Thursday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week because it brings me RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. For an hour and a half, all of my worries fade and I’m home. Last week, BenDeLaCreme won both the mini- and maxi-challenge. She walked away with $10,000 but also had to make the tough decision about who went home. This week, we pick back up with nice girl BenDeLaCreme in tears about eliminating Morgan McMichaels (“I love you girls! Keep Rocking and slay fabulous!”). No one feels sorry for her. They’re all ready to play the game, with or without Ben’s participation.
The maxi-challenge is to throw a VH1 Divas Live tribute to RuPaul. RuPaul assigns everyone’s diva: Milk is Celine Dion, Kennedy Davenport is Janet Jackson, Aja is Amy Winehouse, Chi Chi DeVayne is Patti LaBelle, Trixie Mattel is Dolly Parton, Shangela is Mariah Carey, Thorgy Thor is Stevie Nicks, BenDeLaCreme is Julie Andrews and Bebe Zahara Benet is the diva of divas, Diana Ross. Everyone acts overjoyed with their diva.
The queens meet Todrick Hall for choreography. Kennedy Davenport is known as the Dancing Diva of Texa but she can’t seem to follow any the choreography. It’s bizarre. Kennedy explains that she freestyles all of her performances so choreography is new to her. Is that even possible? I’m so confused. Thorgy Thor, the eternal victim, has decided that she’s being set-up to lose. She loves Stevie Nicks. Stevie Nicks is one of her greatest idols. But gay boys don’t fangirl over Stevie Nicks. Um, I think American Horror Story: Coven proved that wrong. To make matters worse, she argues with all of Todrick’s choreography. “Stevie doesn’t dance like this…” Maybe not, but drag isn’t mimicry. It’s a performance. If she doesn’t change her attitude, and make her Stevie bigger than life, she’s going to be in trouble.
Shangela has come to set in character. And if you know anything about Mariah Carey, that’s annoying AF. Todrick points out that Diana Ross is RuPaul’s favorite diva of all time (as if we needed the reminder) and Bebe is adequately scared. There’s a rumor floating around the interwebs that Bebe isn’t actually a contestant this season; that she’s been cast as Ru’s spy. World of Wonder (the Drag Race production company) is famous for spreading false stories to keep the fandom energized. That’s probably the case with this. Even so, I can’t stop looking for clues. Bebe getting Diana Ross feels like a big one. BenDeLaCreme’s Julie Andrews is going to rap. Todrick warns it requires a mixture of swag and pixie dust. The swag is going to be a challenge for DeLa.
Judges Michelle Visage and Carson Kressley are joined by former All Star judge Todrick Hall and Vanessa Williams.
We start off with the Divas performance. Since this is Drag Race, all of the divas sing RuPaul songs. Milk made a huge mistake by choosing Celine Dion’s 2017 Met Gala look. Nothing about it reads Celine. Nothing. She’s the first queen to perform and it’s pretty safe to say she’s in the bottom. Kennedy looks nervous. Her performance is too small and her choreography and lip-sync are shaky. Two for two so far. At least Aja goes all out with her Amy Winehouse. The choreography is boring but that’s on Todrick. Chi Chi finally brings some energy with her Jealous of My Boogie a la Patti LaBelle. Trixie keeps things rolling with Dolly Parton. I think she’s a hoot so Michelle Visage’s stank face is odd. Shangela brings down the house with 2016 NYE Mariah. She even does her lazy walk to perfection. Shangela has to be a top. Thorgy is a self-fulfilling prophecy. She looks great but her performance is dull. Julie Andrew’s Click Clack is a riot. BenDeLaCreme did that! Bebe doesn’t need to do much to bring Diana Ross to life. And RuPaul is in heaven seeing her idol do her. It’s oh so meta.
Onto the runway. Tonight’s category is Rudemption: reinventing previous runway fails. Shangela is particularly concerned. Reliving a previous failure always brings up emotions, but she’s doing it in front of Vanessa Williams, the judge who saw her original failure. Eek! Milk redoes her Crazy Sexy Cool runway. She looks lovely but it’s not enough to make up for her Diva bomb. Aja Disney-fies Princess Disastah. It’s aiight. Chi Chi DeVayne presents her 2018 version of Neon Realness. It’s definitely a step up but I think she stole it from Bob the Drag Queen. Trixie Mattel brings out her Ugliest Dress Ever remix and it certainly meets the criteria.
As a huge fan of the burnt chicken from Death Becomes Her, I’m a little bummed Kennedy Davenport is reworking it. I shouldn’t have worried. The new look is equally horrifying, in an American Horror Story: Hotel Addiction Demon kind of way. But she’s not done. We get a two-fer, with an additional Chicken Little chicken pox look. Kennedy Davenport, the gift that keeps on giving. Thorgy also brings us a redo of the Neon Realness runway. The judges mention salad and now that’s all I see. BenDeLaCreme brings us her new Dripping in Jewels outfit. It’s flapper meets burlesque. And jewels. Lots and lots of jewels. Bebe Zahara Benet is the only queen to redo her Entrance Look. She gives Vanessa Williams all the Wilhelmina Slater she deserves. Shangela clinches her top position with her Christmas Eleganza do over. The human hamster ball or the red embellished jumpsuit alone would have been enough. Together? Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Top three: Shangela, BenDeLaCreme and Bebe Zahara Benet
Bottom three: Chi Chi DeVayne, Thorgy Thor and Kennedy Davenport
Milk looks pissed to be safe. As they line up for critiques, she throws a fit. Girl, you should have been in the bottom so calm down.
The judges love Kennedy’s looks but her performance was not Janet. Chi Chi, on the other hand, brought Patti LaBelle to life but her runway look is basic. Carson calls Shangela’s original look Beyonce in Destiny’s Child but tonight’s look is Beyonce. And her Mariah was perfection. Thorgy gets dinged for her look and her performance. She grouses that Stevie Nicks isn’t a gay icon and RuPaul shuts that down. Hard. The judges gush over DeLa’s outfit and performance. You can practically see the anger radiating off of Milk. The judges admit Bebe didn’t have to do much to evoke Diana Ross but she got all the small details right.
Top two: Shangela and BenDeLaCreme (keeping the Bebe rumor alive)
Bottom two: Thorgy Thor and Kennedy Davenport
Shangela and BenDeLaCreme now have to eliminate either Thorgy or Kennedy. Thorgy is overwhelmed. Her distress feels real. Shangela pulls her aside to put her Game of Thrones plan into action. She thinks she’s the Mother of Dragons but deep down, she’s really Cercei. Thorgy catches on real quick. Out of the side of her mouth, she shares that she’s open to alliances. Just the idea revitalizes her. BenDeLaCreme continues her Miss Congeniality tour. Over on the safe couches, Milk starts crying. She is frustrated and mystified she’s not be in the top. Listen, I love Milk and her high fashion drag. All Stars 3 needs her and I’m glad she’s not leaving. But, and it’s a big but, she was terrible. And, as Trixie points out, that’s too much emotion for safe.
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LEGACY
Shangela and BenDeLaCreme lip-sync to Jump by The Pointer Sisters. For two such amazing performers, the lip-sync starts out flat. I keep waiting for the fun. Even when the music gets jumping, neither queen wows me. Shangela pulls out a jump rope for some laughs. DeLa removes her skirt in a racy tear away. The only genuine moment is when BenDeLaCreme makes fun of Shangela. I guess I’d give it to her for that and the fact that Shangela, the dancing queen, slept her way through the performance. Let’s see if Ru agrees.
Shangela decides Kennedy is a safer ally and sends Thorgy home. I’m sad because I love her but it’s probably the right choice. Can boy Thorgy just be my best friend? That’s all I need. We can hang out in Brooklyn and eat avocado toast. I’ll even let her talk shit about Bob (even though it’s ridiculous). Come on, Thorgy. Call me!
Next week: Testing the queens’ improvisation skills in an unscripted dating show, The Bitchelor. Constance Zimmer and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman of Unreal guest judge.