‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ 3: #BenDeLaChrist, train(?) rights, more

RuPaul of 'RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars' is pictured for a season 3 promotional photo. Via VH1

We’re almost at the finish line! It’s been two weeks of nonstop drama, and it’s time now to revisit our All Stars after episodes six and seven and talk about what to expect from the finale.

BenDeLaCreme’s shocking self-elimination: The internet is just beginning to recover from episode six’s shocking conclusion. After a disappointing conclusion to the Handmaid’s Tale saga — no, BeBe is not a mole — the eliminated queens return to the competition with a chance to redeem themselves and win a spot in the top five. The reunited queens spend the first chunk of the show reading each other for their controversial elimination decisions. Any drama that could’ve happened happens. Aja confronts BeBe for eliminating her after helping assemble BeBe’s disco look, Thorgy comes after Trixie for note-gate and Milk calls out Kennedy, only to come to the rightful conclusion in a moment of shocking introspection that she herself is “an a**hole.” The tensest moment was between DeLa and Morgan, who calls the Seattle frontrunner a hypocrite for choosing to knock Morgan out of the competition after saying in the first episode that she would base her elimination decisions on merit, not personal beef. DeLa is visibly rattled by the exchange, which explains why she chooses to assume a Goth character during the episode’s Baby Spice-inspired Kitty Girl challenge. DeLa beats Bebe in an uneventful lip sync to a dance remix of “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” and in an All Stars first, she uses some conveniently placed White-Out to write her own name on the lipstick and eliminate herself from the competition. But “as it is written, so it shall be done,” and Ru asks her to sashay away. #BenDeLaChrist’s departure felt smug after she announced that she’s already a winner, but the producers have been dropping hints all season after we’ve seen DeLa struggle week after week to decide who to send home. This reviewer has never agreed with anything Thorgy has ever said, ever, but she was right that DeLa’s self-imposed exit felt more about her sense of omnipotence than anything else.

Shangela and Trixie’s lip sync: There was no need for any wig glue after last week’s snore of an episode. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi finally makes an appearance in the workroom, and it is even more uncomfortable than one could have imagined: She delivers a tepid get-out-the-vote sermon and promptly dashes out. Well, she — kind of — tried. With Morgan back in the running after being resurrected by BenDeLaChrist, the remaining five queens compete in the acting challenge “My Squirrelfriend’s Dragsmaid’s Wedding Trip,” and everyone but Trixie’s washed-up bride-to-be character flops. “Drag Race” then rewards viewers who survived Pelosi’s cameo, the maxi challenge and the aggressively edited runway scene with a phenomenal lip sync between Shangela and Trixie. Trixie serves skinny legend in a skintight pink bodysuit, but it is Shangela’s fatsuit that steals the show. The Nancy Drew of Drag strips, twerks, swaps two pairs of glasses and death drops to the tune of Mama Ru’s “Freaky Money.” Between her “I Kissed a Girl” performance and this week, Shangela has proven herself to be the lip sync assassin that Trixie isn’t.

What to look forward to: Well, we’re almost at the end. If all goes according to plan, next week’s finale shouldn’t surprise anyone. Shangela really is the Daenerys Targaryen she claims to be, and after two unsuccessful runs on the show, she deserves the $100,000 cash prize at the end. And how can we forget her runway look? The popcorn wig, her rendition of Beyoncé’s baby announcement, her inflatable spiky octopus gown in last week’s episode — they’ve all dazzled. It would be a shocking upset if Shangela went home without the crown, but Trixie and BeBe both still have a tiny shot. Unfortunately, Kennedy has the worst track record of all the remaining queens, so her win seems the most unlikely. Anyway, if all goes according to plan, we’re in for an expected but rewarding finale where the Queen of Dragons finally gets her due.

Trains-gender rights?: In other confusing “Drag Race” news, RuPaul has come under fire in the past week for an interview with the Guardian where he said he would “probably not” allow a transitioning queen to compete on the show because “drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it.” There was so much wrong going on in that interview, between downplaying the transness of former contestants like Peppermint and reducing trans people to their body parts. Queens from former seasons leapt out in response, like season nine champion Sasha Velour who said, “My drag was born in a community full of trans women, trans men and gender non-conforming folks doing drag. That’s the real world of drag, like it or not.” RuPaul tweeted an apology, but as one Twitter user pointed out, he mixed up “trans flag” and “train flag” and posted an image of Ellsworth Kelly’s “Train Landscape” instead. It’s been a bizarre, disappointing week in the “Drag Race” world, but let’s hope the finale makes up for things.


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