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Saturday
Feb102018

RPDR All Stars 3: E3 - Eggplant Faceplant

by Chris Feil

Last week on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, we lost the delightful Thorgy Thor after her inner saboteur gave our fashion clown a major creative blockage. Thorgy had left the girls a little more than the usual lipstick love note, as Bebe called it “you know, a picture”, which instantly restirred the pot of that fraught elimination ceremony and kicked off an episode of bickering.

The fallout of Thorgy’s elimination added another layer to Shangela’s distrust of Dela, who would have also sent Thorgy home. Shangela continues to suggest that Ben is just saving face for the sake of manipulation, but there has yet to be sign of her using it against anyone. What is more likely (and concerning) is that Shangela already has let the competition go to her head - we should be terrified that it will exhaust her as it did in season three and unsettle her status as one of the frontrunners.

But let’s not let us get distracted from what is actually important: Milk would like to talk about Milk some more, guys. The Big and Milky turns focus into herself and how she thinks the elimination should have gone, which is fitting considering her adamance she deserved to be in the top for her crunchy Céline. Of her many ideological choices in this episode, thinking Kennedy is the one who should calm down about the elimination was certainly one of them. While Milk has thus far seemed educated at the Derrick Barry Institute of Business and Villainy or more like a wicked antithesis of Alexis Michele than a compatriot to Phi Phi O’Hara, this opening sequence gave much pause.

This week the queens reemerged back to life, back to reality television for the challenge: a dating show improv for The Bitchelor. Each queen was paired off and assigned roles in an attempt to woo UnREAL star Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman.

Forget Every Complaint I Ever Had About Guest Judges Hogging the Spotlight Away From the Queens Because I Totally Never Said or Suggested That Ever, How Dare You!
Hiiiiii Jeffrey.

Dela walked into the challenge “purse” first and again walked away with one of the two winning spots. There’s the Drag Race Hall of Fame and then there’s the Hall of Fame of Great Knee Acting, of which BenDeLaCreme should be the inaugural inductee for this performance. Her contorted, Cosmo-boozing cougar was just the right dose of gross and pervy and should have primed Bebe’s virgin for alternating laughs.

Improv novice Bebe made the inventive choice to contextualize her assigned virgin role through an African princess lens, but probably earned her as many laughs as it would have if she’d played it safer as Dela suggested. She landed some jokes, but couldn’t match Dela’s energy.

Meanwhile for Trixie and Milk it was a matter of being outright overbearing. Milk’s primary comedy mode has always been that of a battering ram, committing to a joke and going whole hog - so her stalker became more of an outright murder. No wonder it wasn’t a fit for the rat-a-tat rhythms of Trixie’s barbrous wit that were on slightly stunted display as the fake girl. You’d almost have to intently focus on Trixie to catch her prime “weird forrest girl” zingers while Milk was taking up residence under Jeffrey’s epidermis. However: bonus point to Trixie for looking incredible.

Can a pairing be underbearing? Chi Chi and Shangela’s polyamorous couple was the vaguest assignment for any of the queens, and left a lot of room for Chi Chi to flounder while Shangela got the more dominant part. Shangie got a few great jokes (“Do you have insurance?”), but these were never roles that could have won the challenge.

What did I say last week about Kennedy in comedy challenges? Her party girl this week was a comedy highlight, and smartly played as an increasingly debauched and drunken evening. As Ross would later point out in judging, we don’t think of Miss Davenport as a comedy queen and yet she excels at those challenges. The fans that underestimate her forget what a total package she is, and this was a major bounce back for our lovable grouch after being in the bottom two last week.

We’ll forgive Kennedy’s partner Aja for her misinterpretation of the needy girl if only because it gave us I Used To Pretend To Be Christian For Attention Fish. This week the judges opted for a bottom three and strangely placed Aja there despite an adequate and somewhat funny performance. Save the inconsistent judging calls for when they actually count, because there was no chance of Aja being sent home this week.

In the end, none of the queens were eggplanted. Jeffrey’s love lifted RuPaul up where he belongs and he carried him into the sunset.

All Wigged Out?
Was the Wigs On Wigs On Wigs runway theme just too loose for much inspiration or was this an underwhelming show of wig reveals? Making wig reveals boring should be a criminal offense in no less than 30 continental states. If I were to reach for a favorite, it’d be the unexpected Trixie in a pixie.

After that hilarious challenge performance and bringing the gnarliest merkin you’ve ever seen to the runway, BenDeLaCreme was once again in the top, setting the stage for one of the most legendary runs in Drag Race herstory. With Snatch Game happening next week and with Dela’s previous win already one of the challenge’s most notorious, smart money banks on her arriving in the top yet again. The only real concern here, as the queen herself said, is the weight of lipsyncs she doesn’t win - will her overall success be less impressive if we watch her lose lipsyncs again and again? She’s the clear frontrunner, but we’re waiting on that moment.

Kennedy was also a clear top two, with Trixie finally landing high marks as well. The bottoms were justifiably Chi Chi and Milk, with the aforementioned unlikely exit Aja. Chi Chi however lost composure, allowing her imposter complex to bubble up during critique. It’s a real shame to see her once again convinced she doesn’t have a place next to the best the show has to offer, particularly looking so gorgeous. And yet: her potential is still sky high.

Blink and You Miss It Moments in Awwwww: Trixie comforting Chi Chi

Lorde’s “Green Light” has been a track I’ve seen heavy on fans’ wishlists for lipsync songs and this week it arrived... to disappointment. Dela’s channeling of The Grudge may not have had anyone cheering, but once again Kennedy’s gorgeous and unexpectedly emotional rendition is underpraised. People, it is rare for one queen to show so many shades of their talent in a single episode as Kennedy did this week. Maybe her miss last week might hurt her overall chances, but doubt her at your peril.

Say it with me: Newark. LaGuardia. Kennedy.

And with little fanfare, Kennedy cut to the chase and sent Milk home. Was it Milk’s bulldozing of Trixie, her safe and therefore *shrug* placement so far, or her abrasiveness that sent her packing? Kennedy kept mum on her reasons for eliminating Milk on the mainstage, but I’m guessing it will come down to the on and offstage professionalism hints she dropped when the topic likely comes up next week. Though Chi Chi has spent every week in the bottom (unfairly last week, in my estimation), she was the most expected to go. Surely Kennedy also made the call with the promise of what Chi Chi still can reveal of herself, whereas The Big And Milky was already beginning to deliver the expected.

And sadly, we’re happy to see Milk’s energy go. Not only was she overpowering the other queens’ conversations, she was pulling focus of the episodes with shenanigans rather than her talent. With a Burlesque reference from Ru and the Macarena from the lurking Chad and Alaska, she left with a smile on her face at the hope for revenge.

How are the girls ranking up after this week?

  1. BenDeLaCreme (Chi Chi in this photo is a mood)
  2. 🔺Kennedy Davenport
  3. Shangela
  4. Trixie Mattel
  5. 🔻Aja
  6. Bebe Zahara Benet
  7. Morgan McMichaels OUT
  8. 🔻Chi Chi DeVayne
  9. Thorgy Thor OUT
  10. Milk OUT

Gif as Episode Grade:

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Reader Comments (17)

Good villains act like they're better than their competitors. Milk acted like he was better than Drag Race, writ large. That delusion is unworkable within the context of the show.

His point of view was "Any system that does not love and reward me is broken." It's the laziest cop-out anyone's ever tried on the show. At least Charlie Hides was...indifferent.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Glad Milk is gone (should have happened last week). Worried about Bendela. She seems to be doing what she did on season 6–starting off super strong but headed for a major crash. The problem with starting high is everything “less than” feels disappointing. Someone like Chi Chi stands to benefit long-term from having a stellar week (as Kennedy did). We’ll call it the pearl effect. Improvement is always rewarded more than consistency/stagnation. Ben’s decision to not play to her strengths during the lip sync seems like the start of “getting in her head.” The result was an underwhelming lip sync.

I thought Aja did not deserve to be in the bottom at all—delivery was somewhat clunky but her Runway was stellar. Trixie did well but needs to watch it with the entitlement stuff. Milk and Thorgy just left a big vacancy for bitter queens...

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Say what you will regarding Chi Chi, but she gave me the biggest laugh: "I like bricks!"

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNederama

I actually thought Kennedy's choice to put in an understated lip sync was the wrong one. It would've worked much better had she attacked the performance like she did "Roar." That said, Ben's sync was just as lifeless so it wasn't a bad call in the end.

I'm thinking they'll do a final 4 which would obviously be Bendela, Shangela, Trixie, and Kennedy.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I think they are settling Dela up for a fall (especially considering Michelle Visage’s critique) which is a shame, Dela is a worthy winner in my opinion. Shangela is so fucking irritating & her all stars schtick feels so calculated. Oh remember, I came out in a box? Remember my catchphrase? Remember I wore corn before.... yeah I remember now fuck off again please.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchoog

Yeah, I'm also starting to get worried DeLa is being set up for a fall, but even on S06 she started well but not this strong. She's dominated in a way that not even Alaska did in her year.

I'm really praying Chi Chi bounces back for at least one good week. It's sad seeing her so heartbroken when she's so good. Good riddance to Milk, who was obviously being sent home the moment Kennedy was placed in the top. She adores Chi Chi, she would've never. And no real reason to send Aja home.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

DeLa is slaying so hard, first queen to win the first three challenges in a row and if she wins Snatch Game too, that’s a new record.

I’m glad Trixie hasn’t been getting the Alaska or Chad Michaels treatment like many fans expected. Even if Milk hadn’t bullldozed her in the improv challenge, I still don’t think Trixie would have been top 2. This has been a more unpredictable All Stars and I’m thrilled.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Rech

Milk deserved to go because she had the perfect character to say, “I will not be ignored Jeffrey” and she didn’t.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBecausewhynot

I must be crazy because I did not like Kennedy's performance (I wouldn't have put it in the bottom, but I definitely wouldn't have put it in the top) and also thought her lip sync was par for the course (i.e. the second it gotten even slightly fast she started just moving her lips randomly rather than actually lip syncing)

I'm not worried about Ben, because at this point I feel like when they do the 'bring back a queen' challenge, they are going to pair the eliminated queen with the queen who eliminated them. This would also explain the somewhat wonky judging as it helps spread out who does the eliminations.

I didn't love Chi Chi her original season - though I might have kept her over Naomi at top 4 - but I really do feel for her. What's sad is that her 'I WANNA HAVE YOUR BABY' was a truly laugh out loud moment, and if she hadn't felt so intimidated, she could've easily been in the top.

I agree with Aja not being bottom 3. I would've been tempted to put Bebe there to light a fire under her, but Chi Chi and Milk so obviously struggled far worse than everyone else that whomever was in that 3rd spot was pretty safe.

I thought Milk was overrated in her season (really, this season is filled with queens I thought were overrated) so was not surprised to see her crap out early here. The only injustice is that she should've been in the bottom all three challenges. Ah well.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPoliVamp

poor chi chi - ranking lower than morgan who hasn’t even been there for the past two episodes! chris, you’re throwing more shade than stacy layne matthews in a kaftan

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Trixie could have easily won this if not for milk and her stupid act.

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYouknowwho

I began to suspect it episode 2 and now I'm pretty sure of it episode 3. I think Dela is intentionally taking a dive in the lip sync to avoid having to eliminate someone. Week 1 she knew she would send Morgan home because Morgan was stupid and said she'd send home the strongest competitors.

Week 2 she didn't want to be the one to send Thorgy home but picked her as the weakest. She busted her gimmick out--the tearaway--pretty early on and then pretended to not have the energy to get through the lip sync an episode after she did that wonderfully bizarre and far more taxing burlesque number.

Week 3 she suddenly lip synced with her hair all over her face when she managed to do a wig reveal and costume to perfectly laid wigs skirt reveal in the same day. I'm not saying Dela also wanted Milk to go home and Kennedy was an easy fall gal (Kennedy killed that lip sync, and now I wonder if her and Shangela both packed performance outfits for all the possible lip sync songs) after the fight with Milk. I'm just saying it's suspicious how Dela can go from pretty handily beating one of the best club performers working today (Aja) in a lip sync totally out of her wheel house and then fall so damn flat on the next two lip syncs (and not by comparison, by her own lackluster performance).

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Am I also alone in thinking Dela did better in the lip sync than Kennedy?

Has up gone down? Has west gone east? Are dogs lying with cats?

February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPoliVamp

Milk is delusional - Bye! Her concepts are never as good as the execution. Trixie says "Your talent can't be velcro." This episode, I would have eliminated her for thinking her performance was great over ChiChi and Aja knowing that they could improve (plus Aja's runway was amazing).

I think this will come down to Trixie, Ben DeLaCreme, and Kennedy. I saw Bendela in her Seattle show, and she was phenomenal - so I'm thinking she takes it.

February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I don't buy the idea of Ben taking a dive in the lip syncs to not have to eliminate someone. That's $10,000 on the line!

I'm both glad that Trixie isn't running away with the competition like people expected, and also a bit worried. Is she doing enough to not be eliminated should she end up in the bottom two? I also think her persona is actually hurting her. Like, being given Dolly last week was obvious that it was hard to shine, and her runways are pretty familiar week after week with her make up and look. I liked the pixie wig because it was so different.

The BURLESQUE reference was wonderful and also tantelising. There are already theories revolving around the scene with "Wagon Wheel Watusi" considering Christina performs it in an audition scene to replace another dancer.

February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

One thing that Roxxxy Andrews and Tatianna have said is that they never received any money for winning lip syncs during AS2.

February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Rech

I'm really tired of BeBe's act....aside from her runway looks...she really doesn't standout from the pack to me...

February 13, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterceebee

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