The penultimate episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars season 11 felt like a gift wrapped up in a bow just for us. No one likes to be seen as a couple of Bitter Betties, which is how we assumed we’d be sliding into the finale, bitching and complaining all the way about an overall lackluster season of the show. Instead, this episode reminded us once again that Drag Race is at its best when you look at it as a talent show rather than a competition. Because if you assume it’s the latter, you’re always going to be frustrated by the shenanigans.
And make no mistake, shenanigans were afoot this episode. All of the eliminated queens were brought back to compete in a talent show, with the winner of the challenge getting an opportunity to spin a The Price is Right wheel to determine the factor by which her Fame Games votes will be multiplied. Did you get all that? Does it matter? It’s all a McGuffin to get these queens to show the world why they’re considered All Stars. Every one of them will increase their bookings off this one episode and you could tell they all knew it.
Here is a picture of that wheel we were talking about.
Here is a closeup detail of the aforementioned wheel.
Anyway, our point is this: Whenever Drag Race just gives the queens a chance to show what they can do with a little time and preparation, the results are almost always highly entertaining, if not downright impressive. The production FINALLY threw open the doors of the Library and we have to sheepishly admit that, our previous bitching about it aside, it was actually worth waiting for.
You got every queen of the season, with an entirely new season’s worth of material and grudges to pull from, and the overall mood was less vicious and more celebratory because all of them are professional enough to know that it’s time to loosen up and put on a show.
Everything about Mrs. Kasha Davis’s drag is old school. That’s not a read. Sometimes, that approach doesn’t work well for the kind of challenges Drag Race devises, which means in this venue, “old school” can be used as a critique. But there’s nothing more old school drag than the ability to read a bitch. We wouldn’t call her session particularly cutting, but her timing was perfect. In a sea of good reads, hers stood out.
Kandy and Jimbo had the job of hosting the talent show, with all the pressure off of them for this one. They were relaxed and funny. They also looked great together. It’s another Kandy body suit, but at least it’s an interesting one. All of the queens were very good, some of them were excellent, and we admit to being surprised by the talent on display. We can’t keep saying “She did a great job” or “She was fabulous,” so we’ll just give drive-by impressions.
Sexy, fun and polished to high heaven. The numbers were all very short, so it felt like we were just getting started when it ended.
We weren’t in love with her costume, to be honest. There are more fabulous ways to do drag flamenco. Having said that, her routine was pure fire.
The costume was truly awful, which is a shame because the performance was extremely effective and emotional.
She gets all the kudos in the world for coming out to do straight (you’ll pardon the term) standup. The jokes weren’t particularly fresh, but the delivery was flawless.
We admit, we were shocked at how great Jaymes was, even though we’d already seen how good she could be while she was still competing this season. It was funny and polished, it was old school, but in the good way.
You could tell she was having a “this is my moment” moment. The cheer queen popped out. It was a spectacular performance.
We have to agree with Ru that we finally got to see what is meant by the term “the Lala Ri experience.” This was insanely good, not just because of the killer choreo, but because of the Beyonce levels of charisma on display.
We also have to give Alexis credit for taking the risk of singing live. Again, this was old school theater queen drag, but when it’s good, it’s good. And this was very good. We did think her opening costume was a little dowdy, though.
This bitch lived up to her name. We realize that everyone was great this episode, but it’s insane to us that she wasn’t in the top two.
Jimbo came out to give a command performance and it was the very best of surreal drag clownery. Her costume was amazing and if you had any doubt or question of Jimbo’s standing going into the finale, just listen to Ru’s laughter when he shot whipped cream out of his tits. Ru LOVES that sort of thing.
Go ahead and get mad at us for saying so, but Kandy absolutely proved that she’s an All-Star with this number. We know she’s not liked by a vocal segment of the fans, but if you look at her actual performances all season long, she’s been good or great throughout the competition. Would she have been our pick for the top two? No, but we don’t think it’s particularly unfair or wrong to see her there.
Lala and Jaymes faced off with Ariana and Gaga’s “Rain on Me,” for a surprisingly entertaining and downright joyous lip synch. Jaymes might not have been our first (or second) choice for this showdown, but there was a unique energy created by the two of them onstage. If it had been Jessica up there with Lala, the whole feeling would have been different – and perhaps a little expected. We don’t know, we’re not here to justify every shenanigan, but from an entertainment standpoint, this was a lot of fun to watch. We didn’t mind seeing both of them declared the winner.
Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold!
[Photo Credit: Paramount Plus via Tom and Lorenzo]
Emily Blunt in Alexander McQueen at the OPPENHEIMER London Premiere: IN or OUT? Next Post:
Margot Robbie in Vivienne Westwood at the BARBIE London Photocall
Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!