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RPDR RANT: All Stars 3, Episode 6

Aedan Roberts

Oh boy.

I'm just going to get right into this: the girls come back, the twist is revealed, the eliminated girls return to form a rival Girl Group against the remaining girls, the winners lipsynch to see who comes back and who leaves, and the winner brings back Miss Morgan and immediately breaks all our hearts by self-eliminating. It is a hard episode to watch and process- and I honestly think allowing DeLa to leave the way she did kind of ruined the legitimacy of the crown for the remaining girls.

But more on that in the Breakdown. Without further ado:

BEN DE LA CREME: 5 wins. 5 fucking wins. 2 Snatch Game wins. Three lipsynch wins (2.5 if you only count the double-win as half a win). No bottom placements. Ladies and gentlemen the true winner of AS3: Ben De La Creme (or as we are now seeing her referred to as: Ben De La Christ). With only two episodes left after this one it is literally impossible for even Shangela to catch up to this track record, let alone surpass it enough to make her win feel legitimate.

Which makes the producers' decision to allow the events of this episode to play out the way it did feel kind of gross. The longer I sit with it, the more times I rewatch it, the more manipulated it feels. Sure, the decision was ultimately DeLa's (a decision I don't necessarily agree with but respect the integrity of) but even Miss Creme knew that her ability to actually do this hinged on the cooperation of the staff and producers. Once she began scratching out Kennedy's name (who she chose just in case her plan wasn't allowed) it seems the people running things saw dollar signs and did everything they could to make sure it played out the way DeLa intended- never once thinking about how that could affect the other girls or the legitimacy of the show as a competition. RuPaul's Drag Race has always felt like there were strings being pulled- but there was also the sense that they at least wanted to keep the spirit of the competition alive with the illusion of fair play. This kind of broke that. Like the lovely woman from Movie Bitches said in their review of this episode "the only person who could stop DeLa was DeLa" and the producers seemed to be itching for that twist just as much as Ben was willing to go through with it. For Miss Creme it was due to her hatred of the format and what it was doing to the interpersonal relationships between the queens- but the producers wanted it because DeLa was dominating things SO HARD that if she had stayed the crown would have been an even more forgone conclusion than AS2.

But now? Yeah . . . at this point I honestly don't care who takes the crown because none of the remaining queens will be able to escape the massive shadow Ben De La Creme left in her self-elimination. Sure I'd prefer it if Trixie took it out of the girls who are left - but it's hard to muster excitement over it.

Anyways- lets talk performance. Ben did an amazing job in spite of the turmoil she was experiencing due to her and Morgan's interactions at the beginning of the episode. Her look was The Craft perfection, her lyrics were intelligent, and she sold the fuck out of them on stage (and stole the show as a backup dancer the rest of the time). She really did deserve the win this week- even if that win led to such a disappointing and, ultimately, show-altering decision.

I think I'll leave my thoughts on this here. I could rant for paragraphs about this outcome- but instead I'll just say this: Ben proved what an amazing Queen she is on AS3. She will always be the true winner in my eyes and her track record will be next to impossible to beat. 

TRIXIE MATTEL: Trixie was actually right up there with DeLa as my Top 2. Her character was hilarious, well written, and VERY "Spice Girls." I loved her outfit and disagree heavily with Miss Visage that her wig was "incorrect." It was, as much as DeLa, a fully realized Girl Group Girl whose nerdy, math-pun-laden lyrics meshed seamlessly with her kawaii-esque anime school girl uniform.

As for her interactions with (the insanely sexy) Adam Lambert? I think it was a clash of personalities that didn't know what to make of each other and was blown out of proportion by the editors/producers for drama. Having seen all of Uhhhnn and various stand-up specials/interviews with Trixie I have a relatively strong understanding of her sense of humor- and her responses to Adam's feedback seemed par for the course with her. However Mr. Lambert didn't appear to be as familiar with her, or likely anyone like her, and wasn't able to read the situation the way Trixie meant it. It was all kind of moot anyways, considering her final product was fantastic.

Yet again this season I find myself disagreeing with the results- but this time it was a lot closer so I can't really fault them for picking Bebe over Miss Mattel. They both did fantastic- I just think Trixie's was far more memorable and less . . . predictable.

BEBE ZAHARA BENET: Miss Bebe did great- though her gibberish lyrics and generic, predictable leopard print body-suit were less amazing than the judges seemed to think. I also found her refusal to even engage with Aja's critiques of her behavior in the previous episode to be really off-putting. Shutting down the convo doesn't make you appear cool and collected- it makes you look very "above it all" in an off-putting way.

All that being said I really did enjoy her performance. She sold that boring outfit and nothing-lyrics to hell and back and her win didn't feel as baffling as Aja's placement last week. So whatever.

I will say this, however: Bebe was standing there watching Ben scribbling away at the lipstick in the Werk Room before the lipsynch. She also likely saw Ben speaking with producers and their non-verbal orgasm at Ben's apparent plans. There is literally no way she didn't have an inkling what was about to happen. Which is leading to my theory: Bebe threw the lipsynch. Not in a overtly shady way- but if I were her I would probably have done the same thing. Like I said earlier- no one was going to beat DeLa but DeLa- so if I had the opportunity to . . . . let that happen? I would probably snatch my wig and forfeit the lipsynch as well. Because up until that point it was a nail-biter. They were both doing a fantastic job. But once that wig lifted slowly off her head? It was over. DeLa's plan went into motion. And Bebe's biggest competition for the crown was removed from the running.

I have no idea if this is accurate- but it would explain an otherwise baffling decision.

SHANGELA: Shangela did fine. Not much to say here. I didn't find her lyrics or character particularly memorable but she did it well regardless and had fantastic padding. Her outfit was pretty but basic. Her drama was overshadowed by DeLa/Morgan and Kennedy/MILK. So yeah. That's all I really have to say here.

KENNEDY DAVENPORT: Miss Davenport did the worst of the Remaining Girls Group, in my opinion, and should have been the one to leave the show. Her track record has officially reached Roxxxy Andrews in AS2 levels of "being carried" and earns her the title of "AS3 Roxxxy." Her look was boring and something we've all seen from her countless times before. Her wig was flat and lifeless. Her character ("Diva Kitty") was just . . . the most uncreative of the night. She performed well but it's Kennedy- she always dances the house down- and even then it wasn't any better than the other girls' dancing. It was a bit of a snoozer and it's even more infuriating seeing Ben leave now because it saved Kennedy to be in the bottom for yet another week.

MORGAN MCMICHAELS: going on Ben's criteria Morgan was definitely the girl to bring back- and I actually agree with that criteria. However if we were to go on actual performance this episode? She did well, but ChiChi, Milk, Thorgy and especially Aja definitely were more memorable. I liked her tear-away (it was flawlessly executed) and her look was okay- but it just wasn't anything special. Regardless I *am* happy to see her return and look forward to seeing more from this bitchy queen.

MILK: I found this to be a bit of a redeeming episode for Milk. Is my opinion of her still a bit lower compared to what it was before AS3? Totally. She's seems to be a lot less intelligent and a LOT less humble/self aware than I thought she was before. But she seemed to take the back-and-forth with Kennedy the right way and her confessionals appeared to show a new-found self-awareness that can only come from being informed that you're a pompous idiot by people you care about. Which is a relief because I *want* to like MILK and am happy she's giving me a reason to continue to do so. Hopefully she'll continue to grow (because she still has a lot to do).

As for her performance? It was surprisingly fun and probably the most "girl group" of the Eliminated Queen Girls. I loved her translucent overalls, her buck teeth, her wacky makeup and hair and her lyrics were cute. Two thumbs up for MILK in this episode.

 AJA: going based on performance I truly feel like Aja should have been the one to return. Also since she didn't miss a single episode she's the only one of the Eliminated Girls who could have continued on the show without any major handicap. Her "Lisa Left-Eye Lopez" inspired "Banji Kitty" was a joy to watch and her rap lyrics were well done.

However: did she really NEED to return? I would argue she's MORE than proven herself to be the Most Improved out of all the girls and a CLEAR fan-favorite moving forward. Her career has already been heavily boosted from her wonderful time on AS3. And, let's be honest, even if she returned she just wasn't going to win. Which is why I think Ben did end up making the right decision. At this point it was more about who could benefit the most from the added exposure- and that person wasn't necessarily Aja (even though I would have LOVED her to return).

THORGY THOR: Thorgy did great as well. I thought her lyrics were weird but fun and crazy-sexual. Her "cardio kitty" was fully realized and was the perfect kind of bizarre that makes Thorgy fun to watch. It wasn't the best of the Eliminated Girls but it was great all the same. Sadly her time being a heinous bitch on the show is officially over, but I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.

CHI CHI DEVAYNE: Chi Chi continued to be the low-key sweetest person on the planet this episode. She CLEARLY has the best singing voice of the entire cast and I wish that she had showcased it more during either AS3 or Season 8. Her look was cute, if not all that inspired or appropriate for her "Cajun Kitty" persona. Most importantly, however, when asked why she should come back her response was "Why beat a dead horse?" It was the single most self-aware, kind and adorable moment on AS3 and made me love ChiChi even more. The girl has talent coming out of her ears, but it takes a true Queen to know when she's beaten and to take that defeat graciously. Roxxxy and Kennedy should take notes (not that either of their runs were entirely up to them).

Whew, that was a lot (considering I had to write up all the eliminated girls as well). If anyone wants to discuss this episode let me know. I have so many thoughts I didn't bother to write here.

Next week is another acting challenge so I look forward to Trixie's (hopeful) second win and (likely) Shangela's third.

RPDR RANT: All Stars 3, Episode 5

Aedan Roberts

So this was a strange week (well, it was- when it aired weeks ago when I started writing this). There was some strange dynamics at work and some questionable judging (not the first of the season *cough - MILK's Celine - cough*) but probably the most egregious. 

Let's dive right in: the queens come back, Ru reveals the Maxi-Challenge (a really literal interpretation of Andy Warhol's Campbells Soup Can series and a Studio 54-inspired runway), the queens get to work, the runway happens, odd critiques are given and the wrong girl goes home (though not the wrong Bottom 2 girl- more on that in the Breakdown).

Speaking of which, in no particular order: THE BREAKDOWN.

BEN DE LA CREME: Miss Dela is tired, ladies and gentlemen. And it's fairly clear why: Ben has been killing it every single week- in a manner unlike any girl in the history of this show. If it was a normal season that would be exhausting enough- it's genuinely difficult to muster the kind of diversity and energy needed to rock the challenges she's excelled at. But this is much, MUCH worse than a normal season- this is All Stars, with All Stars rules, and I'm starting to find the format to be extremely flawed in a way only someone with Ben's track record could emphasize.

All the best parts of the show are placed on the shoulders of the Top Girls. At least with the normal format the Top Girls could take a break after they proved themselves and won the challenge. But in All Stars they not only have to then memorize, accessorize and try to win a LSFYLegacy, they also have to sit there and figure out which of the bottom girls goes home. So we not only get physical and mental exhaustion- we add emotional exhaustion on top of that. And for someone like Ben - who is clearly a sensitive, genuine, thoughtful person to anyone paying attention - that burden can be especially tiresome.

I was personally hoping this All Stars would switch it up in the same way AS1 was so different from AS2. I'm pretty sure Ben was hoping the same thing because she is CLEARLY not here to be on the judges' panel. Instead, probably due to AS2's massive success, they decided to stick to a nearly identical format for AS3.  I hope they learn from this outing, however, and choose to actually change things around for AS4. The concept of the queens eliminating each other is cute at first- but the flaws inherent to such a system become evident VERY quickly and I'm really not here for the artificial drama and undue stress it puts on the girls. I want to see them rock the game- I don't want to see them forming alliances, hurting each other's feelings, and getting emotionally exhausted. This is RuPaul's Drag Race, not Survivor.

When it comes to Ben's performance this week? She had some of the best voice-overs for her runway, her soup can idea was adorable and only second to Trixie's in terms of being on-brand, and her runway was great (if slightly ill-fitting in the chest area). You could have totally made the argument that her Soup Can and Disco Hooker look were Top 2-worthy, but I am also content with her placement all the same. It was about time for Ben to have a much needed breather and hopefully it will be enough to allow her to rock her way to the end. Still 100% #teambendelacreme.

One last note for Miss Dela: I wanted to reach through the screen and slap Ross for his "oh, you're giving us 100% and not 120%? Meh" bullshit comment. It is literally impossible to continuously one-up yourself, and the judges shouldn't be expecting 120% from Dela if they are treating everyone else's 90% with the same amount of praise. That gets a big ol' 'Fuck You' from me.

TRIXIE MATTELL: Miss Mattell definitely seems to be following in her amazing sister Katya's footsteps: starting out safe but slowly gaining steam as the season progresses. Will it be enough to get her the crown? That remains to be seen- though compared to Ben (or even Shangela) she seems to have a lot of catching up to do. This week was a good step in that direction, though. Her Andy Warhol Can was probably the funniest and most "on-brand" and her Studio 54 look was the second-loveliest (more on that in a bit) and easily the most polished. And while it ultimately wasn't EXACTLY "Studio 54" it was perfect for the story she had concocted for the character who would wear it. She easily deserved the win this week and thank god for it. I've been wanting Trixie to shine, and while she hasn't done poorly by any means (save Snatch Game- in the immortal words of Ginger Minj: that was a rough spot), she has been getting the "overshadowed" edit by both Shangela and DeLa.

When it comes to the lipsynch? The odds just weren't in her favor. Giving Bebe a Diana Ross song to lipsynch to was the equivalent of giving Trixie one by Dolly Parton. Especially considering Bebe proved she can embody Miss Ross to near-perfection. A bit unfair? Yes. But Trixie gave it her all and did a bang-up job- even if it didn't get her the win in the end.

AJA: Aja was a major source of confusion this week. I just . . . didn't agree - oh at all - about the judges critiques of her. I thought her look was, by far, the loveliest out of the five. It may have been a little off in terms of style- but nothing about it would have looked terribly out of place in Studio 54 and she would have been a shimmering masterpiece dancing in the disco lights of the era. Her makeup and hair were also some of the best she's ever looked. And while I do agree her Andy Warhol Can wasn't the MOST on-brand or creative, you could still see where she was coming from (I think she went with "candy" in terms of her visual brand considering just how pastel and candy-colored her wardrobe has become). In the end I was CERTAIN she was safe - and was absolutely baffled by her bottom placement alongside Shangela. ESPECIALLY when there was a different queen who deserved that bottom spot much more.

I'm going to miss Aja's personality and looks in the coming weeks. Luckily there aren't that many more weeks to be had, though.

KENNEDY DAVENPORT: speaking of odd placement and baffling critiques . . . . this week's assessment of Miss Davenport's performance was odd as well (at least to me. Results may vary). Not only was her look super basic (and made her look boxy) her Andy Warhol Can missed the mark pretty much entirely. At least with Aja you could see a positive spin on the "candy" direction. But crazy old lady? It just . . . didn't work. I also felt that her Studio 54 look was a bit of a mess in terms of accessorizing. The shoes were too intricate and didn't match the style of the blue sheet she wrapped around herself, the belt was mismatched to her jewelry and her headpiece didn't match anything either. It looked like she just stuck on whatever she could find to embellish an otherwise intensely bland outfit. The judges' fondness for it felt odd- but in the end it's their opinion and I guess they thought an ugly bed sheet with a sleeve was somehow better than a glorious, shimmering pant-suit with a crystal cape.

Honestly? I really, truly believe it should have been Kennedy in the bottom, not Aja. The way things went down felt really off and I simply don't agree with the end result.

BEBE ZAHARA BENET: you all know I love me some Bebe- but boy is she starting to show her arse. Her Studio 54 look was gorgeous and looked really good on her . . . but it really was a dick-move not to acknowledge the help she received in creating it. Especially when the sister who helped her just got dragged through the mud. And who knows- the judging was so all-over-the-place this week that giving Aja credit could have been the thing that swapped Kennedy and Aja's placement. We'll never know either way but what we DO know is that when someone asks you "did you make this?" you answer "oh yes mawmaw, but I did receive some help with it from my sister" - not just "yes." That's shady and you should KNOW that it will be emphasized to make you look bad because IT'S ALL BEING RECORDED.

I'm not really mentioning her Soup Can look- mostly because I wasn't all that impressed with it. It was definitely on-brand, but the design was boring and the colors made it look like rat poison.

In the end I do agree, however, with her win. She did well (though not as well as Trixie or, in my humble opinion, Aja) and she sold the fuck out of her work. And her lipsynch win was guaranteed the second they hit "play" on a Diana Ross hit.

SHANGELA: if Snatch Game was Trixie's Waterloo, this Design Challenge was Shangela's. Miss Wadley may have grown a LOT since her stint on Season 2 and 3, but her skills in design challenges seemed to have been frozen in time. Simply put: this was the only outfit that was downright dreadful. Everyone else came up with SOMETHING (even Kennedy, whose look was not good either). Shangela's scramble to come up with something after her initial idea didn't pan out ranks among the worst outfits to ever walk down the runway- right up there with Kennedy's flaming chicken and Magnolia Crawford's cowbell quagmire. And while her Soup Can was classic Shangela it wasn't the best either- not nearly enough to make up for the disaster that was her Studio 54 outfit.

Shangela is a fierce competitor. And her safety this week is a testament to her track record leading up to this major blunder. Do I think that's fair? Yes and no. Every queen is bound to have one bad episode- even the best girls (the one exception apparently being DeLa). I do, however, ultimately agree that while she certainly deserved the axe more than any of the other girls (based on this episode alone) I don't think it would have been the correct choice. No, the only REAL correct choice would have been Shangela and Kennedy in the bottom with Kennedy sashaying away. It would have felt the most right (especially considering Kennedy's far worse track record). Sadly that's not what we got.

Oh well!

RPDR RANT: All Stars 3, Episode 4

Aedan Roberts

Hey all! Sorry for the delay- I had an event for my artwork this weekend that kept me away from a computer.

On to the rant!

So quick overview: queens come back, Kennedy reveals her elimination choice was in large part personal, Shangela successfully tries to get into Trixie's head with some note-driven drama, Snatch Game Maxi Challenge is ruvealed, a perfectly normal game of Snatch was had by all (some did phenomenal, some did mediocre, a few did extremely poorly), the girls give us a gorgeous runway, the Top 2 lipsynch, both win but only one of the bottoms get sent home. Shades of AS2 right there.

On to the breakdown. In order of who had the prettiest dresses:

BEN DE LA CREME: I have never in the history of RPDR seen dominance like this. Ben has slayed this season, arguably, harder than even Bianca Del Rio did in Season 6. She's even hit a couple milestones that are worthy of note: Ben is officially the first girl in RPDR herstory to ever win four challenges in a row and is also the first girl ever to win two Snatch Games (her Maggie Smith was brilliant in Season 6 and her Paul Lynde was equally amazing in this episode). The girls is on fire. She could coast in the middle for the rest of the season and still deserve the crown more than any of the other girls- though I doubt that she would ever do something like that. Her Paul Lynde was head and shoulders above everyone else (including Shangela's spot-on Jennifer Lewis) and was arguably the only thing saving this Snatch Game from being at the lower end of the Snatch Game Quality Spectrum.

As for her runway? It's by far my favorite thing she has ever worn and one of my all-time favorite outfits in the series. Whereas most of the other girls simply had dresses with flowers tacked on Ben's outfit incorporated orchids into the foundation. I've never seen a mermaid dress's bottom flare out to form the petals of an orchid before and it was honestly breathtaking. The colors, the fit, the cascading flowers down her shoulder were just . . . fantastic. She definitely earned that double SHOOT from Fashion Photo Ruview.

Then we had the Lipsynch. Shangela performed admirably (though I'm really getting sick of this reliance on props) but once again I don't even think this was close: Ben walked away with that number. Her mannerisms, outfit change and interactions with a visibly amused/annoyed Shangie was delightful- and if I had been the one making the choice I would have simply gone with Ben winning outright (it's not like the double-win mattered in the end anyways).

Every week I am excited to see what Ben comes up with and thus far she has yet to disappoint. Will she likely have a couple dud episodes? Sure- no one is perfect. But nothing can take away the amazing record she has achieved here thus far. Team Ben allllll the way.

TRIXIE MATTELL: Oh Trixie. Oh dear. Oh no. The poor girl didn't think this one through and it bit her in her delightfully sardonic ass. Her Ru impressions on Uhhnnnn are hysterical- they really are. But they are funny in the context of the show and the format it is presented in. It's aided by fantastic(ally messy) green screening and only works as a quip to accentuate a point or to self-deprecate. Also: it only works when there isn't any interaction or other queens doing improv around her. She should have known the strengths of the one-note portrayal and kept it there. Sadly she was dead-set on bringing that caricature to Snatch Game and it ultimately blew up in her face. Hard. While she did start strong and her look was on point - it quickly became clear that her punny shtick didn't have the flexibility or range necessary to bring the funny in this scenario. Honestly (in some small part thanks to the shady editing and lack of music cues during her bits) it was painful to watch.

Her runway, however, was a perfect Kawaii dream. Trixie in that hair/crown, hippy dress and caftan was lovely. I want to see more of her in down-do's. It didn't stop her from being in the bottom (though I still think she did a better job than either ChiChi or Kennedy- neither of whom got a single laugh out of me) but she really stood out and was my second favorite look of the night.

And then came the elimination: while she did poorly the last thing I wanted was to see Trixie go home (especially when ChiChi- or even Kennedy- deserved it more in this episode). And the producers/editors/Shangela definitely knew that this was going to be the consensus amongst viewers and milked that fear for all it was worth. Shangela is a shady, shady bitch- but for the first time ever I kind of enjoyed the bullshit she performed before revealing her lipstick. It was HEARTBREAKING to see Trixie go through several stages of grief while Shangela proceeded to do her best to describe Miss Mattell when giving her reasoning for her elimination- but it was also amazing to then have Shangela choose ChiChi and have the world nod in admiration for the trip we were just sent on. The producers definitely helped this torture by playing up (and likely orchestrating) the fight over Thorgy's note at the beginning of the episode. Kennedy was spiteful enough to eliminate someone just because of a perceived slight against her- it isn't a huge leap to think Shangela would also do this (especially based on her own words and track record).

In the end Miss Mattell lives to fight another day. And she better start fighting because I am rooting for her. Not as much as I am for Ben, but damn it I like Trixie and know she's capable of so much more than she's currently giving.

SHANGELA: Shangela did well this episode. She has so far had the second-best run and continues that trend. It's not surprising at all- Shangie is a talented-as-fuck girl. I just wish she was playing less head-games and instead concentrating on rocking the challenges/runways. I still can't root for a girl that sees playing games and acting shady as a necessary part of a winning strategy- and BOY is that Shangela this season. It's obviously garnered as many fans as detractors- it's just not really my thing and I'd prefer someone as talented as her to give me more reasons to like her (unless you like the needless drama).

Shangela's choice to switch from an Irish Miss Cleo to her real-life friend Jennifer Lewis was a VERY smart one. And while my friend informs me that her impression was SPOT ON I don't really know a lot about Miss Lewis to make that assessment myself. I DO trust his opinion in this - but it didn't stop me from merely seeing this as competent, but not great. There just wasn't all that much to laugh out loud about. However in the grand scheme of this season's Snatch Game a competent performance is better than most so I totally think she deserved the win.

Her runway look was one of the best Shangela's ever done. It was obvious where the influence came from and it was flawlessly executed.

Let's just hope next week will see a decline in Game of Thrones references.

AJA: Aja was another girl whose choice of Snatch Game Character was outside my wheelhouse. And while, upon doing research, it became clear that her look/performance were spot-on it suffered from the same general problem Shangela's did: if you didn't know the person they were impersonating there just wasn't a whole lot of funny to be had. This isn't to say she did poorly - I think she would definitely rank only slightly below Shangela in terms of quality and fun - but it just wasn't a mind-bendingly memorable effort. The trick with Snatch Game isn't just to embody the person you are spoofing - it's to do so while also creating humor and mannerisms that will be funny to everyone regardless of their knowledge of that celebrity. Sasha Velour is a fantastic example of someone successfully pulling this off. Marlene Dietrich isn't exactly a household name anymore- but Sasha's choice of jokes were funny to everyone because she was willing to move beyond the bounds of Marlene's real personality and bring it into broader territory. The same can be said about Ben's Paul Lynde, Jinkx's Little Edie and Alaska's Mae West. None of them were particularly famous to a vast majority of the viewing public but they all still managed to be hysterical. Aja didn't quite manage this - which was the only thing holding this back from greatness.

As for her look? Loved it. Aja's runways have continuously impressed this season and I'm definitely thrilled she decided to return to prove she had it in her. She's actually done what I was expecting MILK to do: bring outside-the-box, interesting looks. While I don't see her winning this competition I'm happy she's here every week and look forward to seeing more from her.

BEBE ZAHARA BENET: Bebe's Grace Jones was a brilliant choice. Sadly it followed the same trajectory as Trixie's RuPaul: her introduction was great but the follow-up was a bit of a mess. Still, for a first-time Snatch Game contestant where improv isn't really her thing she still didn't do the WORST- and that is somewhat commendable. The only major problem I had with her performance was she seemed to break character a couple times when telling Trixie to shut up. She seemed genuinely annoyed by Trixie's formula and it made things a little unintentionally uncomfortable here and there. Thank god for Ben, however, who was able to interject and steer things out of trainwreck territory.

As for her look? It was lovely and well executed - it just sadly faded against the bright colors and over-the-top florals of her competitors. Black is always chic- but this was the BEST opportunity to go wild with color and the choice to stick to black was less than inspiring. In the end I agree with her being safe, but hopefully she can do better next week since it will likely play more to her strengths.

CHICHI DEVAYNE: ChiChi's Maya Angelou was definitely one of this weeks complete train-wrecks and brought about the end to this amazing queen's less-than-stellar run on the show. Simply put: ChiChi wasn't ready for All Stars. She's a powerhouse performer, a sweetheart and someone I KNOW will have a brilliant career ahead of her- but the competition got to her and she lost allllllll confidence by the end of Episode 1. However, ChiChi's also the most gracious and wonderful girl when it comes to being eliminated EVER. It made me want to root for her even more and I hope she gets all the bookings after this season.

Her runway was pretty but I didn't like the skirt. Her makeup and hair were fantastic, it just didn't save the outfit from being merely "nice" and a little confused. Hopefully next time we see ChiChi she will have moved on from these just-above-the-knee pencil skirts because BOY are they unflattering on her otherwise great body.

KENNEDY DAVENPORT: I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wasn't as impressed with Kennedy's Little Richard as everyone else seemed to be. It was one-note, relied entirely on making that WOOooOOooOOo sound over and over and felt overall really flat. To me, Pearl's Big Ange was the stand-out in that Snatch Game, not Ginger or Kennedy. And here we are in AS3 with Kennedy giving us the second worse performance of the night. It was just . . . not good. Nothing landed. At all. She looked fantastic but that's the most I can say here- because otherwise she was completely and utterly forgettable and unfunny. 

I actually wish she had simply decided to bring back her Party Girl from Episode 3 and just slapped the name of some messy celebrity on it. Hell, she could have played the same character with different padding and a blonde wig and gone as Tara Reid. It wouldn't have been all that timely but it would have given Kennedy the opportunity to do what has become apparent she's good at: impersonating messy bitches. Oh well. She flopped and definitely deserved Bottom because of it.

As for her runway? She gets the bottom of my list- but lets be honest here: there weren't really any duds this week. Kennedy's outfit was fine. Her makeup was especially lovely. The only reason it gets the lowest rank this week is because it just . . . wasn't very inspired. She took a black velvet gown and glued sunflowers to it. It could have worked better with a different color dress or the real sunflowers being mixed with painted sunflowers- but as it stands it wasn't up to the same level of creativity or cohesiveness as the other girls.

As of right now Kennedy's singular shining moment is Episode 3. Other than that she continues to be the Kennedy she's always been. For some that's a winning formula. For me, however, it is not and I wouldn't be sad to see her sashay.

Next week is a sewing challenge! EXCITE!

RPDR RANT: All Stars 3, Episode 3

Aedan Roberts

Hey all! Sorry for the delay. I had to give this one a couple days and a couple extra watches to let me come to a consensus on my opinions. I knew if I scribbled up this rant right after my initial watch I would have probably not been thinking clearly.

So now that I have given myself time to stew, on to the rant!

This week was a fantastic challenge (though it was still plagued with problems inherent to any challenge where the roles are not equal and each queen relies on another to a certain extent).

So quick rundown: the queens come back, everyone laughs at Thorgy's erectile sendoff (except Kennedy), they are given the challenge to improv as contestants in a spoof of The Bachelor (The Bitchelor- oh SNAP!) and the runway theme was Wig Reveals (courtesy of Roxxxy, and honestly at this point Peppermint considering how many times she did it in season 9).

Now on to the Breakdown! In order of my personal Best To Worst:

BEN DE LA CREME: Three for fucking three ladies and gentlemen. Going into this season I was rooting for two people equally: Ben and Trixie. That has officially changed. Miss Creme is fucking brilliant and my current top pick for the crown. She's clever, polished to the gods, and seems to be able to roll with any punch thrown her way. I am 100% Team Ben at this point (though I still love, and am rooting for, Trixie as well).

This week she was given the role of Cougar to play alongside Bebe's Virgin- and her hysterical, spot-on portrayal was my favorite performance of the week. Hands down. Everything about her was perfection: her overly tanned makeup, her frazzled short blonde wig (which, by the way, makes me want to see Ben as a blonde more often), her boobs, her neon pink spandex outfit that was giving the camera near-constant crotch-shots, her martini glass permanently glued to her hand . . . and don't get me started on her improv- it was absolutely hilarious. I wish we could have seen more.

Her runway was also one of the better ones this week. Instead of going for the obvious (a big wig to a cropped wig) she went with reveals that stood out from the crowd. Her regular bouffant up-do was cast off to reveal a 3-4 foot sleek black wig that fell gracefully down her back- and instead of leaving it there she tore away her standard party dress to reveal a long layered skirt covered with hair as well. It added that little bit of Extra and had us gagged.

Her lipsynch was the only "eh" moment of the night for Ben- but she performed it well. To be honest neither girl exactly slayed it- but I feel like "Green Light" (while a fantastic song) isn't exactly a good LSFYL choice.

Ben is rocking my world and I can only hope she continues this trend- because we all known she can.

KENNEDY DAVENPORT: I know. I know! I KNOW! It's absolutely shocking to see this girl so damn high on a list written by me. But this week Kennedy managed to do the unthinkable: she has changed my opinion of her. Not entirely (I still think she needs to lighten up significantly- her anger at Thorgy's silly mirror message was really, REALLY off-putting and typical Davenport) but I no longer think she lacks any sense of humor at all. Her Party Girl was shockingly hysterical. I mean it's no coincidence that the two best performances of the night were from roles meant to be portrayed as complete messes- but Kennedy brought a level of outrageous that I didn't think she was capable of.

I can see some of you saying "Well come on Aedan, don't you remember her snatch game or the music parody challenge?" And to that I say: yes. Yes I do. And I honestly didn't think she was very funny in either of them. I felt her Little Richard (at least what was shown) was one-note and did NOT deserve a co-win. The same goes for the parody challenge. Even her John Waters performance didn't do anything for me: Katya ran away with that scene, not Kennedy.

However she DID prove to have the comedy chops in this episode. The costume was perfection, the sight gags were amazing (like pulling a full bottle of liquor out of her snatch), and her padding was over-the-top. I was LIVING for it. It was also a dynamic performance- it had MANY layers of WTF. If she lightens up elsewhere I could even see myself beginning to root for her- though let's be honest: that likely won't happen. She still has the taste level issue that bugs me to my core.

Speaking of which lets move on to her Runway. While I stand by my "girl has no taste" opinion I will hand it to her here: she NAILED this runway challenge. I can honestly say I have never seen Kennedy more beautiful and elegant than she looked in this episode (both with the runway challenge and the LSFYL outfit). It has become crystal (get it) clear that she currently subscribes to "everything must be soaked in swarovskis" - but unlike the last two times she's done it I was actually here for it. The dress, the hair (with the exception of her mid-wig), and the makeup were all stunning. 

Kennedy deserved the co-win this week - and while the lipsynch wasn't very good for either queen I am not mad with Kennedy taking it. Keep it up Miss Davenport and you may have a convert!

TRIXIE MATTELL: Poor Trixie. Poor, poor wonderful Trixie. She really did start strong with her "Fake Bitch" role. If Trixie has proven anything in her post-season 7 success its that she's a supremely funny comedian with great improv skills and delivery. Sadly all the skills in the world couldn't save her from Milk's desperately unfunny steamroll. I would actually argue that not even Kennedy, Shangela or Ben could have managed to break free from the walking disaster that was Milk this episode- it was just Trixie's unlucky fate to be the girl who was stuck with her. Miss Mattell's initial scenes started VERY strong. Top 2 Strong. However the minute it came time for her and Milk to share the scene it became VERY clear that Trixie's dreams of finally eeking out a win were going to be shattered by her teammate's insecurity and manic delivery.

Trixie was really funny when she was given a chance- but her desire to play by the rules (Visage made it very clear that they should not talk over each other) meant that she couldn't get a word in edgewise. By the fifth time Trixie started to talk and was IMMEDIATELY talked over I wanted to reach through the screen and strangle Milk. In a word: I was furious. However even with all of that working against her she still managed to make Top 3 - so at least there is that!

When it comes to her runway: I was there for the Lady Bunny Evolves Into A White Naomi Smalls Realness. Sure the reveal wasn't all that impressive (her regular hair to a short pixie cut? Girl.) but the looks were polished and I LOVED those sunglasses.

SHANGELA: Shangela pulled a solid 4th place for me. She did the best she could with her lead-weight of a partner- but not even Shangela could improv her way out of that bad situation. She was one-half of a polyamorous couple: The Dominant Executive Realness Lesbian to ChiChi's . . . . whatever it was she was doing. I didn't find her jokes to be funny (they were a bit hackneyed: "Did you say Progressive? I thought you were talking about insurance.") but she looked AMAZING and lovable as a Business Lesbian and she really tried to give ChiChi as many opportunities as she could. For the first time on RPDR Shangela seemed to be thinking about others beyond herself and I liked it. It wasn't her fault that those efforts were lost on the train-wreck that was poor, well-intentioned ChiChi.

As for her runway? It was lovely. It was polished. It was fun. But here's the thing: I really, REALLY hate Shangela's apparent obsession with branding. She's the Box Princess. She's the HALELLOO Lady. And tonight she was the fucking Corn Queen. I get it: making something you failed at into a sellable bit of franchising is smart- but there is a time to move on and that time was five or six YEARS ago. When Shangela does something new and interesting (like her role in today's Maxi-Challenge) I find myself rooting for her. However the minute she falls back on her old catch-phrases and call-backs she loses me. Also the second wig clashed with the gown, so there.

Overall she did the best she could and came out performing competantly. A safe week for Shangie.

BEBE ZAHARA BENET: I'm going to make this quick because there just wasn't a lot to talk about with Bebe. Her performance was supremely competent but VERY much overshadowed by Ben's stand-out role. She went with a virginal, diminutive African Princess - and while that is definitely in her wheelhouse and she looked the part 1000% - it didn't really offer many opportunities to be funny. Sprinkling rose petals at the disgustingly hot Bachelor is only funny once. As for her runway? It was gorgeous as always. The reveal was a little clunky but it was also fun. Overall she added up to safe this week. Not bad at all, especially since improv isn't really her thing- but I hope she can reach for something funnier next week for Snatch Game (HER VERY FIRST ONE!).

AJA: Aja's performance was a 0% in the Maxi Challenge and a 110% in the Runway- which sadly still averaged to a 55% and landed her (somewhat deservingly) in the bottom 3 this week. Was she the worst in the Bitchelor? Not really, no. But she was NOT GOOD. Oh at all. The less said of her somewhat embarrassing "Insecure Girl" the better.

But her Runway? DAMN. HELLA DAMN. It was giving me Blow Up Anime Sex Doll Realness and is probably one of the most unique, amazing outfits to ever walk the RPDR stage. It definitely (DEFINITELY) saved her from Bottom 2 - something she apparently knew had to happen going into Elimination Day. Word on the Reddit Streets is that she actually put together the yellow mid-wig the night before because she wanted that little extra bit of oomph to compensate. Smart girl.

MILK: Milk's delusions - which had been festering since Episode 2 - spilled over into insanity this week and it was NOT. CUTE. Sure she gave it her all- but her apparent need to compensate (likely born out of fear of being overshadowed by Trixie's superior comedic sensibility) not only destroyed her chances of avoiding the Bottom 2, it also ruined Trixie's chances at her first win. Which is a cardinal sin in my book. I mean seriously: she was obnoxious. She never stopped to give her partner a chance to get a word in edgewise. Nothing she said or did was funny. It was a train wreck and we were all yelling at the screen for her to shut the fuck up by the end of their segment.

I really liked her runway but nothing was going to save her in my eyes at this point. Milk had to go. I still do like Milk- just not on the show. Luckily she was mercifully put out of her misery this episode by Kennedy. While it wasn't the right choice in terms of which queen had the better track record it was DEFINITELY the right choice in terms of making the show a little less crazy (crazy in a bad way).

Hopefully her time between now and the Comeback Episode will calm her tits a bit- but I doubt it. Luckily if anyone is winning that it will be Morgan or Thorgy. Either way I look forward to supporting Milk in her endeavors- just as long as I don't have to listen to her talk about herself.

CHICHI DEVAYNE: Poor ChiChi. My heart goes out to her. She is an insanely talented queen who has a bright future ahead of her- it's just that she seems to really be suffering from epic levels of self-doubt in AS3. Self-doubt that manifested itself as a horrendous performance on The Bitchelor. Every moment (save the last, hilarious whisper in the bachelor's ear) was cringe-worthy and unpleasant to watch. Every home-run Shangela sent her way was whiffed in the most painful way possible. It was just . . . bad - and you could tell that even she knew she was bombing hard. Her runway look was gorgeous but it didn't save her from taking my bottom spot this week. My hope is that the chance Kennedy gave her won't go to waste and she will move past her "inner saboteur" in next week's Snatch Game. If not it may be the end of the road for this lovely girl.

I guess that's it! If you want to discuss anything message me here or on facebook. Love talking about this show to anyone willing to do so!