Why This Week's 'Drag Race' Episode Was Extra Awkward

Sherry Pie RuPaul's Drag Race

On March 6, a spokesperson for VH1 announced via Twitter that "in light of recent developments," Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul's Drag Race and uninvited to the Season 12 live finale. However, "out of respect for the hard work of the other queens," the regular competition will air as planned. This made watching Sherry win the first improv challenge in Episode 3 feel super awkward — a feeling that, if she continues to succeed, will only intensify.

At this point, Sherry is clearly a frontrunner on the show — even her fellow queens think so. In the March 13 episode's mini-challenge, the winners from the two-part season premiere — Widow Von'Du and Jaida Essence Hall — were asked to conduct a "queer peer review" and rank the queens from the other team from highest to lowest in terms of competition. Without hesitation, Widow chose Sherry as her biggest threat. And when team captains took turns choosing partners for the maxi-challenge, Sherry was the top pick.

Pulling from her campy, musical theatre roots, Sherry thrived in her team's "Worlds Worst" performance that spoofed American Idol, and just like her competitors anticipated, she won. She walked off stage with elimination immunity and a cash prize of $5,000 — the same amount of money VH1 and World of Wonder have donated to The Trevor Project, according to a title card that concluded the episode.

This comes just a week after Buzzfeed News published allegations from five aspiring actors against Sherry, whose real name is Joey Gugliemelli. The men claimed that Gugliemelli had catfished them via email over several years, posing as a casting director "who led them to submit embarrassing audition tapes of themselves saying and doing degrading things." In response, Sherry published an apology on Facebook:

"This is Joey, I want to start by saying how sorry I am that I caused such trauma and pain and how horribly embarrassed and disgusted I am with myself. I know that the pain and hurt that I have caused will never go away and I know that what I did was wrong and truly cruel. Until being on RuPaul's Drag Race, I never really understood how much my mental health and taking care of things meant. I learned on that show how important "loving yourself" is and I don't think I have ever loved myself. I have been seeking help and receiving treatment since coming back to NYC. I truly apologize to everyone I have hurt with my actions. I also want to say how sorry I am to my sisters of season 12 and honestly the whole network and production company. All I can do is change the behavior and that starts with me and doing that work."

Depending on how far Sherry makes it in the regular season, the Season 12 finale could be an interesting one.