RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4: Jersey Justice

Posted on January 05, 2019

Oh, hennies. If there’s one thing your ol’ pals T Lo cannot abide, it’s having to sit through someone’s improv exercise. Sorry, queens. It’s not our thing. Which is kind of a shame, because the idea of doing a Judge Judy type show with Michelle Visage wielding the hammer of justice is a really fantastic one on paper. We kinda wish this had been more of a scripted sketch challenge than an improv one. Still, while the actual results of the challenge were somewhat painful to sit through, at least the episode served up some primo reality TV drama by the end.


We tend to think the line separating the winners of an improv challenge and those who wind up in the bottom is micron thin, but even we have to admit that these two were the best all-around team. Naomi held her own, but Manila pretty much carried the scene with the reveal of her hair and the lapsing into barking. If nothing else, these two deserve props just for being the only team that didn’t lapse into slapstick and hair-pulling before it was all over.



And we also agree that if you had to pick someone other than Manila for the top, Monique made as good a choice as any. Her look was tightly on point, she never broke character, and she had a bunch of phrases and vocal tics she returned to again and again to keep the sketch running. Monet was just okay and might not have wound up in the bottom if she hadn’t wound up rolling around on the floor. Part of the problem with these scenes is that they went on so damn long. No one had an exit strategy. As for Latrice, apparently it’s blasphemy to point this out because she’s so darn beloved, but we’re pretty tired of her excuse-making in challenges like these. She expects everyone to simply stop and let her be Latrice when that’s not the point and never has been. You’re supposed to carve out those moments for yourself, not expect your partners to hand them to you.



To be honest, we’re not sure why Valentina was safe and Monet wasn’t, but as we noted, these differences in quality can be infinitesimal in a challenge where no one really did all that great to begin with. She got more praise from the judges than we would have expected, leading us to think that some of it came from their lowered expectations. No one thinks of her as a comedy queen or a queen who’ll happily do ugly drag, so the judges wound up more delighted than they might have been otherwise. Trinity gave it her all and we continue to maintain that all the other bitches have no idea how damn focused she is. She needs to stop worrying about everyone else’s strategy in the game, though.

Onward, to (semi) sickening lewks:



We think the judges put more weight on the runway looks in their determinations than they normally might have, since the sketches didn’t give them much to work with. Manila had the strongest look on the runway and she gave the most cohesive performance in the sketches, so she made for a fairly easy choice for the top two. She’s playing the game extremely well, not just by being strong in the challenges but also by giving the producers plenty of storylines to pick up on. While we don’t doubt she was upset at the possibility of having to send Latrice home, we also think she played those cameras to the hilt. That was some telenovela-level weeping action.



Naomi is sweet, occasionally stunning and consistently gives good work in the challenges, but she’s letting too many queens get the spotlight over her. Still, this was a really great look that sold a character and told a story. It’s good that she’s not just relying on her legs and her high-fashion looks to get her through.



Miss Trinity continues to slay all day. Loved this look.



We got the look on an intellectual level – and it is sort of interesting and admirable on her part – but it struck us as a bit gimmicky and too conceptual for this venue. We might have liked it more if it wasn’t so literal. Still, she should get credit for not relying on her looks this week.



She’s never going to stop beating this brown cow thing into the ground but credit where it’s due: she really nailed this one.



This is why we think the runway looks may have had more to do with the results than normal. This is a great look and Latrice looks gorgeous in it, but it’s probably the least interesting offering on that stage. It’s good drag, but fairly basic drag. And that’s of a piece with her performance throughout the season. She’s good and she clearly thought her reputation should count for something in the competition, but she just hasn’t been bringing it. It’s one thing to complain about Gia Gunn trying to drag you down in the Snatch Game, it’s quite another to be whining that Monet and Monique were simply too loud for her to put the effort in on this challenge.


It was a cute idea and her padding game is pretty on-point, but it’s a bit of a stale joke. Again, when you look at what some of the other queens were serving on that stage, this comes off basic.



In the manner of good reality TV, the drama levels were high going into this lip sync, but we really didn’t feel much tension. Manila gave her usual strong performance, but Monique’s lip sync had a bit more spark and life to it. Practically from the moment the song started, we knew Latrice was going home.



Can’t say we have a problem with that. Love her, but the point of an All-Stars season is that you compete against the best of the best. It’s not to come in there and swan around like you’re owed a greater level of respect than the other girls. Latrice may be legendary, but that’s just now how it works on All-Stars.





[Stills: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]

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