This week RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars doesn’t mess around. We’re right back in the middle of Phi Phi O’Hara’s rant about Alyssa Edwards when the four evicted queens show up in the mirror. Now, production originally planned huge drama from the shock of seeing the supposedly eliminated queens back in the workroom. But Phi Phi flipped the script when she went off on Alyssa while Alyssa was hidden but in full earshot. Oops! These days it’s incredibly rare to get non-producer driven drama like this. It was pretty spectacular. RuPaul must have flooded her basement when she heard about it.
No wonder Phi Phi had a meltdown on Twitter last week. She knew the vilification of Phi Phi was only going to get worse.In case you missed it, Phi Phi lost her damn mind on the interwebs, accusing RuPaul and Drag Race of setting her up and saying she was going to boycott the reunion. She replied to just about every internet troll out there, trying to justify her behavior and blame editing. She even went so far as to claim a particular judging was falsely edited and when someone (cough, production, cough) leaked the uncut footage it supposedly proved that Phi Phi lied. Then RuPaul unfollowed Phi Phi and the drag world imploded. I find the whole thing pretty sad. I know Phi Phi expected this season to be her redemption but I wish she wasn’t so sensitive about her dark side. Sure, she’s shown being shady on the show. A lot. And she gets defensive when she feels threatened. But she’s a drag queen. And a human being. I like Phi Phi, flaws and all. We don’t need her to be nicey nice to like her or respect her. What we need from her is an ability to rise above her personal pain and slay on stage. Which she does often enough to have earned her place on All Stars. No one deserves death threats over a tv show. That is never ok. But Phi Phi should know that troll’s opinions do not represent most of the viewing audience. To quote Alaska, “Be nice, for fuck’s sake. It’s just drag.”
Back on the show, the eliminated queens get to make an entrance in their quick change costumes. Coco Montrese obviously didn’t get the full memo because when she removes her vest her dress looks exactly the same. Oh, I guess the vest had a peplum. Still not impressed. Tatianna starts out in a short black number that flips down to reveal a crop top and long skirt (think Scheana’s wedding dress in black). Ginger Minj has a silver top and black skirt that transform into a long silver a-line. Alyssa gets to do her poof to camera-whore metamorphosis again. Most of the top five are pretending to be happy to see them, cheering and ooh-mama-ing but Phi Phi looks shocked to her core. I think we’ve all been there, caught talking about someone behind their back. It’s pretty humiliating. And on top of that, she doesn’t know how this is going to affect her chances of winning. Ackward. Well, Alyssa isn’t going to pretend it didn’t happen. She confronts Phi Phi but Phi Phi is too rattled to adequately stand up for herself. So she lashes out. Interestingly, the biggest issue Alyssa wants to clear up is Phi Phi’s assertion that she threw Roxxxy and Katya under the bus. When Phi Phi claims she’s trying to play the victim (!) Ginger jumps in to scrap with Alyssa over Ginger’s eviction. Drama! They go back and forth for a while until Ginger drops a bomb: she wouldn’t have let Katya go home if she was evicted. Huh? Alyssa sums things up in her talking head. “So, are you basically saying you wanted me to choose Katya to go home and then you would nominate yourself to go home instead of her? I smell a stunt.” Yeah, we all do.
The next day things have calmed down a little. RuPaul finally explains the “revenge.” The maxi-challenge is a stand-up comedy show. Each eliminated queen will be paired with a current cast member (like they did with Conjoined Queens in season seven) and they’ll perform in front of a live audience made up of past Drag Race contestants (you know, all the girls they beat out for All Stars). The top two returning queens will lip-sync for $10,000 and a spot back in the competition. They’ll also eliminate one of the bottom queens. So a previously eliminated queen will kick off an uneliminated queen. Dun dun dun. That’s a lot of power. Phi Phi is shaking in her boots. The returning queens get to pick their partners. Alyssa Edwards grabs Alaska (again). Ginger Minj picks her bestie, Katya. Tatianna chooses Detox. She says it because Detox is funny, and she’s not Roxxxy or Phi Phi. Choices. Coco Montrese gets final pick and she goes with Phi Phi. Which leaves Roxxxy all alone (they obviously didn’t plan on someone dropping out and creating an odd number). Since she’s solo, Roxxxy is going to be the emcee.
Coco is going to revive RuPaul’s cousin from the Brewster Projects, her winning character from season five’s roast of RuPaul. Phi Phi decides to go ghetto chola as a counterbalance. Alyssa doesn’t hold any malice towards Alaska for kicking her out in the previous challenge so they form a strong team. Alaska wants to play to Alyssa’s strengths (ie: off the cuff buffoonery). She’s a smart one, that Alaska. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. And then they do a ridiculous, real life, not for the show routine that proves Alaska’s point. “I might have my Clef notes.” “Cliff’s notes. Like the person’s name is Cliff.” “Who told you that?” Brilliant. Detox checks in with Roxxxy. She’s glad she’s working alone because she doesn’t want anyone outshining her like last week. Katya and Ginger meet with Ross Matthews and comedian Chelsea Peretti for a coaching session. Katya is hysterical in her Russian whore character but Ginger is kind of falling flat. No! She’s the most talented of the returning queens. Why isn’t she showing it in All Stars? Ross and Chelsea give them good advice and they seem pretty confident. Come on, Ging! We’re counting on you! Detox and Tatiana are playing bizarre ladies who lunch. It’s pretty funny. And kind of dirty. Ross and Chelsea seem nervous for them. Uh oh. Coco and Phi Phi are kind of a mess. Ross is a little nicer with his criticism than I am. “Okay, that’s great. But you have to make it funny.” Yeah, I thought it was missing something.
Finally, Phi Phi and Alyssa have the talk. It’s a lot of back and forth. I’m already sick of the whole thing. I just can’t transcribe it. I just can’t. Then Alyssa sums up what I was trying to say (but much better than I did): “I think Phi Phi is so talented. But she is spending so much time second guessing everything she does. Is it gonna be liked? Is the fans gonna receive it? Is she getting the redemption story? Girl, breathe and let it go. ‘Cuz all that matters is you just be you and showing your creativity.” Can I get an amen? They agree to disagree and squash the beef. Whew. That was stressing me out.
RuPaul is wearing my least favorite outfit of the season. She looks like Honey Mahogany in a caftan (sorry, boo). Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Todrick Hall are joined by guest judge Ross Matthews. I wonder if they’ll let Todrick speak this week. The audience is packed (packed!) with Drag Race alums.
Roxxxy Andrews opens the show by bombing. The audience grimaces say it all. Then it’s time for Coco and Phi Phi. They’re not funny but Phi Phi’s costume is amazing. Those ten inch nails are everything. Then Roxxxy is back as Tasha Salad from season five’s Draggle Rock. She’s still not funny. Hopefully Alaska and Alyssa can turn this show around. And they do. Alyssa kills it by being Alyssa but Alaska doesn’t take a back seat. She gets quite a few zingers in herself. The crowd enjoys non-forced laughter for a change. Then we get more of Roxxxy bombing. The audience doesn’t even muster up a fake laugh this time. Katya and Ginger are adorable. They’re pretty funny but I think they’re both better than this set. Except when Ginger calls Katya “Balki.” That was pretty good. And this time around Roxxxy actually gets heckled. Yikes. It’s not looking good for our girl. To close things out we get Detox and Tatianna. They’re even funnier than in the coaching session. Detox’s accent is so ridiculous and perfect but it makes it a little hard to understand her jokes. So there were some hits and some misses but I think everyone can agree that the biggest star of the night was Porkchop’s stank face (she is over it).
Unsurprisingly, Roxxxy doesn’t get a good critique. I mean, come on, she bombed. Carson praises Coco’s makeup and Todrick loves Phi Phi’s “Sheneneh” nails. They’re pleased to hear that but wasn’t this a stand-up challenge? Phi Phi explains they were going for a SNL skit type of thing but Michelle says it turned into an after school special. Carson thinks Alaska and Alyssa worked the best together as a team. And he loves that Alyssa thing. Ross praises Alaska for not letting Alyssa steal the show. Ginger Minj looks like she thinks she won this. I only wish that were true. While Michelle acknowledges there were some funny lines, Ross wishes they weren’t so focused on the competition aspect and showed some actual joy. Carson tells Detox and Tatianna that they made his face hurt from laughing and smiling (pretty impressive thru all the botox). Everyone gushes over them. The only negative feedback was about Detox’s strong accent garbling the words.
Top queens: Alyssa (and Alaska) and Tatianna (and Detox)
Bottom queens: Roxxxy and Phi Phi
Neither Roxxxy nor Phi Phi think they need to have one on ones with the winners. Roxxxy thinks their work should speak for itself. Phi Phi shoves her foot in her mouth by saying she won’t beg to stay. That really pisses off Tatianna. She doesn’t understand how explaining why you should stay is begging. “That’s ego.” When she sits down with Alyssa, Phi Phi doubles down on her not begging thing. Even though she’s being overly defensive, Alyssa tells Phi Phi that she appreciates her drag and doesn’t hold a grudge. Why can’t Phi Phi hear the positive instead of always focusing on the negative? Phi Phi, you’re your own worst enemy. At least Roxxxy did worse than she did tonight. Roxxxy cries to Alyssa. Alyssa ends up giving her a pep talk. When Phi Phi sits down with Tatianna she’s still pretty defensive and it doesn’t seem to sit right with Tati. She kind of makes a case for herself but it seems like Tatianna is over it. And then Phi Phi starts ripping into Detox’s performance during the stand-up. Oh no. Tatianna already thinks Phi Phi is a schemer. She just doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone. Phi Phi, you’re fucking this up for yourself!
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LEGACY/LIFE
Alyssa and Tatianna perform Shut Up And Drive by Rihanna. These two are great performers. Alyssa is wearing a black bodysuit and thigh high boots and Tatianna is wearing the same outfit in white. It’s like they choreographed the whole thing. It’s pretty amazing. They’re both seriously slaying.They’re dancing, they’re mugging, they’re battling to get back in the game. I have no idea who will win. RuPaul is in heaven. She’s just cackling the entire performance. Crazy. Tatianna wins! She’s back in the competition. Alyssa is heartbroken. She gave everything she could. There wasn’t anything else she could have done. The other queens are shocked. Alyssa also wins! Oh, Ru, you sneaky bitch! I guess they can thank Adore Delano for this. They have to share the tip but they’re both back. Then Ru says they both get to eliminate one of the bottom two. Huh? Are Roxxxy and Phi Phi both going home? No, just Phi Phi. Once again, Roxxxy survives even though she had the worse performance. Phi Phi hugs Roxxxy but waves Alyssa away when she tries to hug her. The judges are kind of shocked. She hugs the other girls and Tatianna runs over and forces a hug on her. Alyssa just stands there awkwardly.
Next week: The queens design drag-influenced products. And FYI, there are only three more episodes this season! It’s going by too quickly…
Hmmm. I wasn’t able to find this week’s RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Behind the Scenes. I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the Phi Phi controversy. We’ll update if anything changes. (This is tt! I couldn’t find it either. )