19th Jul2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars 6×05’ Review

by Rhys Payne

If you love a spectacle as much as I do, then you would have thoroughly enjoyed last weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars where the queens had to cover some of Ru Paul’s most iconic songs in the style of another celebrity! The production value on this episode was amazing and included wonderful costumes, dancing dancers and theatrics which I love! There has been a lot of debate online as to whether Jan should have been declared the winner for her unhinged interpretation of Lady Gaga and while I preferred Trinity K Bonet’s Beyonce (which was out of this world so go check it out!) I didn’t mind that the win went to Jan and Trinity’s performance was more of redemption from her original season. On the other end of the competition was Yara Sofia, who went home, who visually delivered a great performance as Shakira but the actual performance let her down. What made this elimination even worse was the fact that the lip-sync assassin was Jessica Wild who is famously one of Yara’s closest friends in the outside world; which also means that the $30,000 cash tip rolls over to this week which instantly adds so much tension it’s unreal!

As this was Jan’s first-ever win she had never had to facilitate the pleadings of vote someone who caused so much drama in the opening moments, as Jan was the only one to want to send Akeira home. She justified her choice by saying that she was carefully thinking about the reaction of the group which Silky also talked about in previous interviews. As this show using voting to decide who goes home, it’s important to consider how the rest of the group are going to vote/react, as next time you are in the bottom they could all turn against you! While talking about Silky, there has been a lot of drama online between Silky and Drama (which I believe has since been discussed) but it’s worth giving a read as Silky tries to shine a light on a few things not even I knew about! Regardless, this was Akeira’s second week in the bottom so I hope she steps her game up soon as she was a powerhouse on her original season but seems to be struggling in All-Stars.

The main challenge in this weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars was to host and produce a chat show/podcast where the queens talk about some very important issues. I have to admit that, for me, this was one of the toughest challenges in Drag Race history. The queens, presenting as their drag persona’s, had to deliver a candid chat show episode talking about either sex, body issues or motherhood, with the judges looking for vulnerability and relatability; while the queens also had to stay in their personas and be entertaining – which I physically can’t get my head around. The point of the challenge was for the queens to let their guard down but they still presented in full drag with some queens personas getting in the way of opening up. For example, both Scarlett and Pandora have over-the-top performance-based drag characters and so, when discussing real-life issues, they fell back into their characters which did make it hard to relate to/follow. However, one queen who took this in their stride was Trinity K Bonet, who continues to surprise me every week and is destined for the top of this competition. If you remember during her original season Trinity disclosed that she was HIV positive and during this episode, she gave a very important talk about what that means. We got to see a more honest and emotional side of Trinity as she talked about dealing with the diagnosis and being undetectable (cannot transmit the disease) which is so important as many people need educating on the illness and will go some way of reducing the stigma. Trinity went on to explain how she separates her boy self (Josh) from her drag persona, Trinity, and how that affects their everyday life. All this was such an important discussion that needs to happen more while also being incredibly moving/powerful. After this Eureka went on to talk about the trend of fetishising fat people and how that’s not the compliment many people think it is! I enjoyed the production value the team behind this show put into the episode, with each queen getting a real housewives-esque intro line and almost catchphrase which was a nice way to transition from chat show to shay show. However, I did think that the product placement/ mystery pink box game that every queen took part in did feel somewhat out of place and didn’t fit the powerful messages that every queen was discussing.

The runway on this episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars was clashing patterns, which is something that I enjoy. Putting together a cohesive look is difficult at the best of times but it takes a keen eye to be able to build an effective look that incorporates clashing patterns/materials. Trinity K Bonet continued to impress when she walked the runway in a futuristic Africa princess oufitt that looked incredibly intimidating and fierce in equal regards. Akeira decided to wear an outfit that looked strangely similar to her face-kini from her original season but wore a wig completely comprised of tape measures which was a nice touch! I thought that Ginger also looked great this week, where she walked the runway in a bright zookeeper outfit that clashed beautifully with each different pattern.

It was announced that Eureka’s group (including Trinity and Akeira) were the winning group this week but it was Ginger who was announced as the winner of the episode. While I agree that Eureka’s group was by far the best, I thought it was a bit pointless to announce they were the best group as all three could not lip-sync but the person who did was in another group. There have been occasions where Ru announces a winner and gives someone else some praise, so that could have easily been done to her. When it was originally announced that Ginger would be returning to Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-StarsI was skeptical as she had already had a chance in an earlier season. However, this lip-sync between her and the assassin Mayhem Miler was a prime example of how talented she is. This was a comical and campy performance of Lizzo’s song “Phone” which had me laughing throughout. Rather than it being a battle between two queens, it did seem more of a duet but Ginger was declared the winner, so her vote alone would decide who goes home. At the bottom were Jan, Scarlett and Kylie so I know I was going to be disappointed whoever goes home as these are three of my favourites. Ginger reveals that Scarlett Envy would be going home and to be honest, I am devastated and I know a lot of other people will feel the same! Scarlett had shown so much growth since her original season, had showcased some of the most stunning looks I can remember in Drag Race herstory, and that magical talent show act did not get the credit it deserves! At least we will get to see Scarlett in the game within a game, whatever that is! During this lip-sync, we did get an appearance from Bianca Del-Rio and while I love her as a queen, this felt very random and didn’t make sense to the competition!

Overall, this was one of the rawest and emotional challenges in Drag Race history with a confusing brief due to all the queens being in drag but being encouraged to be real! We saw an incredibly fun lip-sync but I was very disappointed with the elimination this week!

**** 4/5

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