Another week has come and gone and here we are surrounded by queens. With our beloved Jush gone, it’s time to make a girl group challenge happen (So, we know they won’t be doing that for the inevitable “Bring the girls back” episode). This challenge also comes with one glorious addition, winner of All-Stars 5 miss Stacy Layne Matthews. So, let’s get into it Henny.
First thing we get is the reveal that Jasmine was going home no matter what, which is a little bit of a shock because I could’ve sworn that Monique was done with the crying from Farrah but turns out that the second Farrah stopped crying and showed she was in it to win it, that seemed to have saved her. Now, I would love to go into a deep dive about my thoughts regarding if that was the correct choice BUT instead, let’s have a brief discussion about the power of editing and how it forms the creation of a persona in a reality show because editing on a reality show is nothing short of incredible. Edit out all the bad parts and you can make the most hateful person into an angel (Big Brother UK did this by somehow making Katie Hopkins into a likable enough human being that she made it to the final 2) A creative edit can also make someone look bitchy without trying (Go back to AS2 and really think about how Phi Phi came across and you will notice a few interesting moments of editing to make her look worse). We’ve seen this time and time again on this and many other shows where an innocent comment gets a rattlesnake noise and we instantly perceive it to be the harshest thing ever said. Cut in a reaction shot from an unrelated moment, you create drama. It is obscenely powerful and at all times we must be aware that, as Tatiana herself once taught us, what you see isn’t always the truth… well, the truth is that Gia Gunn is possibly the biggest villain to ever walk into that workroom.
To state that the way Gia behaved in this episode was nothing short of disgusting would be an understatement. Look, I get that shows need drama and I have no doubt in my mind that there are moments of this episode that involved a producer saying “Hey, talk about this thing with so-and-so” and then nature took its course, but if you want to see the most intense example of straight up bullying and sabotage that you’ve ever seen on this show then Gia is here to show you exactly what that looks like. Forgoing my normal beat by beat recap, the overwhelming feeling I got from this episode was a genuine feeling of irritation about the way Gia believed it was OK to act. I do not want to be annoyed at Gia, I think she’s a genuinely talented queen who can turn a look… but, holy crap, I wanted someone to just smack her because she’s being cruel at this point. And we also now know that her cruelty to Farrah was (ALLEGEDLY) because Farrah turned up to her work drunk one day and causes a scene roughly 7 months prior. Yeah, that sucks, but holy crap you would’ve thought that Farrah ran over Gia’s puppy. We’re going to touch back on this again at the deliberation but Gia’s constant pouncing on Farrah and her entire bit at the mirror where Farrah finally clapped back… that wasn’t an edit, that was just Gia being a bitch and not the fun iconic bitch that we can quote. I can quote Phi Phi, I can quote Roxxy, I could quote any of the bitches from any season… Gia doesn’t even make her bitchiness joyful, it’s just mean.
This week the queens have to pick teams and have to make their girl group songs. The teams are Trinity, Valentina, Latrice, Manilla and Gia who perform the song “Don’t Funk It Up”, then there is Monique, Monet, Naomi and Farrah who are performing “Everybody Say Love”. I know it’s probably silly but I really don’t like the uneven team aspect of this, it basically handed Trinity an extra player and looks wrong. Honestly, they should’ve waited one more week and do it when they can have even teams but this is just… I don’t like it, I don’t know why, I just don’t like it. The girls have to not only write verses for their own song but do choreography (Guess Todrick was unavailable) and work Stacy Layne Matthews into it. I’m dead serious about her being in All-Stars 5, she is genuinely incredible and looks fantastic. I want to see her back in the competition. I also really hope that they make bringing back past contestants to be part of the main challenge into a regular thing, having the queens working with other past contestants for an episode is something else that I just genuinely love to see.
The section of the show where they record and practice has every single one of the same issues that happens every time they do this. The one you think can’t sing a note ends up slaying it, the one who you expect to belt out a song like nothing else ends up not doing well. When they do the choreography there are the same issues as always… people not getting the choreography, people trying to take over when they aren’t the ones in charge, it’s a lot of the same that we’ve seen before with a bunch of queens who don’t seem to know what they’re doing… but, that’s the editing again because see 2 minutes, they’re there for hours. Just once I’d enjoy it if the editing would maybe try something interesting and not do that again. Then it’s back to the workroom where it’s all just more of Gia stirring the pot. This is when Monique actually calls out the BS and it’s something else watching Monique just call out Gia for being a bully. I just wish someone had done that when they were at the deliberation.
But before that (Oh god I have thoughts coming up on that deliberation) we have the actual number and… damn, I’m into this so much. Let’s start with the first group.
- Gia might not be in my good books but I can’t deny that she made her part of the number work, even if the writing wasn’t exactly great.
- Latrice gave me a classic rap queen that was just… goddamn, she was everything and I lived for it.
- Manilla was just… uh, what was with that wig. It was so tiny and she was just so held back that it felt like she was a member of a 90’s pop group that everyone forgets until they turn up at the mall for a grand opening… very that.
- Trinity brought it all, she had great lyrics and energy and a really good sense of the kind of number she was doing
- Valentina came, pissed on the stage, showed everyone how it was to be done while also looking like the superstar she is.
- The second group had problems with choreography and a song that just was… OK, interesting, let’s go with that
- Naomi came out with one hell of a verse and had all the right dance moves to make it work.
- Monique honestly just brought out one awesome verse and had clearly brought it with the best of them, even with that jacket issue (Which, uh, wasn’t an issue?)
- Farrah’s verse was fine but she was having problems with the choreography… like everyone else in the number.
- Monet just delivered the kind of glorious wit that we expect from her and managed to produce actual gold with her verse.
Of course, during all this, Stacy looks amazing and shows why she’s an actual icon of the show who will never be ignored. It was one hell of a show and the runways were really good but when the dust settles, the top two are Valentina and Monet… I can agree with that, though the fact that Latrice wasn’t in the top 3 is just the definition of homophobia. She’s been amazing this week and last week, how is she not a top yet? The Bottoms were Farrah and Monique and I do not agree with that. How Monique was in the bottom because of her coat, meanwhile Gia’s verse wasn’t anywhere near as well written and Manilla was just… yeah, Monique being in the bottom because of a jacket being off was just insane. Maybe they want to justify it because, as the leader, she should’ve been better but… screw it, can they start having Ru being filled in on the workroom bullshit so that maybe that can factor into it. This episode seemed to be building to Gia and Farrah in the bottom two, but having Monique in the bottom was bullshit.
Back in the deliberation room (Which is Untucked, everyone remember that) and while there are some really nice moments where Monet embraces her finally getting to win, the big ones are Monique almost talking herself into an elimination. Just seeing how she keeps pushing for them to go away so they could talk made me worried that she was going to annoy her way into being eliminated but then… let’s talk about the most unprofessional thing that I’ve ever seen on this show. Not just unprofessional on the part of Gia, but unprofessional on the part of the crew. Gia going over to Farrah and Monet and interrupting while Farrah was pleading her case was just absolute bull. Someone should’ve stopped her. One of the queens, a producer, a cameraman, a sense of basic decency, someone or something should’ve made her stop and it hurts so much to see her going over and causing problems when it wasn’t needed. I actually was cursing watching the screen because it wasn’t cute. Is it good television? Sure, but it’s not good behaviour that a good person would do.
The lip sync was to Into You by Ariana Grande and all I wanted was Valentina to win. I love Monet but after season 9, I NEEDED Valentina to show me that she could lip sync. I needed her to just show me what she could do. I honestly wish she’s walked out with a mask just to open the song but I’m glad she just showed that she can absolutely perform when she knows the words. I didn’t even realize Monet was on stage, which is a feat in itself because Monet is one hell of a performer. Valentina just owned that entire stage and her moves were perfect with every single lyric. She was just incredible, this was the pure fire and passion that I was genuinely hoping that I’d get to see from her. It was so good that you couldn’t hear the music over the other queens screaming with joy. There was a second I was convinced that Monet just walked off cos she knew Valentina won it. Congrats sweetie, you completely redeemed yourself in every possible way.
Sadly, Valentina has to send someone home and considering who the bottom two are, it’s obvious that it has to be Farrah. It delights me that just after her elimination, Farrah still has the ability to joke with Valentina with her iconic “You don’t love me” line. It’s so perfectly delivered that the joke goes over Valentina’s head and they handle it adorably. She then delivers the same line to Gia only this one is much more pointed. I love the editors trying to make the audience believe that Ru heard the back and forth… she didn’t, not at that distance, there’s no way she heard it. Still, we lost the highlight of All-Stars 4 so please, support her on tour, buy her merch, cheer on this adorable iconic queen.
Next week, it’ll be time for a variation on Snatch Game with a lot of fun queens and drama so see you next week
Latrice: When they were passing out Little Debbie Snack Cakes, she missed the line honey
Stacy: Well, you know what they say Ru… Never work with animals, children or Drag Queens
Leland (Producer): You’re singing along with Lizzo… How fun is that?
Monet: Her lip sync sent me home, so I feel a little shaded
Stacy: Honey, I’m not doing a death drop because that would be the end of Stacy Layne Matthews, honey. And I promise you, this studio would have a basement
Farrah: Some of us don’t have to force storylines to get airtime