Drag Race: All Stars 8, Episode 2: Premier Drag Hobbit

Raise your hand if you have been personally victimised by Heidi N Closet.

Are you ready for a lesson in Catgirls?

A Little Bit Less Monica

One of my biggest issues with All Stars and the whole voting system is that it’s often felt too cohesive – the whole format relies on chaos and dissent in order to make it effectively dramatic, and well this group seem to be achieving that better than ever before

Lala, Kandy and Jaymes all opted to eliminate Darienne which she took rather well – I think it’s easier to excuse in the first week because everyone is kind of grasping at straws and Monica did have the more emotional angle but I don’t think there’s a single universe where if Monica had been spared last episode that she wouldn’t be going home this episode.

Live Wires

For this episode’s Maxi Challenge the queens were putting on an SNL-style sketch show called RDR Live! Which I think was a super fun direction to take the acting challenges in and also meant the writers weren’t having to write 10 minute long short films, instead each sketch was about 3 or 4 minutes and all the better for it.

The queens did have to assign their roles and for the most part everyone got what they were looking for, the only queen finding herself forced into a role against her will was Naysha who wanted a news anchor role but lost it the moment Lala did this

So Naysha ended up as one of the doctors – the thing is I don’t think Naysha would have done much better as a news anchor because to me, the doctors and the news anchors were the easiest ones to flub because they don’t have as defined a Drag Race-friendly character as Slutty Gardeners and Shouty Jersey Women who RuPaul was going to laugh at no matter what. Naysha also unfortunately found herself acting against Jaymes Mansfield who sounded like Lunchlady Doris which already made her 10 times funnier

the funniest thing is that at a watch party, Naysha has claimed that Jaymes should have been in the bottom instead of her which is a wild claim that not even her drunkenness can excuse. Naysha’s performance wasn’t a complete disaster though, I got a big laugh out of her wildly pointing anywhere and everywhere on the map

and I think more props would have potentially helped her – especially in the line about deathdrops when she puts a pause between “death” and “drop” – she should have had a clipboard said “death”, let everyone dramatically gasp and then turned over the page to read “drops… deathdrops” – it would have at least made her C3PO valley girl cadence work a bit better.

As for the news anchors, I did not think Lala did particularly well – her delivery was really stilted and I think killed quite a few of the jokes and I’m pretty she misread the autocue because… this isn’t a joke?

surely the punchline should have been something like a sarcastically delivered “And in an unrelated story, Bianca Del Rio has been found after having gone missing for several days”? But it happened again with the joke about the queen being pulled out of the river

so I don’t really know if it is Lala misreading or if the person who wrote the jokes butchered it.
I do think Lala and Heidi nailed the bitchiness between the two of them though, their reactions to each other’s cattiness were far funnier than the actual jokes and it certainly went smoother than when Peppermint and Trinity tried to do the same thing

because when I have an affair with someone I always given them my… business card? I think about that attempt at a joke far too often.

But I do still think Lala only narrowly avoided the bottom 2 in part because it works better narratively if Naysha doesn’t land in the bottom 2 against someone who “took” her preferred role. Instead they threw Kahanna in there for not putting enough pussy into her pussycat

I do think Kahanna had the weakest source material – the jokes were just not funny but it’s also extremely easy to make playing a cat funny – I have seen ContraPoints playing Friedrich Nietzsche as a catgirl and it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen

she really just needed to channel ChiChi DeVayne (God rest her soul) as Eartha Kitt, which I think is a thoroughly underrated Snatch Game performance

but I also think that she maybe didn’t want to go too far with the slapstick goofiness of it all because the character was obviously a parody of feminist activists and given the current political climate I can appreciate that a queen who isn’t that confident in her comedic abilities might not be entirely comfortable with knowing how far to push it, so we kind of just ended up with the world’s most sincere catgirl since Francesca Hayward in CATS (2019).

Everyone else did really well – Jimbo as one of the slutty gardeners was the clear standout of the whole challenge

Jessica was good in that distinctly Drag Race over the top way but it’s the quiet character that just slips in the occasional line that really sells a challenge and that’s what Jimbo and her fake tan smeared tits do best

But Jessica looked outrageously stunning in that challenge. I did think Kasha was a little underutilised throughout this challenge, she came on at the end of Jimbo and Jessica’s challenge to do a funny version of Orion Story’s talent show character

and I thought this would mean she’d show up in all the sketches because it was such a short segment and given how well she and Kandy played off each other in the opening monologue I was excited for that to happen. I genuinely think she could have done a wickedly funny Michelle Visage impression in Darienne and Alexis’s sketch, but instead they got the real Michelle

sorry to bona fide Michelle Visage but I wanted Kasha Davis’s Michelle Visage.
Darienne and Alexis worked really well together, I didn’t find the sketch amazingly funny because I think we’re kind of over the whole Michelle HATES green and bodysuits – there’s a whole new plethora of things she hates like the sound of horses trotting and sound medical advice. But Alexis and Darienne did what they needed to, I preferred Alexis because I think Darienne fell into that thing of just shouting and pulling a funny face in order to sell a joke but, and this might sound ignorant, I think that’s just American sketch comedy.

Back of the Net

The runway category this week was Netting – my first thought would have been to do like a sea monster trapped in a fishing net which nobody did because I suppose that might have been a slightly obvious choice, although I think it’s only as obvious as butterfly nets and we got two of those. The closest I got to my sea monster fantasy was Kahanna who was doing a sort of Polynesian oceanic Goddess

it’s as ornate as you’d expect and it’s quite frankly rude of her to have packed herself a crown that’s more ornate and ridiculous than the one that the winner gets crowned with

I really thought this look might have saved her from the bottom and put Lala down there instead because Lala once again just looked a bit too naked, and not in a purposeful Kahanna Montrese kind of way

I know she needed the sheerness to sell the net prompt, I think I just needed a suggestion of some pants instead of the uncanny Barbie crotch because she’s wearing 5 layers of tights.
Heidi’s look was quite similar to Lala’s in that they both looked like they were made out of those hanging storage nets

she has to be running out of these stickers by now, surely? I do like the outfit though – the shape it really cool and culottes are underrepresented members of the trousers community. She also somehow wasn’t the only queen to cover a giant mouth on her torso (it’s a bit of a trend this season)

I loved the fact Kandy said “If you look real close that’s my face drawn out on my body” as though the two massive nostrils weren’t the first things you’d see when she walked out. It’s a cool look and it could easily just look messy but I think she pushed the overwhelming tulle far enough for it to come back around into avant garde couture. But at what point do we declare a morphsuit epidemic?

Quite a few of the queens had just gone the regular fashion route and wore gowns made out of some sort of netting, which in some cases didn’t read much like netting, enter Alexis Michelle

it’s stunning and I enjoyed that the stiffness of it made her look like a Dalek at the opera but I can’t help but feel just placing the netting over another fabric instead of making the outfit out of the netting kind of defeats the purpose of the runway? The dress without the netting is still the same dress. Whereas at least Naysha’s use of a netted fabric fed into the vampy gothic glamour she was going for

I would have loved some red stones on the fabric to give it a bit more depth and character, also I don’t think that wig is working, the dirty blonde against the black is almost making it look green but the thigh high latex boots and matching gloves are a serve.
Monica actually had kind of a similar look to Naysha except considerably more like it was made by a cluster of spiders on LSD

the cruel part of the Fame Games is making the eliminated queens walk the runway in an empty room so there’s no judges’ commentary and they desperately have to fill that dead air themselves which might have been easier if Monica had more of an outfit to talk about.

Now for the campier end of the spectrum, starting with Darienne Lake agressive and unblinkingly staring camp right in the eyes

I think I just wish it sparkled more but it’s a fun look and if she wore it to perform Swish Swish I would question why the club was playing Swish Swish but I’m sure there would be a cute performance in there somewhere.

This is also where we have our pair of duelling butterfly nets, Jessica having the more fashionable one

this is mostly by virtue of Mrs. Kasha Davis dressing like she’s the premier drag hobbit of The Shire

admittedly the sensible pencil skirt really takes me out of the Maiden of the Woods fantasy she was describing, but I love the wig! And it is nice that we have a positive butterfly reference point on Drag Race – although I would have died if someone’s netted look was just a recreation of Asia’s disastrous lipsync outfit – butterfly massacre and all

scrap my sea monster, that’s my look.

Jaymes continued her love of all things retro with a 60s hair salon inspired look

the first thing I think about when I think of Jaymes is her wig styling videos so I’m glad she went with something that references that and the Barbie-core of the outfit is timely perfection. I do wonder though, that because we’ve just about hit all the Jaymes Mansfield talking points only 2 episodes in that it could become repetitive in the eyes of the judges.

The only queen to really think outside of the netted box was Jimbo, who went chronically online with her selfie stick wielding Doc Ock

it’s stupidly good and I am just thrilled that we can now say someone has referenced Alfred Molina on the Drag Race runway – everyone has a collection of actors they are hopelessly devoted to, Alfred Molina is one of mine.

A Netted Runway Ranking
1. Chronically Online Doctor Octopus
2. It’s Queen Triton, Now
3. Nothing But Hairnet
4. The Wild Lepidopterist
5. Heidi’s Sticker Book Collection
6. The Dalek of Seville
7. Darienne Dribble
8. Bilbo Draggins
9. Naysha Low-pez
10. It’s My Face, Can You See It’s My Face?
11. Lala’s Uncanny Nakedness
12. Drugged Arachnid Couture

I mostly agree with the judges, I personally would have put Jessica in the top over Heidi but I also get that they maybe didn’t want two tops from the same sketch, and Jimbo was the runaway winner of the episode. I am confused why we’re not doing low placements – I think it makes for a much more interesting track record and keeps everyone on their toes a little more, so if they had I think Lala would have been down there but it was clear the judges wanted that Top All Star to Bottom 2 nosedive narrative for Kahanna – it’s happened for the last 3 seasons of All Stars that involved eliminations: Mo Heart, India Ferrah and Yara Sofia all had the same thing happen to them. And Naysha, whichever way you cut it, did the worst this episode.

Game. Set. Rematch

This could not have panned out more perfectly if they’d tried as Jimbo found herself facing off against Pangina Heals

literally a perfect episode of Drag Race, I genuinely have to applaud it. It did however mean this lipsync was over before it even began because Jimbo lipsyncs like a falling tree, so everyone knew it was coming down to the group vote and I ADORED the editors cutting to Kandy laying a reassuring hand on Naysha’s shoulders after taking the time to show us that Kandy had voted for Naysha

shady bitches.

Although this time Jimbo did manage to not trip over Pangina like she was a badly placed coffee table

and in some ways, that’s all the win that Jimbo needed.
They lipsynced to She Bop by Cyndi Lauper which was a really fun lipsync – there’s a clear narrative the queens could play with and a lot of fun little accents they could hit – they did both go for the low hanging orgasm fruit but who can blame them when you’re performing for RuPaul

by the end of it though they were having to just show Pangina because Jimbo’s breast plate was going rogue and WOW Productions still wants to be able to post this on YouTube without getting struck down and having Jimbo mime a vibrator was already pushing things.

Pangina did win and the group had decided that Naysha was the queen going home – she was doomed either way because Jimbo also pulled her lipstick

Fairly, I think between Naysha and Kahanna it was a cut and dry vote, HOWEVER, as you can probably tell from Jessica’s reaction, she voted to eliminate Kahanna

and so did Kasha which intrigues and scares me quite a bit because I don’t know how well Kasha is going to do in the Ball Challenge next week and voting to eliminate a front runner doesn’t cast you in the best light.
I do feel bad for Naysha because this was a chance for her to finally escape the ElimiNaysha monicker and given that she’s now been on 5 episodes of Drag Race and been eliminated in 3 of them, I’m not sure it’s going anywhere.

And so, 10 Queens Remain

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