22nd Jun2020

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars 5×03’ Review

by Rhys Payne

After the ‘interesting’ musical performance of Drag Race original song ”I’m In Love” with one queen dominating both the maxi and mini-challenge, I was excited to see if this weeks episode can bring the momentum back but unfortunately, It did not. This episode opened with the queens discussing why there was a unilateral decision to eliminate … *Spoiler alert* … Ongina. She had clearly been defeated by the competition but I know how hard she had worked to get onto this season and so that should be acknowledged. Since her elimination Ongina has been very vocal about her time on the show and the thoughts on her elimination and so if you want to follow the drama I would encourage you to check out her social media sites. One of the biggest things coming out of this drama is a change of perspective from the audience on one Mrs Cracker. After Cracker’s outburst last episode it appears she is getting a villian-esque portrayal and edit for this season which I found very unusual as she is not a queen I think is particularly mean.

In general, I found the energy in this episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars fell flat with a very little spike in drama or excitement. For example, the sudden drama and fight between Mrs Cracker and Alexis Mateo appeared to be very intense but was squashed just as quickly as it started. I don’t know if this drama was forced by the production team but it seemed to come out of nowhere and disappeared even quicker which was confusing to watch as a viewer. The other thing that also added to the lack of energy was the guest host Nicole Buyer. Nicole rose to fame, for me, from the show Nailed It which is the baking show where bakers showcase their lack of skills but the highlight of this show is Nicole’s high energy and entertaining shenanigans but she seemed to be muted in this episode which is very disappointing especially being a fan of both shows. Nicole’s appeasrances later in the episode were also suppressed and lacklustre which was very difficult to watch.

One of my favourite queens in this season is Jujubee who is known for being proficient I. Throwing shade at her other competitors but she appears to be working overtime in the first few episodes of this season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars. She is constantly stirring the pot during her confessional interviews which is very entertaining to watch. In this episode (*spoiler alert yet again*) Jujubee revives her first main challenge win which has been anticipated for the longest time but also rightfully deserved.

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.

This episodes runway theme was three looks in one where queens have to create an outfit that would Ru-veal into three different outfits. While like any Drag Race fan I LOVE a reveal but what makes them so exciting is the shock factor of them but when the theme forces a queen to create reveal looks the awe-factor is reduced. A highlight on the runway for me was Mrs Cracker who came onto the stage inside a rhinestoned egg which sparkled beautifully. She had managed to flawlessly balanced glamour with camp which for me is a sign of a very clever queen! This egg opened to reveal two other beautiful dresses which in my opinion was the best Cracker has looked so far in this season. She had clearly thought deeply about these outfits and they are worked perfectly together and so Cracker should feel proud of these three incredible looks! Shea Coulee has created bright over-the-top bug inspired spectacle look and while the colours and theatrics were very fun it did pale in comparison when stood in the line-up next to the likes of Cracker. I have to admit that I didn’t particularly enjoy Alexis Mateos looks this week despite each outfit having the biggest transformation. Her three outfits were supposed to circus-inspired but included a neon green ballerina-inspired outfit which really did make this theme somewhat blurred. I also thought Indiah’s three looks were based in the same colour scheme and so the actual reveal lacked the impact the other competitors posses. *Spoiler number 3* it was these three who ended up as the worst-performing queens up for elimination. A special mention has to go to the paint-splattered suit that Ru wore when entering the werk room for this challenge as it was incredible!

I am becoming very frustrated by the new room used for voting as it only appears in a couple of brief moments at the end of the episodes as it does help with viewer consistency. I don’t see why this season is introduced this new location as the winning queen still votes in the werk room. I think everyone could vote in the same room as the location will become familiar to the viewers where that chooses to be. *Spoiler Alert yet again* Jujubees entertaining commentary and quick wit led her to victory this week but also led her face-to-face with this weeks lip-sync assassin who turned out to be Money X change who was the winner of the previous season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars. This could have been kept for an episode closer to the end of the season as viewers automatically view it as a battle of the season and having the winner possible lose to one of the queens in the newest season would damage the series prestige. I have to be honest again, this lip-sync was disappointing and when you compare it to the previous two performance in the previous episode it pales in comparison.

Overall, this was an interesting episode with a unique challenge but with very few iconic looks and barely any drama. The energy was dimmed throughout and the hype of guest judges did fall very flat, I hope Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars can regain its momentum in future episodes!

*** 3/5

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