Drag Race, All Stars 7, Episode 5: Butterfly Redemption Arc

Beaded curtains always seem like a good idea up until the moment you have to dash out of the room at speed.

Drag Queens are like buses, you wait for one of them to fall on the runway and then they all come at once and none of them are the one you wanted.


Not a great deal happened in the preamble except The Vivienne ill-advisedly decided to reveal that Monet was only her second choice for a block, with Jinkx being her first – quite why she volunteered this information, I’m not entirely sure, it certainly didn’t pay off.
Also, Trinity’s makeup was very odd

obviously she had had to scrub off her vampire makeup for a lipsync look, and in the process burn through YET ANOTHER outfit, but it’s weird because she somehow has very strong features and yet is entirely featureless at the same time – it’s kind of like DALL·E generated a drag queen.

Graduation Gays

This week’s Maxi Challenge was the annual stand-up comedy challenge but instead of finally giving Carson a roasting, the whole thing was themed around graduation with each of the queens giving a valedictorian speech. I get why they went with the theme, these are all winners and technically the valedictorians of their respective seasons but I think if Drag Race has proved anything in its 13 years, it’s that drag queens trying to be earnest and sincere while still trying to keep it “Drag Race” yields distinctly uncomfortable results. Although they very much captured the university graduation aesthetic on the stage

shout out to the prop buyer who raided a garden centre of every peace lily and topiary hedge they had on offer.

Some queens certainly took the graduation theme much more to heart than others – The Vivienne went all in and kept referring to the judges as “the faculty” but then didn’t bother to make it even vaguely relate it to drag and just called Carson “the Spanish professor” – and I think Carson would be about as good a Spanish teacher as Will Schuester in Glee

I really hated The Vivienne’s whole set, I just found it to be uncomfortable to watch and the whole thing was Bad Vibes Central. The Vivienne’s sense of humour is obviously almost entirely formed by the sketch comedy of the 2000s – Little Britain, Catherine Tate, Trigger Happy TV which I’ve never particularly liked or found funny so it just didn’t resonate with me at all – but props to her for the very good pratfall

although she had to pull something spectacular out of the bag because she had to both follow Jinkx’s routine and Yvie having also done a very similar gag.

I think Yvie best embodied the whole valedictorian vibe without it getting a little overly sentimental – I enjoyed her poking fun at her Whoopi Goldberg impression as she themed her speech about learning from your mistake. I also LOVED her look

the entire gown looking like a shirt that you got signed on the last day of school? Perfection. Season 11 never had a stand up challenge so it was cool to see Yvie in this environment and doing so well because we’ve seen everyone else attempting some form of this challenge – the only person to have bombed their stand up routine in the past was Jaida who told a long rambling story about pissing herself at a pageant

and this time things certainly went better, I’m sure it helped that the editors were being paid an extra $5 on the hour to be sympathetic but I think she had one of the best jokes of the night

leaning into the humble bragging of your average valedictorian speech was a good route of going – Shea tried a similar thing, I don’t know if it worked quite as well, a lot of it felt a little too serious and as though she genuinely thought she was graduating with an MFA in Art History. But I don’t blame her for a lack of jokes considering the rough time she was having concentrating in the Werk Room while Jaida went at the xylophone like the Hyenas in Be Prepared

I blame the tajin.

For having been blocked by The Vivienne last week, Monet was allowed to decide the order of the whole thing – it really didn’t matter but given that everyone usually tries to dodge the opening spot, it was a little unusual that that was where she placed herself – although given that she’s generally very good in comedy challenges, it’s not a bad decision. I’m not sure I loved her this time around – her jokes required a lot of production and editing for them to be funny and given that she had no control over that, they just came across a little stilted – they didn’t feel like jokes from a stand up routine so much as they did from an HBO sitcom. I think she was also the most hampered by the lack of an audience – I noticed the dead air the most with her routine because she had a fair few jokes that she clearly had “hold for laughter” written between and that doesn’t tend to work when the only laughter is a single squawk from RuPaul and Michelle muttering the punchline again under her breath.

Monet had clearly tried to get her own back on The Vivienne by placing her right after Jinkx and I think in any other season that would’ve been the big sticking point of the episode, and to be fair going after Jinkx was probably at least a little bit to blame for me not really enjoying The Vivienne’s routine. But I also just really enjoyed the character that Jinkx went with

I will say, I have heard Jinkx do this routine before, just about verbatim, so she did have a slight leg up on everyone else because she knew it was a routine that worked – but her delivery and pacing is just immaculate, she really knows how to craft and tell a story.

Raja also went the route of coming in character, hers being Raja’s Twitter Feed

This routine was absurd and I loved every second of it, particularly the fact she came dressed as the fortune teller that ruins the life of a 12 year old in a Goosebumps novel.
I think she managed to best capture that absurd humour that RuPaul loves so much and it never hurts to pander to your main audience, not that it earned Yvie a star

I’m not sure RuPaul understood that that was a joke to be honest – she’s so deep in the sauce she does think she’s a benevolent creator.

And lastly we have Trinity whose set I liked, I did think she had a few of the same problems as Monet in that she came across a little stilted and the flow and pace weren’t quite right. I did however love that Nikki Glaser called Trinity’s joke about phonics “very advanced” when all she had to do was say “mu” instead of “me”. I get they have to praise the queens and that joke was funny but they did make it sound like Trinity had performed a Bo Burnham style Netflix special up on that stage. That’s not to say I didn’t think her stuff was good, a lot of her delivery was really great – I particularly liked her saying “Some of you are about to go out and do some amazing things” and without so much as taking a breath, finished it bluntly with “most wont.” and capping it all off with a little dig about the tied win in All Stars 4 was good too.

Thinly Veiled

Ru’s outfit this week was certainly a lot to take in

it’s like a compilation of the all the least visually pleasing shades of taffeta that they could possibly find, why do all of her outfits contain at least 1 weird nude tone just thrown in the middle of them? I kind of wish she had just stayed in her randomised Sim gear from the Werk Room

I enjoy it immensely when Ru swings wild in the Werk Room.

This week’s runway theme was Veils which resulted in significantly less brides and/or widows mourning the sudden and unexpected deaths of their third husbands which was a relief.

First up was Monet whose veil lasted all of 2 seconds before she tossed it aside

I think she could have really built up the mystique and intrigue of the look and also used a what-we-shall-generously-call-a-veil that was a little more aesthetically tied into her outfit, which I really REALLY liked, how could I not? She looks like a Trans Pride parrot

the structure of this is GORGEOUS and really reminds me of the outfit that Kim Chi wore for the Season 8 music video the top 4 got to make and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was by the same designer, I tried to find out to no avail

and I guess the whole thing also works as a redemption of her Feathered runway look from Season 10

the growth of Monet’s runway looks has probably been one of the biggest leaps in general improvement.

Shea was next in a look that paid homage to her grandmother and the outfit had a really lovely flow and movement on the runway and something about it really reminds me of Mega Gyarados from Pokemon

it’s a very fashionable outfit, which is what Shea does best, I do however wish there was maybe another layer of the accordion silk between the burgundy and the peach, given how everything else is layered it just feels a little too big a gap. But I loved her hair and makeup when she took the veil up

the wispy tendrils with the braided ponytail at the back really did it for me.

Trinity was next and had somehow packed another 10 metre train into her luggage – which I suspect will be turned into a lipsync outfit at some point considering how fast everyone is burning through their dance outfits

I really do love this look and the red makes it more interesting than either black or white which I think most people would have gone with – it reminds me of All Stars 4 when the returning queens showed up in their funeral looks ahead of the lipsync smackdown episode that had near to no consequences when everyone was in black so Farrah really stood out in her blood red gown – as did Jasmine Masters’s bedazzled bible?

I do maybe wish that Trinity had had a little bit of a veil across her face

mostly because I always love a veiled fascinator. I do think this is the best makeup she’s had this season – she just suits more neutral palette but I don’t know if she knows that. Also, shout out to the strength of her earlobes because those earrings must have weighed a metric tonne.

Raja was next and looking every bit the cover star that she is

I did love how many times she mentioned that “Voile” is French for “veil” like she was a certain linguistic owl’s high fashion cousin. I do think in some ways the veil hampers the look, it kind of blots out the masthead and I think it could have perhaps been a little more diaphanous so that we could see more of her. But I loved the actual outfit she was wearing, the drape of the fabric was pretty stunning.

I thought we would get a few more gothic inspired looks from this runway but Jaida was the only one to really go that route

she both looks like the ghost of a Spanish aristocrat haunting a dilapidated mansion in the Basque region and a bit like Rowan Atkinson’s character in Love Actually had had to gift wrap a funeral offering

but given that Jaida was basically swamped in black chiffon, there was a decent amount of shape in the garment particularly when she turned to the side

shout out to the 2 nails that she lost at some point on the runway, but this is All Stars: All Winners so they edited around them.

A couple of the looks did feel a lot like the look came first and then they just added a veil to it, I think Yvie’s was the biggest case of this

I do really like the look, it very much feels like it’s a part of the same collection as her Buddhist monk kaftan

but the veil just didn’t have much of an impact, as for her second veil, I’m not sure we can call the necklace that I can’t wear because it’s knotted beyond saving “a veil”

but I really loved the colour palette of the whole look – the Aztec print looked particularly good under the runway lighting.

The most bridal of the looks definitely came from Jinkx who was also giving butterflies the Drag Race redemption arc that they’ve very much deserved ever since Asia O’hara scattered their corpses across the stage at the Ace Hotel Theatre 4 years ago

the whole thing is very Persephone and a Greek mythology reference is always going to go down with me and I just think it’s a really beautiful look and such a cool and clever concept.

Lastly we have The Vivienne who was dressed like Rowan Atkinson’s character in Love Actually had had to gift wrap a sexual misadventure in a small town motel

Something about the look just doesn’t really excite me – I think the glitziness of the actual dress kind of muddies everything up, had it been a really slick, black rubber dress with the blue straps? I would’ve found it much more interesting – if you’re going to go kink, go full kink. Allso, more ropes – those pastel purple packing cables are not doing anything.

A Veiled It! Looking Ranking

  1. The Butterfly Redemption Arc
  2. The Red Wedding
  3. Come on Voile (Voile)
  4. Why Does The Caged Bird Sing?
  5. The Gyarados Cosplay
  6. A Very Nice Rug
  7. Jaida’s Chiffon Cage of Emotion
  8. A Dumped Corpse

The pretty clear winners for this episode were Jinkx and Raja although knowing that the lipsync song was Lizzo’s Better In Colour they probably should’ve tossed it Yvie and Monet’s way – especially as Monet clearly had her outfit from her All Stars 5 Lizzo lipsync under the graduation gown she had put back on


but alas… However, it does mean that Jinkx becomes the first queen to get 2 Legendary Legend Stars which is exciting.

Colour Me… Whelmed.

In keeping with the song’s title Raja had opted to wear Joseph’s Technicolor Dream Pants for the lipsync

while Jinkx had gone completely the opposite route and put on a beige, suede bodysuit that made her look like one of the uncanny mouse-children from CATS (2019)

the lipsync outfit fatigue is beginning to show, I mean Trinity was in a hurriedly cobbled together paillette bikini top she had clearly made in the time between filming the judging and the lipsync

and she did not look pleased at having wasted another outfit after Jinkx and Raja pretty much flopped the lipsync

there are too many reactions in this image to fully unpack but it’s definitely Monet’s nervous glance towards the judges for me – also Yvie being THOROUGHLY underwhelmed and knowing she gave a better performance from the side of the stage.

I wasn’t surprised that Raja mostly stayed in one spot and did the same move over and over again and didn’t really know what to do with this kind of song – throw her a Kate Bush number and I’m sure she’d waft around that stage better than anyone else could ever waft.
Jinkx certainly captured the chaoticness of Lizzo’s music, it still felt a little too unfocused and frenetic for me to have a good time watching it

but of the two it was certainly the most engaging and I’m not surprised that she got the win and could therefore block someone. Now, with the show having done 1 performance challenge, 1 design challenge and 2 comedy challenges – it was pretty obvious that the next challenge was going to be a singing and dancing challenge so the sensible thing to do would be to block Monet or Shea. Jinkx however was very keen on continuing the feud between her and The Vivienne

BUT! There’s a twist, because both Jinkx and Raja also get to donate a Legendary Legend Star to a fellow queen – a twist that clearly came about because the producers suddenly realised the alliances didn’t really matter and it was taking far too long for queens to obtain double stars – however we only find out how that goes next week. Yvie is the obvious choice given she has none – I hope they aren’t allowed to confer and they have to select a lipstick and reveal it in the Werk Room.

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