Jaida Essence Floor.
It’s the Annual All Stars
Variety Talent Show! We’ve got Dancing, Singing & Singing and Dancing!
Oh, So You Wanted a Twist Eh?
Once again, not a great deals happens at the top of the show, except I just really liked the phrase “Gutter Shea” as Trinity really tried to lift Shea’s spirits out of the… well, gutter, as everyone calculated and tabulated their stars, wins, blocks and WUZZ ROBBEDs on BenDeLaCreme’s All Star Abacus
but little did they know that RuPaul was about to come in and wreck this fun game of Drag Maths by revealing that this week’s challenge winners wouldn’t win just one star, or two stars, no, they would get three whole stars – I’m assuming that it was originally just going to be a jump up to two stars, but they did need to make sure that Shea could still feasibly benefit from it so they nudged it up to three – it just seems like too extreme a jump and does feel like it kind of negates the rest of the season a little bit – but what is Drag Race: All Stars but a nonsense last minute twist that screws someone over?
I mean, she got the Game of Thrones ending she manifested.
Also I formally apologise for writing about Shea being randomly given three stars in last week’s recap
I shall try to wield my power more responsibly.
A Real Song and Dance
The big final challenge was of course the Talent Show, which I think makes the 3 star prize seem even odder because it’s just not a very grand challenge, and there wasn’t even a runway this week because we had to devote so much of the episode to having 8 queens sit down and have a tic-tac lunch with Ru and Michelle which was basically just the judging critiques but in the form of a holistic therapy session – it was mostly an opportunity for the queens to explain which charities they were going to donate the £30,000 prize for winning the episode to and you would have thought that by the 8th queen, RuPaul would have learned how to react to these statements in a way that didn’t feel like he was C3PO in a fleshsuit, but no – it was thoroughly awkward every single time.
I had hoped that because this was an All Winners season that the talent show would be quite varied and interesting but sadly not even a crowned queen is immune to the siren song of a scoot and boot number – there was a sad lack of anything like Willow Pill communicating the overwhelming existential dread through the medium of spaghetti and bathtime.
Of the original song numbers, I think Jaida’s was the most scootish and bootish because it did sound like she had just set her Best Bits highlight reel to the tune of an arcade machine at the Hollywood Bowl – but she looked cute in her Basketballer get up
which counts for something because we did not have a runway and I’m mad about it. It wasn’t the most memorable song, I do remember her rhyming “Fosse” and “Saucy” though, and of course there was the Jeff Goldblum shout out at the end which was silly fun
Jaida doing the classic original song wasn’t entirely unexpected, it’s very much in her wheelhouse and she didn’t really get the opportunity to release a post-win song, but you know, Scarlet Envy learned how to blow big bubbles and Shea Coulee took some panicked pole dancing lessons 5 months before All Stars 5 started filming, there could have have been SOME variety somewhere ladies.
Trinity’s was also pretty much a Drag Race Talent Show Performance By Numbers, but she did have the slight advantage of going first so you did think “Well, there’s only going to be one of these and they are a good way to get the show started” and then there were like 4 of them. As for the song, I was worried about how a song about being proud to be born in The South would go down, especially when… *gestures at America* and then of course there’s the fact it’s by Trinity, who by this point has put her foot in her mouth as many times as Eureka which is saying something. But the lyrics were cute, I could maybe have done without the MAGA hat line because… I just want that to go away real fast, but for the most part the queering of the toxic patriotism that plagues the Southern states was campy and silly – I did particularly like the “I’ll make your south rise” as she had sweet tea dunked all over her, which is a disgustingly sticky thought
but it did all remind me a lot of Jaida’s one funny joke that sadly got cut from her roast
although to be fair, that might have been a mercy killing given how Jaida’s roast went.
But I do have to talk about the elephant in the room with Trinity’s performance, which was the fact Season 9 Trinity was making a triumphant return in the form of a truly insane outfit
I get it, like each individual piece is quite ~southern~, except for you know, the comedically large pirate belt? And yes, the only decent screenshot I could get of it, did have the backing dancer’s leg hanging down like a massive booted schlong – there’s a snake in my boot, indeed.
The Vivienne was also doing an original song which was called “Bitch In Heels” and I can only imagine that she asked the prop department for “a large high heel sculpture that I can sit on” with the expectation being the full Priscilla, Queen of the Desert fantasy
however, having spent most of their budget on Shea’s payphone, Monet’s balustrades and an Yvie Oddly-sized box, The Vivienne was merely given a garden ornament that looks like it came straight out of the Big Brother house in 2007
it looks like a novelty toilet and she could BARELY sit on because out of drag she’s tall, but in a pair of 5 inch heels, her knees are at her chin! But the prop department hadn’t done her completely dirty, they had given her some compensatory electric candles and a pair of gothic candelabras – confusion is an aesthetic choice
which is still quite funny because Trinity got an entire farm setup including haybales, a barn facade, swinging doors, a custom-made, badly kerned sign and 4 jugs of tea
The Vivienne’s performance just felt a little small – the song never really went anywhere and sounded like a filler track on a debut album.
While most of the RuGirls’ original songs tend to very much just be a series of Drag Race references set to some right’s free dance music, Shea came out with what sounded like a genuine song and gave a really great performance – the whole thing had a very 80s nostalgia to it, from the very stop’n’start Janet Jackson choreography, the breathy synthiness of the track and her Mugler-esque ribcaged blazer
so it was no wonder that RuPaul was looking at her like Clare in Derry Girls, 25 cans of energy drink down, gazing at the supposedly weeping and smirking Virgin Mary
it was at that moment that you knew Shea was going to be in the top – it was a performance that ticked all of Ru’s boxes, which is to say it referenced something pre-millenium.
The last of our All Singing, All Dancing numbers was from Yvie and this did feel really poignant, because in what was really the only Tic-tac lunch worth listening to, she explained more about her Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and how its increasingly limiting her movement and stamina, and this performance very much felt, in part, like her moment to sort of “immortalise” what she’s really fucking good at and I think you could tell how much it meant to her when she NAILED the final series of flips – the expression on her face was VERY Black Swan
I think I also enjoyed the performance a lot because they introduced it as “a special delivery from Yvie Oddly” which immediately made me think she was going to be performing to that song she made with Willow Pill in which they are both dressed as babies, throw up on one another and sit on Yvie’s Hot Dad’s lap – apologies to the alternate timeline that got that performance, let me know if The Vivienne got a bigger shoe?
The rest of the performances were either singing or dancing – unsurprisingly Jinkx was in the former and was very much doing what Jinkx does best with a comedic cabaret song that had a very Everything’s Coming Up Rose from Gypsy feel about it, the big gag of which was the fact there was no gag as she swallowed the microphone
and was immediately upstaged by Yvie Oddly in her confessional
but the song was really good and funny so she wasn’t purely relying on the shock factor of deepthroating the microphone – who do you think she is? Art Symone?
Dear Father, forgive me for I have reminded everyone of Drag Race Down Under season 1.
Jinkx did do a similar number on her tour with Major Scales, in which she didn’t swallow the microphone and instead she shoved the foot of an audience member in her mouth – and I’m pretty sure that Hannah Einbinder would’ve been a willing volunteer – she was such a good guest judge, bring her back, let her direct an acting challenge!
Also singing was Monet who was out to redeem her past attempt at a vocal performance in the All Stars 4 talent show where her voice sounded like her larynx was trying to perform a daring prison break, and of course the show had to make sure we remembered it by playing the clip several times. I actually went and watched her The Monét XPosé episode on YouTube that she did about the talent show performance and she talked a little bit about how much she regretted not doing something straight up classically operatic because she’ll never get the opportunity again, so I can only imagine her heart must have skipped when they gave her the call for an All Winners season and she could finally do the operatic performance she wanted to because she wasn’t hindered by the desperate attempts to make sponges happen
it was a dark period in Drag Race history.
And give an operatic performance she certainly did – her voice sounded incredible and she looked absolutely flawless in this sort of Grecian Muse outfit
I was really glad that the show obviously got the correct audio equipment for an opera performance, because the Drag Race Espana team did Juriji der Klee quite dirty by making her perform L’amour Est Un Oiseau Rebelle WITH A BRITNEY MIC
jail for the sound person, I will never forgive them.
And lastly we have Raja who was doing a dance number, with her performance being the Balinese dance known as the Kebyar Duduk
even though Raja gave a pretty concise info dump about it by essentially reading the Wikipedia introduction to Trinity
I thoroughly recommend reading about the history and theme of the dance – I think it also helps better the appreciation of the routine because I did see a number of comments and discussions about how it wasn’t good, and just general bad faith discourse about the routine in a way that was very dismissive and patronising – also the immediate comparisons to Gia Gunn’s talent show performance were problematic to say the least. However, much like Gia I do think Raja was robbed of a top 2 placement – I thought she really set herself apart from the others and I just liked that her performance had emotion behind it and made me feel something other than “I hope this performs well enough on YouTube to have made it worth it.”, as well as skill – the way she moved the train around without getting wrapped up or tripped was really quite masterful.
As a whole the talent show probably wasn’t the best choice for a Big Decider Episode, if anything this should have been a big branding episode and I can really see why the Verse-in-a-Ru-Song Challenge is often the decider episode – either way, we would have ended up with a Monet vs Shea top 2 for the episode – as much as I think it should have been Monet vs Raja, with Shea being a strong 3rd place contender. But with Shea rocketing up to 4 stars, joining Jinkx in second behind Monet’s 5 stars, it meant that there was a tie in 4th place between Jaida and Trinity
and instead of making them give us a really fucking good lipsync for their spot, the producers were instead going to make Monet playing the worst game of Survivor since Grant spent more time eating apples than securing not-him votes finally pay off as she had to choose between Trinity or Jaida The Essence of Congeniality Hall to join them in the finale. It was pretty obvious that she was going to choose Trinity because I can’t think they would have left so much of the footage of them loudly stage whispering their evil plans to one another in the edit if she didn’t – so Trinity goes to the final alongside Jinkx, Monet and Shea, and EVERYONE LAUGHED AND WAS MERRY…
…except for The Vivienne who stared resolutely into the void, her face utterly immovable. although the reveals weren’t over yet, as Ru did reveal that there was going to be a $50,000 She Done Already Done Had Herses prize that Jaida, The Vivienne, Raja and Yvie would all be playing for
DANCE MONKEYS, DANCE! And Get re-reworking that DESPY Award dress Vivienne
But for now, Monet and Shea had to showdown over whose charity was going to get that £30,000.
Kylie 2: No Robot Boogaloo.
In a very quick case of paving over a mistake, Monet and Shea were performing to Kylie Minogue’s Supernova imaginably because the Drag Race YouTube channel wants a version of it where nobody does THE ROBOT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT
and both Monet and Shea delivered really stellar lipsyncs and I love how buckwild everyone went when they both went down to the floor together at the same time
the queens would have LIVED for Torvill and Dean’s Bolero routine. Although I think Monet may have somewhat regretted doing it because while Shea managed to effortlessly play up the sexiness of it all, Monet did look a bit like someone struggling with a moderately difficult yoga position
she was merely stretching for the inevitable splits that come with any Monet lipsync to a song with a beat drop
and while it was obviously very impressive, there was just something about Monet’s performance that felt a little desperate and frantic next to Shea who was just really controlled and maybe not delivering the most dynamic or varied routine in the world – it was very shimmy, spin, arm movements, rinse and repeat which really worked as she won, netting $30,000 for the Period Poverty Project
and as is pretty customary for a charity give away, everyone else’s charities all got £10,000 which is kind of phenomenal and given that so many of them were trans-based charities, which are in dire need of funding right now, it really did mean a lot.
I’m curious as to what angle they’re going to go with the Lalaparuza Smackdown because it’s usually focused around a single iconic diva, which would certainly benefit anyone but Jinkx, but the season feels like it’s very strongly leant towards a Jinkx win and I would say Monet is probably her biggest contender – I’d be thrilled for either of them.
As for the SDADHH’s Smackdown – I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be Yvie’s win and I would love that for her, I think out of all of them it would mean the most to her, but it does depend how everything falls because they could bus her over with another Dolly Parton lipsync.
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