17th Jun2020

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars 5×02’ Review

by Rhys Payne

The second episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars‘ fifth season truly had all the drama and gag-worthy moments of any drag race episode! The episode started with all the queens dealing with the elimination of (spoiler alert)… Derrick Berry! I hope there will be a chance to see more from Derrick and I will be keeping a close eye on her social media to see how much she has evolved. As she alluded to on the show, there is usually an episode in the all-star series where the eliminated queens return with an opportunity to rejoin the race and so I hope she will be granted this opportunity soon.

Like every episode in the Drag Race franchise, the show obviously has a focus on entertainment but also contains moments of vulnerability and emotional, heart-wrenching moments. This episode was no different! As you would expect from a group of drag queens there was bucket loads of drama and shade in the opening moments of the show with the queens talking about the events of the previous episode. The tears of the queens started when Mrs Cracker opened up about her inability to relate to and form meaningful relationships/friendships. Similarly to other episodes, this episode had special guest judges who were Tessa Thompson and Maddison Beer, the latter of which had appeared in the Secret Celebrity Drag Race branch of the franchise which again tied the shows together and helps with viewer continuity.

This episode title was “I’m In Love” which is vague enough to gauge the interest of the viewers so they are excited about the episode. What I loved about this episode, in particular, was that the video package shown to the queens (which is created specifically for each episode) which have comedic puns and reference to the title of the episode. The video in this episode has Ru writing a love letter but interesting in this episode the video ends with the line “I know I’ll write him a song” which ties together the video with the actual challenge which was to write and perform a love song to their celebrity crushes. This made the challenge seem logical and naturally built which is something many of the other episodes in this franchise don’t.

As already explained the episode was to sing a love song about their celebrity crushes in girl group trios. The UK version of this show had a similar challenge involving girl groups which led to the super successful song “Break-up Bye-Bye” and so I was very excited to see if this version can match the iconicness of its British counterpart. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it did not. The performances were good and contained a lot of beautiful choreography but each trios costume didn’t appear very cohesive and where all groups came together in the closing moments of the show they all seemed very out of place.

As mentioned the queens split into trios that were led by the best performing queen from episode one (India Ferrah) and the two queens she thought were her biggest competition in the show who turned out to be Blair St Clair and Shea Coulee. Interestingly, Blair decided to form a team containing two other queens that appear in season 10 in which Blair originally appeared in which is a strange tactic as she participated in and famously didn’t win and so to team with the queens from that season was an interesting strategy. The three teams had to choreograph dance routines to the new song “I’m In Love” and during the rehearsal stage it had the groups performing in front of the other groups which did lead to some of the queens appearing to act up in front of the other contestants which at first was very funny but after a while became tiresome particularly Jujubee. This episode contained some strong language this and alongside the use of sexual reference means it is meant for a more mature viewing audience.

The highlight for me in this episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars was Shea Coulee who’s stoned bodysuit that was fitted to the gods was insanely stunning and beautifully crafted. I expected Shea to have many insane looks but didn’t think she would turn out such phenomenal outfits so early in the season. On top of this, her rapping in her verse of “I’m in love” was out of this world and showcases her skills excellently. I also thought that India’s outfit that contained multiple skin shades on her chest which all joined together into a heart on her hip. This again was a very powerful message of everyone sharing a heart which is very important right now. Despite this, the runway theme was “Love the Skin You’re In” but many of the looks in this episode didn’t really fit the theme well in my opinion. For example, Blair’s pink jumpsuit that gave me almost sexy pink panther look with bright yellow hair was stunningly beautiful but didn’t really fit the skin theme.

The lip sync in this episode had the added tension of a rollover tip and so if the all-star won the lip-sync they would win $20,000 tip which adds to the excitement. *Spoiler alert* the winner of this weeks episode was Shea Coulee so she had to challenge to surprise lip-sync assassin that turned out to be the iconic Alyssa Edwards. As soon as the assassin was announced I knew this lip-sync would be a dance-based spectacle showdown and I wasn’t wrong!

Overall this episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars showcases the performance skills of the queens and showcases many incredible looks but the theme did become somewhat meddled throughout. It was a fun watch with a sprinkling of dramatic and emotional moments.

**** 4/5

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Nerdly » ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars 5×03’ Review says:

    […] This episodes challenge was to design and pitch a hotel room, which is very reminiscent of the night club design episode in All Stars Season 4, this invoked the queens working in groups designing and actually decorating the rooms as well as ‘selling’ their ideas. This episode was just as entertaining as the previous series with the queens struggling with the manual aspects and decorating but yet again it is clear that interior design is not in any of the queen’s skill set but they use the skills they do have to do the best they could. This challenge was cleverly titled ‘Shantay Enjoy Your Stay’ which is a clever play of words based on one of Ru Paul’s most favourite catchphrase and relates to the challenge which is genius. Interesting, yet again the Season Two sisters of Mayhem and Blair are forced to work together on this challenge which again is a strange creative choice in my opinion as I discussed in my last review of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars but much to my surprised these two proved to be the most entertaining pair in this competition. The rest of the acts were perfectly summarised when Alexis Mateo states “it’s like a play park in here” with many of the queens acting childlike and messing around with one another during challenges which again I discussed in the review of episode 2. […]