27th Aug2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars 6×11’ Review

by Rhys Payne

I have to admit that I loved last weeks episode of Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars. We saw the remaining queens watch on as a compilation of eliminated queens lip-syncs against one another in an attempt to return to the competition. In reality, the whole episode was the Silky Nutmeg Gnache show as she won six battles in a row, with the split costume barbie girl lip-sync being one of the most iconic performances in drag race herstory! I am so disappointed that all I have seen on social media since this episode is people slamming Silky for an apparent over-reliance on props. No one said anything when Sasha Velour did the iconic rose petal stunt in the finale of season nine and so it is unfair to put Silky down for doing the same! Silky had created, and performed with, the props to deliver extremely entertaining lip-syncs and so deserves the praise! I do think however that the final lip-sync between Silky and Eureka was extremely messy with sliding wigs, poorly executed costume reveals etc., with the episode being left on a cliffhanger.. I personally think that this should have been one of the rare occasions that a double win is declared as Silky had been a powerhouse but Eureka clearly won this lip-sync; however Eureka was given another chance to join the rest of the remaining queens on All-Stars 6!

The remaining queens were informed that Eureka would be returning to the competition and the five of them had to compete in a mini-challenge that had them creating a pride inspired outfit and posing on a screen. I thought this challenge was nice, especially considering that pride in both London and Wales have been cancelled but I didn’t understand the motive for the queens. It didn’t particularly feel competitive but rather just a bit of fun, which isn’t the purpose of challenges in this show. The return of Eureka to the competition means that the Eureka and Trinity flirtationship was also back on our screen. It was incredibly heartwarming when Eureka talked about how she doesn’t receive positive attention out of drag and how nice the banter with Trinity has made her feel. This is not only an important conversation to have between drag queens (who famously put on a character for performance) but also so that people remember that behind these fierce queens are real people; and the representation of plus-sized people in general!

The main challenge this week was a creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent monologue which had the queens performing a story to the judges. This was somewhat similar to the very decisive pink table talk challenge that was earlier in the season (which the more I think about it, the less I like the challenge.) The performance and stage were set up as an almost slam poetry venue – with all queens sat on the stage, everyone clicking instead of clapping and jazz musicals during the transitions between acts. Apart from the music in the transitions, there was no sound and performed in front of an empty audience which I still find very strange. At first, I did think it was quite uncomfortable that Trinity did an almost comedy sketch about being catfish, due to how serious that can be, but it was revealed that within the story the catfish just wanted to tell Trinity how much of a hero she is for sharing her HIV status. Any HIV representation on TV is amazing, so to see these pioneer figures getting the praise they deserve is fantastic! I knew that Ginger Minj would do very well in this challenge as she is known for being wonderfully theatrical and being an incredible storyteller. She looked incredible in a very classic drag inspired yellow gown with wonderfully large hair but also managed to channel the idea of looks into her story by revealing red slippers that played a key part in her monologue. I was impressed by Eureka in this challenged as she talked about the backstage politics of being a drag queen, which is very important for any baby queen that could be watching.

I didn’t understand the runway theme this week as it was titled “Oops I did it again” which to me instantly drew connections to Britney Spears rather than the intentional fashion fails that we saw. It was almost more of a comedy challenge rather than a runway theme, which is very unusual for this show. Ginger Minj managed to capture the beauty and comedy of the theme very well as she walked the runway with the theatrics of being burnt with curlers. I thought that Ra’jah looked amazing with a half-dress that had a nude allusion outfit to make it look as if the dress did not fit. She looked amazing and managed to complete the criteria which I thought was great!

However, it was Eureka who was declared as the winner of this weeks episode with an almost softer version of Joe Blacks seaside, windswept wig from Drag Race UK Season 2. Eureka was in the top and now everyone else is at the bottom so Eureka has to lip-sync against a mystery opponent, which I thought would have been Silky due to the events in last weeks episode. However it was Jaida Essence Hall (who was the winner of season 12) who was revealed as the lip-sync assassin this week and they collectively delivered a very fun performance. It was declared that both queens won the lip-sync (which I thought should have happened the last episode instead) and this instantly filled me with excitement as it could mean that two queens go home and we would be rocketed into the final three with a returning Eureka. The drama this would have caused… but also both the group and Eureka on her own decided to send home Trinity who has shown tremendous growth since her original season!

Overall, this was a very strange episode with a weird mini and main challenge that I didn’t understand. I also thought that the runway was a bit disappointing and that’s not totally down to the queens themselves but instead the theme.

***½  3.5/5


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