25th Jun2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars 6×01’ Review

by Rhys Payne

A new season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars was announced and we know what that means … the weekly reviews are back! For those who have not watched All-Stars before this show is an opportunity for queens who did not do as well in their original seasons to come back and redeem themselves. Due to the space between original seasons and Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars, the queens have had time to build a following, bring in to afford more expensive outfits and have had time to work on their skills which usually means the standard of drag/performance is much higher! When the season was originally announced we were all told it would air exclusively on Paramount Plus and so many people were very disappointed in having to join yet another streaming service but in a shocking turn of event, Netflix announced last minute that they would air the show in the UK on Thursday nights so all was well again! There has been already a lot of discussions online around the drama (which I will discuss later) that has already occurred before the season had aired but also the casting of the queens for this series so here are my thoughts…

The cast of season 6 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars is one of the largest casts in Drag Race her-story and so I won’t share my thoughts/opinions on every queen but instead my personal favourites.

The first queen to enter the werk room was A’keira C Davenport who got to the top four of season eleven. In her original season, Akeira was a powerhouse by showcasing incredible pageant-like looks but also showing off her ‘ass’ets during the performance-based challenges especially her tweaking abilities during the L.A.P.D challenge. I was eager to find out if she could step up her game as she performed so well last time and if she would show as much growth as the other queens on this season and if her cast reveal and entrance outfit is anything to go by … I predict now she will end up in the top yet again! A’kiera has already been involved in drama (before the season he even aired) as she had commissioned Serena Cha Cha (who is also on this season) to craft a wig for her cast reveal outfit and while the wig still looked good it did not fit all of the criteria A’kiera had asked for. Another queen returning this season is Jiggly Caliente who rose to fame in season four particularly for her jacket potato outfit during one of the ball challenges. Normally when queens come back for all-stars they have had some cosmetic work done (e.g. lip fillers or new teeth etc) but Jiggly had transitioned from male to female since her original season and she’s not the only one! The other queen was Kylie Sonique love who had also transitioned since her original season and I have to admit I was most excited to see how she had grown since season two. I have to admit that I cannot remember much about Sonique since her season apart from her lip-sync against Morgan McMicheals, where she spent the majority of the song showcasing some incredible flips and tricks. She has since gained a massive following online and so I was personally very excited to see how this would translate into the screen. She got off to an incredible start by wearing an incredible red jumpsuit that showed off every inch of her body and was stunning to look at!

One of the other queens I was super excited to see return was Jan from season twelve. Jan is a constantly excited, theatre kid who is truly a piece of me but she has the added pressure of her New York sister Rosè doing well in the most recent season of normal Drag Race. Everyone knows Jan from that face crack when it was announced that she did not win the Madonna themed musical challenge (which she has used to bring in a lot of money from merch) and her rainbow ombré flame cast reveal outfit was out of this world! I really loved that during her confessional Jan talked about how in her original season she needed to prove she was talented but now the world knows she is a great queen she has nothing to prove so can relax and so it’s her time to truly shine. Two of the most controversial inclusion in this cast were Ginger Minj and Silky Nutmeg Gnash. There was a lot of debate as to why Ginger Minj has been allowed another chance to compete despite having already been on season 2 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars. This argument was only fuelled by her intentionally ugly entrance look which I have to admit I still don’t understand. Lots of people were annoyed that Silky was also invited back as they found her very grating in her original season. While I didn’t personally enjoy Silky in her season, I loved her call back during her entrance where she managed to pull out a cookie and a glass of milk from her dress! You can say what you want about Silky but I know we all want the confidence she possesses, which is half the battle in any completion. Eureka O’Hara was also announced on this season with these loud-mouthed, big personalities could become very overwhelming so I anticipate a lot of backlash from the viewers. Trinity K Bonet had a rough time during season six as despite delivering some of the most incredibly lip-syncs in Drag Race her-story, most people remember her for the iconic question “what is it you do successfully?” fired at her by Bianca Del Rio. I hope that Trinity gets a chance to show what it is she does well and how much she has grown as I believe she could easily be a top competitor.

This season starts as every Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars season usually does which is with the All-Star variety show. Unlike Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars 5, this talent show was not sponsored by werk the world which meant there were no backup dancers which does make season 5 seem very strange when compared to the rest! The variety show didn’t showcase a lot of variety with most of the queens singing/dancing. Also, all the acts in this show were fairly short so I did find it quite difficult to get into fully. It was clear from the beginning that Jan would be singing live with vocals that were out of this world but there did seem to be some mixing issues with the backing track which made her song quite difficult to hear at times. I honestly loved Scarlett Envy’s bubble act as it was the wonderful hybrid of comedy/almost burlesque vibes which was somewhat similar to BenDeLaCreme act in All-Stars 3. This was a very unique act that I think should have landed Scarlet closer to the top but alas I am not a judge! In her original season, Silky was a very talented baton twirler and so I was sure she would do this for her talent but I couldn’t have been more wrong! Instead Silky sat down at a piano to lead everyone in a soulful sing-song. Now I don’t know how to describe Yara Sofia’s “jiggle performance” so you will need to check it out for yourself but what I can say is that I didn’t think that it was the best act of the night in my opinion but the judges crowned her as the winner this week. Ra’Jah O’Hara did something I did not expect at all, her talent was making a brand new dress on stage in one minute. We have all seen Bianca do something very similar during a live show but even she was not able to do it in a minute. Which this act was very impressive it was not as engaging as the other acts in my opinion. Trinity K Bonet had told everyone that she would be doing a comedy routine (which she excelled in during her original season) and the production team put in a lot of effort to show how every other queen who has done comedy during the talent show has been sent home that episode. This routine was very disappointing and warranted her place in the bottom two in this episode.

So Yara ends up at the top and so she has to lip-sync against a secret lip-sync assassin and if she wins she gets to decide who is eliminated otherwise is the group consensus that gets to decide. The two bottom queens were Trinity and Serena Cha Cha which I agree with in all honesty! I enjoyed seeing Yara and Serena deliberating in Spanish as both these queens did originally receive a strange edit in their first seasons due to English not being their first language. The assassin was revealed to be Coco Montrose (who should have appeared last season!) and she dominated in the battle to the Uptown Funk which meant that the group had decided that Serena will be going home.

Overall, this was a fun opening episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars that showcased some hidden talents but mostly just allowed queens to show off original songs. It was a nice way to meet the returning queens but did not build the excitement as much as the opening episode of All-Stars 5 did.

***½  3.5/5

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