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Ranking The Queens Of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4

Whether we were ready or not, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars is unexpectedly returning on December 14. It should be interesting.

A few top-level thoughts, some of which I shared on Twitter.

• It’s an interesting cast. Primarily, it’s interesting that the cast leans so heavily new, particularly with two queens who just walked off the show: instead of one Ajas, we’ve got two. Moreover, half the cast – Valentina, Farrah, Monique, Monet, Trinity – are from the first two non-All Stars VH1 seasons. What does this mean? They’re banking on their new audience.
• Gia Gunn! This was a surprise that everyone is talking about because Gia both so adamant about not participating and acting against the show’s transphobia. Curious that she’s here which, really, is either going to end in an explosion or everyone is going to fuck up trans representation from a production standpoint.
• The cast is majority queens of color. Great! The white domination of this show has gone on for too fucking long, sheesh.
• The addition of Manilla and Latrice is interesting. This isn’t a complaint but the door is officially open to have people repeat and repeat and repeat since we’ve now had one former winner (BeBe) and now two former contestants from All Stars one. They are pros and, while I don’t think either will win, they will turn the heat up on this competition. (And earn some of this new, non-Logo audience.)
• Some format change is afoot. Everyone realized how much Shangela should have won (Even Ru.) and you can expect some sort of change in the process.
• Will there be any surprises? I don’t think so. Maybe another cast mate? Maybe not. Perhaps something is going to spark from the stupid sounding Christmas special? Stay tuned. Perhaps the Christmas queen’s gift will be a return to the competition? Who knows!
• Wasn’t any else surprised not to see Kim Chi? She kind of is a package deal with Naomi but, then again, she has been wildly successful. That’s the thing at this point: you can’t get Miss Fame, you can’t get Peppermint, you probably couldn’t even get a Valentina ever again because they’ve eclipsed the show so much. Still, surprised we were without a little Chi.

Anyway! Here’s my ranking, which I feel is pretty obvious.

10. Jasmine Masters
Like. She seems surprised she’s on this show! Not untalented, no, but certainly the queen who will be around in a Greek chorus style offering colorful commentary since she isn’t competition. She will hover around the door but, before leaving, will give us one or two great sound bites.

8. Farrah Moan
Similarly to Jasmine, Farrah doesn’t have much steam. A body? Emotion? Sure! She seems too self-aware to make good television – or competition – at this point and will probably play (or reconcile) her beat with Valentina and then we’ll be onto the next. I doubt that will be a protracted bitch fest which would actually change the trajectory of the season – and mean her storyline will get stretched. That would be a shame since it would take seconds of airtime to mend.

8. Gia Gunn
I was going to have Gia out sooner but I have seen Gia performed life and she is a stunner. She will be out early thought but not before pulling a Vixen-esque stunt reclaiming space for transwomen (and cis women, non-binary, gender queer, etc. persons in general) to be on this show, something the franchise sorely needs to get into Ru’s big fucking fat head. Gia will then sashay away – but not without another big fake Chanel purse moment.

7. Monet X Change
Monet! Fun to have her back! She is in over her head though. She isn’t bad at her job, no, but she is all colorful commentary with a little less devastating a glow up as Aja. I’m expecting more of the same from her, honestly: some fun, some funny, but not enough to move beyond the mid-season hump.

6. Monique Heart
Here’s a wildcard! The thing with Monique is that, in her season, she was beleaguered by a lack of funds and support in the wardrobe department. Now? She’s ready to come out kicking and actually do the damn thing. She is going to be this season’s Aja. Sure, yes, she might end up a bit Chi Chi but she will solidly be middle because she truly has a unique charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent – she just was too busy making her own costumes in season ten to shine.

5. Trinity Taylor
I’m having a tough time placing Trinity. I love Trinity! And think she has really blossomed since being off the show. The thing about this funny, unlikely Southern diva is that she is going to have to overcome both legacies and better versions of herself that stand before her. I could be wrong! She’s just tough to place because she dwells between the world of pageantry and unexpected talent. Will she bring her wild cardness again? We shall see. (Also, there is a good argument to be made that none of her season’s top four outside of Shea would have made it that far if it weren’t for Valentina’s bouncing out.)

4. Naomi Smalls
I also had trouble placing this little cutie! I love Naomi and think she does have unexpected talent and skills in a competition. Has she evolved since leaving the show? Eh. Unsure. I think she can still pull the same kind of punches while maintaining the same but, like Trinity, she seems to have failed up after some unfortunate eliminations. This is her time to show that she is a powerhouse – or that she’s just legs, legs, legs.

3. Latrice Royale
The most lovely competitor to step into the work room. Ever. The most talented? I think not. Latrice is going to stick around for some time but, sadly, she may not have the kind of well-roundedness new queens need to have. In short? She’s a touch old and that may catch up to her. I will say that Latrice is a genius when it comes to innovating and thinking outside the box – I just know that the two others ahead of her are a touch better at that.

2. Manilla Luzon
Here’s a hot take: Manilla should have tied with Raja and is, perhaps, one of the most underrated queens to have ever competed on this show. Manilla straddles both runway style with comedy chops and seems to do everything so effortlessly. She’s also the earliest queen represented this season, really pushing her up there in terms of high risk/high reward, putting her in as the BeBe of this season. Manilla is super clever and we can expect her to cut the season up with her surprising edge too. (Also: her real name is “Karl Westerberg” and I still can’t get over that.)

1. Valentina
Do we really think anyone else could take the title? This is her game to lose. She knows better, is better, and will do better. She is definitely going to balance the good girl/bad bitch card and they will play her as the villain and victor in a way similar to Alaska because, like Alaska, she just is the competition. I can’t see her not winning. I just can’t because she has learned her lesson from season nine. She’s just too good! And, honestly, I’m shocked she even agreed to participate: she’s just so “above this” yet here we are.

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