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Saturday
Oct082016

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars E7 - Yes Gawd Mama!

by Chris Feil

Let's just call RuPaul's shocked expression pictured here the official facecrack of the century. Let the image on your left burn into your memory, because Mama Ru does not normally crack. I guess that's just what happens when you're given the most infuriating elimination in Drag Race herstory. But more on that shortly.

This week, the queens were all visited by their mothers and sisters with the challenge being to make them over with a drag family resemblance. Alyssa Edwards and Detox were coming on the anniversary of the death of their parents, so emotions were already running high outside of the competition/drama. However, this episode was more than a little frustrating for all but pushing the actual challenge aside. Sure, the shade has got us talking this season, but these girls are the best of the best and more attention must be paid to their actual drag!

Best Mom - Katya's mom Pat - Well we see where Katya gets her absurd humor. Pat was more memorable than some of this season's contestants (sorry bout it, Ginger) and so ready to have a ball. When she discussed watching Katya's anxiety struggles on season 7, it just made us feel all the more proud of Katya's ongoing journey...

Katya and Pat were the silly standouts, with Detox perhaps getting a little overpraised for the family resemblance with her sister - trotting out in two Marco Marco dresses from the same collection is a safe way to look cohesive but not very creative. Roxxxy Andrews and Alyssa Edwards had some pros and cons, standing out more for the joy of sharing the moment with a loved one. But cue the sirens: Alaska bombed the challenge. The runway presentation was sloppy (and not in the fun Alaska trashbag way) and our intergalactic queen didn't even seem to be having much fun with her mom.

Meltdown ensues. Apparently Alaska can't pull off anything, because this woeful pouting was not a cute look on her. Surely it has to be painful to fall so hard after a season of high performances, but Miss Thunderfuck behaved like a petulant child. (If you want a better example of how to handle this better, remember that Roxxxy nailed the first challenge and has taken her following knocks with humility and grace.) That unfunny joke bribe to Detox didn't help. What with the ongoing Rolaskatox buffoonery and now this behavior, Alaska has all but lost us. In fact...

Unpopular Opinion Time - Aside from multiple wins, has Alaska really made the case to be the winner of this season? Each of her lipsyncs were close calls, and I struggle to remember much of what she's done other than her reading challenge and Snatch Game. Coming into the competition with the most heat like a predetermined champion simply doesn't cut it, otherwise why have a competition at all. This meltdown and her not-Rolaskatox-but-still-definitely-Rolaskatox has cost her both fans and momentum.

Detox wins the elimination and honey hold on to your wigs: She eliminates the previously (foolishly) eliminated Alyssa over Alaska's bombing of the challenge and Roxxxy's fifth time in the bottom. See above RuPaul expression of shock.

And that there is the hypocracy of Detox's decision. She was faced with sticking to the original plan of eliminating the weakest performer of the challenge (Alaska) or even sidestepping to the consistency vote (Roxxxy), and she chose neither. The initial adherence to that girl code was a fool's errand to begin with, and the production's decision for queen-on-queen elimination was made with a moment like this in mind.

Let's take a final moment for Alyssa Edwards. Though the conversation online has been centered all around throwing our disdain at the Rolaskatox trio, that's not the same as showing love to the queen that got robbed by girl group shenanigans. Alyssa had become the antidote to Alaska's unsatisfying dominance and Katya's pitfalls. The true Miss Congeniality of the season should there be one, always above the bullshit, deepening our love for her simply by being herself. Always and forever, Alyssa Edwards.

Her elimination and Alaska's fallout with fans puts the show in an unexpected position should it not coronate Alaska during next week. The show has a history of building a narrative for an obvious winner, all the way back to season 3's Raja (give or take Violet Chachki). To turn its back on that structure, would mean crowning the obvious fan favorite Katya. I think she deserves $100,000 for this moment alone:

Just like Katya to laugh into the cruel abyss while making things even more awkward. Despite not winning any lipsyncs and stumbling a few weeks, Katya has delivered memorable moments aplenty and earned our adoration once again. She's the rightful winner of next week's finale.

Current Ranking:

  1. Katya
  2. Alyssa Edwards OUT
  3. Tatianna OUT
  4. Pat ... just kidding... but am I?
  5. Detox
  6. Alaska
  7. Roxxxy Andrews
  8. Phi Phi O'Hara OUT
  9. Ginger Minj OUT
  10. Coco Montrese OUT
  11. Adore Delano OUT

Gif as Episode Grade:

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Reader Comments (20)

Katya is fab but Alaska 100%, hands down deserves the win. Nobody has been able to come anywhere close to the level she's been performing at this season (side bar- that 6th place ranking you have for her is....questionable)

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC

C - I get that it's a harsh critique, but I'm struggling to remember much of her performance this season despite her wins, so I stand by it. Some of it that earned her high marks (like her Lil' Poundcake look) that I do recall, I don't think deserve as much love as they got. I remember far more of her from her original season, which I can't say for any of the queens ranked above her

October 8, 2016 | Registered CommenterChris Feil

I'm with C. This wasn't a great look for Alaska, but she is consistently one of the best, if not the best, in every challenge. She delivers.

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterwill h

Well, Katya did officially come out as #TeamPat before voting for herself for the crown.

I've been Team Katya since the first episode. Alaska has been good, but I think she was carried by her reputation and previous work a bit too much in the competition. Her performances were good, but the judges elevated them to wins because of references to stuff they already liked. Once she put that shtick on someone else, the hated it because it wasn't on Alaska.

Detox, Tatianna, Alyssa, and Katya all took much bigger risks when they placed on top for the most part. Katya especially pushed herself by actually going full tilt absurdist performance artist like she does in her YouTube videos this time around. That's her actual brand and she was too anxious and trapped in her head to do it last time.

Roxxy's obviously shown the most growth, since she actually came to play a fair game this time around and not intentionally try to mess with other competitor's heads. Roxxy has carried herself with grace and a wonderful energy despite entering into a competition where she's really only been in two challenges she excelled at: the talent show and the makeover. And even the makeover put her at the bottom because the show wanted that gaggy Rolaskotox or other moment again.

The season has been so entertaining. The queens are very polished and the drama is edited to perfection. That "Party" moment, a cold, calculated callback to Alaska calling Katya "Adore" because she wore a black wig for the Joan Jett lip sync, was brilliant. Katya created it; editing perfected it. You can see Katya is going to break at any second and it cuts away before she fully smiles or lets out her signature laugh. Genius. Emmy worthy. Or at least worthy of a crown and 100000 dollahs.

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

agree with Robert & Chris --- Katya is such an original and she's just perfecting her own brand of late. I agree that Alaska has been a fierce competitor but her behavior with wins and eliminations has been appalling... especially since she kept saying "rolaskatoxx is not a thing. that was a long time ago."

THE LADY DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH.

October 8, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

also i haven't seen anyone working ANN JILLIAN'S hairdo in ages and 80s kid me was living for it. so thank you Katya

October 8, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm also team Katya, I think Alaska lost me when she licked Katya's face during the lip sync. It wasn't funny or edgy, it just seemed a bit desperate & attention seeking to me. I think she knows Katya is big competition & seems to have a difficult time handling it. Her baby JJ was brilliant but I'm not as enamoured with her Mae West as most seem to be. The top 4 had potential to be SO GOOD this season but now we just have a season 5 retread. Hopefully the outcome will also be a season 5 retread. I'm baffled still by Detox. I just don't get her appeal - some great runways but I don't find her particularly witty or interesting - that talking trash can ad was terrible.

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterchoog

I feel bad for Alaska. The pressure got to her and she cracked , I just don't see how her playing the game and one tantrum disqualifies all her solid performances this season. I really hope she's contrite at the reunion and that she can turn things around with the fans. That said Katya is a worthy winner. She won 3 challenges and I thought should have won at least 2 of her lipsyncs

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRami

The "lip sync for your legacy" and accompanying gentlewomen's agreement was brilliant earlier in the season primarily because of the results it produced: the best queens lip syncing, the best queens staying. That's all broken down in the last two episodes, which has called into question this grand experiment--much like the rise of Trump has called into question hundreds of years of American democracy.

I would argue that Katya clearly out-performed Alaska in last week's lip sync and should have won, especially considering Alaska's previous win in the same match-up. Knowing Ru's reputation for being production-savvy, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some riggery--as Alyssa would say--at work. Unfortunately, this week's episode tipped the season into really uncomfortable territory, making it not nearly as rewarding and entertaining as it could have been.

Next week's episode will end one of two ways: (1) A calculated queen who is now relatively unpopular but has performed consistently throughout the season will win, which is most likely or (2) a well-loved queen with a more uneven performance this season will win. You're right that the story arc is usually quite clear by this point in the season, and Ru does usually reward the most consistent queen. It's odd to see the production undermining Alaska' narrative, and I don't entirely mind it. Fuck Rolaskatox.

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBD

Choog totally agree about Detox. Overpraised to the max

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRami

You either die a hero (Tati and Alyssa) or live long enough to become the villain (Alaska)

It's sad to see Alaska go from a lovable underdog in season 5 to a cold, distant and unlikable front runner on All Stars. That meltdown was not cute. The negative edit may be due to WOW being unhappy about the leak from Alaska's ex which got basically the entire elimination order right, Adore quitting and Tatianna returning. Apparently there was multiple endings filmed which they do every season anyway so the winner is still up in the air. Regardless, those things Alaska said came out of her mouth, edit or not.

Katya has grown so much over the season, and her confidence was unshakeable in these last two episodes. She may not have the track record of a winner but she has the heart and the audience love. I'm rooting for her all the way. How funny is it that she was in both the worst season of drag race (season 7) and the current best season.

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Rech

The problem with counting Alaska's "wins" is that in some cases it's very likely she was chosen because of who she decided to eliminate NOT because she was the better lip syncer. Don't even try to tell me Ru doesn't pick the Lip Syncer based on who the two queens chose for elimination if they go with different people. Katya lost to Alaska last week so they could play up the Rolaskatox drama and it's the same reason Katya lost to Detox this week.

October 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterA.J

Detok lost my respect by being such a hypocrite!! Between the worst performance (Alaska) & most consistently at the btm (Roxxy), she has to choose Alyssa who shld have been SAFE!!!

Alaska managed to lost all the goodwill and momentum she had so carefully cultivated all season, by being such a nasty & self-entitled spoil brat!! Sure, it was her very 1st time at the btm, but still it doesn't justify her obnoxious behavior...Trying to bride Detok w one of her many $10K is NOT funny!! It is downright stupid, desperate & crude!!! The fact tt Lego & Ru allowed this unsavory side o Alaska to be aired shows that maybe she wont win afterall!!! (fingers X!!!)

At this point, Roxxy is really overstaying her welcome due more to the fact bcos she IS the weakest link and the least threatening, than she is part o the "tight" Rolaskatox (yeah, right!)

At this pt, Rolaskatox has managed to alienate most of their support & become the most hated trio queens in drag herstory & if they dun win, it will be poetic justice

Team Katya all the way!!!!!!!!!! May she be rightfully crowned & Alyssa claimed Missy Congeniality!!!

October 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

I ADORE Katya & if she win's I'll be very happy but let's not forget 2 things:

1-These shows are all about editing, so they made Alaska look bad for the "drama"
2-Alaska is the most consistent WAY above everyone else (even darling Katia who had a so so middle season)

Oh! one last thing remember that perhaps the most annoying contestant queen Tyra the want to be Beyonce won her season even tough she was one the most annoying & talentless queen of any Ru Paul season, so this competition is NOT about personality.

October 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

"1-These shows are all about editing, so they made Alaska look bad for the "drama"
2-Alaska is the most consistent WAY above everyone else (even darling Katia who had a so so middle season)"

THANK YOU.

Let's not all fall for the narrative arc. Alaska is far and away the most consistent performer on this season. Just because her ex spoiled the season on instagram and the show decided to punish her for it doesn't mean we should ignore that fact.

October 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterwill h

this episode was sad. alaska's ugly meltdown, alyssa's elimination...
but wanting alaska to lose is not an "unpopular opinion", please.

still think alaska deserves the win, as she performed better than katya overall.

October 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

I love how everyone is judging Alaska so hard for doing something so human, something we all do and will always do from time to time. you guys are pretty much all snobs and that sixth placement is beyond ridiculous. she has one of the best track records in drag race history, tying really with only Sharon.

October 10, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjig

Katya's highs are higher than Alaska's highs. But Katya's lows are right down at the bottom with Coco and Adore. It cripples me under the burden of existential pain.

October 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Just because her ex spoiled the season on instagram and the show decided to punish her for it doesn't mean we should ignore that fact.

Let's not ignore that Willam was eliminated only because she slept with her boyfriend. I'm pretty sure that spoil the outcome of the competition is against the rules as well. And that's precisely why Alaska cannot win.

October 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Hmmmm... this is all getting interesting.

First of all, I could not BELIEVE that Alaska said I'll write you a check for 10k I was like omg that is so shady--who says that!!
"I'll PAY you to keep me in the competition with the money I've won from being better than you this whole time!"

And this seems to be possibly going a season 7 direction now... the strongest/most consistent competitor (Alaska/Ginger) begins to stumble/get a nasty edit, and the competitor with a few strong moments starts to win more and appear as more of a threat for the crown than initially believed to be (Katya/Violet). And then there's someone there that shouldn't be (Pearl/Roxxy). Not sure where Detox factors into this lol

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

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