Drag Race: All Stars 8, Episode 1: Impractical Pyjamas

She’s armed and dangerous!

Where are the sound engineers, I just wanna talk.

A Twist of Fame

I’ve already covered the entrances and thoughts on the queens in the Meet The Queens roundup and for the sake of my own sanity and the fact I have to get the second episode recapped and do a Eurovision recap, I’m going to skip over it but rest assured I am sill so confused about Naysha Lopez wearing a prison outfit

but my favourite of the entrance looks were Jaymes Mansfield and Jessica Wild

The entrance looks were all mostly just fine, you could kind of tell everyone was gearing themselves up for a potential outfit ruining photoshoot.

There is however a twist this year with the eliminated queens still getting to showcase their looks, albeit in Untucked because there’s only one way to force us to watch All Stars Untucked which is a routinely miserable experience – I just don’t like the grovelling. The audience will then vote online based on the who they think had the best runway package and the winner will receive $50,000.
I like this twist, it is just glorified Miss Congeniality and I will be curious to see how the public voting goes because the last time we did this was the infamous VixenBot fiasco of season 10 when The Vixen got like 13,000,000 votes for Miss Congeniality – truly an incredible time to be alive. It’s also the least the show could do because we do know the queens spend so much on these runways – I’ll never get over Honey Davenport spending £20,000 on runway outfits and getting eliminated in the third episode (and one of those episodes was a design challenge). But at least everyone got to showcase 4 stellar looks in this episode with their entrance look, the main stage Signature Runway and of course the mini challenge which was a double runway featuring a look inspired by a famous figure of the past and another by a famous figure of the present.

Looks of Times Gone By

I’m curious to know what the prompt for these outfits was because with the black and white photo montages they did, they were clearly intending the whole thing to look like one of those tabloid spreads for whatever party was been thrown The Hollywood Friars Club, so I thought this round was absolutely made for Jaymes Mansfield, who had decided to forgo the Hollywood glam for a Mariachi inspired outfit as a nod to her Mexican heritage

it’s great and ornate enough to be interesting and feel like a runway look but I was just a touch disappointed that we didn’t get the full Jaymes Mansfield experience – I know you have the wigs for it! But there was enough of the old Hollywood glamour going on, with Alexis Michelle going the full Norma Desmond

she really nailed the fact that a lot of vintage Hollywood looks mostly look like incredibly impractical pyjamas – I would have maybe like just a peek of a curl coming out from under the turban. Also pulling heavily from pop culture hollywood was Jimbo with her really quite incredibly Marilyn Monroe look

there have been countless queens who have said their looks are “giving you Iris van Herpen” when they are absolutely in no way giving you Iris van anything so I find it incredibly funny that the closest we’ve ever come to getting that real ethereal Iris van Herpen movement and manipulation of fabric is from Jimbo doing Marilyn Monroe cosplay.
Kasha also went this route drawing from Lucille Ball in the Ziegfeld Follies

I like some of the changes she made to the look – the sequins and getting her leg out – I just don’t love the poncho cloak which always feels like you’re trying to cover as much of yourself up as possible and I wish the headpiece was as grand as the original, but I realise that 5 ostriches’ worth of feathers is maybe a touch unethical for a 15 second runway look.

Of the more generic vintage glamour runways I think Lala’s was my favourite – I love the cut, I love the cape, I love that it makes her look 50 metres tall

it just really worked for me and I adored her black and white photo

but I also loved Kahanna’s gown and foxtails

her face… it stops my brain working every time, she’s so damn beautiful.
My least favourite in this particular category was probably Naysha going with a Coco Chanel look

the fit and length of the skirt is so bad I am almost tempted to believe that she borrowed this from DeJa Skye and because taking in the shoulder pads would have been an industrial job needing a team of 15 construction workers (led by Loosey Laduca, obviously) they had no time to refit anything else

but I liked her head because it reminded me of Angelina Jolie in Changeling

I don’t know why I’m obsessed with that movie? But I think it’s mostly because of the hats and the lipstick shades. (I wish Naysha had gone with a bold red lip.)

And then we also have some of the looks that threw it back even further than 1930 and we ended up with two Ancient Egyptians, which isn’t much of surprise considering Nefertiti is often touted as one of the most beautiful women in history[Citation needed]

Jessica’s feels the most costume-y – it’s a good and expensive costume and she look OUTRAGEOUSLY beautiful

you know it’s good makeup when they’re basically shoving the camera into your nonexistent pores.
As for Monica’s, I really liked it and the sort of more art deco influence it had, as much as I am absolutely sure that bodysuit is from Fashion Nova (we’ve all done it)

the look as a whole had the feel of a 1920s performance outfit a la Colette

does it to the line of the problematic? Perhaps but…. LOOK OVER THERE, IT’S DARIENNE LAKE IN A COMMUNITY THEATRE PRODUCTION OF SPAMALOT!

I would say this was the biggest miss of the night, and it was, but I need a segue into Heidi

ADORE the dress and think it’s masterfully made and great for this runway, I’m just confused by the porcelain doll effect she painted only over her mouth which looks kind of like a facemask?

I don’t really associate the exaggerated panniered look of France’s Ancien Régime with porcelain dolls? I love that Heidi now obviously has the makeup skills to pull off the effect so well, I think it either needed to be the whole face or a placement that didn’t make me think it was first and foremost a safety precaution.

Now, with everyone throwing it back to anywhere between 1950 and 1370 BC, how do we think RuPaul felt with Kandy coming out dressed as her?

FLAMES on the side of her face!
I don’t love the dress – I think the proportions are all a little off which is a surprise because Kandy usually nails that but I am obsessed with this wood shavings wig

absolutely one of my favourite of all time.

A Famous Then Look Ranking
1. My LaLa Bias Is Showing
2. The Seven Year Bitch
3. Kahanna’s Foxes and Velvet
4. Jessica’s Golden Pharoah
5. Alexis’s Impractical Pyjamas
6. Not Jayne Mansfield
7. An Apologetic Follies
8. Monica’s Fashion Nofret
9. RuPaul circa 786 BC
10. She’s One Of The Dolls
11. Caca Chanel (I am a child)
12. Darienne’s Buxton Theatre Lady of the Lake

I Bring Your Presents

I was worried that the Famous Now runway would fall into the same trap as the Nights of a 1000 [INSERT DIVA HERE] runways in that everything would just feel like a recreation of something we’ve seen but for the most part everything felt like it was Inspired By someone instead, although Alexis did kick it off with a direct recreation of the infamous Shadow of the Kolossus Met Gala look

but it’s kind of a serve purely for the nerve of it all but I fear we’re coming dangerously close to condoning Morphsuits on the runway. Also going the Kardashian route was Mrs. Kasha Davis

before this was Kris Jenner this was absolutely a Liza Minnelli look that she had ready to go and before that it was probably some moderately expensive loungewear, but I do like the stones which at least elevate it to looking a little more than something you’d wear around the house, which Darienne Lake could have done with

HOWEVER. I do think Darienne coming down that runway looking like your mom dressed as a surprisingly spot-on Billie Eilish was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on Drag Race, even if just for Michelle and Ru’s reactions in the background

I haven’t seen RuPaul’s lips purse that hard since Joe Black’s H&M dress. The thing is, there’s a lot of cool ways you can do Billie Eilish – a t-shirt from your local surf shop is not one them. Jaymes was also going towards the younger end of the celebrity spectrum

I hate this, I love Jaymes but I hate this. I know JoJo Siwa is 19 years old but this somehow, and I don’t know how because she is wearing a harness, strikes the same sort of fear in my stomach that Elektra Shock dressing up as a little girl did

Nope. Hard pass.

My absolute favourite look from this runway though was Heidi’s Bailey twins inspired look

I just really love the mix of prints and volume the look has and it definitely looked the best in the oversaturated photo montages, which I think also really helped Naysha Lopez’s look

I mean, the look was already good and she nailed the Versace of it all with the garish colours and general tackiness and it fits her phenomenally well, which was a relief after the last runway.
I also really loved Kahanna’s gender bending Lil Nas look

as the judges said, the best thing about her looks is how they’ve been Vegasified to the max – they’re always a little tacky but in a way that the best kind of drag often it.
Jessica also went for a male influence and directly recreated Bad Bunny’s drag look from the Yo Perreo Sola music video

it’s great, no notes, clever choice!

I appreciated that Monica wanted to go with a transwoman for her inspiration – the problem is in terms of red carpet and fashion back catalogues it’s a small pool to choose from and even smaller when you have to factor in that RuPaul has to know who you’re referencing, Laverne Cox is arguably the transwoman that has walked the most red carpets – the problem is she has terrible taste (why is Laverne catching strays here? I don’t know) so Kim Petras it was

I am obsessed with the obviously fake Louis Vuitton – it really tickles me and the obvious stand outs were the boots but she didn’t really make the most of them.

Kandy’s look perplexes me because she claimed it was “futuristic” and it’s… a latex pencil skirt and a fur coat

she could have walked out in this for the first round and said “I am serving you Helen Gilbert in The Falcon Takes Over with a Kandy Muse twist” and I would have just accepted it.

Lastly we have the most unfortunately cruel runway placements in the show’s history with Jimbo coming out in a pitch perfect recreation of a dress from the Viktor and Rolf 2019 couture runway

and then being immediately followed by Lala Ri looking like a ransom note

Girl, I thought we had discussed haphazardly gluing things to your body? DO YOU NOT REMEMBER NICOLE’S FACE?

That look should be burned into your memory!

A Famous Now Runway Ranking
1. Heidi Bailey
2. Like, Share and Subscribe!
3. Lil Vegas X
4. Donatella Ver-Naysha
5. Literally Just Bad Bunny
6. Alexis’s Incognito Mode
7. The Future of Yesterday
8. A Liza Minelli By Any Other Name
9. Monica’s Lewis Viewton
10. NoNo Siwa
11. Mommy Eilish
12. The Bag Look 2: Post-it Note Boogaloo

Run For Covers!

I thought it was weird that the first challenge wasn’t the talent show, that usually serves as a great introduction to everyone and what they best, it also allows the queens to start with something that they’re a little more confident in. Instead we got a far too premature girl group challenge which I do not think works when you’ve got groups larger than 4, especially on Drag Race where the lyric writing is very formulaic.
This particular iteration saw the queens doing covers of Money, Success, Fame, Glamour in two different style Glam Rock and Disco:

Team Glam Rock: Alexis, Khanna, Heidi, Kandy, Darienne and Naysha

Team Disco: Lala, Monica, Jaymes, Jimbo, Kasha and Jessica

I don’t think either team did excellently – which I don’t necessarily think was the queens’ fault because the mix for these songs was AWFUL and sounded like they were having to lipsync to it while the song played in a separate room and not even the subtitlers, who should be privy to EXACTLY what the queens were saying, knew what was being sung

there was A LOT of [indistinct] and then just really loud extra sound effects including splashing water for Darienne Lake and Kahanna’s ass slap that was about 40 decibels higher than anything else and nearly deafened me because I had the volume up so loud because it sounded like everyone had recorded their lyrics at 2am and didn’t want to wake anyone up!

Then there’s the fact that you’ve got 6 queens of wildly differing performance abilities to choreograph for so I didn’t really blame Heidi for trying to bring out the 8 count that every drag queen keeps in their back pocket – I did love the moment she just sat down on the runway when Kandy pointed that Bob Fosse was indeed not a glam rock icon

I’m not sure they ever truly found the Glam Rock in the choreography though

absolutely losing my mind over Darienne trying to hide behind Kandy and Kandy then hightailing to the back leaving Darienne to just muddle around a bit while Heidi does her own rendition of the Ashlee Simpson SNL career killer.

The Glam Rockers did end up with the better performance, it was certainly easier for them to look cohesive because you just needed to wear black and silver accents

the only one that was giving me true Glam Rock though was Heidi who looked like she was being eaten by a roadkill badger

everyone else needed significantly bigger hair and I probably would have put Heidi in the top, the only person that was really outshining her in her group was Kahanna because Kahanna knows how to command a stage

she also knows how to expertly cover up the fact she’s dropping lines left and right – TWIRL! HAIR FLIP! SMILE! They’ll never notice! Is it glam rock? Don’t think about it too hard.
I do wish it was a performance that had allowed Kahanna to go a little harder at because it would have been nice to have at least a stunt somewhere, even if it was just to distract from the fact that by the time Kahanna’s verse came in halfway through, Darienne and Alexis were struggling to keep it going, the latter doing a much better job of hiding it while Darienne mostly just shrank to the back of the stage.

I liked Alexis’s voice though and the nod and wink towards Idina Menzel was cute

I know we often complain about them cutting to the judges too often during performances in order to Kuleshov us into thinking someone is doing badly – this time I do not think there was enough judge reaction shots, I just needed something to break up the performance a little bit, especially in the Disco Team because that performance felt like it lasted a million years and throughout it Monica looked like RuPaul was threatening her with a sniper

I honestly cannot blame her, I think it was a mercy that she wasn’t in the glam rock team because I think that would have been worse for her, and God bless her for rhyming slay with a slightly louder slay

at least it was memorable, I can’t really tell you what anyone else sang about – I found the disco group very forgettable and discombobulated

Jaymes being in the dress really made her stick out like a sore thumb, which was a bit unfortunate because she was hitting the choreography a good second after everyone else, but at least she was smiling while doing it and not actively fighting against the disco backing track like it was her villain origin story. However, Jaymes and Kasha were both given a huge safety net by being given all of the extra ad-libs throughout the song which always helps inject a bit of extra comedy and personality whereas Monica got nothing.

Everyone else was perfectly serviceable – Jimbo knows how to do a comedic verse and Lala and Jessica you knew would get the job done so you didn’t feel anxious when they took over as the leads for their verses.

Second Signature

The first Main Stage runway of the season was the time honoured Signature Drag look which is kind of a boring category and is mostly a chance to hammer home ~Your Brand~ and nobody is branding themselves harder this season than Heidi N. Closet who has no yet met a garment she wouldn’t slap a mouth decal on

she’s making All Stars 4 Mo Heart look restrained and I think we were all about to sign a petition to eradicate the entire global brown cow population by the end of episode 1. The thing is, her dress is stunning

I just really could have done without her The Autoerotic Riddler performance

while Heidi’s was easily my favourite gown of the night, I really loved the over the top glitz of Darienne’s leopard print

it fits perfectly, the peplum gives her a wonderful silhouette and I love the way the glitter meshes with the leopard print. Alexis Michelle was also in a killer gown

this is phenomenal – my only complaint is that I don’t like the contact lenses, I think they make her eyes look dead while her natural brown eyes would have made the sultry, Jessica Rabbit of it all work better by at the very least making it look like she had something in her sockets.

Jaymes was at least back in her signature wheelhouse and it probably was a good thing she sidestepped the real old Hollywood style for the mini challenge or it might have seemed to repetitive, but I love that she went with a Jayne Mansfield reference

I do wish she’d gone with Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? because I would have loved Jaymes to have had the poodle puppet that wears a matching outfit

I know she was burnt by a puppet once before, but now’s the time to right the wrongs! Which Lala was certainly doing by glamming up a leotard

I mostly like this, the braided trim along the bottom of the leotard gives it a really strange length over the crotch and I’m pretty sure it’s probably there to hide a mistake but I love the swapped ruffle on the the gloves – it’s a good play with volume.

Kahanna managed to reach the absolute peak of her very Vegas Carnival aesthetic

Thou shalt not make a Tina Burner joke.
It’s great drag, the only bit I personally don’t like is the wig which looks like cassette tape and it makes me feel anxious. She wasn’t the only one going for a non-hair wig though as Kasha Davis came out in her best Priscilla Queen of the Housewives look

it’s really good, I don’t mind the relative simplicity of the outfit (which had a nice sparkle) because the wig was so good, and it would have been the thing on the runway that looked the most like a christmas ornament but then Kandy Muse took to the stage

there is a feeling of Sexy Lightning McQueen about it but it fits her so well and I do think Kandy has one of the most interestingly beautiful faces on Drag Race – I love how she does her blush and her lips which make her look like she’s just realise she can’t find her mother in the supermarket – it’s cute and works for her. The back of the outfit though can only be described as A Situation™

that metallic thong strip feels like a safety hazard.

A lot of the other queens have less obvious styles so we kind of just got Jessica Wild in a perfectly serviceable rock chick look

seeing as that’s a style she likes so much, I’m sad we didn’t get to see what she’d have done in the glam rock group but I am however surprised she didn’t come out in the chicken suit because she is really hung up on the fact she played a chicken in 1 challenge. It is nice to know someone has some restraint.
Naysha was in a very nice bodysuit

we don’t see a lot of this baby blue so at least that’s a bit different and the fact it completely covers the shoes does it give it that extra custom-made feel so it feels anything but a cheap last-ditch effort. And for no particular reason, Monica Beverley Hillz is next

she was probably the most up against it on this runway and I feel bad that she just had to sing a song where her whole thing was “glamour with a banjee twist” and this isn’t any of that, it’s just a very nice dance costume and some fantastic legs – she herself even said “I look like a little Latin dancer” and then it hit me, yeah, she does look like Jorgeous

I’m afraid Jorgeous has a monopoly on dance outfits.

And finishing with a bang is Jimbo

this is insane, she looks like a 90s cartoon meets rave club poster that scared me as a child and I just cannot get enough of this wig

I wish the makeup matched the extreme of the outfit but that’s so minor with such a major look.

A Signature Drag Runway Ranking
1. Heidi Testing My Patience
2. The National Bird of Vegas
3. Oh, She’s a Brainy Queen
4. Leopard Print, The Drag Queen’s Nude
5. Priscilla Queen of the Housewives
6. Alexis’s Peachy Keen Gown
7. Jayne Mansfield
8. Baby Blue Bodysuit
9. Ruffled, For Your Pleasure
10. Sexy Lightning McQueen
11. The Rock Chicken
12. Days Of Jorgeous Past

Judging-wise, I mostly agree I personally would have had Heidi in the top over Alexis but I understand that denying Alexis a moment with Idina Menzel would have been cruel and made her Untucked telenovela even more unhinged

it’s a race to see if the show Jans her before she Jans herself.

There seems to be some contention over how Jaymes placed – Fandom Wiki lists her as High, I would personally say she was Low and just missed being in the bottom 2 – although the obvious bottom 2 were Darienne and Monica with Kahanna winning and the Loosey Laduca Award For Second Place going to Lala.

Get Your Freak’um On

Starting off strong with a Beyoncé lipsync with Kahanna lipsyncing to Freak’um Dress against her Lipsync Assassin opponent, Aja

I was concerned for Aja just because she had to DELIVER on this lipsync as she has been clowning on Anetra’s vogueing throughout Season 15 – the funniest part of it is the fact Anetra just ignored all of it

imagine being left unread for 4 months? I would die.

However, Aja devoured this performance I would say she won it the moment she sent a stack of hair flying and then idly kicked it off the stage

but she just kept delivering iconic moments, her spin into the dip was insanely amazing

and the editors were having a blast with the sound effects – every spin being hit with a sound effect from Twister was so silly but so perfect.
Kahanna did well too, I was excited to see what she would do now that she wasn’t sandwiched between noted Not Great Dancers Darienne Lake and Kandy Muse

but she didn’t go for it as hard as I thought she would – it was mostly a lot of hairography, which was impressive even if just for the fact she never at any point ended up with most of her wig stuck to her well glossed lips – it’s witchcraft. I did wonder if she perhaps held back because she didn’t want to put a target on her back so soon but I also don’t think anyone would purposefully avoid winning $10,000 – and the bottom 2 was Monica and Darienne who didn’t really have any meaningful connections to the other queens yet – which explains why the lipstick voting was all over the place, but Aja won and Monica did have the majority vote and is our first queen to sashay away

I would have loved for her to have the big, triumphant reintroduction to the franchise that Kylie had on All Stars 6 but she just didn’t have the fire in her but hopefully with her hightended profile she’ll work around a little more, get some of that *RuPaul enema noises* and come back swinging on Guam Vs The World. I’ll keep posting her looks in the runway recaps and I promise not to keep pointing out which ones are from Fashion Nova. (Spoiler alert: they all are.)

And so, 11 queens remain:

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