Welcome to The RuPaul Re-cap, a weekly series where I will be discussing the newest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. All-Stars 3 is finally here, and I will be choosing 3 topics to discuss. A SPOILER WARNING is in effect…
Dodge, diva, drag, drama, and dodge!
First: Diva (The Challenge) For the sake of chronology, the drama section will be at the end. The main challenge seemed like a match made in heaven. The queens were assigned a diva whom they would impersonate in a lip-sync and choreography show. Everyone seemed paired perfectly.. until Thorgy spoke up. Everyone’s favourite fashion clown complained about her assignment as Stevie Nicks. 10 minutes into the episode, Thorgy had already declared to Shangela (who would play Mariah Carey), “You are literally set up just to win” and “There is no way, because I’m Stevie, that I’m ever gonna win this.” At first I thought that she was going full Nina Bo’nina Brown. But as the episode progressed, I started to side with her.
This episode was stuffed with transparent favourtism. We all know that Thorgy and Kennedy end up in the bottom two. Even during practice, they were not being treated fairly. Kennedy, struggling with the choreography, commented “I can get it, but I’m having trouble right now” to which Todrick Hall responded “You’re telling me you’re giving up already?” #wut Kennedy admitted that it was difficult, but she did not say that she gave up. After Kennedy was told she was given the hardest choreography, Thorgy was next. “I’m not gonna give you that much choreography” Todrick told her. #wut Kennedy was given too much, and Thorgy not enough. How could Thorgy not “get lost in the shuffle” when she was given so little to work with? The fact that Thorgy had to speak up to get more time in the number reveals that queens were not given equal footing.
But let’s talk about the actual show. Milk was the first contestant. Many people thought that her Celine Dion was not very good. What she wore, and how she acted did not give me Celine. However, with Milk I have to become more informed about what she is doing to really get it. I decided to Google search Celine Dion’s Met Gala outfit, and Milk was actually spot on. Aside from a clasp on Celine’s dress which was absent on Milk’s, it was extraordinary, even down to the hairstyle. Her missteps were entirely in the performance. Her movements were very Milk, and her lipsync was off.
Kennedy was second, and her Janet Jackson was not spectacular. Although Janet has worn bodysuits, they are not her signature. Kennedy’s choice was very sci-fi, and her wig was not recognizably Janet. Her downfall though was the brutally obvious fact that she did not know the song. She looked great, and she moved with so much energy. But the challenge was to be Janet, not Kennedy.
Aja’s Amy Winehouse was good, but it was not perfect. The wig was a little too polished, and her make-up should have been more severe because of Amy’s exaggerated wing. However, her look overall was successful and her lipsync was great. But, it became immediately obvious that Aja was one of the queens who was given more direction and props. Consequently, her dance and her choreography were superior to the first two queens.
Chi Chi’s performance was very high energy, and her choreography was entertaining. Her lipsync was fine, and her outfit was perfect. Yet, she still faded into the background this episode.
Trixie was assigned the role of Dolly Parton, and she was great on stage. I take issue with her make-up, only for the sake of consistency. Thorgy was clocked by Michelle for doing Thorgy make-up on Stevie Nicks. Why did Trixie not receive this critique too? I generally like her make-up, but it was 100% Trixie. Having said that, I also think she was hilariously underrated in this challenge because her outfit, her movement, and her lipsync were on point.
Shangela was one of the strongest competitors this week, and she absolutely nailed Mariah Carey. She was given a funnier song than some of the other girls, but believe she would have turned out anyone.
Thorgy was given the unfortunate position between Shangela and BenDeLa, who were the winners. Michelle critiqued Thorgy for being too Thorgy, and not enough Stevie. But I thought differently. In fact, I thought that Thorgy sold Stevie so well that she should consider impersonating her in the future. Her weakness here was that she was not given a funny song, or any real direction from Todrick. Given who she played, she did an excellent job. When the camera panned to the judges, I felt very confused by their unimpressed faces.
BenDeLa played Dame Julie Andrews, and absolutely slayed. I think that she should have won the challenge this week, but we do not want another Alaska. Her costume was immediately recognizable; a hint Milk should have noted. Ben’s movements were hysterical and her lipsync was solid.
Lastly, BeBe Zahara Benet was Diana Ross. The judges were living for her. But I disagree. I was sincerely underwhelmed. I do not see images of Diana Ross with BeBe’s opaque, white eyeshadow, and her eyebrow arch was much higher than BeBe painted. BeBe’s lipsync was very good, but it ultimately did not feel like much of a performance. When her number was over, it had hardly begun.
Second: Drag (The Runway) Before I digress again to the Thorgy drama, we will turn to the runway. As soon as Shangela remarked that Vanessa Williams would judge her for a second time, I got the nagging feeling that Shangela was being given another leg up. Shangela had a unique opportunity to show her growth.
Milk’s runway was very sleek. I loved the fabric, and the metal fasteners. Her wig was giving me Miss Fame realness, and it was definitely an improvement in the glamour department.
Aja blew me away; having gotten so much more polished in such a short time. The make-up, costume, and hair were all exponentially better than the first time around. It was like comparing a messy teenager to a fairy-tale princess. She choose the look where she said she felt “the ugliest and the lowest” and absolutely turned it around.
I did not like Chi Chi’s pink bathing suit, and I do not like her neon yellow dress. I agree with Michelle that the coat was not needed, but I am more hung-up on the hat. Because the hat was the same colour as the wig, it looked like the hair had a lump on one side. Chi Chi looked better in pink, but the fact that she added padding was a huge plus.
Trixie chose to re-do her ugliest dress, wearing something significantly worse. It was very Trixie, and surpassed the first dress in ugliness entirely. It was just a terrible, shapeless thing, covered in bows and loose material. I loved it.
Kennedy, on the other hand, was not purposely going for an ugly look. At least the story made more sense this time, but I hated the outfit. The length was perfect, but the face cover was too much. Despite how off-putting it was, I will give her credit for doing a reveal and stoning the whole thing. Unfortunately, the look underneath was too much like her entrance look. But it was still better than the outside.
Thorgy also re-did the neon runway, like Chi Chi, but she was more successful. I liked her initial look, but in retrospect it was shapeless. This time, the eyebrows could have been toned down, but otherwise I disagree with Michelle saying it looked like two different looks. I really liked how the dress trailed behind her. She was giving full Disney villain.
It is hard to critique Ben on the runway. She looked so good in her season and in this episode. I think that the slight palette change was great, she looks excellent in pink. But I do think that AS3 has been the season of body suits, and it is time for more variety…
BeBe looked good, but she did not wow me. I do not think that she should have been in the top 3. Honestly, it is hard to see her original outfit because of the season 1 filter, and she looked alright this week. But for All Stars, it was basic. I am far more impressed with her when she gives huge hair, and Cameroon.
Shangela’s entrance was so dramatic, and unexpected! As an edit, I did not like the points on her ear muffs. Acid Betty wears weird pointy things on her head better. Shangela’s look would have been cleaner, overall, with a little editing. She looked beautiful, but her outfit did not scream “Christmas!” to me. However, considering the costume literally fell apart the first time, this was quite an improvement.
Third: Drama (Milk & Thorgy) I’ll end this week’s re-cap with some comments on the divas behind the diva challenge. Thorgy made the first comment on this episode, and was already being portrayed as something of a villain. She and Shangela were both unsympathetic to Ben’s feelings concerning Morgan McMichaels’s elimination. The difference was that Thorgy essentially said ‘suck it up’ whereas Shangela said ‘Ben is playing the game.’
But let’s not forget that one of the most dramatic moments of the episode came from Chi Chi, when she called out Milk as her choice for queens who showed “less talent than others.” This opened the door for the annoying, egotistical attitude which Milk has been flaunting since she entered the workroom and commented that she is better than Trixie. But Trixie’s wit was sharp as ever when she commented “Milk your talent can’t be velcro” to the camera.
There is drama stirring between Milk and Shangela, as the latter remarked on Milk’s boastfulness. Milk came for Shangela when she thought that Shangela was being annoying. Shangela putting on her Mariah Carey before the actual challenge would get on people’s nerves. However, I think that the final edit did not show her being annoying, so much as funny. This keeps Shangela as a likeable character for her later triumphs. Shots were fired, “[Milk] thinks she’s better than everyone in this room” and “Shangela step down from your high horse.” We will see how this develops as the story unfolds!
Milk’s hugely dramatic breakdown took place during the judge’s deliberation. In the bottom two, poor Thorgy was nearly crying. But Milk was safe and made a much bigger scene. While standing at the back of the stage, Milk could be heard commenting “This is f**king ridiculous, I hate this.” She made it very apparent that she thought she should have been in the top 3, and that the others did not deserve to be. She admitted that she wants to be commended, congratulated, and praised. It reminded me of Shannel, who felt that the critiques meant that the judges did not think she was good enough. It is a dangerous emotion in a Reality Show because it can easily be spun into a villain edit. When this season began, I figured that Morgan and Thorgy would be portrayed as villains. Since they are both gone[ish], it looks like Milk will fill that role.
Unfortunately for the contestants, this will not be the last they see of Thorgy. She warned that, if eliminated, she could “not predict the way [she would] react…”
Note: Does All-Stars 3 have a Roxxxy Andrews, because Shangela is playing RuPaul’s Best Friend Race? On the other hand.. was Thorgy so defeated that she would not make a great ally?
– My top 3 would have been BenDeLa, Shangela, and either Trixie or Aja.
– My bottom 3 would have been Kennedy, Chi Chi, and Milk.
– Ben mimicking Shangela’s movements in the lipsync was so smart, and so fresh.