Drag Race: All Stars 8, Episode 4: Mutual Combustion of Egos

I love this drink.

I have to apologise, I did not come up with the concept for this.

Congratulations But…

It was only a narrow escaped elimination for Darienne but easily justifiable over the fact she’d been in the bottom twice in 3 episodes and Darienne seems fairly sensible so there wasn’t much drama to milk out of it – I’m still waiting for a season where somebody doesn’t own up to who they voted for purely for the messiness of it all, toss a random lipstick into that box like a grenade and then maybe we can retire this voting format for something new, I WISH somebody had done it with Alexis’s this week because she’d be spiralling next week. I know Bebe kind of did it but I think it would have more impactful with this RuMocracy set up.

Instead we had to vaguely retread the sidelining of Heidi with Jessica feeling a bit like everyone resented her win, which they insisted they didn’t as Jaymes, Kahanna and Heidi all congratulated her but not before they told her she didn’t deserve the win

I still think Jaymes was delusional about her runway package for the ball but sure, dream big. I am enjoying her YouTube videos explaining her looks though, it’s an interesting insight into how a drag queen prepares for and collaborates with designers for the show.

TV Trailers

For this week’s Maxi Challenge the queens were split into groups of three to write and produce a short trailer for their own TV show, as well as a poster purely because Canva were paying them to

very me in year 8 thinking graphic design was my passion because I discovered the transparent selection option on MSPaint and created a Bebo skin.

I liked the queens getting so much creative control over this given that we’ve been clamoring for the Drag Race writers to please for the love of God take a break for what feels like 5 years now. The only real hurdle they had to face was the fact they were being directed by Michelle Visage

she’s just really not good at – her advice is never helpful and is never given in a way that a director should, I just remember how fun and mostly enjoyable he All Stars 7 acting challenge ended up being when they had Janicza Bravo as their director. Michelle just sits there and gently giggles if the take was ok and you can move on or says “cut”, offers cryptic and vague advice and makes you go again, which isn’t being a director so much as it is an omnipresent force of evil.

But first, in order to choose the teams, the now staple Balloon Popping Sextravaganza was back in which the queens mostly chose to have Bruno furiously thrust into them and whomst could blame them

but some of the queens threw Bryce a bone

it’s the leg on the stool for me. But Truly my favourite was the nervous Pit Crew member whose sole role was to stand nervously in the background with the leaf blower to clean up the glitter

I’d have chosen you, you beautiful uncomfortable man.

The teams ended up being
Darienne, Jaymes and Alexis.
Jessica, Kandy and Jimbo.
Kahanna, Heidi and Lala.

There was a lot of discussion about what did and didn’t make a good Drag Race skit – I will never quite recover from Kandy saying the judges don’t respond well to spoofs on a show that started life as a spoof of America’s Next Top Model and churns out bad parody acting challenges like YouTubers churning out parody songs in 2008

everyone who made a Poker Face parody owes us community service.

There was a healthy debate about whether or not your concept actually had to make sense, I think largely it does, your characters can be whatever you want but there has to be a simple and concise narrative, so Darienne, Jaymes and Alexis were in the weeds before they even began, having chosen to do a Lost parody because Darienne spent lockdown rewatching it and seems to live 15 years ago still

I’m shocked the writing felt stale.
I do actually like the core idea of the mysterious island where celebrities live after faking their deaths, but it’s not a concept you can really get across in 90 seconds with a cast of 3 people, they could easily do this as a main acting challenge where half the cats are dead celebs and the other half are the castaways. And then the cameo is obviously a returning queen in TuPac drag.
They were also a little bit scuppered that the show obviously steered them away from doing any celebrities that had recently died so they had to do Marilyn Monroe because Jaymes Mansfield is Jaymes Mansfield and Agnes Moorehead because Alexis Michelle vaguely looks like her

and at that point it kind of just seems a little bit Snatch Game-y, and not even particularly good Snatch Game-y, I loved Michelle praising Jaymes’s Marilyn impression purely to give her some sort of leverage over Darienne because Jaymes was surprisingly not good in this challenge whereas Darienne had one of the two funny parts of the whole skit, the first being the cut to the stock footage of a crashing boat – an obvious style break always makes me laugh

and the second being Darienne’s character thinking JFK stood for Obama (again, 10 years ago…)

which does raise the question about when exactly this was set because because all three of them were various flavours of the 80s

and then they were kind of all doing these characters that were on a Caribbean booze cruise but felt more like highschoolers to me – Alexis is the slutty popular girl, Jaymes is the nerd who is literally called Anita Study

and Darienne is doing her one character and one facial expression

She’s basically the Billy Big Mouth Bass of drag

this is not the fresh tilapia we were looking for.

Alexis did raise concerns about the concept and whether they were going to be able to get it across easily enough, but I imagine she was swayed into doing it because she finally got to do her voiceover work

and they let her throw in an Elvis and Bette Davis impression to sweeten the deal

like a moth to a flame.

Kandy, Jessica and Jimbo were treading the well trodden path of Drag Race horror sketches with their highschool slasher show. They did butt heads a little bit because Kandy and Jimbo both know how to play the Drag Race game and I’m going to hazard a guess that Kandy’s suggestion that one of the Pit Crew members be the murderer was because she knew it was the easiest way to win the challenge and Jimb was the obvious choice for the role

I was a little surprised that Kandy seemingly just let Jimbo take it though, especially given that Jimbo has done this before being the cameo killer in the Canada’s Drag Race season 2 acting challenge

but I suppose in a line up of 2 popular girls and 1 that looks like Chucky and the You Belong With Me music video had a baby, you just have to let nature take its course

Kandy and Jessica’s roles did seem a bit hindered by Michelle’s new found sense of prudishness with Jessica not being allowed to make too graphic a douching joke

the compromise was that she was allowed to squat lower in the bathtub which did just make her look like she was shitting

the disproportionately large toilet in the background must have confused her – the bad green screen proportions are frequently one of the only funny things about Drag Race acting challenges, I adore them. You could also tell that Jimbo was frustrated with Michelle veto-ing every slightly blue joke and was very much poking her

I think that’s one of the best things about the international versions of Drag Race, they’re much freer with their humour. I don’t think the douching and the dick jokes were integral to the plot and regardless of that, I still didn’t find this skit the funniest of the three, I think the only time I truly laughed was Jessica saying “We hate you, go shave your moustache!” before launching a bowl of potato chips at Jimbo

but Jessica and Kandy were just thoroughly fine for me, they got the job down and did it well enough. Jimbo just had more of a character to work with and play up, which she was so good at that Michelle, as well as discovering her prudishness, grew her heart three sizes that day as she learned empathy

you’d think Jimbo was giving a Streepean performance and not you know, this

what emotion will Michelle learn next?

Heidi, Lala and Kahanna also initially wanted to go down the horror route, the whole gag of their original concept being that they’re all Black and trying to guess who’s going to get killed first, which I kind of wish they’d done because it’s the sort of concept that can only be done if the queens are writing and producing it themselves. Somewhere along the lines they deviated, I imagine because they clocked the other team doing horror, so they settled on “Run Queen, Ru7n!”

a nebulous Crime-comedy with a sort of Team Rocket and Pikachu set up, except in this case Pikachu was a magical pair of tucking panties and Team Rocket were a pair of bumbling drag queens

ok, so there’s no change there really. Except for Pikachu.

Much like the Jimbo Horror Story, there were pretty obviously good roles and one inevitable Fine, with Kahanna being in the Fine role of Generic Beautiful Drag Queen No. 1 which she was bringing to life by wearing the sexiest of ensembles: a sensible black dress and a hammock

I did feel a bit bad for Kahanna because she is not an actress and can land a punchline about as well as Harrison Ford lands vintage planes

and she was up against the visual cacophony of Lala Ri looking like someone had tried to draw Lala Ri from memory

and Heidi looking like Dog from Catdog

she truly stood no chance, but beyond the two of them looking a glorious mess, their physical comedy was insanely good and had a very Home Alone feel to it

the highlight being Heidi going down like a sack of potatoes and hitting her head on the bed after sniffing the tucking panties

I was genuinely laughing throughout this sketch, I ADORED Lala giving directions of how their plan would go and every time she said “we’ll take a left/right” she just drew straight lines

it’s gloriously stupid and I’m so annoyed that Heidi and Lala weren’t in the top for it.

No Ifs, Just Butts

This week’s Runway Theme was “Ass The World Turns” and I think a category hinged entirely on ass padding might be a sign that it’s ok to start repeating categories, it’s been a decade since we did a pink theme and I think this might be the only marginally memorable look from it?

only because it was Jinkx’s best look of the season.

But(t) on to our Parade of Asses, and when I first heard the category I immediately thought of doing a donkey look so I was glad at least someone did it

I’m not sure I would have done sad TV movie stripper Eeyore though but hey, make use of that expired copyright, 2 years ago and Disney would have snuffed this out before she could even put her belly ring in, there’s so much to unpack about this look. I don’t know if the baleful eyes she’d painted on quite worked and I was just incredibly anxious about her walking the entire runway with her eyes closed

but I enjoyed that the halfway point made her look like an even crazier person as she threatened the Werk Room with this world-ending tea she’s supposedly sitting on

I am however already exhausted by this plot point and I’m surprised the show is including anything that discusses off-set chatter, so it has to pay off eventually, right? It’s just a matter of time to see if it blows up in Heidi’s or Kandy’s faces. Or, as is more likely, a mutual combustion of egos.

As for Heidi’s teammates, I enjoyed how self-referential and aware Kahanna’s look

I kind of wish the syringe fired out glitter or confetti instead of her having to just wildly thrust it around to make good use of it. I know we all love a (debatably) 40 inch wig but I think hers could have done with being a scooch shorter just so it didn’t hide her ass so much

you paid good money for it, let it shine!

Lala’s look was a distinctly Lala look

the hair is giving very Dida Ritz’s entrance wig, it’s just a little flat and does not move. The outfit has potential, I just wish she’d cinched a bit more for it because with that waist-tie it’s making her look really boxy and a jazzy devil should never look boxy. I did quite like the reveal

the nude illusion wasn’t fantastic but as someone who is bootily deficient, I appreciated the representation

that is why I would have dressed up as a donkey.

Lala wasn’t the only one to go for a suit inspired look with Naysha Lopez giving her ass its own tuxedo jacket

I really loved this – the butt-lapels are a nice frame that at least stop it from looking just like she’d cut a hole in an outfit she already owned…

I can’t blame Kasha, I can’t think of anyone that would be less comfortable with an Ass-centric challenge than her given that her whole brand is family-friendly drag now, so Alex-ass Carrington was probably the safest option.
While we’re on the eliminated girls, we might as well cover Monica

I LOVE this dress, that colour looks so good on her and I think it hits that perfect spot of nudity that feels genuinely sexy, and just the fact she managed to get it from Chicago to LA without it being a knotted mess is impressive, I’ve travelled with fringe before, it’s a nightmare. She loses me a little on the styling, I think a black or honey-blonde wig would have been better than the stark white.

After last week’s dip into a more Fashionable Jimbo, we were back to our regularly scheduled Drag Clown content

this is a good amount of stupid, as is her trying to handstand in it

Things that have saved Jimbo from a broken back:
1. Pangina Heels
2. Ass Tits

Jimbo wasn’t the only one to go for a comedically large ass but at least her ass boobs are where her ass boobs should be, whereas Kandy’s ass was basically a pair of lower back Maltesers

that being said, the look from the front is kind of killer and my favourite of the night

there is tepid drama that her ass didn’t ride up during the second time she walked the runway, I think she should just be happy Michelle didn’t force her to leave her yaoi paddle at home

never did I think I’d see the day, this one’s for you otaku-san.

Jessica went relatively simple and mostly relied on the fact her ass padding was out of this world good

the outfit is kind of nothing but given the fact the category was about the ass, she nailed it. Jaymes also mostly went with a well padded ass but with a more conceptual look

I feel bad screenshotting the butt so explicitly but it was kind of the whole point of the runway, the headpiece does rather steal the show though and she was clearly having to concentrate A LOT to keep her head at a certain angle because I’m not entirely sure how well secured it was. But she’d still made an effort to ass-ify the outfit whereas Darienne’s was kind of just a good lipsync costume

one slut drop does not an ass outfit make. However, I think it’s neat to see Darienne confident enough to wear something like this because prior to All Stars, we’d only seen her wearing quite matronly gowns that made her seem much older and fussier than she was.

Lastly we have Alexis who was living out her wedding day fantasy

Alexis has worn some beautiful gowns on the runway, this is not one of them, the textured fabric just reminds me a lot of those popcorn tees from the 2000s that were only fun because they looked like doll clothes you could wear

they make me feel itchy looking at them now, 10 years in the bunker for all of Gen Z bringing them back.
Of course there did have to be an ass reveal and I don’t know why I just find it so funny that it’s literally just a square hole she cut in her dress

there’s no fit to it, there’s no narrative behind it, she just cut a hole in it.

And finally, a congratulations to none of the judges Bowyer-Chapmaning themselves on the perilous rocks of ass discourse

has a career ever been tanked so thoroughly by one person’s butt?

An Ass The World Turns Look Ranking
1. Kandy’s Cutting Room Floor Walk
2. Naysha’s Booty Tie Event
3. AssTitties Mandela
4. Jessic-ass
5. Monica’s Fringe Benefits
6. Dr. Kahanna Will See You Now
7. SpearmintDonkey
8. Jaymes’s Lazer Focused Concentration
9. Alexis’s Holey Matrimony
10. Darienne’s Very Nice Lipsync Outfit
11. Lala’s Jazzy Assless Devil
12. Alex-ass Carrington

The judging was a bit annoying, I get the reasoning behind judging it in teams but even then the top 3 were clearly Jimbo, Heidi and Lala Ri which should have tipped in team Run Quen, Ru7n’s favour. I just wish there was consistency for team judging because I can’t help but remember Asia winning the dating app challenge off the back of one funny face while Yuhua on the same team was in the bottom and went home

so if Heidi was feeling a little robbed last week, I would have felt utterly burglarised this week. Judging as a team for the bottom placement made more sense because Get Off Island was the weakest concept – which Alexis made abundantly clear as she repeatedly drove the bus over Darienne in a clear repeating of history

the thing is, if it were judged individually, I don’t think Darienne would have been in the bottom because for me Jaymes and Kahanna were decidedly the weakest performers, with Alexis not being a good deal better – she likes to act, she is not an actress. I’ve enjoyed Kahanna’s reintroduction to the franchise and I think it’s gone well for her and her name will now be a big draw for a drag show, but thinking about what challenges we have left to go, I just feel like we’re spinning wheels with her and this might have been a good point to end her run because I cannot imagine Snatch Game is going to go well for her.
In the end Jimbo gets her second win and Darienne, Alexis and Jaymes all find themselves facing the lipstick vote.

A Bad Lipsync Reputation

This year 2 of the All Stars 6 Lipsync Assassins showed up in the cast (Heidi and Jessica) so do I hope that’s a potential sign of things to come because I would LOVE to see Shannel competing again seeing as they wasted her on the disaster that was All Stars 1

I’ll admit Joan Jett doesn’t feel entirely within either of their wheelhouses and a lot of it was just air guitar but Shannel at least covered the stage a bit more and flopped to the floor harder than Jimbo… on purpose?

perhaps she was just looking for her lost nails

and Jimbo was just Jimbo and continued the trend of her losing every single lipsync she’s ever taken part in – she is on negative 5 now and with Snatch Game next week I reckon she make it a double hat-trick.

With Shannel winning, the voting went to the group which was unanimously against Darienne – I don’t think there’s a single competition in the world that doesn’t abide by an unofficial 3 strikes and you’re out rule, but I kind of wish she’d been more explicit about painting Alexis as a liability given how willingly she threw her teammates under the bus

which I think she was trying to do, but it came more across as her telling Jimbo that Alexis was a bigger threat than her so she should off her while she could, which isn’t going to work when that’s burnt Jimbo before

but alas, Darienne is gone

and I was kind of looking forward to her in Snatch Game.

So, 8 queens remain

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