The RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 4 cast is an experienced and talented group. They’re ready to wow from the minute they enter the workroom. Monique Heart and Gia Gunn show up in similar religious iconography, like bridesmaids at competing Catholic weddings. Monique is excited to prove what she can do now that she has the coins to back her talent. I’m excited to see if Gia’s personality softens without the stress of living in a misgendered body. Trinity Taylor arrives in a body bag. She’s rebranding herself as Trinity the Tuck, comedy queen. Naomi Smalls and Farrah Moan make up Team New Lips. They’re gorgeous but the Rinna puckers are unfortunate. Monét X Change tempts mediocrity in a leotard left over from season 10. Production flashes footage of the bread incident before Jasmine Masters makes her big reveal. The woman is a mess in the most divine way and I, for one, can’t wait. And then there’s Valentina. You have to forgive me but I still hear birds singing when she’s around. She’s my Disney Princess. My Virgen de Guadalupe. My Maleficent. I’m totally biased when it comes to Valentina (be warned now).
RuPaul does his whole She Done Already Done Had Herses rigamarole to explain All Stars rules: the top 2 lip-sync for their legacy, $10,000 and the chance to eliminate one of the bottom 2. With business out of the way, RuPaul introduces his guests of honor: All Stars season 1 Team Latrila (Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon). The queens lose their collective minds. These two are Drag Race royalty. It’s a big deal. Their excitement abates when they realize Latrila are shackled to each other. Does this mean we’re returning to the much-hated teams concept? Psych! Not really. Just a goofy way to welcome Latrice and Manila back to a fairer (we hope) version of All Stars.
This is All Stars so the library is open on day 1. There are disappointments (Hey Farrah! I just saw Farrah, girl!) but the zingers really zig-a- zig-ah:
- Farrah Moan is so dumb she thought Valentina was her best friend – Naomi Smalls
- Manila Luzon, I loved you so much on your season. But who’s the Booger now, bitch? – Valentina
- Valentina, Take that thing off of your face. Oh, it is your face. Your other one. – Latrice
- Monique Heart, do you remove makeup with flushable toilet wipes? Because you’re an ass and your makeup is shit. – Manila
Winner: Latrice Royale
RuPaul introduces season 4’s first maxi-challenge: An all star spangled variety show for LGBTQIA veterans and service people. As the queens unpack and untuck, they get their first opportunity to kiki. Naomi fangirls over Latrila. Manila sets herself up by telling the story of the first time she met Lady Bunny. Naomi is so excited, she interrupts to exclaim, “You’re my Lady Bunny.” Being compared to the oldest drag queen in recorded history isn’t welcome news. Everyone’s excited to brag about their talent. Trinity plans a tucking tutorial. Monique will debut her new single Brown Cow Stunning (available now on iTunes). And Jasmine Masters hopes to recreate the magic of her viral videos on the main stage. Monique questions her total lack of preparation (even Beyoncé rehearses) but Jasmine is blithely delusional. Her off-the-cuff monologues pulled her out of obscurity and onto the All Stars runway. Why mess with perfection?
RuPaul is joined by fellow judges Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Ross Matthews. Shangela’s sugarmama Jennifer Lewis does her extra best as guest judge. Since every drag queen in existence makes music these days, half the cast simply perform their hottest track. Monique starts things off by singing live. I’m not a fan of pop so, to me, her single sounds like every other drag queen release. The audience clearly disagrees. Naomi follows, lip-syncing to her own opus (actual lyrics: pose, go up, go down, strut, fashion). It’s a lazy performance until she pulls off the top of her platinum wig to reveal ½ a chrome dome. The weirdness elevates the fashion, and Naomi gets the last laugh. Monét X Change is the most experienced vocalist in the group so she performs the intro to her number live. It’s a bad choice. After a long day at Drag Race, her vocal chords are as worn out as her sponge leotard. Latrice lip-syncs (yawn) but her flag twirling (and magnetic personality) bring the audience to their feet. Valentina rounds out the cast who perform their own music. She’s gorgeous and wonderful and I simply can’t judge her (sorry).
The remaining queens perform original talent that doesn’t rely on producers and auto-tune. Gia does a kabuki performance 15 years in the making. Trinity the Tuck’s tucking tutorial™ is a musical. It’s kooky, on-brand, and slightly boring (sue me). Farrah is a burlesque queen. She’s sexy, she’s slinky, she has the GI’s eating out of the palm of her hand. Until she slips. Ever the professional, Farrah tries to complete the performance while her heart bleeds out on the stage. Manila paints a picture, an old variety show saw. Nothing makes sense until she turns it over. It’s a vase of flowers, with a quick change thrown in for good measure. And Jasmine Masters, in her best bejeweled suit, looks ready for the Laugh Factory. She’s Paula Poundstone in sequins. Unfortunately, her verbal diarrhea doesn’t translate to the runway. It just sounds mean. Jasmine doesn’t notice the room turn silent or the judge’s jaws hanging open. She knows she killed this thing.
Top 2: Monique Heart and Trinity the Tuck
Bottom 2: Farrah Moan and Jasmine Masters
Farrah’s sobs deafen the deliberation room. She’s broken but not beaten and pleads her case with vigor. Her cojones are as big as her tears. Farrah has come to fight. Jasmine is blinded by hubris. She maintains her comedy set was golden. Seeing no need to fight for her spot, Jasmine is blasé and unbalanced. Monique and Trinity could make good cases for sending either queen home.
Monique and Trinity perform Emotions by Mariah Carey. Monique steals attention from the get-go. While Trinity gives an Oscar-worthy performance from the neck up (and dances like a 50 year old with a broken rib), Monique works the stage. She dips and weaves, doing Mariah better than Mariah’s done it in decades. She has this thing in the bag, or so I believe. In what can only be described as another case of Sasha-Velour-has-fucked-up-drag, Monique rips her wig off her head. One small spray of glitter isn’t worth watching a boy gyrate on the stage for the rest of the performance. Repeated shots of her wig hanging from the light rigging underscore RuPaul’s displeasure. Winner: Trinity Taylor
In a blow to lovers of inadvertent comedy the world over, Trinity sends Jasmine Masters home. Fare-thee-well, dear Jush. You do things your own way and I love you for it.
Next week: Auditions for Super Group Henny with Stacy Layne Matthews; Gia picks on Farrah.