Drag Race All Stars 7, Episode 8: Abstracted Jazzercise Leopard

Welcome to Drag Queens Posting Their Ls.

Merry Christmas I guess?

Blocked Numbers

Given that we’re quite far into the competition, the queens began to do the maths for what it’s going to take to get into that finale, with Monet and Shea coming to a pretty startling realisation that perhaps they haven’t been playing the game quite as well as they thought they were

I am a little surprised that Monet and Shea haven’t done better, they were two of my firm favourites for the finale but they’ve kind of just been a little lacklustre ever since the premier episode, more because I think Monet thought the game required more strategy than it actually does because for some reason having the top 2 give away a pair of stars hasn’t become a regular thing.

Santa’s Little HELLpers

This week’s Maxi Challenge was, as was to be somewhat expected, an acting challenge, with the queens performing in Santa’s School For Girls – I’m not *entirely* sure quite why they had to theme it around Christmas other than the Santa/Satan thing and it’s never a particularly good sign when a TEN MINUTE LONG comedy sketch is themed around one particular joke, and on top of that, asking whichever monkey they hand a typewriter to write these acting challenge scripts to write 10 minutes worth of material is like asking someone who once ran 100 meters in a school sports day to run in a marathon with 3 days notice.

In lieu of a Mini Challenge to decide who gets to pick the roles, it was up to The Vivienne to make the casting decisions, and there wasn’t too much of an issue – it was mostly just a game of trying to keep any role with more than 3 lines of dialogue away from Jinkx – with Jinkx being relegated to The Mean Girls Chorus alongside Yvie and Trinity whose jobs were mainly to gasp and react to anything anyone else said

and God bless her she tried to maximise her screen time by drawing out every sentence into a vocal fried disaster that sounded like you were playing Alaska and Willam’s podcast on half speed while Yvie just kind of existed on screen for a little bit and Trinity did a pretty uninspired impression of Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls

I just don’t think acting challenges are Trinity’s strong suit, I’m just not convinced she ever knows why she’s delivering lines the way she is, but she takes direction very well, which is what these acting challenges are about more than anything else.

The Vivienne obviously took the plum role of the headmistress for herself, almost entirely because it would mean she could do a Trump joke and wiggle her mouth around like it was trying to escape her own jaw

I could quite happily go the rest of my life without ever hearing another joke or reference about the man, just let him fade. Luckily she wasn’t playing the entire role as him (although her voice sure did suggest she was) and was very much appealing to Ru by going full Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, which Ru found hilarious and repeatedly brought filming to a standstill because he couldn’t contain himself

and I don’t think it was bad, but I do think it was falling slightly on the Alyssa Edwards side of the Joan Crawford spectrum as it did often feel like The Vivienne was just in a scene by herself with absolutely no care for who or what was happening around her, but she had some great moments that I’m going to assume were her improvisation, such as her phone dialling technique – made all that much funnier because she, an already very tall person out of drag, is TOWERING over the now knee-high desk

the detachment from the scene however might have been more Shea’s fault as she played the Cady Heron of the skit and just didn’t give a whole lot of energy or character, which is hard to do when you’re playing the more normal “anchor character” that keeps the whole thing moving along.
Monet got the other big role, as the art teacher and she certainly had the look down

and I do think she got given really good direction by guest director and judge Janicza Bravo – who Yvie praised as “the most dedicated person that’s ever sat in that directing chair!” which is phenomenal shade against Michelle and Ross whose directing styles are mostly just holding a script, sighing and making queens repeat lines with minimal input or advice like they’re trying to be the next Stanley Kubrick. And I do think this acting challenge was very successful in terms of the queens’ performances – although they can try their best to sell Monet looking at the wrong camera 40% of the time as “Shakespearean asides” as much they want, she just didn’t know what she was doing. Jaida however is ready to star in any Disney Channel movie they need her to

she didn’t do a whole lot and yet she perfectly captured the Nerdy Best Friend Who Gets Ditched In The Second Act and then Reconciled With In The Last 5 Minutes of the Movie energy.

And then Raja got to be the scene stealer, as she strode onto set dressed like Fairuza Balk in The Craft, made a blowjob joke that didn’t make a whole lot of sense and won the challenge

it’s the standard Drag Race Acting Challenge formula.

The Whole Knit and Caboodle

This week’s runway theme was Knitwear which I could have sworn was a theme before but I think it’s just that Naomi Smalls’s Kitty Girl look from All Stars 4 lives rent free in my head

I was a little disappointed with the lack of more characterful looks on this runway as a lot of the queens just went for “Clothes, but what if knitted?” And unfortunately for all of them, it was The Vivienne who opened the runway with a perfect execution of the concept

this is just perfection, and not just because she didn’t inexplicably mention Vivienne Westwood for the millionth time! As much as it’s a fairly classic silhouette, and bordering on being a bathrobe, there’s a very fantastical sort of glamour about it – I mean if you throw the corpse of a woodland animal over her shoulders, it could absolutely have been something Tilda Swinton would have worn as The White Witch

when am I going to get my Night of 1000 Tilda Swintons? She’s perfect runway fodder!

Shea had the most specific point of view with her eclectic outfit inspired by the Ndebele tribes of Zimbabwe and South Africa

this is MUCH more of what I wanted from this runway – she looks like she should be in an art gallery – I do think the accessories are stronger than the actual outfit – the dress just looks a bit too similar to the one she wore for her Golden Tooth Fairy look during the ball episode

and I do wish she had a grander looking cloak – something layered, or just more vibrant wouldn’t have gone amiss, because this does look a bit like your average picnic blanket

I feel like Shea bringing out the Valentino couture in Week 1 may have backfired on her in the long run, where do you go from there?

Yvie continued to add to the collection of looks that look like her kaftan look from Season 11 is going through a series of Pokemon evolutions

She’s Fighting/Psychic, obviously

I did really like this one – I think the headpiece could have maybe looked a little bit less like a Blue Peter project made from lolly sticks and elastic bands made to honour the summer solstice, but her makeup was FAULTLESS

the whole colour palette is just perfectly executed, right down to her choice of contact lenses.

If anyone was going to give me the crazy cat lady look I wanted, it was going to be Jinkx, but I wasn’t entirely surprised that she was channeling the Drunk Aunt Final Boss that is Marlene Dietrich

this is perfectly lovely, it’s nothing revolutionary but there’s nothing really wrong with it – I do wish the wig toned in a little better, I think it’s too coppery a tone of orange so it’s clashing with the gold fabric of the dress

something a little blonder would have been a better fit, but I love the shape and style of it.

Although nobody went explicitly “cat” with their looks (booo!), Trinity had come as a sort of abstracted jazzercise leopard

I think the most interesting part of this look is the limited edition leopard print Allison Janey as LaVona in I, Tonya wig

the rest of it I find to be a little bit of an unreadable melange and I can’t really work out what’s what, I think Jaida had a much better execution of a very similar concept

it’s amazing how much a hip porthole can help a look sometimes – I think you just get a much better feel what what the look is from Jaida’s – the different knitted textures certainly help A LOT.

While a lot of the queens went for very wintery, Real Housewives of Aspen looks, Monet went with a much more summery silhouette

I appreciate the sort of streetwear feel she was going for, and that’s a lot of what Monet’s drag tends to be, which I really like most of the time, but I just don’t think this is working – I love the parka and the bow, but the rest of the outfit is competing in a race as to what should be burnt first – a competition I’m 95% sure the ankle boots with an inexplicable pompom glued to them are winning – I hate them. I hate them so much. The shorts and the plain white bra top are just more offensive in their boringness and I think the bow and the parka deserves better accompanying pieces.

Raja went for a very futuristic look and very much looked like The Blondes had been put in charge of the Star Wars costume design

so there’s my challenge for episodes 10 through 12 – if the Stormtroopers don’t look like they’re about to slay a Superbowl Halftime Show I AM NOT INTERESTED

the star of Raja’s look though was very much the face mask with its tusk-like frame

although, I was also partial to the golden bracelets, which have now walked the runway more times than 40% of the queens cast on the show.

A Knitted Runway Ranking

  1. Raja as C3P-HO
  2. The Vivienne as The White Witch
  3. Shea Coulee’s Accessories
  4. Yvie Oddly as Hisuian Medicham
  5. A Slutty Tea Cosy
  6. Jazzercise Leopard
  7. Jinkx Monsoon’s Glamorous Trawler Net
  8. Monet Exchange’s Knit So Good Styling

I can’t really argue with the result this week, the Vivienne handled a prominent role very well and delivered a stellar runway and Raja was a good scene stealer and likewise delivered on the runway – there wasn’t really much of a contest for top 2.

Freaks and Licks

For their lipsync, The Vivienne and Raja were performing to Super Freak by Rick James – so it was nice to Raja doing something more her speed rather than watching her suffer through a Lizzo song and while it still wasn’t quite her majestically wafting around to Kate Bush, it was still a great performance and I think she won the moment she hit this beat

although the whole thing was tinted with anxiety because Raja was clearly having to pull her wig down every now and again, but it wasn’t quite as anxiety inducing as The Vivienne inexplicably decided to douse herself in a bottle of water on an already notoriously slippery stage

it did at least make the fact she was just wearing a white t-shirt make a little bit more sense though

but as was want to happen, she did very nearly completely deck it off the stage when her cartwheel went a little bit Monique Heart

but even if she had pulled it off, I still don’t think she would have won because I’m not sure in the year of our Lord 2022 anyone is willing to condone a non-consenting armpit lick

I didn’t like it when Alaska did it to Katya and I do not like it now and I admire Raja for not fully socking her one for it, although perhaps the bigger crime of the lipsync was the very end when The Vivienne dropped triumphantly to her knees like a sack of Gottmiks

although at least The Vivienne had the decency to actually look at the judges while she did it.

I was a little worried that Ru would still give it to The Vivienne because they do kind of owe her prize money, but it was a very deserving triumph for Raja

with her block of choice being Miss 3 Stars herself, Jaida Essence Hall

but you know… Jaida saying earlier that it’s pointless blocking her as she’s pretty much guaranteed a spot in the finale does have a ring to truth about it, it would be much more beneficial to block someone who you could easily overtake rather than trying to play catch up, especially at this stage of the competition – so Trinity, Yvie or Jinkx probably would’ve been the more sensible choices. But given that next week is some sort of Dance/Social Media challenge, I’m going to pre-emptively guess it’s a Monet and Shea Top 2 just to make things ~interesting~.

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