Before we begin, yes I changed the name. I called this series “Another RuCap” because everyone and their mother does “RuView”, but that also made me fall into bad habits which we will now try to rectify. When my last RuCap went up there was some discussion about it over on Reddit regarding my professionalism and format choices which I’d like to quickly address before getting into the actual review. Let me state, explicitly, that I am very unprofessional (The lack of money will attest to my unprofessional status) but I’m working on fixing that. It’s a slow process and I only learn how to be better if people tell me something is wrong. So, for the record, if you see areas where I could improve then please tell me. Do not be afraid to critique my critique, it’s the only way I’m going to improve as a writer and a critic. People critiquing my critique is why this week we’re changing the format. For five weeks I’ve done a blow by blow recap of the episode intermixed with opinion and it was lengthy and time consuming and means that the boundaries between opinion and description were blurred to a point that it became hard to know where I ended and a bland recap began. Last thing I want is to just be a bland recap, that format doesn’t work well in text form.
Anyway, onto the most batshit insane episode of Drag Race All Stars.
This episode seemed to be less about revenge and more about making amends. From the moment the five eliminated queens returned it was clear that they held a bit of a grudge over being eliminated… except for Chi Chi who understood completely. The discussion was fascinating, especially Morgan who just called out the hypocrisy of Ben eliminating her in the first episode for a reason that didn’t line up with what Ben had said in the workroom. It was a moment that definitely shook Ben, understandably, while also showed that Morgan isn’t afraid to call things out if she see’s them. I like that she’s actually being real about her feelings and not just worrying about what the fans are going to say. It’s become a trend lately where queens will clearly hold themselves back because they’re afraid of the fan reactions, which is kind of depressing.
The main challenge this week involves girl groups because Emma Bunton is the guest judge so we naturally have to reference Spice Girls around 20 times. The teams are split between the winners and the eliminated queens which makes a fairly even match between the two teams. They both have their obvious strong and weak players and when they perform, it feels like the actual Spice Girls. The eliminated queens have Aja, who is an insanely talented rapper who actually has a new song out called Finish Her that you really out to listen too. They have Morgan, who is determined as hell to get back in there and will do anything she has to in order to prove she belongs back in the game. They also have Milk who, honestly, is pretty adorable when she raps. On the Winners side though they have Shangela, who has proven herself to be pretty quick with a lyric. Trixie, who is an iTunes charting singer-songwriter. Then there’s BenDeLaCreme who is basically just winning challenges like it’s her thing. Basically, both teams have some insanely strong players that’re going to make sure they give their all to this challenge.
The studio work was all about Adam Lambert saying ‘Pussy’ more times than I think he’s ever said that word in his life. He gives them actually helpful critique and actually pulls out some great performances from everyone involved. He didn’t try and push his ideas on them, he got them to flesh out their own ideas to make them the best they could be. He was really into all of them, except for Trixie who he didn’t seem to understand. It’s brought up on the main stage later that he saw her as stand-offish and I wish they’d been able to talk it out so he could understand her sense of humour and maybe they could’ve gotten along better.
When they hit the main stage each queen has some great moments where they can show off their personality and their skills. It ends up being the top five team that wins and easily the best of the bunch, shocking no one, is BenDeLaCreme who created a goth character and she keeps in it the entire time. Watching her in the background is amazing, it’s like seeing Wednesday Addams being forced to do a cheer routine by her college friends. It’s genuinely one of Ben’s best performances of either season, she stole the show. Bebe also did pretty well but I’ll be honest, it does feel like she’s doing the exact same thing every week with no real variation. It’s a great note, she keeps hitting it perfectly, but just once I’d like to see her pull off something different. I honestly felt like maybe her spot should’ve been given to Shangela who really gave an energetic performance and kept pulling attention with her vibrancy.
Top two ends up being Bebe and BenDeLaCreme who perform Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here by Deborah Cox which is… a choice. I know it’s a little cliche to suggest that the queens lip sync a song by the person on the judging panel but why on earth wasn’t the lipsync to Maybe by Emma Bunton? You have a pretty fun energetic lip sync song right there in her catalogue, I promise you she’d of signed off on it AND it’s in keeping with the girl groups theme since it was her big break out song after she left the group. Plus it’s just more fun and lets the queens do more.
This lip sync didn’t let them do much, they barely moved from their spots. While that can occasionally lead to some great moments like Latrice’s iconic Natural Woman, more than often you end up looking like Charlie Hides. The only moment that stood out was when Bebe dramatically took off her wig for no reason. She did the exact same thing in Season One during the Stronger lip sync, except there it was fresh and it made sense in that number. Since then we’ve seen people remove wigs to reveal other wigs, we’ve seen people have headpieces fall off and then kick the number into high gear and of course we’ve now seen Sasha Velour. If you’re going to take your wig off on RuPaul’s Drag Race then you had better have some kind of trick or follow up to that moment otherwise… well congratulations on losing the lip sync.
Ben wins and what follows will go down in Drag Race History. Hell, I will be shocked if it’s not put on lists of greatest TV moments at the end of the year because this is the kind of moment that could only happen on Drag Race. First, Ben decides to save Morgan and bring her back into the competition. It was a genuinely sweet moment where she basically decided to undo the most difficult elimination any of them had to deal with. Then she says
This is the easiest choice that I have had to make this entire season
Followed by pulling her own lipstick out of her bra.
She eliminates herself.
SHE ELIMINATED HERSELF!@@#@@!!!@~~!!q!
It’s the most shocking moment this show has ever had. No one saw this coming for a single instant. No one expected anyone to ever even consider scratching out a name and writing their own. It’s the kind of moment that might seem like it’s the ultimate attempt to remain Miss Congeniality, but there’s also a great power to Ben saying explicitly that she won already and doesn’t need the crown. It also does kind of keep in line with something Ben said when asked about why she wasn’t on Season 2 of All Stars by The Stranger. To quote the relevant portion.
You know what doesn’t make sense? You not being on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. I just watched the first episode. Why aren’t you on there? Did they ask you?
Take another look. Those TV producers are willing to ruin friendships, professional relationships, feelings of self-worth—all for some cheap entertainment. You won’t remember the details of that episode in a week. Those queens may have to work through that experience for years. I’m grateful for the experience I had [on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race], but I’ve already been through hell in my new show—I don’t need to go through it on theirs.
Ben made it known back then that she wasn’t interested in All Stars, her turning up clearly took a lot of convincing and I feel like her talk with Morgan and actually seeing everyone so upset at each other pushed her over the edge and she’d of gone home no matter what. If she’d lost the lip sync, I could see her just quitting right there on the stage. Bottom 3? She’d explicitly demand to be eliminated before the lipsticks were revealed. She had no more in her. She wanted to go out on top and, goddamn it, she did that and that’s a moment of TV history. She won, even without winning.
Ben’s self-elimination does bring up the question of “What now?”. Let’s be honest, we’d all resigned ourselves to a Ben win this season because there was just no other option. It’s not like anyone even came close to her track record. If she had been in the bottom next week, she’d still win the season. There was no way she was ever going home and no way she was going to lose the crown… except for painting her name on a lipstick in whiteout. So who could win now? It is almost anyone’s game depending on what happens next week. Shangela and Trixie are definitely in the lead at this point with Bebe very close behind them. Morgan and Kennedy are a lot less likely to win, but I hope that the time they have left on the show allows them to really show their talent so they can up their booking fees.
This episode shook everything up, no one knows what’ll happen now and that’s honestly the most exciting change this show could ask for. Up until now, it’s been almost predictable and I view this the same way that I viewed the lip sync battle at the finale of Season 9… it’s anyone’s game now, let’s see who plays it best.
All hail the true winner of All Stars 3, BenDeLaCreme
Best Lines Of The Show
- “Luckily the tables are pretty heavy so there’s gonna be no flipping of any sort of table”
- “Oh, you don’t know why I sent you home? I have a lot of reasons” Kennedy pretty much certified her spot in the top three with that sentence.
- “What about mother kitty? Not because she has kids, because she’s old”
- “I’ve never been around that much pussy at once”
- “I got the same parts as Miss Tati”
- “There’s the bigotry, the GOP and misplaced tucks”
So that’s the end of the episode, next week is going to be absolutely nuts but we’ll talk then. Let me know what moments of the episode you liked most in the comments, and if this new style of reviewing is an improvement.