We did it, gays and non-gays: it’s time, once again, for a Drag Race season. And this isn’t any season either: it’s All Stars. We’ve speculated about who we think will win and its time to watch as our homo brackets bear fruit in the game of all gay games.
Join me in analyzing this first jaunt of the season, shall we? Here are ten stray thoughts about the season’s debut for the number of queens competing this episode.
Spoilers, obviously. Proceed with caution.
Am I alone in thinking that the season’s start with the Handmaid’s Tale nod was weird? Not because it was six months too late in the timely and trendy department but because something about it felt…off? I can’t pinpoint why but the answer seems to lie somewhere between Chad’s face being too full of fillers and there being a decidedly low energy between the two former winners. It was weird and the late-in-the-episode callback to them seemed wonky and, in some ways, unnecessary. Are they going to pay this off? In what way will Handmaid’s play into this season’s plot twist? More on this later.
9. Gay Cheers
The thing about All Stars that is so rewarding is that it often feels like the show Cheers, where you’re so familiar with everyone and they seem so familiar with you. It’s like a reunion! Everyone is on an even playing field to the audience and so much of the bullshit of “getting to know you” is gone, affording so many more opportunities to have some fucking fun. Good! Again: this is why All Stars has leaped above and beyond the normal series because, as we’ve learned from Aja, the queens go from being children to being adults. It was good to see them all together again, even the dumb ones like Milk who were instantly fucking terrible, curdling on your eyeballs.
8. Bebe? More Like BehBeh.
We all knew the twist of a “tenth queen” was coming. I knew who it was from a little insider information from a friend who worked on the show but, still, it was kind of boring, no? Bebe looked beautiful but there wasn’t really anything “brought” from her being added to the cast. She didn’t – Or doesn’t! – have the bite of a Morgan or Tyra Sanchez and seems to constantly be gliding on silken voice. I suppose we can stay tuned for Bebe’s reveal to reveal itself to be worth it but, as of now, I’m unimpressed. A friend did point something out: Bebe’s reveal did have the cast shaking in their heels. Let’s hope that continues. (But! Her non-win of the first challenge seemed to poo poo that.)
7. Seasonal Premature Ejaculation Disorder?
The reading challenge this early plus a twist of a new queen given in the first twenty minutes of the season? Let’s hope you aren’t blowing your load so soon, All Stars 3. The reading challenge was also better and worse than expected as people like Milk seemed to rise (Somehow!) while people like Chi Chi seemed to fall (Somehow!).
6. Ben De La Who
Speaking of better and worse, how the fuck did Ben win the reading challenge? It was clearly produced for her to win given that five of her burns were included in the segment as opposed to other queens getting one, two, or three burns included. It was obvious Ben would win, even if her razzes weren’t the most sickening. Moreover, what the fuck was up with her Jughead-as-screamo-band-lead-singer out-of-drag “look”? I wasn’t here for it. As my friend Kate summed it up, “Ben out-of-drag looks like a manager of a Chuck E. Cheese.” She’s right. Also, what was up with the burns on him for being absent from the scene? Even if he was absent, and? Self-care, people. Learn it from Katya!
5. Untalented Show.
The show really dove into the talent show fast, offering no taste of what was to come or peeks into practicing or conceptualizing what we would see outside of very, very scant “I’m going to do this.” from Morgan in the work room. The results were quite a mixed bag that skewed untalented, in my opinion: Shangela’s gospel something was upstaged by bad hair; Bebe’s Lion King act was inspired but not very visually striking (fashionably speaking, I guess); Thorgy’s got talent if not taste; Aja’s high jump was inspired but her poorly fitted crotch overshadowed her (And what the fuck was that strange crotch arrow pointing up at? Her sternum?); Chi Chi’s baby Kennedy performance was cute if not sad; Morgan, like Shangela, got upstaged by her wig; Milk was a Velcro™ advertisement; and Trixie fell into the Coco Montrese trap of supposed talent trumped by poor taste. Kennedy was the clear winner in my book and Ben was a distant second for creativity. They should have barred the lipsynching-their-own-songs thing because that just makes it…a drag show instead of a variety show.
4. Michelle Visage Is The Pokémon Evolution Of Vanessa Hudgens.
It was hard not to see them as a living before-and-after photo. Also, Vanessa Hudgens as the debut judge? Really? She was a glass of warm milk. And the Porkchop tease that didn’t pay off with the real Porkchop? To that I say: BOO. BOO on you, Drag Race. You had the budget! And you didn’t bring Porkchop back! BOO.
3. No Winner, Know Loser.
What the fuck was up with the ruling here? Ben versus Aja? Morgan and Chi Chi on the bottom? I was lost with what was going on. None of it felt right, save for Ben, and it led to a slightly fizzled lipsynch to one of the best possible songs to lipsynch to. I was slobbering when I heard it would be “Anaconda,” gay drool dribbling out of my mouth in a puddle of liquid desire in my lap, but apparently I was alone with my anticipation since neither Aja nor Ben brought anything to the song. Which bring us to this: how the fuck did Ben win that lipsynch? She wasn’t awful but Aja seemed to be channeling the song a touch more, making Ben’s debut episode double win all the weirder. The one perk of her win: I literally screamed in the elimination because I was convinced my bb Chi Chi was a goner because Ben ultimately did what Morgan said she would do if she won, whether Ben meant to or not. It was a delightfully “WHAT THE FUCK??!?!?!?!?!!!!” elimination that made the entire episode (and the terrible lipsynch) worth it.
2. How Will Morgan Return?
This is a question I don’t have an answer for. For all intents and purposes, the same “twist” from last season is going to happen. The only thing standing in the way of this theory is the Handmaid’s connection which was either 1.) an extended joke that will only live in those brief moments of this episode (We should have this answer immediately, if the past winner’s portraits remain OfRuPaul’d.) or 2.) there will be some sort of ritualistic stoning of the eliminated versus the still-in-play to conjure the action of the Handmaids. We shall see.
1. But Did Anything Happen?
In writing this, I’ve realized that nothing really happened in the episode. We got a reading challenge, we got a talent show, we got a lipsynch, we got an elimination. No big revelations were had about the queens and no story lines were really indulged. No bitchy subplots were revealed and no one outted themselves as actually catty. It seemed like a bunch of Drag Race buzzwords were plugged into a mood board of alumns for the show and we got to watch the stop motion animation that manifested. This was a decent debut but I was left very hungry immediately following my binge of the ep.
Now the very difficult task of ranking the queens who are in-play. Using my old ranking as the basis, let’s see where we stand.
Morgan McMichaels(Down five – and out. I was bummed to see Morgan go! Like Ross said, I have seen her perform countless times in Palm Springs and she commands the town. She is such a great performer!! Sadly, her “bitch schtick” got the best of her. It appears her brand of reality star type has disappeared.)
9. Milk (Up one. This queen is here as a formality because I still maintain she is the worst. She also was unnecessarily – and stupidly – bitchy for no reason. It doesn’t suit her because she’s bad at trying to “be bad.” Also, whatafuckinghunkoutofdrag. I forgot about this! Also LOL @ her “post-show” accomplishments because they were all out-of-drag affairs. Clearly, the producers wanted Miss Fame or Pearl but had to settle on this low rent high fashion queen.)
8. Bebe Zahara Benet (Debut. Underwhelmed already. I wish Tyra Sanchez were brought back.)
7. Aja (Up one. She fared better this episode than I imagined but I don’t think this baby is going that far.)
6. Chi Chi (Down four. This breaks my heart. I love Chi Chi and she looked so good out of drag but, alas, she didn’t learn her lesson about polish.)
5. Trixie Mattel (Down four. Same as Chi Chi, honestly. If they produce for the fans – which we should know quite quickly – Trixie will win. I’m secreting that they don’t produce for fans because that would make for better television.)
4. Ben De La Creme (Up two. A formality because of her success this first episode.)
3. Thorgy Thor (Maintained. This will bite me in the ass. I love Thorgy. She’s my favorite fashion clown!)
2. Kennedy Davenport (Up five. Given her talent in the talent show, it was very clear that Kennedy is what I wish Chi Chi were. Fingers crossed she goes far!)
1. Shangela (Up three. This girl can play the game and will bring it. I wasn’t convinced before and during the episode that Shangela has “it” but I remembered what a strategist she is and realized that will greatly benefit her. Moreover, she is maybe too accomplished to be on the show given the credits that she mentioned in her “Welcome back!” package. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – we have yet to have a queen of color win an All Stars crown. It’s time.)
Thoughts? What were your takeaways? How has your bracket shifted? @ me all your thoughts, please.