RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S02E01: An Advertisement for Battle of the Seasons, Basically

WHAT UP, DRAG RACERS? The second season of All Stars has begun and it has put a glittery recapping fire in my belly!

 

All Stars season 1 is widely reviled due to the fact that they forced the queens to compete in teams meaning that less-than-awesome queens like Alexis Mateo and Shannel made it farther than amazing queens like Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon by riding on the talents of their partners. Also because the season was clearly rigged so that Chad Michaels would win as a consolation prize for losing season 4 to Sharon Needles. NOT THAT I’M STILL MAD ABOUT IT OR ANYTHING! #JUSTICEFORJUJUBEE

So it was quite a relief to find that teams were not going to be a thing this time around. But there is a pretty big change: instead of the bottom two lip-synching for their lives each week, the top two “lip-synch for their legacy” and the winner not only gets $10,000 but also gets to choose which of the bottom queens to send home. Much better twist, Ru!

Anyway, it’s been like four days since I watched the episode and my social schedule is too busy to sit down and screencap things this week (fellas!) and frankly this first episode served more as a reintroduction to the 10 competing queens anyway so I’m just going to give a queen-by-queen summary of the episode, in which the queens returned to the workroom, made a trip to the Library, and participated in a talent show which was basically a capsule version of the Battle of the Seasons tour. And I’m going to use GIFs that I did not create but that I found on Google image search and therefore don’t know the source of so sorry GIF-makers, but I appreciate you!

Katya, season 7

KATYAAAAAA!!!!! I am still heartbroken over Katya’s premature elimination in season 7 so it warms my heart to see her on my television again. I may have mentioned once or twice in the past that I had the pleasure of meeting Katya at RuPaul’s Drag Con last year which I am bringing up now only as an excuse to share my favorite picture of all time:

(special appearance by Ginger Minj)

ANYWAY! Much as I adore Katya, her entrance look is a little underwhelming. It’s sort of a spandexy Soviet superhero outfit or something with an eye patch. Very on-brand and all but step it up, ублюдку!

She does well in the reading challenge and has possibly my favorite read of the night:

This is a reference to the fact that Roxxxy’s mom abandoned her at a bus stop when she was a child which makes it sound like an asshole kind of joke to make but a) This is Drag Race, and b) Roxxxy used this story to avoid getting eliminated after lipsynching against Alyssa Edwards in one of the most impressively naked plays for sympathy I have ever seen, so it seems like fair game.

Katya’s talent is gymnastics and she does a fun demonstration. It could have benefitted from some more comedy elements but she looked great and is REALLY FUCKING FLEXIBLE.

Alyssa Edwards, season 5

People loooooove Alyssa in what I think it an insulting and condescending way because in my opinion she is the butt of a joke she doesn’t fully understand. But whatever, she’s fun I guess! Her entrace look is nothing to write home about, but I did appreciate that the first thing she did upon entering the workroom was walk over to the mirror and stare at herself for like five straight minutes. Classic Alyssa!

Her performance in the reading challenge was… not great. She’s one of those queens who knows they can’t come up with clever quips so they just do a quick one word read of each queen. Everybody cracks up when she just calls Coco a beast because we all LOVED watching their season five rivalry so much I’M JUST KIDDING PLEASE GOD DON’T PUT ME THROUGH THIS AGAIN!

For the talent show Alyssa does what the show describes as “Variety” which is basically her lipsyching to a pre-recorded track that includes a conversation with a RuPaul puppet, and then dancing and splitting all around the stage. It’s fine!

Coco Montrese, season 5

Coco was deeply unpleasant on her own season and stuck around for way too long. But she seems to have at least taken in some of the criticisms from her season and THANK GOD is no longer wearing the terrifying blue contacts in the confessional. In her entrace she carries a little Dorito shaped handbag as a nod to the fact that people said her orange base makeup looked like Dorito dust in season 5.

I honestly can’t recall anything she said in the reading challenge which means she probably did fine.

In the talent show Coco does this old-Hollywood style dance routine wearing a flowy pink dress and reclining on a fainting couch and shit like that. It’s… I don’t know. It’s ok. Boring, but ok.

Ginger Minj, season 7

I really liked Ginger’s entrance outfit because although it was just a cape that revealed a leotard it was a huge step up from her season 7 looks because she started cinching. And she looks great!

When she joins the other queens she makes some quips about only saying nice things about people this time since she got a lot of backlash for throwing shade at fan-favorites in her season, but I hope she doesn’t reign herself in too much because she’s very funny.

Her contribution to the reading challenge includes this gem:

Ginger: Adore Delano, do you know why you’re the all time fan-favorite queen?
Adore:
No
Ginger:
Me either.

I enjoy Adore but the number of die-hard fans she has is baffling to me.

Anyway! Ginger decides to sing a song for the talent show which is a decent decision on paper because she’s a good singer, but she makes the odd choice of singing a really serious torch song. Do something with a little energy, Ging! I did very much enjoy Detox’s reaction in the confessional though.

 

Detox, season 5

Speaking of Detox, she’s great! She had some rough moments in season 5 w/r/t Jinkx Monsoon but she is also responsible for my favorite/most used Drag Race GIF/catchphrase:

She is also unbelievably gorgeous in person in a way that never quite translated to the screen, as I learned at my first Battle of the Seasons. ANYWAY, her entrance look is very neon and 80s looking, so very Detox.

I seem to recall her being funny in the reading challenge but I can’t remember any of her reads right now and I am too lazy to look, sorry!

Her talent in the show is listed as “singing” although I don’t know that this should count as singing because she really just lipsynchs to a pre-recorded track of herself while doing some remedial Blue Man Group shit and writhing around on the ground a bit but she has a compelling stage presence so it more or less works.

 

Adore Delano, season 6

Adore comes in dressed like she just woke up in a gutter in 1994, which is what I think she was going for so that’s not a read! I was kind of hoping she would have stepped up her drag since her season, but alas, I’ll just have to make do with her funny confessionals!

Once again I have no memory of anything she said in the reading challenge. I’m sorry Adore! I’m getting on in years and my memory isn’t what it used to be!

She sings a song for the talent show which makes sense because she is more of a singer than a drag queen generally speaking, but the song she chose was a bit boring and (this is going to sound really harsh but I am bound by the recapper’s code of honesty!) she is not as good a singer as I think she thinks she is.

Phi Phi O’Hara, season 4

Phi Phi is one of two queens this season who seems to be there mostly for character rehabilitation after making an ass of herself in season 4 by making enemies with Sharon Needles and generally acting like an asshole. Since season 4 she’s abandoned the traditional showgirl looks and become a cosplay queen, and she enters the workroom dressed as the Riddler.

She is surprisingly funny in the reading challenge, especially when she tells Tatianna that she needs a wristband to get into the meet and greet. SHADE!

In the workroom she tells the other queens that she really feels the need to prove herself so she’s going to impress the judges by singing a capella. The last time Phi Phi sang on this show was in that “frenemies” challenge where she had to do a duet with Sharon Needles and let’s just say that it was not great. And for that song she had the benefit of a backing track! It could’ve gone worse, but it wasn’t super on-key and the audience clapping along seemed to throw her a bit off tempo.

 

Roxxxy Andrews, season 5

Speaking of classic Drag Race villains, Roxxxy’s back! And she’s working hard out of the gate to get us to forgive her for being an asshole to Jinkx (and, toward the end of the season, Alaska) in season 5. Her entrance look is a black dress that shows off the fact that she’s lost a bit of weight, though she reassures us that she’s still thick and juicy.

She’s also still not great at reading, relying on low-hanging fruit like Coco being old, but she could have done worse.

In the talent show she does a classic drag burlesque act the likes of which anybody who has been to a Battle of the Seasons before has seen done way better by the likes of BenDeLaCreme or Violet Chachki, but whatever, thick and juicy, where my people at, etc.

Alaska, season 5

ALASKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My love of Alaska is well-documented. She is my favorite Drag Race queen of all time so I apologize in advance for the fact that I will not be at all impartial in writing about her.

In a nod to her season 5 trashbag couture she comes into the workroom wearing a very grand gown made of Hefty bags, along with an umbrella and a giant hairbow. I AM SO GLAD SHE IS ON THIS SHOW AGAIN!

She is named the winner of the reading challenge which is not at all surprising after sick burns like “Roxxxy Andrews: obviously a diet consisting only of hatred for Jinkx Monsoon does a body good!”

She of course also kills it in the talent show because she is a 100% perfect human. Rather than performing a song from her hit album, Anus, she sings “The Gayest Thing You’ve Ever Seen” which is an original song of hers that she’s been performing for years and is amazing. They edit it down to almost nothing so if you aren’t familiar I highly suggest you take in the whole thing.

 

Tatianna, season 2

I had a very hard time coming around on Raven in season 2/All Stars season 1 because she was SUCH an asshole to Tatianna, who was truly a baby queen back in season 2 (like, she had only been doing drag for a few months if I recall correctly) and was trying her best. Season 2 seems like it was an eternity ago but Tatianna is still super young and still super gorgeous. And she has better resources now apparently because her outfits don’t look like they were purchased at Forever 21 anymore! Get it, Tati!

She’s funny enough in the reading challenge and handles the shade of the other queens with good grace even though many of them come at her for being from one of the broke-ass early seasons.

For the talent show she does a spoken word performance about grinding with a dude at a club who doesn’t realize she’s not really a lady, which sounds really dumb but it was actually pretty funny and entertaining (and definitely NSFW).

 

The having-queens-boot-each-other-off thing pays off right away in this episode. Roxxxy and Tatianna are named the top two (which, ugh, Roxxxy over Alaska?????) and have to choose between Adore, Phi Phi and Coco for elimination. It seems that rather than having Untucked this season, the episodes are a little longer and we go backstage with the queens while they think about who to kick off (and while the judges cutely enjoy a cocktail or two back on the main stage while they wait). Roxxxy overshoots her whole “I’m an angel now, I swear!” thing a bit, going on and on about how the only fair thing is to kick off the person who got the worst critique even if they’re friends, and makes the bottom three have one-on-one chats with her wherein they can weep about how they’re embarrassed and disappointed in themselves (well, Adore and Phi Phi at least, Coco thinks she’s safe since Roxxxy is from her season). Whereas Tatianna is like, “Yeah fairness is great but the bitch I let stay this week could send me home next week and anyway I know who I would send home so I don’t need to put on a whole dog and pony show about it.”

Roxxxy ends up winning the lip-synch to “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift which I can’t really argue with I guess since they seemed pretty even to me. I just like Tatianna more than Roxxxy so I’m mildly salty about it until Roxxxy announces that she’s sending Coco home, THANK GOD. If I had to sit through any more episodes that attempt to stir the Coco/Alyssa feud back up I might stab myself in the throat with one of Tatianna’s heels. But WAIT. When Coco goes back to the workroom to pack her shit she gets a video message from Ru telling her not to give up hope yet, because she may get an opportunity for vengeance later. PLEASE DON’T TOY WITH ME LIKE THIS!!!!!!!

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About catweazle

Catweazle is an 11th century wizard trying to make his way through the modern world while living in a disused water tower with his pet toad.
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4 Responses to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S02E01: An Advertisement for Battle of the Seasons, Basically

  1. artdorkgirl says:

    AHHHH!!! I’ve been stupid busy and haven’t had a chance to watch yet! Will report back when I can!!

  2. collin0truckasaurus says:

    I finally got a chance to watch and it was great! To be honest, I’ve only been watching Drag Race for a couple of seasons now so a lot of these ladies were new to me! Forgive me, but I had only heard of Alaska’s reputation before now and she’s really great! I’m excited about this season. I felt bad for Adore because it sounds like one of her critiques was that she didn’t wear a cinched-waist dress which is strange to me because women don’t always wear cinched-waist stuff. Must everyone always wear a similar silhouette?

    • catweazle says:

      I think with Adore it was more that she has a reputation for being lazy about the mechanics of drag, and that she doesn’t use a waist cincher or a corset to achieve a feminine silhouette. Which most of the time doesn’t bother me but with Adore in particular it’s a little annoying because she has a tendency to half-ass the details and get by on her charm and drag is to a large extent a visual art. If “messy, grungy queen” is your thing that’s great, but it doesn’t mean you get to put less effort into achieving that look than any other type of queen!

      • collin0truckasaurus says:

        Yeah that makes a lot of sense, thanks. I do find her charming, but I’m sure it’s annoying when people feel like they’ve gone through the work and she just kind of shows up.

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