Drag Race: All Stars 7, Episode 1: An Occult Duck

I too was a big fan of the Big Brother UK logo in 2007.

We finally got our All Winners season, and there’s no eliminations so it’s free rein baby!

The Winners’ Parade

The first of our winners to enter the Werk Room was of course Shea Coulee looking gorgeous in orange (to match the tables)

As everything is with Shea, it’s incredibly polished and well tailored – it is however brave to come into an All Winners season wearing an outfit that looks quite similar to the outfit worn by a winner during their kind of recent crowning

and to do it without the nonsense Dilophosaurus crown reveal? Well you’re just playing a losing game.
My favourite thing about Shea’s look was the makeup, there’s something a little bit Chinese dragon in the way she paints her face

I think it’s all in the very fluid, wavy brows – but I really like the effect.

In what I’m almost sure must have been an attempt to create some semblance of drama or a cute moment, following Shea Coulee doing Jaida Essence Hall cosplay was… Jaida Essence Hall

I am so freaking happy that Jaida is a part of this season because she got really screwed over by the pandemic and never got the flowers she deserved – she’s easily one of my favourite winners! And this look was cute – the fact the whole thing was so intricately stoned really sets the tone for the season

someone nearly went blind stoning an entire motorcycle jacket, and you know what? Probably worth it.

Third in was Yvie doing her regular Yvie thing and looking slightly like Stretch Armstrong and a Troll Doll had a child together

it’s a fun pretty standard Yvie look – I’m always down for yellow and purple as a colour combination as long as you manage to not look like you’re shilling for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Caramel, and I really loved the two different contact lenses she was wearing

and her makeup has improved SO MUCH since season 11 when it always looked slightly like she had applied it with gardening tools, but there was still enough of the old Yvie around with her wig being in various states of disarray throughout the entrance procession

but it’s exactly this kind of thing that makes Yvie an exciting contestant because every season needs a little bit of unpolished spontaneity and she’s certainly bringing that. I am also intrigued to see Yvie competing on a season that’s tolerable because Season 11 was an unmitigated disaster zone – the challenges were bad, the dynamic between the queens was almost unwatchable and the production decisions were quite frankly absurd so I’m excited to see how this turns out.

And if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if Yara Sofia’s bouncy titted talent show performance had a baby with Charlie Hydes, here’s Trinity The Tuck looking absolutely insane

I honestly cannot make sense of this – it’s Lady Gaga’s lobster hat era, it’s a motorcycle jacket, it’s an old western whorehouse madame, she’s going to the opera but she’s also a dominatrix and maybe from The Matrix? And the fact it’s so incredibly well made it all the more strange.
I do absolutely think she has the best confessional look though

MORE HATS, ALWAYS MORE HATS.

Following Trinity was of course her Twinner, Monet – I’m almost a little shocked that they didn’t have them walk in at exactly the same time, and apparently Alyssa Hunter had left her money guns lying around and one of them was still broken – maybe we retire the money gun?

shout out to the poor runner that had to swoop in afterwards to sweep up all of the money. Twice. Because it’s a well known fact they have to film each entrance two times.
As for the look, I like most of it – I’m always down for a reclamation of the red plaid with blue jeans from the Hot Christian Girl Fall women

the only thing that does confuse me is the white frills on her shoulders – the cuffs to match the exposed pockets? Cute, fun, love it! The shoulders?

it looks like she had a really bad cold and she’s slowly accrued a Kleenex graveyard around her. The makeup though… I just love her face, she just looks good *all* of the time.

I was worried that having both Monet and Trinity on would result in an exhausting competitive dynamic, but the two of them seem happy to just lean into the whole thing in a positive and entertaining way

I mean, they both got $100,000 so they can’t really complain about the whole thing, although I would still hold a grudge over how badly edited that disaster of a finale was – just absolutely no shots of Ru congratulating them because it all had to be ADR’d like 2 days before the finale.

The first of our more vintage winners to enter the Werk Room was of course Jinkx Monsoon looking exactly as you’d expect Jinkx to look, which is to say like a 50 year old woman intent on seducing the pool boy

Jinkx is one of the main reasons I personally wanted to get an All Winners season – I was lucky enough to see her live show when it came to the UK and it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen – an entire audience in hysterics from beginning to end, so I’m hoping the love she’s getting for this season so far is enough to make her want to do a second one because I would go to every goddamn venue.

The penultimate queen was another Renaissance Drag Race winner, Raja

I think a lot of people forget that Raja kind of invented the art of the entrance look when she came in dressed like one of the hand monsters from Spy Kids all those years ago

because prior to that everybody kind of just shyly entered the Werk Room looking like there there for a job interview – which is to say that everyone used to dress like Jujubee currently dresses.
I’m also really excited to see Raja compete because it’s been such a long time and it’ll be interesting to see what her dynamic with the other queens is considering she has mercilessly booted all of them at least once, so there must be some pressure on her when it comes to looks.

And the last of our real winners was The Vivienne doing Mugatu cosplay, bit weird for an entrance look but sure, why not?

I’m a little whatever on the outfit, but MY GOD THE MAKEUP

we shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s so good because hers was the only makeup to fully survive the homophobic lighting of Drag Race UK Season 1. My biggest fear with The Vivienne is that she’s going to make being British her entire personality, which might play better to an American audience than a Brit like myself.

And then we got a bit of a curveball as a mysteriously behatted figure entered The Werk Room

and I found nothing funnier than everyone speculating who it could be after the teaser clip was released and just about exclusively guessing various black and brown queens, none of whom were winners might I add. And then it turned out be, in the words of the incomparable Alexis P. Bevels, Raven in Dark Mode who was also giving me some Oblina but make it resort wear

I honestly would’ve found it quite funny if they had let Raven be a part of the competition based purely on the fact she’s won an Emmy for the makeup she does on the show, I’m fully OK for this season to just be really stupid with absolutely no consequences. But the whole “robbed queen” title rubs me a little the wrong way – because All Stars 1 was unabashedly set up exclusively for Chad Michaels to win and if there’s anyone who watched Season 2 and didn’t think Tyra (who now just goes by James having retired their drag persona) STORMED that season, they’re wrong. And I think this just gave more ammunition for people to use against James who is still having to deal with the more awful side of the Drag Race fandom, and I get it – James has done some weird shit and said some stupid things but I just found this to be as tonally weird as Raven is these days

the absolute gag of Monet shouting “and don’t let the foundation hit you on the way out!” as she left though?

Perfection.

And of course Ru has to explain the new rules to the queens because I imagine the only way to convince them to all come back was that nobody would have to mar their reign by becoming the first boot, at least they could bribe Bebe Zahara Benet on All Stars 3 with the fact we’d finally be able to actually see her face and know what she looked like. But in order to add any sense of jeopardy to the show, and this is when it all gets a little bit galaxy brained 3D Chess, there is a blocking system symbolised by a bedazzled plunger

the whole thing is eerily similar to Bob The Drag Queen’s joke about overcomplicating the Chocolate Bar Twist by adding various flavours of chocolate that mean different outcomes. But I’m super happy with no eliminations as long as it means everyone takes risks and goes absolutely feral because there’s no real consequence anymore.

Reading

As with most of the All Star seasons, the first mini challenge is the Reading Challenge, which isn’t great fun to recap but it did become very apparent from it that this was going to be a season of excessive over-praising because in any other season Jaida’s reads which were very long walks to punchlines that had either been done several times before or just made no sense would’ve been given the crickets treatment – but it was her first ever real Reading Challenge because the one in Season 12 got swapped for the weird monthly subscription box challenge where the onyl, way to shade someone was to say “your mug busted” and then hand them a new coffee mug. It was a comedic wasteland.
There were a lot of good reads though, I particularly liked The Vivienne’s about Trinity

they weren’t all the most creative, Raja did get called old a few times and then she couldn’t resist doing a boogers moment

please never remind us about the most tiresome part of season 3, which is saying something because season 3 had both Shangela at the peak of Nancy Drewism and Carmen Carrera on it.
Of course Jinkx pretty much stormed the whole thing

and I scream laughed when all she did was call Raja “Roger”

getting people’s names slightly wrong on purpose is a surprising comedic high – we call it the Benedict Cumberbatch Effect

I will giggle every time.

Naomi

And now we get to the real point of the season as Naomi Campbell comes out to give the Queens a masterclass in walking the runway, and there was no point to this other than to make Shea have an emotional moment as she gets to meet her icon and inspiration

this entire season is basically The Drag Queen Make a Wish Foundation – Shea meets Naomi Campbell, Jinkx gets to do TWO Snatch Games, Jaida gets to be on a season that she can do actually real life promo for, The Vivienne gets to maybe win money, Monet gets time away from Bob, Raja gets her free box wine, Trinity has a social media detox and Yvie has some actual competition. It’s a wonderful charity.

Legends

Sadly we aren’t kicking the season off with a talent show and instead of providing us with several singing and dancing performances the queens would be giving us a singing and dancing group number, with each of them having to write a verse for RuPaul’s new song Legends, which sounds suspiciously like they went through RuPaul’s song Super Queen and just changed every instance of “Super Queen” to “Legendary”. Both songs also have similar problems – they’re far too slow, although it does have to be something RuPaul is capable of performing if the need arises…

and the sound mixing was horrendous. Although a horrendous sound mix is pretty much just a part of these verse writing challenges these days and it’s clown behaviour to expect anything else, they do have to put them together in like an afternoon in a shipping container that’s been converted into a makeshift sound suite.

On top of writing their mostly spoken word verses the queens also had to choreograph the number themselves which was mostly done for the faux jeopardy of having the queens bicker over what moves to include, with Jinkx advocating for an amorphous clump while Monet died more and more every time she said the word “clump”

and then inevitably they just handed the reins over to Shea because this was unabashedly an episode centered around her – and the choreography they ended up with was fine, a lot of it was just big arms and turning around in place and then walking from one side of the stage to other, it was very There She Is, Miss America energy. But they were having to fill space between 8 verses so who can blame them? And Jinkx did get her clump in the end

I did think that because they’d already won their crowns and there was no threat of elimination that the queens might be a little more creative with their lyrics, but sadly it did become more about listing their accolades, the worst of it was probably from Trinity who fell just short of spending her entire verse just counting to seven, but I did enjoy her pulling a Mariah Carey and just being carried around looking like a Christmas tree that you’ve kept for a week longer than you should have

and we even got the obligatory rhyming “crown” and “down” from Jaida

but I thought most of Jaida’s verse was actually quite cute and making fun of herself for not being able to sing was one of the more memorable moments of the whole number, as was her slapping Raja

I honestly don’t remember a lot else from this whole number other than Jaida and Jinkx just going absolutely feral

I honestly think Jinkx really should have been in the top purely for the amount of background work she was doing throughout the performance, my favourite being her trying to vibe to Jaida’s verse

but I can see why they would lean more towards Monét because her verse did probably sound the most like a real verse on a real song and there was some fun and clever wordplay in there, I just wish it hadn’t been so Drag Race specific – it’s interesting to me that the queens that were crowned longer ago leaned less into that, like Raja’s verse was just about her gender identity outside of drag and I found that more personable and insightful than listing off your challenge wins and saying “Mama Ru” for clout. Though quite why Raja was dressed like Xenon: Girl of the 21st Century’s mother, I don’t quite know

but I’m kind of into it? I also liked what The Vivienne was wearing, mostly because she looked like Bisharp from Pokemon

I didn’t get very much from her verse, I just remember that she was trying to sing – I think we can all agree that if this had been a regular All Stars season, The Vivienne would probably have been the first boot? I think the only other option would’ve been Yvie, purely because it would have been very easy for the producers to give her a shady edit, but she did slay her performance even if she was wearing a wig that looked like Hayley Williams was wanting to speak to the manager

I didn’t actually hate the wig, it’s perfectly Yvie and I thought it suited the outfit she was wearing pretty well.

Shea got to see the performance out and because of that I think I had built up quite high expectations, but also she looked amazing in this very Megan Thee Stallion looking performance outfit and it was very hard to take your eyes off of her as she swished those braids around, she truly ruled every moment of that stage

but I think she got hit the hardest by the sound mix – I’ve always had a bit of an issue with Shea’s lack of enunciation in her vocal performances on the show, because her music outfit of it is pretty phenomenal, Cocky is still one of the best songs released by a RuGirl. But this did get a little mush-mouthed, and there was a bit of a cognitive dissonance between her saying “You better bring the energy” and lyrics basically fading to nothing when it should have had some real punch behind it? I’d be curious to see what the recording sessions were like, but they didn’t show them because we were making time for Naomi Campbell.

Something Something Crown, Something Something Down

I had a few people in the last season ask me why I never talk about Ru’s runway outfits, so I’ll start covering them season

this is just wacky bananas, it’s like a bunch of deckchairs having a fight and then there’s the nude patch on just a single ass cheek

I love it when Ru swings wild for an outfit.

Much like UK vs The World, the first runway theme was to wear a look worthy of a winner, with crowns being mandatory but at least it kind of makes sense with this season given that everyone is a winner, it was weird on UK Vs The World to have them waste a lot of their best gowns in the first episode, I think that ended up hurting Jujubee the most though.

First up was Raja doing King Louis XVI drag, which is a fun nod to her Marie Antoinette look that once again, had a profound effect on the way in which queens approach the runway themes

I will always love a look based around the Versailles aristocracy so this pure catnip to me – and Raja certainly captured the sumptuous decadence of the whole era. I’m a little confused by the crown that looks like the Fifa World Cup trophy, but the only thing I would really change is the lip colour

I just think it’s a little too peachy which is clashing with the purple eyeshadow – something with a redder tone would have gelled better I think.

Jinkx was next looking like The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland had been canonised as The Patron Saint of Jam Tarts

this is bigger and more decadent than anything I really expected from Jinkx, which was a relief – I wasn’t sure how she would approach the runways given that she’s not known for serving looks, most of what I’ve seen of her post-win is mostly various black witchy dresses so this was a nice surprise.

Monet was next and there’s certainly a lot to like about this look, especially the wig which is very much a top tier Hair Show creation

and I do always love me the Trans Flag colours on the runway. This look is the sort of thing Symone did extremely well on her season – African American aesthetics through a lens of European history and I’m not sure Monet quite got to those lofty heights. In order to make this look really work, the panniers needed to either be more visible or that much bigger, because right now it just looks like suspicious padding. And then there’s the shoes

I love a heeled Timberland, I fully get it but these were just so incongruous with the rest of the look that they were honestly a little distracting.

And then we have Trinity as a sort of intergalactic squid witch

this was an outfit made for Instagram, both because she could not walk in it to save her life and I don’t think it travelled particularly well – a lot of the “rib work” was very bent and mangled which made them look a bit like a pipe cleaner art project, but I mean THE TRAIN! It’s like she skinned Violet Beauregard

I am instantly reminded of Kandy Muse on Season 13 saying she couldn’t use her 60 foot train look because it broke and there not being any evidence, other than a hastily drawn sketch she posted on Instagram. Sure Kandy.

Yvie was next and in her own words was very much appealing to RuPaul’s former days as an 80s punk band frontman in the band Wee Wee Pole

I love this – I think it’s very easy to do a punk inspired look and just look as messy as possible and forget about the polish of it all, but I think Yvie does it very well. My only minor adjustment would be that I wish there was more of a gradual start to the shoes – she could have moulded some drips to her shins because I do think they’re cutting her off a little bit.

And then we have The Vivienne and I do not know what the fuck this was, she looks like an occult duck, Grand Witch Howard The Duck – I am SO CONFUSED

it’s like an Aylesbury duck started a cult – I honestly cannot parse this, my brain simply refuses to compute the fact her shoes look like she’s stuck her feet inside a pair of piglets.

So here’s Jaida as a palette cleanser

I love the iris flower petals and the way they’re draped – I do wish they had covered the top of the skirt completely – the harsh waistband just makes it seem a little unfinished. But I think she had the best wig of the night, it’s a tough call between her, Jaida and Monet but this looks like something the Queen would wear on Bridgerton and I’m kind of obsessed with that

I do however wish the flowers in her hair had been irises as well, just to make it a complete story.

And lastly we have Shea Coulee, who is in fact wearing a Valentino dress from their 2019 couture runway – just as a flex

I like the colours of this and it’s all very nice and textural and it very much has the feel of the blanket cloaks that various tribes in Lesotho wear. I did prefer it when it was just looked like a sort of cloak that she was holding over herself because when she opened it, there was this weird band of gauzy blue fabric on the front that for some reason just stuck out at me

I just think a simple dress under the cloak would’ve been better – but it’s still a bit of a serve. And who would have ever though that Drag Race would get to a point where the queens get access to couture vaults of extremely high profile designers?

An I’m Crowning Look Ranking

  1. Raja XVI
  2. The Patron Saint of Jam Tarts
  3. It’s Me, Valentino
  4. Jaida Iris Hall
  5. Yvie is Crayoning
  6. The Poaching of Violet Beauregarde
  7. A Pair of Polite Panniers
  8. Midsommar But Make it a Chicken

As this is All Winners the judging is pretty obsolete as they seem resistant to actually critiquing *anything* – the only mild pushback they give anyone is Yvie over her performance wig and if anything is going to fatigue the season, it’s going to be that – I’ll be curious to see if it only lasts for these two premier episodes or not. So everybody is in the top, but our two winners are Monet and Shea, which I don’t disagree with too much – Monet had the most “real” sounding verse and this was after all an entire episode built around Shea, it would have been rude to drop her at the last minute.

Farmyard Games

My favourite thing about All Stars is that the queens get to change for the lipsync if they so wish, and I love trying to guess what they’re about to lipsync to. So I was VERY curious when Shea came out looking like an ancient Greek amphora as designed by Iris van Herpen

and then Monet was in a perfectly cute little leopard skater dress

and then the chyron came out and I think my brain melted when I read “Old MacDonald”

and so did Cameron Diaz’s

truly there are no thoughts, just vibes.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved absolutely everything about this lipsync but what a delightfully weird choice of a song – which was of course chosen so that they could act like a chicken or a duck at some point

I did think Monet wasted her point to the other queens a little early – why do it on ducks when pigs was RIGHT THERE!

But instead we got masturbatory oinking like she was Rebecca Loos

Monet leant very hard into making this a series of farmyard charades which I think ultimately did her a disservice, as Shea managed to find more of a groove within the jazz piano nursery rhyme

Shea very deservedly won for not miming out trying to start a car and so she has to select which of the other queens she’s going to block from being able to get a Legendary Legend Star next episode – with Monet being off limits. And I did quite like the nonsense of the whole process as Shea walked up and down twirling the sparkly plunger like a baton, ultimately landing on Trinity as the first block of the season

I was a little confused at first, but Trinity does have a total of 7 challenge wins across her two previous seasons which shows she’s quite diverse so it does make perfect sense to block the queen that has the highest likelihood of winning. Had they known it was going to be Snatch Game next, I’m sure they would’ve blocked Jinkx without a second thought.

The Snatch Game recap will hopefully be up tomorrow!

And if you’ve enjoyed reading this recap of All Stars 7’s premier and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small tip via my Ko-fi account HERE. A HUGE thank you to everyone that has tipped me so far, it helps out a lot!

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