show number during a watch party.
It’s safe to say Willow solidified her spot as an early fan favorite in Drag Race’s Season 14 premiere on Friday, Jan. 7. Although she lost the talent show challenge to Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté’s truly unbeatable rap performance, Willow’s quirky meditation on self-care in lockdown had everyone talking. The bizarre performance began with Willow, cloaked in a flowing white nightgown, pouring bubble bath into a large tub while lip syncing to Enya’s hypnotic ballad “Only Time.” As the song went on, Willow added weirder and weirder objects to the tub: a glass of wine, a plate of spaghetti, and then finally, a toaster. It all culminated in a moment of totally unexpected dark humor, as Willow leapt into the tub after the toaster.
Although the performance left the judges looking super confused, RuPaul excitedly proclaimed that she totally got the number and praised Willow for it. A number of fans also shared their analysis of the routine, pointing out that it satirizes the absurd self-care habits people picked up during lockdown that ended up becoming a bit maddening.
Willow herself shared some backstory about the performance during a watch party at Roscoe’s in Chicago, revealing it was a tribute to her high school friends she used to make homemade movies with. “I made a video with some friends from high school like seven years ago of me throwing sh*t in the bathtub to that song, so I was like, ‘I have to bring that to the stage,’” Willow said. “Because that's where my comedy started, was making stupid videos with my high school friends.” Willow’s explanation of the routine begins at the 23-minute mark of the watch party YouTube video.
She went on to reveal she didn’t actually think the producers would allow the toaster finale, and she was worried the big risk would send her home on the first day. “I pitched the toaster idea to them thinking there was no way they would allow it — I was like, ‘And I can just throw a toaster in at the end,’ and the lady was like "Uh huh, and then?" And then I was like, ‘Is the toaster going to be OK?’ and she was like, ‘We'll get back to you.’ Eventually they were like, ‘Yeah, we're going to do the toaster,’” Willow said. “I laid awake every night thinking of this routine. I was like, ‘I'm going to make a f*cking fool of myself on national television.’ ... When we watched all those talent shows, I was like ‘Oh, I'm going home. For sure.’”
Thankfully, Willow’s risk paid off, and now she’s a major part of Drag Race history.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.