Every Queen Has A Sorry Story On RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars
Are there too many tears and not enough Snatch Game?
Ooh, child. I have so many thoughts about this week's episode of Drag Race All Stars, but first let me thank Monty Ashley for covering last week. His fabulous analysis of the season premiere let me finish my summer as a counselor at Camp Tuckahoe. It was a great job, and I'll always remember teaching those kids not to fuck with me.
And speaking of fucking with things: why is All Stars fixing what ain't broke? It's not like this version of the show would be LESS interesting if it followed the traditional format. But NOOOO, everybody's gotta put their mark on this spinoff, like it's a specialty line of Reeboks. Having the winners select the loser is an okay twist, if one blatantly stolen from Survivor. But is a little extra tension worth the endless angst about how hard it is to choose a loser? I'm sure these girls don't want the pressure of sending a friend home, but I don't need to keep hearing about it.
Meanwhile, I'm sorry to see the lip sync lose its urgency. When they're lip syncing to stay in the game, the girls are more likely to pull out all the stops, you know? Of course, this week's "legacy lip" is spectacular, and it IS nice to see the high-ranking girls demonstrate this skill, which rarely happens in the main seasons. So I guess I'm ambivalent. But leaning toward negative.
In the midst of all this change, though, we still get a great episode that demonstrates just how polished these ladies are. Let's investigate!
Wipe That Mirror (With Adore's Tears)
The Saga Of Adore gets peppered throughout the episode's first third, but I'm going to condense it all right here. As Roxxxy wipes downs Coco's mirror message -- nice touch that the bitch who sends you home has to clean up your mess -- everyone agrees that Adore got very harsh treatment from the judges. What's a beautiful snowflake to do when no one wants her to be unique?
Melt, apparently. Still reeling from the critique, Adore cannot get it together. She keeps saying she doesn't want to change her freak-on-a-leash style, since her fans call bullshit every time she tries to glam it up. Maybe they do? But I'm with Alaska, who seems irritated when Adore says she's just gonna quit the show instead of facing the prospect of failure. Like...girl. Don't pretend you didn't know what you were signing up for, and don't pretend there's no way forward.
Plus, Adore was a top three finisher last time! Does she really think the fans who follow her now didn't see her on the show? They'll understand if she throws a corset on if it means staying in the game.
Of course, the fans are probably just a convenient excuse. After going around the world with the Drag Race tour, it seems like Adore has committed to this trashbag aesthetic as a way to salve her insecurities. She's keeping it cheap so she doesn't have to face her fears about getting fancy. Which is sad! Because she's a great singer with a great persona, and I'd like to see more of her.
RuPaul would like that, too, and he uses his best counselor voice when he quietly encourages Adore not to make a decision she'll regret. Ru even gets Michelle involved, since she and Adore have apparently been clashing on the road about what looks good. And Michelle, also the bomb, refuses to take pity on Adore's insecurity. She's not mean, but she clearly states that if Adore is going to live in the world, then she has to learn how to accept feedback from people who are literally paid to give it.
But it's all moot. Adore decides to leave the show, abruptly dropping us from nine queens to eight. Hilariously, Detox is like, "Well, I'm sorry to see her go, but at the same time, that's one less bitch to step over for the crown." OKAY? I suspect Adore will rue this decision, but now it's time to move on.
As a sidebar, I want us to appreciate Katya's scrunchie as she gets out of drag.
Accessories on fleek.
Prepare To Get Snatched
In the midst of the Adore drama, we learn that it's time for the Snatch Game! And since the Snatch Game has traditionally had eight players, I wonder if Adore was ALWAYS supposed to leave the show early. Is it possible this was planned in advance? We may never know.*
We will also never know how Roxxxy would perform as Sofia Vergara, since Phi Phi apparently plants a seed of doubt about her ability to do the accent. Phi Phi also tells Alyssa that her Joan Crawford impression is terrible, and swears she's not trying to be mean about it. Mm-hmm. So much for Phi Phi becoming a sweetheart. She's just learned to be an undercover bitch. Compare her to Tatianna, who really does seem to have grown up.
(Speaking of: I sympathize with Tatianna's plight as a queen from Season 2. Those early years were great, but they aired before Logo and/or drag queens in general knew how to utilize social media. Without Instagram and whatever to help her along after her initial run, Tati is basically an unknown. She seems both humbled and invigorated by that, and I respect it.)
But you know what isn't going to help Tati's case? A weak-assed performance as Ariana Grande in the Snatch Game.
The look is on point, but there's zero characterization there. No jokes. No personality. Just a vague airhead quality and obvious references to that doughnut-licking scandal.
The crazy thing is that Tati won the original Snatch Game with her Britney Spears. Meanwhile, Phi Phi, Detox, and Alyssa all have to prove themselves, since they previously bombed (with Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, and Katy Perry, respectively). Toss in Morgan McMichaels's disastrous P!nk, and you'd think these ladies would stop choosing pop starlets. For every Britney (or Ginger as Adele), there are two dozen wigs covered in blood out behind the dumpster.
Cheers to Alyssa, then, for going in a completely different direction this time. Her Joan Crawford is incredible, from the look to the Mommie Dearest intensity.
Most of the time she's just glaring and being crazy, but she's so committed that it works. I've been loving Alyssa this season -- much more than I did the first time around -- and stuff like this makes me want more.
Keeping it Old Hollywood, I'm also living for Alaska's Mae West.
The makeup is perfection, and the one-liners are West-y, but with a twist. Where Mae West was coy, Alaska will say something very specific about anal sex. I accept!
But you know who doesn't seem to appreciate how sophisticated Alaska is? Roxxxy. In lieu of Sofia Vergara, she's chosen to play Alaska, but all she can do is go "Hiiiiiii!" and say her makeup is awful.
Which is what I'd expect from Roxxxy. In her season, her version of a "witty read" was saying, "I hate Jinkx Monsoon." Same thing here. And as some of the other girls say, she doesn't even know enough about Alaska's dance music to respond properly to a joke that Ru sets up for her. It's just awful and embarrassing and demonstrates that, as always, Roxxxy cannot be bothered to prepare. As Todrick will say during the judges' critiques, these hos know they have to do the Snatch Game, so there's no excuse to be so wack about it.
Detox does mildly better as Nancy Grace, a character that undid Acid Betty just a few short months ago. And Phi Phi actually manages to be funny as Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium. She comes up with several cure variations on how she pretends to be psychic, and I don't hate it. I feel equally fine about Ginger's Tammy Faye.
But for me, Alyssa's only competition is Katya. She serves Björk as a batshit crazy spirit elf who eats paper and ends her sentences with a long string of nonsense sounds. Which is basically a description of that Björk album inspired by brain waves.
What I'm saying is that Katya is killing it right now. She got swallowed up in her season, so I'm glad to see her breaking free.
I also want to note that Jujubee and Raven are the Snatch Game contestants, and it's wonderful to see them! Less wonderful is yet another surprise appearance from Shangela. That joke is old, y'all. Either bring her back or don't.
Back In The Workroom
A quick runway segment is worth watching because it suggests that these girls are all too professional now for cheap fights. Phi Phi is still being a big C about everything, but she catches herself before she starts yelling at people. And when Detox and Alaska realize they have basically the same makeup design, they just laugh about it. It's charming and fun.
Stomp The Runway
COME THROUGH ALL STARS! The runway theme is "latex beauty," and most of the girls destroy me with their glamour.
First, of course, we have to honor RuPaul herself. Just look at this electric pink wig!
I'm also alive for the modern art sculpture Detox is wearing...
...which looks nothing like Alaska's ensemble, despite the similar eyes. And as a memo to Adore: THIS is how you class up a grungy aesthetic without giving up on your brand.
I'm also enjoying Katya's Esther Williams Realness...
...and Alyssa's Ferocious Sex Kitten.
Judging And Kvetching
The judging seems especially neutered now, since even RuPaul has ceded her ultimate power to make decisions. I do appreciate, though, that they all drink root beer floats while the girls caucus about whom to eliminate.
That burden falls on Katya and Alaska, by the way, with Detox, Roxxxy, and Tatianna in the bottom three. Frankly, I think the only reason Detox is down here is because it forces Alaska to consider both of her former clique-mates. Phi Phi's runway look isn't nearly as good, and her Snatch Game wasn't that much better. She should be up for elimination.
You can skip all the mishegoss where the bottom three queens plead their cases with Katya and Alaska. Basically, everyone rilly-rilly wants this, and everyone agrees it takes some of the fun out winning when you have to make cuts. At least Katya jokes that she wants her power to make her evil.
Lip Sync For Your Life
I feel especially blessed today, since Katya and Alaska lip sync to Chic's "Le Freak." That was the #1 song the day I was born! And it was also the theme of a recent MASTAS episode! I choose to believe RuPaul selected this just for me.
The lip syncers are also giving me a gift. Katya pretends to snort coke throughout her performance, which is perfect for the song's references to Studio 54. And Alaska finds the power in stillness, striking crazy poses with her legs in the air and holding them until they're hilarious. Ultimately, Alaska wins.
[ENDING 1] And when she sends Tatianna home, I'm not surprised. Tati's clearly not an immature bitch anymore, but her performance this week just isn't good enough. At least she'll always have Season 2, which might eventually get re-broadcast!
Most Watchable Moment
Alyssa and Katya in the Snatch Game are giving me what I need today.