We’re back Henny’s with another episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, and another rendition of Divas Live which is a nice way to give a nod to the network that’s now hosting this show. In the week that’s passed since the first episode, we’ve seen all the queens getting showered with love, especially Bebe who has actually seen a huge uptick in her Instagram following. It’s nice to see these iconic queens getting some of the recognition that they deserve… so now let’s ruin that by going through what happened and talking about it.
So when the episode starts, my prediction from last week is proven completely correct. For those who don’t want to click on that link and read my college essay on why last weeks episode was amazing, allow me to produce the relevant section of the text.
I will not be shocked in any way if next week we find out that Aja picked Chi Chi based on her reaction to Ben’s speech.
I was not shocked. Not in the slightest. I was surprised how everyone else seemed to be shocked by Aja’s decision, especially Ben (Who want’s you to know just how shitty it feels to eliminate someone by mentioning it about 80 times). Honestly, they all seem surprised that the queens picked different people to eliminate. I’m glad they did pick different people though because it means that it’s not going to be obvious who is going home every week. That was the big problem with All Stars 2, we knew who was going to go home because they got the worst critique and the girls just went with that. Sorry, if we’re eliminating who the judges think is worse then why not just let the judges eliminate? I prefer not knowing, this means that the final lip sync actually has some serious weight to it because now we’re not going to get 4 or 5 episodes with both queens eliminating the same person. I want drama damnit.
Since the elimination isn’t going to give me drama, the workroom will and I love that it was Chi Chi who called out that Milk’s performance wasn’t great. Yes, Milk has a point that she can’t really come out ice skating on a stage in LA but at the same time… come up with something better than Velcro and cardboard outfits. I’m genuinely appreciating that the queens are actually calling each other out when they make a mistake, this might be a group of sisters but they aren’t afraid to call something bad when it’s bad. Also, anyone else getting a tiny bit annoyed at how Milk is behaving? I understand the episode is edited, we’re seen 1 hour out of 16 that they shot, but holy crap there is way more diva here than I like. Not even fun diva, just whiny diva.
Speaking of Divas, that’s the main challenge. All the queens have to portray a famous musical diva in a epic lip sync to a medley of RuPaul’s songs. This is basically going to give them a chance to do a modified version of Snatch Game where they have to embody the characters for a performance on the stage. I notice though there’s no mini challenge and that kind of sucks a lot because the mini challenges are usually so silly and fun, plus we get the pit crew in bright close up shots and really that’s half the reason we watch right?
The rehearsal for the main challenge goes almost exactly like every other rehearsal for every big performance piece. Some people seem to think that their part is set up to fail… OK, one person (Thorgy) thinks that and they’re wrong. That person also thinks someone else is set up to win and… no, sorry. This one is insanely even and it’s down to the performer to sell the part that they’ve been given because every part does give a lot to work with. This isn’t like AS2 when Katya has the obvious disadvantage because we still remember what Diana looked like, we have a batch of divas that everyone knows and all of them have specific quirks that could be used to create a good drag version of that persona. The person who seems to be getting the persona right from the beginning is Shangela, who owns Mariah from the second she’s given the character and all throughout the rehearsal. I know Todrick and Milk didn’t seem to appreciate it, but I loved it. Shangie took the character she was given and completely owned it, making sure she understood how to create this performance.
Speaking of Todrick, he may be the shadiest queen of them all because he just has a line for everyone and they are incredibly hilarious and I just need to copy them down here because… yes, Todrick for All Stars 78
- “Kennedy Davenport is known for being a fierce queen that can dance the house down but right now the house is still up. No chance of it even shattering. Don’t need insurance because it’s not gonna come down.”
- “Yeah, we gave our wind machine to Beyonce so we don’t have that here today”
- “There is a lot of footwork going on that is not the footwork we need”
Todrick is shady and I love it. I love it. Did I mention loving the shadiness? Also, I just want it noted that during the rehearsal for the Janet Jackson part, the two ‘Dancing Divas of Drag’ (Kennedy and Chi Chi) were in flats or bare feet, meanwhile Aja had on a heel and was prepared to work them. Just had to make sure that was known.
The other major portion of the rehearsal is Thorgy getting back into her own head and… look, I love Thorgy. I love her, she’s an amazing queen but I’m genuinely sick to death of her anger towards Bob. Yeah, Bob beat you… move on. Then there’s her annoyance that other queens are better dancers or getting a prop when she has a character she could do anything with if she actually tried. It’s a repeated thing that doesn’t paint her in the best light which sucks because I want her to excel. She had so much potential she didn’t get to show on her season and I want to see it but god damn it, when she get’s in her head like she did this episode I end up screaming at the screen because I know that’s going to be her downfall.
So now let’s talk about the main challenge itself, the VH1 Divas performance with everyone as their iconic queens. So let’s talk about each one in the order they appear on the show (These aren’t going to get shorter until we’re at the top 5 or something are they?)
We begin with Milk as Celine Dion and… I mean, she had great energy but that look doesn’t even remind me of Celine Dion. Yeah, it’s a recent outfit but does anyone think of Celine in that outfit? Or in that hair? I’ve looked at the original look and she is accurate so I can’t fault it for that, but this isn’t what most people think of when they think of Celine Dion. You think of her in a big gown with giant brown hair, not in this outfit. I do admit though, I loved the touch of a Peanut Butter necklace which is a subtle enough addition to make me be OK with this outfit even if I didn’t like it.
Out next is Kennedy as Janet and my god this is sad. I love Kennedy, she’s a dance fiend and can lip sync anyone under the table… when she knows the words. She didn’t know them here and she had plenty of time to learn them, she had 1 verse to learn. Not knowing your words on one of these things when you have very few words to learn… no. Also, her dancing wasn’t good, she actually missed steps and it just hurt to watch because I know for a fact she can do better. Part of me hopes that if she makes it to Snatch Game that she’ll do Janet again, just to prove to everyone that she can do it.
Aja comes out as Amy Winehouse and it’s amazing. She picked one specific mouth action, the Elvis mouth shape absolutely works for this version of the character. Aja is clearly having fun as Amy, she looks exactly like her with that hair and outfit perfectly on point and her performance is a real joy to watch. It’s hard to say much other than just “It’s really really good you guys”.
Chi Chi comes in as Patti Labelle and she completely owns the stage. Her characterisation is perfect, she has the little details right, her lip sync is on point and my god it’s nice to see Chi Chi back in the game because after last week I was so worried but this performance was awesome as hell. It gave me the same feeling I got when I saw her Eartha Kitt from last season, she got every little eccentricity right that she needed to have to create the character.
Trixie as Dolly Parton is just right. It’s exactly what we expected, it’s the kind of character choice that we all expect and we got exactly what we expected. I love her fake strumming of the guitar, just something about it was funny to me. Probably because you know that she was desperately trying to not make the actual sound come out but still make it look just right. Seriously, why are the strings on the prop guitar for a lip sync number?
Then Shangela appears as Mariah Carey and steals the show with a performance that’s a perfect combination of spoken word and occasional singing. Shangela doesn’t miss a single syllable and looks better than I think she’s ever looked before. I still don’t believe she was set up to win, I think it’d be stupid of them to actually set someone up to win, but she took what she was given and made the most out of it by creating easily the best performance of the entire show.
Thorgy then follows with her Stevie Nicks who looks pretty perfect but is missing a lot of those special little Stevie motions. She could’ve done so much more with it but even the spin doesn’t quite feel right. She had a good number to work with because she got to do Born Naked which could’ve allowed her to go all out but I just don’t think she pushed it far enough.
BenDeLaCreme comes out as Julie Andrews which is one of the weirdest Divas they could’ve picked but Ben absolutely owns it. She is giving the dirtiest dance moves and selling this sex kitten performance, but with Julie Andrews’ trademark warmth showing on her face. It’s kind of the best thing because hearing Julie Andrews (Or at least, an imitation version) saying how she’s endowed is undeniably perfection.
Bebe is out last as Diana Ross and while she get’s a fair amount right… it’s just Bebe. I love it, I love the performance but it’s just Bebe. Most of the other queens absolutely enveloped their characters and shows something that was very different to their normal personalities, or at least made you believe they were doing a character, but Bebe just kind of looked like Bebe doing Bebe with a different kind of wig on. I’m not shocked to say, she’s safe.
I feel like this might be one of the best group performances the show has put on, it had a lot of great ideas and great queens giving great performances but of course, that’s only half of what they have to do. They then have to do their grand rudemption outfits, taking bad outfits from previous seasons. I’m not going to go through them all, just my top 3 (Because these are long, I’m well aware of that). And yes, this is in a very specific order.
3. Kennedy – Let’s be honest, her original Death Becomes Her look was a crock. Her story made no sense and it looked awful but you know how to make that work? Take the stupid silly story and commit to it. Not only does her “Trade burned me alive” look work wonderfully this time, but when she tore that away to reveal what it looks like when she crystalised… I was shaken, that was incredible. I love that she took the story and just completely owned it and made something special out of it.
2. Aja – Her update of Princess Disastah is just incredible. The original was so haphazard and crappy, but this is sleek and perfect, her makeup is flawless and that dress is everything. I’m just flabbergasted by how gorgeous she looks in this, everything is exactly right from the wig to the gown, all of it works wonderfully and is a complete upgrade. She may be a princess of disaster, but she looks like a goddamn queen.
1. Shangela – Holy crap this is iconic. She came in as a goddamn snowglobe. She updated her Christmas look in the best way. Covered in baubles, pure and perfect and on top of all of that, she’s walking around in a giant bubble in big red heels that match the outfit perfectly. She is a pure Christmas delight in this outfit and I can’t get enough of it, it’s an incredible upgrade that would’ve made everyone in her season crumble in shame. Also how the hell did she get that bubble in her suitcase? How did she get it up the stairs backstage? I want a video of her getting in that bubble, I want to know how she pulled that off
So our top 3 for the week are Shangela, Bebe and BenDeLaCreme while the bottom three were Kennedy, Thorgy and Chi Chi. I’m honestly a little unsure that Chi Chi belongs there, and judging by her critique I don’t think the judges did either. They spent more time complimenting her than they did for some previous winners and her only critique was “You could tweak this look a little” which is not really a reason to be a bottom three considering that everything was fine except for… no, end of sentence, everything was fine. I think if you needed 3 for the bottom I’d of maybe put Milk there but… oh, let’s talk about Milk. Milk chucked a little bit of a hissy fit when she was just safe because she expected to be in the top 3 because she was in more of the number and again, let me state that I love Milk a lot but she just wasn’t that memorable in the performance. I saw Trixie in the background, Shangie made sure she stood out, even Aja made sure you noticed her but Milk just didn’t stand out for me. Plus her Celine didn’t look that good, sorry.
After the critiques, Chi Chi and Bebe were declared safe which feels pretty appropriate. This means Shangela and BenDeLaCreme are top two and get to have the fun discussion about who is going to go home. While they have those deliberations the judges have a game of strip poker and I’m just not OK with that. Not because it isn’t funny, it objectively was hilarious seeing Carson sitting there with titty tassels on and I kind of wish he’d just sat like that for the rest of the episode but… am I alone in saying that I wanted to see Michelle Williams lip-syncing against a Porkchop? That was hilarious last week, they could’ve done that every week and I know for a fact no one would object. No, instead of that we get strip poker and Milk crying about being safe. Everyone seems to have the same reaction I did… namely
The girls head back to the main stage where Shangela and BenDeLa perform Jump (For My Love) by the pointer sisters.
At the start, it looked like BenDeLa might pull out two in a row, but she doesn’t expect Shangela to pull out a jump rope and start skipping and jumping about. It’s kind of amazing to witness Shangela slowly showing off more and more of what she can do, with a fun sexy performance that has just the right amount of comedy in it. Ben does pretty great too, giving a great comedic performance like an old woman slowly getting more and more tired during the number and even throwing in a kickass reveal that looked amazing but she wasn’t going to be able to compete with Shangela pulling a jump rope out of her ass and doing that in heels while lip syncing and just… yeah, Shangie win’s and Shangie deserved to win. She ends up sending home Thorgy Thor and while she definitely didn’t do well this episode, I wish I’d gotten to see more of her. I can’t wait till the inevitable redemption episode where she get’s to come back to fight for a spot because I want to see more of her, I just wish she didn’t get lost in her head.
Oh right, and then the episode ends with Chad and Alaska sneaking up on Thorgy wearing Handmaid’s Tale outfits and I swear to god I hope they do something with this Handmaid’s Tale thing beyond just the visual reference. It’s a great reference, I love that they’re bringing the old winners in to be a part of this, but I hope it’s more than just a fun little reference. And that’s it for this week, I definitely agree with our winner and loser, slowly getting tired of a certain Dairy Queen’s diva attitude and looking forward to next week where they’ll get to do an improv show called “The Bitchelor”… so, yeah, that’ll end well.