Attention, fans: We have a winner, squirrelfriends, in the happiest hunger games “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” has to offer. And, as it turns out, I have opinions.
But first, to the recap!
When last we met, RuPaul was throwing all the rules out the window (or doing exactly what she’d planned to do all along, you be the judge) and making it a final four instead of a final three competition.
I was happy because Juju was spared for another week, though I feared for her long-term chances. Girl just doesn’t have the confidence I like to see in my fabulous queens.
Speaking of confidence, Shannel is totally fine with there being four contestants at the end.
“Well,” Raven says with a wave, “send us home.”
Shannel, sweetie, I love ya. But you ain’t winning by any means short of a crowbar to the knees of all three other queens.
Soon, Ru appears to present the finalists with their challenge, a multi-stop task that requires them to do a standup routine, conduct a group interview and make a public appearance. They need different outfits for all three events, which freaks them out.
Also intimidating are the celebs. The finale guest judges will be Beth Ditto (werk) and Sheri Oteri (?), the “SNL” lady most famous for the cheerleader routine she did with Will Ferrell.
“Sheri Oteri is going to be here. I’m going to shit myself,” Juju says. Oh, sweet Juju. How much did they pay you to say that?
Sheri shows up to help the queens get their standup on point, and Juju actually seems like she might have some ideas. Family humor generally works, Sheri tells Juju, who nods appreciatively.
Something that doesn’t work? Chad Michaels’ tired routine, which involves a string of old, not-that-funny-the-first-time jokes about injecting Botox and opening a store called “Forever 41.”
“Try not to repeat jokes that you might have heard somewhere else,” Sheri says, very politely, I might add, for someone listening to jokes first made by one Jiggly Caliente last season.
Bitch, we all remember that “Forever 41” joke. It was on this freaking show!
Speaking of train wrecks and people trying to convince us we didn’t hear things we definitely heard: Shannel!
Shannel starts her routine off, and it is trouble from the word “go.”
Shannel is a white man “in a black woman’s body.” Oh, yes, this should be good. How, pray tell, are you like a black woman, Shannel?
“I drink wine! I smoke cigarettes!”
Shannel, sweetie, did you consider that perhaps that was a bit racist? Shannel? Would you like to respond?
“That’s why I said I’m a white man who smokes and drinks but that I’m also trapped in a black woman’s body. I wasn’t ever trying to convey that black women smoke and drink.”
Hm. OK, continue.
“I have a big ass and an attitude to match!”
Oh, honey. Get the hell outta here and bring us Raven.
Raven has a plan for her standup: She’s going to tell everyone about how much of a whore she is! She is such a whore! She likes to have sex with lots of dudes!
Sheri points out that this isn’t really a series of jokes so much as it is a confessional at a sex addicts anonymous meeting.
Raven, beat it.
Eventually, the queens get started on their day of challenges. Ru introduces them to their drivers, Delta Work and Ongina, two queens who should have been competing instead of chauffeuring (in my opinion).
First up, a group interview for the ladies. They all have to verbally push their ways to the front, which is no problem for Shannel, the pushiest queen in the land. Despite their instructions to keep it clean, Raven spits out a curse word early on. She sort of apologizes, saying,
“I’m a little sorry about that,” which is the truest thing that has ever come out of Raven’s mouth.
Juju gets steamrolled by the other queens, who all get their answers in while she barely gets a word in edgewise.
Part two of the challenge kicks off as soon as they’re out the door, and they’re off to Hamburger Mary’s to appear at a WeHo event in which a hamburger will be named after them.
“I gotta step up my game,” Juju says. “No more Mr. Nice Bitch.”
Most of the contestants seem to do a great job joking and presenting their signature hamburger, but Shannel is dressed a bit like Aubrey O’Day after Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone else looks sickening, especially Chad, who kills it on stage.
“Now I can officially say that you can eat me,” Chad says with a huge grin.
When it comes to standup, the preparations are over and it’s time to shine. But first, they get some advice from Delta, who mentions that she had a comedy challenge in her season.
“So how did you get through it?” Shannel says, revealing that she didn’t watch the episode.
“Well, I didn’t,” replies Delta, who was eliminated in that challenge.
First on stage is Juju, and I’m a little nervous. Juju is constantly hilarious but she doesn’t do well in the spotlight. Fortunately, she turns it out for her standup, particularly with her impression of her grandma.
Chad has thankfully dumped the vintage jokes and has inserted a bit about going to Tijuana for plastic surgery.
Raven is absolutely unbelievable, in a good way. She tells a story about a jailhouse love affair with a man named “Anfrony” and it is actually, seriously funny.
And then there’s Shannel. Oh, Shannel. Girl.
First things first: That outfit. She’s wearing a giant blond afro, a Stevie Nicks-at-Easter-dinner shirt and mom jeans that I’m afraid might be glittery. Her tits appear to be drawn on somewhere near her belly button. Oh, Shannel.
And here is how she greets us:
The confused look on Santino Rice’s face pretty much says it all.
But now it’s time to hit the stage for the final runway!
As the four queens prepare themselves, they discuss why they think they should win. Shannel goes last and I would like to reproduce her speech in its entirety:
I deserve to be in the ‘Drag Race’ hall of fame because I do a lot of character illusions. I can juggle, I can ride unicycles. I don’t let wardrobe wear me, I wear it, and that in itself is an art. I put so much power and passion into the art form. I feel I can emulate the essence of what femininity and couture is and I enjoy it.”
One thing: There have been a lot of disappointments in this season of “All Stars.” My Nina Flowers got booted, and my girl Manila Luzon didn’t make it to the end and win it all, as she should have. The team pairing boosted some who should have left early and weighted down others who shouldn’t have.
But there is one thing that did not disappoint this season and that one thing is Miss Shannel. Girl is just as entitled, arrogant and delusional as she was back in Season 1 and I love it. Long live Shannel!
To the runway, ladies…
Chad gives some futuristic gorgeousness in a cut-out catsuit, Juju goes frilly blue and a bit too casual for my taste and Shannel is an outer-space showgirl but doesn’t realize it.
“I’m serving red Cirque du Soleil realness,” she says, though the absolute last thing she’s serving is realness.
Raven is flawless in blond Bettie Page loungewear.
The judges take over and go to town on everyone. It’s compliment city. There wasn’t much in the way of criticism, and I spend most of my mental energy trying to place Beth Ditto’s accent. It sounds like a cross between Australian, Maddona British and Southern.
The queens are sent backstage for the judges to continue their deliberations and it’s getting obvious who the top two probably are. When they’re called back to the stage, it’s announced: Juju and Shannel are out of the running, and Chad and Raven have to lip-sync to “Responsitrannity” by RuPaul for the crown.
They both do a great job, but for my money, Raven is better. The only problem, friends, is that Raven’s personality has too many rough edges and she comes off as more vain and catty.
I don’t think Ru could ever give the All Stars crown to someone like Raven, particularly after Tyra Sanchez, the most beautiful ice queen to ever win the "Drag Race" crown. It’s Chad Michaels who has the sweet, maternal personality that the fans adore. Raven might be more cutting-edge but she’s also a little too mean.
In the end, RuPaul has no choice: It’s Chad Michaels who takes the ultimate crown.
I may not agree with the decision, but I understand it. And I can’t complain. Who doesn’t love a Chad?
With that, squirrelfriends, I break for a few weeks until the next season of “Drag Race” starts. I, for one, can’t wait to see Detox and Alaska in action! See you then…
Here are some of the best lines from the episode.
“This is not RuPaul’s best friend race anymore!” RuPaul.
“I spend, Jesus saves,” Raven.
“Chitty Chitty Chad Bang,” Michelle Visage.
“Well, she’s got some filler.” RuPaul of Chad Michaels.
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