The third All Stars is finally here and the premiere was full of twists and turns and shocks and surprises, as Alaska and Chad Michaels promised it would at the beginning of the episode.
OBVS: There are spoilers ahead…
Their manic laughter soon dissolves, however, as they sigh and reveal The Drag Race Hall of Fame to not be what they – or anyone else – were expecting. They walk off in their creepy red robes and white hats, only to pop up again at the end of the episode… but more on that later.
The queens’ entrance looks were as eclectic as ever, this group of fan favourite girls really are a mixed bunch.
Trixie Mattel was the first to roll on in, the crown-less drag superstar of season seven. She claims to be here to make amends, feeling like an all star after her run on the show but never during. Being such a well-liked talented queen, many are theorising that Trixie will be the crowned winner of this season. She has strong competition, that’s for sure, and from what we’ve seen so far Trixie needs to step up her game to snatch the crown – which I low-key want her to do. I think she’s proved she’s the one to beat off the show but now’s her time to separate from the herd and make herself known to those who maybe don’t follow her work off Drag Race.
Zaddy’s home! Milk’s runway look is a denim Pinocchio inspired look, that’s truly Milk. She’s mainly been doing modelling after her run on the show, and rumours claim she doesn’t get very far on All Stars which is a shame – her out of the carton thinking makes for such interesting, artistic drag. Only time will tell, though. Her commentary is certainly interesting, I don’t remember Milk being this outspoken on the last season.
The trashbag queen with a heart of gold, Chi Chi DeVayne, brings with her the swampiness that we loved from season eight. She claims that she has her mind and her drag together, the full force of the dancing queen will be upon us this season. Truth be told, she isn’t exactly off to a great start.
Next to walk in is Thorgy Thor, who Chi Chi says is always talking about how she didn’t win because of Bob the Drag Queen, the season eight winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Even her reads during the mini challenge revolve around Bob, and she claims to have found ways to focus this season so I guess we’ll see how well she does. To quote Chi Chi, “There ain’t no Bob here, let’s see what you got.”
A season two queen, Morgan McMichaels exclaims, “I look pretty good, for a dead bitch.” The other girls react pretty well to her, calling her fierce competition and a workhouse, someone to beat. She’s definitely as sharp-tongued as ever, immediately formulating her own plan when the rules are set out by Ru.
Aja wheels in next, on a scooter, having some unfinished business. Her approach this time around, fresh off season 9, is just to be more lax about everything. Having felt like the ugly duckling of her season, she’s back with some new additions to her face a la some plastic surgery, with a confidence that she definitely channels in the challenges.
BenDeLaCreme stumbles in next and, I’ve got to be honest I never saw what everyone loved about her, but she’s clearly still as favourable as ever wanting to, yes, win the crown but do so with kindness and integrity. “You don’t have to be a bitch”, she says, which I can definitely stan but immediately afterwards she makes a comment about Valentina that doesn’t sound too congenial and Milk – in her one-on-one interviews – calls her out for being fake.
Kennedy Davenport glitters as she walks in next, wearing an outfit we would have never seen her brave on her season, boasting how much she’s grown. She wants to dance her way to the top and immediately sticks to Chi Chi, who claims they’ve developed a very close mother/daughter relationship. Trixie even calls them the same person. How much she’s grown, however, is up for debate as she launches into her old attacking habits when Shangela gives her two cents about Aja returning and Kennedy shuts herself down before being called “the mean one” of the season again. At least she knows when to quit, now.
Speaking of Shangela, haleloo, she’s back and the third time’s the charm. Shangie’s definitely racked up a lot more experience since her two-time stint on the show, working in television, film and even headlining her own Vegas strip show! Not having seen her in season 3, I was definitely excited for her to shine on again in All Stars and boy did she bring it.
Lot’s of people speculated about this season’s 10th queen and the controversial pick turned out to be none other than the season one winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race – Bebe Zahara Benet. Never having seen the first season, I didn’t know anything about Bebe. The queens were all pretty intimidated by her, since she’s the only one of them to actually already have a crown, but she hasn’t been on since 2009. If she wins she’ll be the first queen in herstory to have two crowns under her belt but even if she doesn’t, despite some people thinking she has no place on All Stars, I think this is a great way to re-introduce her to the younger viewers who (like me) don’t know much about her. From what I’ve seen, though, I already love her – she’s definitely one to keep your eye on.
Ru definitely seems to be banking on the success of the second season of All Stars
RuPaul meets the queens after introducing Bebe, setting out the rules of the game which mostly follow AS2. Each week, the top 2 queens will lip sync for their legacy and the winner will receive a $10, 000 tip + the power to eliminate one of her fellow queens. Morgan McMichaels is instantly very vocal about her plan to eliminate competition – finally a queen who is honest about playing the game. All Stars 2 was about being friends with the winner (Roxxxy Andrews making it as far as she did is proof of that) which Shangela echoes later, when they’re talking about how to decide who to eliminate – their consensus broke down, which is why I was confused as to why everyone came for Morgan when she said what she said. She’s playing the game and everybody else better do the same rather than kumbaya like last season and have another Roxxxy slip into the top four.
While there were some good zingers in the mini-challenge, I can’t help but compare it to All Stars 2 where the one-liners were stronger and fresher and funnier. Everyone came for BenDeLa and her absence from the drag scene since her season, but she proved once again how funny she is and won the challenge.
Charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent – bigger and better than ever
The real tea is that the variety talent show didn’t have much variety.
Shangela started it off performing an original song, complete with a quick-step dance routine, outfit change and a death drop that was very well-received both by the judges and the crowd – landing her in the top. The judges loved the dancing, the way she commanded the room as soon as she walked out, but the bodysuit she had on was basic.
Bebe followed her, also performing a dance number but one that was inspired by her African culture. The beautiful outfit she revealed flourished with the beat, making her one of the four safe queens.
Thorgy’s violin number was a bit of a snooze, to me at least. The judges loved her jumpsuit and the way she married classical music with drag but Vanessa Hudgens clocked her for being bashful, wanting to see her own her fierceness. She made it to the top.
Aja came out with a dance number to her original track that had everyone shook. I mean, we knew that she could dance but nobody was expecting her to bring it like she brought it, sis. RuPaul even shouted, literally nobody was ready. She raised the bar and, as Ross Matthews said, jumped off it. When asked about what made her come out of her shell, Aja said this time around she didn’t care what anybody had to say about her and Mama Ru told her to just “jump on their ass”. She was one of the two winners of the challenge.
Kennedy followed Aja, and maybe that was the reason I wasn’t really into her dance number – since she was the fourth to do it – but she spun and kicked and flipped off and onto the stage. She was, deservedly, safe.
Ben brought a re-vamped comedic burlesque show, throwing off bra after bra with more exaggerated nipple tassels every which way. Her shtick was, the judges said, stunning and the comedy was great. She was the other winner.
Chi Chi’s flat jazz shoes, lack of padding and poor wig choice made for a poor fifth dance performance which the crowd cheered her for, but neither the queens nor the judges were all that impressed. She looked beautiful but the shoe and the hair flopped and landed her in the bottom.
Morgan’s mediocre lipsync of her original track, which she performed for the first time tonight, was nerve-filled and mostly performed to the queens rather than the judges. According to Matthews, the way she usually controls the room was lacking in this performance. Despite looking amazing, wearing a bodysuit Michelle Visage called her favourite, she was also in the bottom.
The last two performances were a live country song by Trixie, that was well-liked and made her safe, and a paper runway show by Milk that the queens were over immediately but that made her, also, safe. They both blended into the background in this episode, doing average and being okay with doing average – according to a behind the scenes World of Wonder video. Trixie said being safe, in a group of such talented girls, was a compliment.
The Lip Sync
The deliberations were exactly like they were in All Stars 2, one-on-ones with the queens who won and the bottoms saying the same generic lines of acknowledging their mistakes but wanting to continue fighting. Ben put it well, saying her and Aja’s position was like “the worst double-edged sword”. She claimed to want to play fair and not help herself personally, which is all fine and dandy, but when it came down to her eliminating the bottom queen – I was a little suspect of her decision.
The lip sync itself wasn’t the best we’ve had (I, personally, don’t think Alyssa Edwards vs. Tatiana will ever be beat) but it was finally a Nicki Minaj song. Aja busted a few good moves but, ultimately, Ben’s comedy won her out – and with the amount of screentime she got during the lipsync, it was no wonder – so she launched into a monologue about a unanimous consensus among the group that Morgan went against, defending her choice based on that. The queens were pretty silent while Ben talked backstage about how they reached decisions last All Stars, but they certainly didn’t agree on conforming to one way and if she had based it off of the judges’ critiques Chi Chi would have definitely gone home. Milk was onto something when she said Ben was trying to play congenial and appeal rather than be authentically herself. So she sends Morgan home, based on a group consensus that nobody really agreed to, but in the workroom when she picks up that trophy, behind her are Chad and Alaska donning the same creepy red robes with a message from RuPaul that promises something wicked this way coming. Morgan stays, confused, wondering if someone will tell her what’s going on when the screen cuts black and the episode comes to an end.
With the Ruveals and Rureturns and Rupocalypse, it’s impossible to predict 100% accurately what will happen but I’m definitely here for #TeamTrixie, #TeamMilk and #TeamAja making it to top three – realistically, though, I think it will more likely be Trixie, Ben and Kennedy but Trixie has to step up if she wants to be serious competition.
After Morgan, I think Chi Chi will be fine if next episode’s preview is anything to base off of – I think it’s a dance challenge – but there are lots of rumours that Thorgy and Milk don’t get very far in the competition and that BenDeLa actually eliminates herself to bring Morgan back. It’s clear they’re following the same formula as AS2, so if a queen is eliminated she might get to come back.
What did you think of the premiere? Who’s #Team are you on and who do you want to see go home?
Just a Gemini who likes long walks on the beach.