Nobody Bombs RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars's Acting Challenge
Let's remember this day for the miracle it is. (Someone still has to go home, though.)
Somebody grab my smelling salts, because my ass has fainted OUT. This week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars features an acting challenge, and nobody screws it up! Is anybody checking the runways at O'Hare to see if pigs are flying?
Let's see how this miracle came to pass.
Wipe That Mirror, Gurl
Shocker: Phi Phi is still up in arms about Alyssa choosing to eliminate Ginger Minj last week, despite Katya's having received the worse critique. But Alyssa DGAF, y'all. Her rationale is that if you look at Katya and Ginger over the course of the season, Katya has been stronger overall, and I think that's a perfectly valid line of thought. It seems like Phi Phi is just complaining because she's (a) worried she'll get eliminated because people don't like her or (b) the producers are telling her to complain. Either way, I love that Alyssa sticks to her guns without getting too upset about it. She keeps directing everyone back to the new day in the workroom, like some kind of motivational speaker with a specialty in face-face-face.
As all this is going down, the girls are taking off their "future of drag" makeup, and despite her stank attitude, I'm mesmerized by Phi Phi's half-painted face.
This look could basically walk on its own, if you ask me. It's like a modern art painting.
OH! And when she's wrapping up the bitch-a-thon about how to judge the bottom girls, Alyssa says everything's fair unless she goes home. "If you send me home, it was rigged!" she hollers, and it's funny and good-spirited. Then she adds, "Rigged! Rigor morris!"
But it's rigor mortis. And when Detox calls her out on it, Alyssa just laughs and laughs. God bless her unicorn heart.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Drag Queens 2: The Secret Of The Ooze
In the aforementioned acting challenge, the girls perform in "shequels" to three campy films. Katya and Detox star in Velma And Weezy; Phi Phi and Roxxxy get nasty in Showsquirels; and Alaska and Alyssa enact the soon-to-be-arthouse-classic Wha' Ha' Happened to Baby JJ?. Please enjoy the logo for the latter film:
Why is there a stray quotation mark at the end?!?!? Before you say "editing mistake," please consider that this quotation mark MAY be a metaphor for drag itself. Everything these queens do is in quotes. Perhaps, by seeing this quotation mark, we're getting a rare peek behind the existential curtain!
Where are you going? I have so many more theories!
Anyhoodle, Showsquirrels parodies Showgirls, with Nomi coming back as a grizzled old whore to terrify her pageant queen daughter. At first, Phi Phi is playing the pageant girl, which means she delivers a line that references her own Season 4 zinger about Sharon going back to Party City. (Drag Race is very good at referencing its own history.)
But then...oooh! Phi Phi decides she should play Nomi and NOT the pageant girl, because she wants to show range and whatever.
It's presented as a dangerous move. (Spoiler alert...it works out!)
Meanwhile, in Katya and Detox's movie, Thelma and Louise come back as zombies, since they drove off that cliff at the end of the first picture. Katya is really nervous at first and keeps forgetting her lines, but she eventually pulls it together. Michelle and Todrick (who are on-set as coaches) crack up at her climactic fight with Detox. And besides, Katya's zombie makeup is en flique (which is the fancier way of spelling "on fleek"):
And then we have Alaska and Alyssa mocking Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?. Alaska nails it from the jump in the Bette Davis role, and if you remember her Mae West from a few weeks ago, you might think she has a future playing the brassy dames of old Hollywood.
Alyssa, though, needs a lot of direction. She's speaking loudly enough, and during a performance of "Camptown Races," she keeps singing "doo-wah, doo-wah" instead of "doo-dah, doo-dah." WHICH IS CRAZY BECAUSE EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT SONG.
Stomp The Runway
Next thing you know, it's time for the runway show, which is themed "two looks in one," in honor of Violet's transforming tartan from the first episode of Season 7. Basically, the queens need a look that can transform into something wildly different.
Before that, though, let's celebrate RuPaul's vintage glamour fierceness. I especially love her hair.
Also, let's celebrate Nicole Scherzinger as the guest judge! Back when she was in Eden's Crush, who knew she'd prove to be such a reliable star, making satisfying appearances on competition shows between singles that mostly succeed in Europe. ...I know that sounds like a read, but I really do think she's great. She's obviously smart and she's up to some very tough vocal challenges. Every day, I feel more and more justified for downloading that copy of "I Hate This Part" by the Pussycat Dolls.
And now...the looks!
Detox doesn't transform that much -- she basically rips off a skirt to reveal a bathing suit in the same pattern -- but her hair and makeup are not messing around.
And there's Alaska, who reveals herself to be painted up like Lil' Pound Cake, the "drag doll" she made back in Season 5.
Now THAT is a nice callback. I wonder how long it took Alaska to master this makeup?
Meanwhile, Katya's look isn't much on the fashion tip, but I love it when she pulls of a hair piece to reveal a Satanic symbol on her forehead. And then she reveals her black and/or bloody teeth.
I love a good concept that bends our expectations for a challenge.
I also like Alyssa's concept: she pulls off a puffy black dress to reveal that she's covered with cameras, complete with working flashes.
It doesn't LOOK that great, though, and it's not AS funny as Katya's concept. Remember this for later.
Remember, too, how cute Phi Phi looks in her yellow frock:
And how blah Roxxxy looks in her sexy red jumpsuit.
For me, this dress isn't enough for Roxxxy. It's a rehash of the style and styling we've seen from her over and over. Surprise me, gurl!
When we get to see the shequels, they're all good. Roxxxy and Alyssa are on the weaker end, but they still make me laugh. Like I said, everybody does good work here.
Plus, there are cameos from Victoria "Porkchop" Parker and Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce!
Judging And Kvetching
Todrick Hall adds nothing to the judging panel. Ever. I like his Straight Outta Oz movie as much as the next queen, but why is he here? Spontaneous wit and charm are just not his strong suits, so why not employ him in a way that utilizes his many talents?
But, as always, Michelle brings the thundering truth. After Carson makes excuses for Alyssa -- "You were kind of sloppy, but you were so funny I don't care!" -- Michelle calls him on it. No one should skate by, she says, and you can tell how passionate she is in her defense of excellence. I LOVE HER FOR IT.
Ultimately, RuPaul sides with Michelle and puts Alyssa in the bottom, along with Roxxxy and Katya. I'm guessing Katya is there because her dress was a little basic, while the other two got busted down for relatively weak acting.
It's Phi Phi and Alaska on the top, which means Phi Phi might have a chance to enact her judging philosophy right on Alyssa's ass. Hilariously, Phi Phi refuses to have sit-downs with the three bottom girls, and Detox reads her for it. This is NOT the chilly attitude that makes America forget your Season 4 insanity!
Lip Sync For Your Legacy
The lip sync this week is Cheryl Lynn's timeless "Got To Be Real," and both queens KILL IT. Phi Phi gives us sexy Soul Train to slinky effect, and her butch-mom wig adds some edge to her sex appeal. (Or maybe it's Madonna's wig from the "Open Your Heart" video.) Meanwhile, Alaska stays in character as Lil' Pound Cake, and it's so out there and committed and crazy that I lose my mind. I said on this week's Extra Hot Great that I think Alaska's going to win this season, and I still think she will. Every time, she comes through with the most complete (and daring) package. Plus, she wins this lip sync, making her the first queen to win twice.
And when she sends Alyssa home, I'm only mildly surprised. I have LOVED Alyssa this year and thought she was good this week, but her overall package was just a little less impressive. Maybe she'll come back via the "revenge" challenge they keep teasing us with at the end of every episode...and which got a little closer this week as we close with the remaining girls startled by all four eliminated queens watching haughtily through the mirror!
Most Watchable Moment
Stay for the lip sync, y'all. It's flawless.