There are five queens left, and with Chi Chi and Aja gone, the competition is revving up fast. It’s time to start our engines and dive into another recap of episodes 4 and 5 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” (2012–)!
Snatch Game: Everyone’s favorite challenge came back, and this season the results were, well, all right. BenDeLaCreme, to no one’s surprise, nailed the challenge with her hysterical impersonation of 1970s comedian Paul Lynde. It’s doubtful that many “Drag Race” viewers knew the character, at least none in this viewer’s living room, but DeLa’s performance was campy, cheeky and it rivaled her season six rendition of the Dowager Countess. Aja’s Crystal Labeija, the legendary drag queen featured in the 1968 documentary “The Queen,” was fiery and perfect for her biting personality and New York background. Another favorite was Bebe Zahara Benet’s raunchy Grace Jones, and the queen from Cameroon continued to impress with, as Nicole Byer described it, her elegant “fudgsicle dipped in flowers” runway couture. But poor Chi Chi… Her “Mya” Angelou was the flop that got her eliminated. Despite her lackluster run on “All Stars,” we’ve seen a lot of growth from the constantly self-doubting Bayou Queen since season eight. Overall, however, not even a cameo from Kristin Chenoweth could save this Snatch Game from being a bit of a yawn.
Trixie’s back: And we missed her! After weeks of looking forward to what the comedy queen could deliver on Snatch Game, her robotic impersonation of RuPaul didn’t live up to expectations. She had a few one-liners, but that didn’t keep her out of the bottom three. Fortunately, she survived a dramatic round of elimination and really found her stride during the Warhol Ball challenge in episode 5. The queens were tasked with delivering two looks: a Warhol-inspired “soupermodel” can and Studio 54 disco queen couture. Trixie owned both looks, first with her excellently designed can of “Pep/Abysmal,” filled with “nonrefillable, prescription only, habit forming, heart-slowing goodness,” and then with her gorgeous, disco-inspired glittery pink bodysuit and matching headband. It’s thrilling to see Trixie finally getting a win under her belt, but we’ll have to see what the Milwaukee queen gives us in this week’s “Kitty Girls” girl group challenge.
Ben and Shangela: How are our top two doing? Well, DeLa slayed the Snatch Game, and Shangela brought another one of the best looks so far this season: a stunning, floral rendition of Beyoncé’s 2017 pregnancy announcement. Her impersonation of “Black-ish” (2014–) star Jenifer Lewis secured her the win, along with DeLa. What followed was one of the best “Drag Race” lip syncs of all time to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” (2008). It was a curious song selection, given how poorly it has aged — even Katy regrets it — but DeLa and Shangela’s risqué rendition breathed some life into it. Shangela started with a “hot teacher” look and gradually stripped down to lingerie before grinding with DeLa, throwing breath mints at her and finishing with a death drop. Coming off of Snatch Game, both queens seemed untouchable, but neither fared particularly well during the next episode’s Warhol Ball. Shangela’s two months of sewing classes definitely did not show, with her disco queen look consisting of a few golden records hot glued to her body, and her “Halleloops” soup can was just all right. DeLa’s “CremedelaCreme” soup can was better, and her disco runway couture was one of the best looks of the night, but as judge Ross Matthews pointed out, we expect 120 percent from the Seattle-based queen. Now that we only have five queens left, the competition is getting fierce, and we’ll have to see if DeLa and Shangela can reclaim their spots in the top three.
What to look forward to
Elimination drama: We have a lot more elimination drama coming in the next few weeks. As Kennedy’s elimination of Milk has shown, things are getting personal. In the past two weeks, we had “notegate” drama, which threatened to toss Trixie out of the competition, and we had Bebe’s shady elimination of Aja even after she helped make her “homosexual carwash” disco look. Now that Chi Chi’s gone, an easy elimination after consistently placing in the bottom, all of the queens left are strong contenders in this competition, making each round of eliminations all the more controversial.
More from Kennedy: This recapper is ready to see Kennedy compete at the same level as DeLa and Shangela going into the final episodes. She’s proven over and over that she’s one of the strongest queens in the game, and even after her mediocre “Grandma Kennedy’s Pot Licka’ Juice” soupermodel look and middle-of-the-pack impersonation of Phaedra Parks from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (2008–) on Snatch Game, we should expect more stunning runway couture in the coming weeks from the Dallas queen.
A handmaid’s explanation: We also have an explanation for “The Handmaid’s Tale” (2017–) gag to look forward to. Each week, we’ve seen the eliminated queens get jumped by former “All Stars” winners Chad Michaels and Alaska in dystopian red robes from the show, and in this week’s episode we should expect some new development. Maybe one of the eliminated queens will return to the competition, or maybe Bebe is actually a mole sent by RuPaul to spy on the other queens, like some on the internet have speculated? Either way, Thursday night’s episode should have us gagged.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on VH1.