On RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars finale night, my DVR forgot it’s most important job. Le sigh. So here I am, a day late, watching on the small small screen. Once Shangela disarmed BenDeLaCreme’s final landmine, we were left with a final four no one was expecting. There’s the annoying frontrunner, the should-be frontrunner (we were all rooting for you, Trixie), the mole and the Roxxxy Andrews. Who will take the crown? And will it really matter in a post-DeLa race? Sorry if I sound bitter. I’m a little annoyed production went overboard with the drama this year. Please don’t ruin our show, VH1. It’s perfect just the way it is.
RuPaul doesn’t make things easy for his girls. Not only do the final four have to write, sing and dance in “the most ambitious production number in Drag Race herstory” but he drops the news that the eliminated queens are coming back. Again. Again again. Naturally, that’s all the contestants can focus on. What fresh hell will their fallen comrades unleash upon them? Bebe decides they’re coming back as backup dancers because Bebe thinks everyone is her backup dancer. Must be nice.
At rehearsal, the big story is Bebe can’t dance. She gives face but body, not so much. Todrick Hall announces the most challenging aspect of the performance: the whole thing will be done in one take. No stopping, no redos. And this includes backstage work. So even when they’re not on set, they’re on camera. The queens love the idea of making a splash but Todrick wonders if they can pull it off.
As the girls paint for their final runway, I’m reminded why I love Kennedy Davenport so: that muumuu, tho. Talk again turns to the returning queens. The final four are scared but won’t admit it. And they all think they deserve to win. Even Kennedy. I mean, I don’t think it’s a secret that the minute Ben left, the crown belonged to Shangela or Trixie. Right?
RuPaul is alone on the runway. Tonight’s live performance is so huge, so historical, even the judges are involved. The Kitty Girl performance is a hyper-stylized lip dub. Kennedy flows into Shangela who flows into Bebe who flows into Trixie. The judges get their moment under the lights. Even Thorgy Thor makes an appearance. Everyone does their thing. Well, everyone but Bebe. And it’s still a race between Shangela and Trixie.
Guest judge Todrick Hall joins Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Ross Matthews for the final runway. Theme: Eleganza Extravaganza. And all of the eliminated queens, including BenDeLaCreme, are there to witness. Bebe is a cheetah. As usual, her style is Lion King on Broadway on steroids. Très chic. Kennedy is a rainbow flame. She’s pageant, she’s proud. Shangela quite literally takes my breath away. She’s never looked at beautiful as she does tonight. She’s soft. She’s retro. She’s making me reconsider my bias. Trixie Mattel is a standard poodle dressed as Mae West. It’s. A. Look.
Everything is going well, until RuPaul screws it up. The eliminated queens are now the jury. They decide who moves forward as the final two to lip-sync for the crown. In what universe is this a good idea? Or fair? Drag Race isn’t Big Brother. It’s supposed to be a charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent competition.
The jury meets with each Racer. Bebe gives Miss America answers until Thorgy asks whose lipsticks (returning queen and eliminee) she chose when BenDeLaCreme self-evicted. Bebe not only refuses to say, she’s flustered and lies. The jury smells blood. Voices ring out, demanding accountability. But try as they might, Bebe keeps her secret. Kennedy has a very different meeting with the jury. They spend the whole time waxing rhapsodic over her. Shangela
Margaery Tyrell is still using those tired Game of Thrones references. I shouldn’t begrudge her. She needs all the comfort she can get to deal with the six angry faces staring back at her. Nevertheless, she persists. She makes a good case. No one spits in her face. It’s up to jury management at this point. Trixie is slightly tone deaf when she tells the eliminated competitors that being in the bottom two is the worst thing that can happen but mostly she’s sweet and honest. She thinks Shangela is her most worthy opponent while Kennedy and Bebe both have reason to go home. I don’t think she realizes how harsh her critique gets.
With out full attention and many long pauses, the jury announce the top two: Kennedy Davenport and Trixie Mattel. Excuse me? I don’t care what justifications they dream up, this vote is petty af. I want Trixie to win. I’ve been open about that. But I want her to win the right way: against the best competitor. It’s awkward enough that the winner will be the 2nd best queen of Season 3. Now we’ll never know if she’s #2 or #3.
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LEGACY
Kennedy and Trixie perform Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. Kennedy is a gifted performer. She grabs the initial spotlight. But while she’s doing La La choreography, Trixie reaches into your soul and tugs at your heart. Power shifts back and forth between the queens until Trixie reaches into Shangela’s bag of tricks and does a quick change. While Kennedy dances in the background like a Maddie Ziegler to Trixie’s Sia, Trixie takes the crown.
Winner: Trixie Mattel
Well, that was something. I’m proud of my girl Trixie. She deserves the crown. I just wish she had the opportunity to prove it by going against the best. #ShangelaWasRobbed. #SoWasTrixie.
Next week: It’s the Season 10 premiere! Hopefully it’s not as overproduced.