I don’t want to see any more HAM on my runway!
International All Stars by any other name, would smell as sweet.
Making an International Entrance
Of course we have to start the proceedings with the UK delegation, all of whom are from Season 1 and rather unsurprisingly led by Baga Chipz, who will show up to the opening of an envelope, let alone the re-premiering of BBC3 – and did so as Princess Diana because I imagine someone absolutely outlawed her as a choice for Snatch Game and she was going to be damned if she didn’t get to wear the expensive crown and replica ring she had made
but don’t worry, she managed to drop a Prince Andrew joke in there that the editors didn’t hoover up. And if there’s anyone that’s best suited to vamping to an entirely empty room, it’s Baga Chipz.
Baga was followed by Blue Hydrangea who looked like Marge Simpson covered in Muppet vomit
I think there is a good look in there, these Eda Birthing garments are already a little predictable – they’ve had a real moment on the drag scene recently and Blu’s is probably the least interesting one. Out of all the UK queens, I was most interested to see how Blu’s developed, she kind of sort of stumbled her way through Season 1, as her introductory VT package showed by trying to gaslight us into thinking her Mary Berry Snatch Game performance was good, actually. As it turns out, she used the last 2 years to become an even filthier and shadier little menace, which I can fully respect.
The last of the UK queens was of course the ever badgeless Cheryl Hole, who I might unironically stan
and who wasted absolutely no time in establishing herself as The Narrator of the season by playing the role of hostess as the international queens arrived, while also doing her more obvious job of providing us with some Grade A reaction shots
She is a queen practically designed for me to enjoy.
As for the international group, the UK queens did wonder how they’d all get along considering many of the international versions of Drag Race are done in the native language of their country. But they needn’t have worried because the casting process very clearly stipulated the necessity of speaking English which has been discoursed to death, and it is a bummer because there are some great queens who aren’t going to be able to compete in a competition they’d absolutely kill. But kicking off the Non-UK competitors was Janey Jacké from The Netherlands, who was doing the old tried and tested monochromatic latex bodysuit
It’s an entrance look, I can’t blame her for playing it a little safe, especially considering her series of Holland’s Drag Race had the queens do the old dunk tank photoshoot which ruined her last entrance look
but she had some incredible fashion over the course of her run and so it was a little disappointing to have it be so ordinary looking.
Next up was Canada with the first of their two entrants being Jimbo dressed like Miss Frizzle taking the kids on an ill-advised history trip to Studio 54 in which Arnold learns all about poppers
and she hadn’t come alone, no she had brought Canada’s Sweetheart with her
I am incredibly invested in the ever expanding Jimbo’s Sandwiches Cinematic Universe
and Jimbo was not here to endear herself to anybody and very promptly launched that Pret a Manger missile straight at Blu Hydrangea for a direct hit
and Jimbo would continue to only choose violence and chaos for the rest of the episode, and imaginably the entire season.
Jimbo and Jimbo’s Sandwich were joined by fellow Canada’s Drag Race Alumnus, Millie Bobby Brown
it is of course Lemon who continues to make yellow her most prominent personality trait
I do really love this outfit though, it’s like the daughter of Rihanna’s MET Gala Omelette Gown, which is always a great fashion reference to have.
And then came time for the biggest gag, as the glamorous garage door slowly revealed a contestant from Thailand
which should’ve had them all quaking in their boots, because even the early outs in Drag Race Thailand are iconic. BUT THEN, it lifted to reveal PANGINA FUCKING HEALS
The cheek, the nerve, the audacity, the gall and the gumption to make Pangina Heals compete as a contestant is quite something – she should’ve been behind that desk to make this a truly international affair. But she’s not, she’s here as a contestant and looked so damn pretty in her very exaggerated, traditional terno blouse. And is incredibly hot out of drag
Some people just have it all.
Of course there were some American queens, and there will always be one constant when RuPaul decides to make a new format, and that is that Jujubee will show up, and she will be wearing something that looks like one of Real Housewives of Beverley Hills failing to fit in at a corporate event
which is to say she looks very expensive and like she will win a fight with the mere raising of an eyebrow and a sharp word, and boy did she waste no time in getting to some casually incredible reads
I demand to know all of Jujubee’s opinions on all of Baga’s looks.
When they first announced this international format, I had expected it to be mostly just American queens, however Jujubee’s only fellow American was Monique Heart, newly styled as Mo Heart and looking SUBLIME
that sculptural green hair with the complimentary Daphne purple jumpsuit-eating duvet is perfection to me, and the mug was just so correct
and as Mo is want to do, drama does follow in her wake because apparently she and Blu did not get along while Mo gigged in Dublin, as this hard stare Mo sent Blu’s way as she walked in
which did have Blu momentarily seeing the face of God
honestly, if Monique looked at me like that I would have just turned to dust and blown away in the breeze. Blu had other ideas and was just going to go right in and quash their little feud like a bull in a china shop, which did rather blindside Monique, who I’m sure was seeing the racially charged villain narrative flashing before her eyes
apparently it was all because Monique, by the sounds of things, rather rudely making Blu feel like a glorified coat hook and this feud lasted all of *checks watch* 10 seconds and the two of them now seem to be ok, so everyone with a Blu Hydrangea avatar on Twitter could you chill for 5 seconds and not treat Mo like she pissed in your cornflakes?
An Unofficial Entrance Look Ranking
- It’s Pangina Heals, OK?
- Mo Heart’s Blended Daphne Blake
- Jimbo’s Disco Clownery
- Lemon’s Lesser Spotted Omelette Dress
- Jujubee HR Nightmare
- Blu Hydrangea’s Muppet Caper
- The Pret a Manger Sandwich
- Cheryl Hole’s Distinctly Cheryl Hole Outfit
- Janey Jacké’s Blue Hydration
- Baga Chipz in Diana: The Ill-advised Musical
Put Your Talent When Your Mouth Is
Sadly we don’t get an introductory Mini Challenge, unless you want to count the international queens having to survive an afternoon tea with Baga Chipz as she explains Britishism as a challenge, which I think Pangina might
Don’t worry Pangina, that’s all of us as soon as they announce any sort of a reality TV show involving celebrities as we wait for the inevitable arrival of Baga Chipz and her 1 (one) catchphrase. And speaking of that catchphrase, it was the sole component of her talent show performance, and just in case you had forgotten it, she had written it on her apron too
it has been 2 years of this, we are all *so* *so* *so* tired but apparently RuPaul is not because every time Baga said “MUcH BeTtA!” I thought she was about to get a hernia. I can only hope that this drunken office party karaoke number marks the death of it, but I do not think Baga has a limit on how far she can run one joke into the Earth’s mantle.
Both of the American queens opted for singing numbers too, I’m not really surprised by Jujubee doing it considering she did it for All Stars 5 and Queen of the Universe – she’s not much of a dancer and so her only other option would’ve probably been a stand up set and we all know how that goes – I’m glad everyone seems to be learning. As far as Jujubee’s performance went, it was a little too mellow, vocally fine but nothing particularly standout – she at least looked very pretty though, that Versace inspired dress is gorgeous
I do wish they had maybe got her more than 1 singular shower curtain as a piece of staging if they were going to do wide shots – I get that you spent most of the budget on international flights but that’s a little too sparse.
Monique’s was a much more interesting performance, if not just for the slightly baffling outfit that is simultaneously very Tina Turner and the last thing Tina Turner would ever be caught dead in
I’m really hung up on the shawl’s particularly off-putting shade of green, and the fact she was just holding it under her armpit like it was a mouldy bagpipe. Vocally she was great and I quite enjoyed the sort of gospel funk sound – even if it did feel a little bit like I was being converted to a religion against my will.
And as there is want to be singers, so shall there be many a dancer, all of who had of course come pre-prepared with an original song. It was up to Lemon to start off the proceedings, and if I were Jujubee I would’ve been pissed if I got a very impractical IKEA curtain while Lemon got an entire citrus landscape
and yes, of course she did indeed jump off the big steps
which was met with suitable amounts of impressed horror
except for Michelle who is apparently now immune to the impressiveness of someone plummeting to the ground crotch first from 7 feet up. Like, I didn’t really rate the rest of Lemon’s performance, which lacked a lot of energy and looked a bit like something you’d see at a school talent show
but come on, give the queen her flowers, her stunts were pretty damn impressive and being so dismissive was kind of unwarranted – there was plenty in that performance to criticise – such as the reference to 300 (2006, Zack Snyder)
I do think Lemon could’ve used more of an angle, the rest of the dance numbers all had much more of a narrative (and pandered to referencing Drag Race-isms as much as possible). Moves wise, Cheryl’s wasn’t anything particularly special – she pointed and she walked a lot, but she interacted with the judges and spouted off as many Drag Race references as she possibly could in her 90 seconds and it was funny and high energy – and deliciously self aware
She also looked *gorgeous*
Welcome to the Cheryl Hole Renaissance.
Blu also had a delightfully stupid gimmick, seemingly reviving Erin Boag’s ill-fated showdance puppets from the BBC graveyard
I have seen this kind of a number a few times, but it kills me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And I do wish she had done it with the puppets dressed as the Spice Girls, just to see Mel C’s reaction to it – who by the way was a great judge and we should maybe think about having her on permanently once this becomes Tia Kofi’s Drag Race.
I was worried for Pangina in the first part of her performance, her dancing seemed a little sloppy and her outfit was, not helping matters
and I really thought we were in for a stunt of an elimination (not that we didn’t get one anyway) but I should have known that the weirdly shaped and unflattering black sack was in fact a reveal to… what was also not a great outfit
It took me longer than I would like to admit to realise that the red splodge was a shoe and not a bedazzled gunshot wound. But you know, it moved better when she danced, and I have to say the Waacking was pretty damn impressive
the only time I am ever able to move my arms that quickly is when I’m trying to fight a bee off my Pimms with only a chicken bone – it’s a long story, but I’m an apian assassin when desperate times call. And of course, it wouldn’t have been a Drag Race dance performance if it didn’t end in a splits
as night shall follow day.
The last of the dance acts came from Janey Jacké who was doing a quick change routine, or at least that’s what she told us, but this wasn’t a quick change routine because the whole point of a quick change routine is that we’re meant to be mystified as to how it happened, Janey Jacké was just being a bad magician and revealing all her secrets
well, there goes your application for The Magic Circle, consider yourself Arturo Brachetti’s mortal enemy.
And they were just bad outfits too, like what is this romper that looks like a pair of novelty Avengers lounge trousers your gran buys your brother for Christmas?
and for a considerable amount of time, she just had the sleeves of her first outfit dangling out from under her skirt like she was birthing some sort of Eldritch horror
or as I call it, Jimbo
Oh boy, if we thought Willow Pill’s surrealist Enya suicide was going to be the weirdest thing we saw on Drag Race this year, Jimbo had other plans with whatever the hell you call her stomping around the stage dressed like the vengeful ghost of a Beluga Whale that was only capable of vocalising like a villager from Animal Crossing
and then just repeatedly opening a tiny little briefcase to an emptier reveal than Janey Jacké’s quick changes
and so began the reveal of where and what the contents of that briefcase were meant to be, as Jimbo birthed a sticky lump of sandwich ham
and I got very excited, because I thought Jimbo’s talent was then going to be making a sandwich like that horrifying TikTok creature
but no, Jimbo didn’t then give birth to a farmhouse loaf, she just threw luncheon meat at RuPaul
and while I laughed myself to the verge of asphyxiation at everything Jimbo did, the funniest thing was Cheryl Hole absolutely SEETHING on the sidelines because she was going to have to follow this insanity
bless Baga for thinking doing a subpar karaoke performance is “mad”.
Winner, Winner, Generic Runway Prompt Dinner
I’m going to assume that a few of the queens must have read the prompt of “I’m a Winner Baby!” and assumed it was meant to be their finalé outfit and in realising it was actually the runway for the first episode, promptly changed to whatever else would fit the challenge, or that’s why I’m assuming Jujubee wore this pretty tepid outfit
it’s very pretty, but it does feel like the sort of outfit a queen would pack to use in a mini challenge or an acting challenge – it just wasn’t Jujubee’s strongest runway look, and even the makeup felt a little off – she looks very shiny, and not in an enviable highlighter way, it’s like we’ve interrupted her in the middle of a facial peel.
And I would like to believe that a sudden switch in outfit was why Baga Chipz was dressed like a cross between a baked potato and the robot from Metropolis, but I think I’m kidding myself there
I get that Baga Chipz loves herself a camp look, but you know… you can also do a good camp look. Just everything about this feels a little half arsed, particularly the fabric choice which lacks any sense of opulence or glamour and then there’s the fact she literally just painted her face gold and didn’t bother to contour at all! It’s like she’d had her face painted by the most joyless face painter at the fair. But of course the judges look beyond every aspect of it because Baga said “MUCH BETTA!” a few times – I will simply NOPE out of existence if we have a revisitation of the Season 1 judging.
I was surprised by the general lack of gold on the runway, but less surprised that it was what Lemon had obviously gravitated towards considering she only wears things in Dulux’s canary family, and even less surprised that her tits were lemon wedges
She looks *very* pretty – the gown is perhaps a little generic, but I do have to admire the fact she wore a better crown than the winner of the actual series will win
that’s a hefty bit of headwear to put on a 7 hour trans-Atlantic flight, I hope they gave it its own First Class seat like it clearly deserves – meanwhile Lemon sits in economy like a, well, a lemon.
Janey Jacké went with some pretty standard high glam in a dress that looks like its straight from a Marchesa collection in the early 2010s
I think she looks very pretty, however I do wish it was either a stronger ruby red or a more obvious copper tone, because with the slightly washed out red and the little drippy strands of gems, it’s all reading a little visceral and a bit like a very glamorous textbook illustration of the human muscular system
and ordinarily someone that looks like they’ve been flayed would be the creepiest thing on the runway, but you know, Jimbo was dressed like The Witch King of Angmar doing high drag
which in turn did make Baga look like someone had gilded a Hobbit as she was completely dwarfed by Jimbo
But back to our regularly scheduled glam, and Cheryl might have had one of my favourite looks of the night
It’s simple, it’s chic – her face is immaculate. I wasn’t overly keen on the fact the gold in her train was so stiff and just following her around like a corrugated iron roof
I think a really liquid gold lamé would’ve been a little better and suited the outfit just as much.
Pangina was also in white, with her outfit bedazzled with the Thai alphabet and a traditional Mongkut headpiece
She looks phenomenal, I do wish the hair was maybe a touch fuller, but I really love the etherealness of it all being purely white and silver – and I particularly loved the earpiece
as someone with a penchant for a statement earring, I can only aspired to this.
While Pangina showcased her Thai heritage, Mo was giving a nod to her African heritage with her incredibly opulent looking green behemoth of a gown
How did she even get that over the Atlantic? This could have easily been very overwhelming on her, Mo does have the charisma and the stage presence to pull it off though, and she just glided around that stage looking effortlessly regal – and I adored the profile on it
Queens who go for these big, dramatic looks, often forget about the side view, and I think the headpiece elevates it and gives that more interesting and suitably dramatic shape.
And lastly we have Blu Hydrangea who had come dressed as Vivaldi from Drag Race Holland’s latest season
sorry, I know it’s obnoxious to liken queens to other queens, I just couldn’t resist – her entire thing on Drag Race Holland was wigs with little swirly bits in them that didn’t make a lot of sense but looked pretty cool, and very hyper-pop, pseudo-fetish gear looks. I’m not sure if it’s an aesthetic that Blu pulls off though – the look is great, and her beat is phenomenal, it just all feels a little forced and contrived to me, but that might have just been her masturbating her hair
and I’m glad everyone was suitably confused by her decision to do so.
An “I’m a Winner, Baby!” Runway Ranking
- Mo Heart, Mo’ Fabric
- The Drag-King of Angmar
- Pangina’s Ethereal Pageantry
- Cheryl’s 2 Michelin Star Tits
- When Life Gives You Lemons…
- The Glamorous Muscular System
- Blu Hydrangea’s a Bad Girl Now…?
- The Walking Razzie
As is to be expected at this point, the judging was a little wonky, or at least the judging of Baga was a little wonky because despite having a song that was just a 4 word chorus over and over again and being dressed like the bravest baked potato in Camelot, she somehow landed in the top 4 – because there was a top four and a bottom 2 because after dragging Jujubee across the ocean for her 5th attempt at a title, they couldn’t bring themselves to throw her in the bottom 3 in the first episode. So the top was Blu, Baga, Jimbo and Pangina. And our bottom 2 was Janey and Lemon – I fully get Janey being there, it was a pretty bad performance. I can also somewhat understand Lemon, but I do think it should have been a bottom 3 between Janey, Jujubee and Baga.
And because this is just International All Stars, we are back to All Stars rules with the queens having to do the voting off, which does mean that Lemon and Janey have to grovel and beg Jimbo and Pangina to save them if they win a lipsync. Or in the case of Jimbo, just pray that a tiny cocktail umbrella thinks you’re worthy
truly we do not deserve Jimbo.
The Spice Falls
Given that Mel C was the week’s guest judge, they were of course lipsyncing to a Spice Girls song, with the choice being Say You’ll Be There, which I don’t think made for the best lipsync, it’s not a particularly high energy number and doesn’t have a lot meat to it. There were other factors that made this a bad lipsync, mainly that Jimbo could barely move above a light saunter in her killer shoes, because obviously Jimbo couldn’t change out of her costume because.. well, then we might have been in aesthetically problematic territory
and then she, quite a few times, just fell over Pangina like she was a badly placed coffee table
and all Lemon could do was watch as her chances of being saved repeatedly banged their knees on their lipsyncing rival
and sure enough Pangina won by virtue of not toppling over 4 times, with her choice of elimination sadly being Lemon
I’m gutted for Lemon, she came fifth on her season and has had this sort of cult following from the fandom, she’s released some solid music with Priyanka – she looked set to be a sure fire finalist and then Michelle decided otherwise.
And so, 8 Queens remain
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