“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars”: A Star-Spangled Variety Show

Posted on December 15, 2018

In the tradition of a good Drag Race werk room entrance…

 


WE’RE BACK, YOU JANKY WHORES!

Of course, we’ve been up in this bitch since Day One and we never truly went away, but for various reasons, we have felt drawn… nay, compelled to return to old-school screencap-recapping. It helps that it’s an All-Star season, which means just like these bitches, we can jump straight back into things because we already know what to expect. Ru threw them the Library mini-challenge right out of the gate; a sign of how she expects these girls to come prepared and at the top of their game. Which is fine in some respects, but it left most of the reads dry. One thing a good reading session should never, ever be? Scripted. Reading should always be done freestyle. Harrumph.

Onward to sickening lewks and gag-worthy stage routines:

Monique Heart

LUV HUH. As we discussed in our podcast yesterday, she’s got the kind of lines and proportions to her face that make it a God-given natural for doing comedy, like a Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett. Which isn’t to say she’s funny-looking. After all, Lucy was one of the most glamorously gorgeous women of her day. This look is a perfect example of how she can thread the needle on comedy and glam. It’s both stunning and a little ridiculous at the same time. Kind of like her.

 


Which is why her stage costume was such a disappointment to us. We don’t mind her working the brown cow thing into the ground. Literally every single All-Star walks back through that werk room door with a gimmick in hand; a gimmick she more than likely picked up in her first go-round on the Drag Race meat grinder. The song and dance routine were amazing, but the costume was far from stunning. Girl, at least throw a couple sequins on that thing.

 

 

 

Trinity the Tuck

Another queen who serves up glamour and comedy in equal proportions, although the latter came as a surprise to her in her first season. The dress is a fabulous homage to the Prada Sarah Paulson wore to the Ocean’s 8 premiere, which is just the kind of quirkily specific reference that makes for an interesting queen. Anyone can strut in there serving Bey or Britney. We understand why she topped it off with the Day-Glo wig, but the choker was too much.

 


This is a truly adorable look and her routine was both funny and original. We can understand why she felt she had to lip synch her own track, but we wish she could have made it look a tiny bit more natural. She and Monique had wonderful routines, but we don’t think either of them deserved to be in consideration for the win. We can only surmise that Ru really liked how drag-specific her routine was, not to mention how tailored it was to her own personality. We loved what she did and how she looked, but we wouldn’t have given her the win. No tea no shade, girl!

 

 

Naomi Smalls

LOVE Naomi and love how much she loves her legs. As well she should. But the makeup here is terrible. In fact, everything from the neck up looks surprisingly retro, like something from a ’60s drag pageant. Nothing wrong with a queen working a little Crystal LaBeija into the mix, but she’s not really all that well-suited to the look. She’s way better at modern fashion-editorial drag.

 

 

Like so. Girlfriend served up a fierce vogueing sesh and topped it off (literally) with a bit of totally unexpected comedy. All of these queens understand exactly what Ru is looking for by now, which is why so many of them are aggressively serving up that Ru-beloved comedy/glam mix.

Still think the makeup’s a bit off, though.

 

 

Monét X Change

Very funny queen, loaded with self-confidence and the quickest of wits. But she really does seem to have a blind spot regarding her presentation. Look, like it or not, Drag Race wants its All-Star queens to serve gag-worthy looks on the regular. As they all rather openly note now, their original time on the show has afforded them opportunities to procure some higher-end costumes, wigs and props. We could (and probably will at some point this season) have another talk about how Drag Race tends to privilege the already-privileged queens or how it promotes glamour drag over rougher forms of it, but considering how it’s basically a reality TV version of both drag pageants and drag balls, it’s not completely out of line to suggest that the queens participating need to pay serious attention to the looks they’re serving. This look is just okay, which means in a werk room filled with All-Stars, it was the worst look. “Just okay” is not going to cut it.

 

 


Like we said, they all walk back through that door with a gimmick. We can understand the temptation to return to the sponge well, but she had to have known it was a risky move, considering it was a joke she’d already beaten into the ground. It might have paid off if the look was jaw-dropping, but it … wasn’t. Step it up, queen.

 

 

 

Gia Gunn

Congratulations to the first out transgender woman to walk through that werk room door! Too bad she’s such a bitch!

Our hearts must be growing harder, but we found her shadiness to be fairly funny this time around. She’s surrounded by A-listers, which means it doesn’t come off nearly as mean. We reserve the right to turn on a dime somewhere down the road, however. She was funny in this episode, but the bitchshtick is going to get old quickly.

This is a fricking STUNNER of a look, however.

 

 


Winner-winner chicken dinner. Honestly, it’s a travesty. She may be a bitch, but she’s also a bitch who brought it to the main stage. The look is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and the routine was exquisitely performed. Almost every queen came out and owned that stage, but she offered up something truly unique and unquestionably beautiful. Ru? Ya wrong.

 

 

Farrah Moan

Not to be total bitches about this, but could someone please remind us: Was she always this much of an emotional mess? We seriously only remember her as a pretty but vapid Xtina stan. The look is fine. Great, even.

 


And we were pretty impressed by her set. It may be too much of a bubblegum aesthetic for our tastes and she may have relied too much on her props to sell it, but the slip-and-fall aside, we thought it was a decent enough effort. But the fall coupled with her rather clear emotional immaturity sent her to the bottom and we can’t say we had a problem with that.

 

 

Jasmine Masters

Oh, Jasmine. What a disappointment. The viral video queen (which is really a terrible term, now that we think of it) is hilarious when she’s off the cuff, but she should have known that All-Stars would expect much more of her than a tossed-off set of one-liners. The suit is perhaps a bit too conventionally pretty. You need to step up your drag when you walk through that door; not serve up Maxine Waters’ holiday party suit.

 


We honestly don’t have a problem with a queen working a pantsuit, but it’s GOT to have a bit more going on than these two Chico’s value deals. Sorry to be a bitch about it, but this is an effort that truly feels like something from the show’s earliest seasons, when much less was expected of the queens. We think she’s hilarious and we think she’s capable of stunning drag, but she seemed to think a somewhat laid-back approach was going to sell her to the judges. It backfired badly. We’re sorry to see her go, but we can’t argue with it.

 

 

Valentina

This bitch is too much and she knows it. Love the look, although if we’re being truly bitchy about it we’ll note that the fashion references aren’t entirely of-the-moment. We’re just sayin’.

She thinks she’s coming back to play the villain game, but we think she hasn’t reckoned on the Gia Gunn factor.

 

 


Given the elaborateness of some of the other stage routines, we were a bit disappointed she pulled a lip synch number, but we realized she was, like so many of the others, rebutting or responding to or following up on her own elimination, when she managed to offer up one of the worst lip synchs in the history of the show. This was a killer routine, full of fire and personality and fantastic choreography. In the end, she won us over by sticking to what she does best – pure Latina sexbomb realness – and nailing a spectacular lip synch.

 

 

Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon

A cute reveal and a welcome sight to see these two legendary queens, but we didn’t buy for a second that they’d be so dumb as to return to the mistake of a team-based season. Latrice is serving up the more polished diva she’s become over the years and Manila, in typical Manila form, is offering a pretty hilarious take on one of her more iconic looks. It should be interesting seeing these two up against some of the late-season queens. Unlike say, Jasmine Masters, who didn’t seem to get how high the stakes are now, these two should be able to offer up some fairly stiff competition to the youngsters, who are likely to underestimate them.

 

 

LOVED her routine, but after an hour of attempting to do so, Lorenzo finally gave up on getting any usable screencaps out of it. This bitch was moving way too fast. All we got were a bunch of giant blue blurs. The look is just okay, though.

 

 


She pulled it off in the end, but her routine was a major risk. But she kind of failed at holding the audience in the palm of her hand, except to have them wondering what the point was through most of it. It made for a cute reveal and we give her a lot of credit for being original in her thinking. It had the feel of an old-school talent show routine, which is cute, but not enough to put her in the top. Still, we’re glad she’s safe. She always was one of our faves.

The look is a bit disappointing. Step it up, queen.

Like we said, we would not have named either Monique or Trinity as the top two, but at least they kicked off the season with a killer lip synch showdown:

 

We were surprised Ru gave the win to Trinity’s more restrained performance, but she really lost her patience with wig snatches a long time ago. Monique needed to rein things in just a bit. It helped that Trinity broke out another stunning look for the lip synch.

 

 

The All-Stars twist of having the winning queen determine who goes home can lead to some eye-rolls and ugliness, but everything about this one felt correct. Trinity was kind in her comments, her decision made sense, and Jasmine left with her dignity. We doubt every elimination this season is going to go so smoothly.

Goodness! Turns out we had a shit-ton to say, kittens!

 

 

[Stills: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]

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