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RPDR Rant: All Stars 2, Episode 6

Aedan Roberts

So this season has been quite the roller-coaster. Highs, lows - all over the fucking place. This episode is no exception- it comes off as the Yang to Episode 4's Yin in nearly every way. Last week the challenge was not all that great but the drama, twists, LSFYL, and results made it orgasmic. This week the challenge and runways really stood out, but it all culminated in probably my least favorite episode of the season due to a lot of (IMO) terrible decisions- made by both Ru and Rolaskatox (the Queen formerly known as Alaska). I'm honestly so incensed by the results of this episode I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say. But don't worry- that's never stopped me from rambling on and on about something!

So yeah, the Maxi Challenge: the girls are tasked with coming up with their own products and creating infomercials for them. The products have to be clever/funny and the videos even moreso. As for the Runway? PANTS. PANTS ON THE RUNWAY. And BOY did nearly everyone deliver!

So yes, instead of griping about stuff here I'll get straight to the Rundown. In no particular order:

Rolaskatox (Alaska): I'll likely go back to referring to Rolaskatox by her real Drag Name next week, but for now I'm a little too annoyed to not be petty. Look, did she deserve to be Top 2? Sure. Her video was AMAZING, quintessential Rolaskatox: it was funny, irreverent, intelligent and the timings were impeccable. Her Runway was my least favorite of the night- but that was more due to the awful-ness of her fried poodle wig than anything else. Rolaskatox has been doing quite well the entire time (though I argue her track record has been kept artificially high due to her - at this point- painfully obvious Winner's Edit) and tonight was no exception.

But this is where it starts to break down for me. First of all I don't think she deserved to win that lipsynch. The editors may have been doing their wizardly best to make it SEEM like Alaska was out-performing Katya (by devoting nearly 2/3rds of that lipsynch to close-up shots of Alaska alone), but the parts we actually got to see of Katya would paint a different picture. Katya embodied the song FAR better, her moves were both funny and appropriately sensual, her outfit matched the song better, and she didn't rely on the nearly identical routine that has so far been Rolaskatox's MO:

Someone in the subreddit put the above image together and it frustrated me to look at it. While I love these moments does Rolaskatox really need to do the same thing EVERY GODDAMNED TIME? And be rewarded for it? I get it: every queen has their thing. Alyssa is going to do a split and a high kick if she's lipsynching. Katya is going to feel up her boobs in a sensuous way. But at least they attempt to mold it to the song instead of doing the nearly exact same thing every time. Regardless it was clear by the halfway mark, due to WoW's severe lack of subtle editing, that Alaska had taken the lipsynch (deserved or not). Which then opened up the competition for Mistake Number 2: Rolaskatox Edition. TATIANNA? Are you SERIOUS? That was the most lead-footed, ill-thought-out decision she has made so far.

Up until this point Rolaskatox has been deftly avoiding the drama. She's stayed out of the conflicts as best she can, concentrated on herself, and tried to be as diplomatic as possible. Couple this strategy with a Winner's Edit and she's been nearly flawless in her decision-making. Tonight ruins that track record in a somewhat spectacular way. There is literally no way you can see Rolaskatox's decision that isn't centered entirely around friend-loyalty. Some have argued that it was strategic- that somehow Tatianna posed a threat to her and Roxxxy (with her FOUR WEEKS IN THE BOTTOM) has pretty much disqualified herself from winning at this point. That only holds water if Tatianna was any more likely to win than Roxxxy at this point- but sadly she wasn't. Tatianna missed two episodes and has been in the bottom twice. Sure she won two challenges, but that's two bottom and two top. Compare that to Rolaskatox's FOUR WINS and ZERO BOTTOMS and it is painfully obvious that Tatianna was as unlikely to pose a threat to Rolaskatox than Roxxxy was. Some other people thought that she went based on this week's critiques- but that also doesn't hold water: Tatianna's video, while not perfect, was slightly better (and better received) than Roxxxy's (and even Detox's- more on that later) and her runway was possibly the best one of the night. I mean come on- that T-Boz Realness was BREATHTAKING. So even if we go on what the judges had to say Roxxxy was the obvious choice. What it came down to, when everything has been considered, is Rolaskatox went with friendship over sportsmanship. And it is NOT a good look on her.

With her flawless and seemingly unstoppable record Rolaskatox seems guaranteed the crown at this point. However my perception of this inevitability has changed from "she may not be who I personally want to win but GOOD FOR HER!" to "I am officially rooting against her." That may change again by the end- because so far this season has been an amazing example of how quickly public opinion can shift- but as of right now Rolaskatox has lost me.

Alyssa Edwards: After two solidly Phi2/Alyssa Drama Mama Extravaganzas it was actually nice to see Alyssa ease back into her place and get to work tackling the challenge. And she did so in the wonderful way that only Alyssa Edwards could. Her video was silly, funny, energetic and quintessential Alyssa- absurd and working to her strength as a Meme Machine. I look forward to the inevitable Ten Thousand Frantically Running Around Alyssa's GIFs. As for her Runway? It was fun. Not my favorite, but polished and lovely nevertheless. In the end I was happy with her performance and safety, even if I honestly believe she would have made a MUCH better decision if she had been Top 2 over Rolaskatox.

Detox: Detox did alright as well. Her video was funny and her runway was really excellent. One of the Top 3 looks, in my opinion. But ultimately I do not feel her placement was correct in this episode. Her critiques, as they were shown to us, were worse than Tati's and her look (while lovely) wasn't nearly as AMAZING as Tati's. Simply put: this should have been a Detox and Roxxxy Bottom 2. It actually makes so much more sense- both in terms of performance and story- that it boggles my mind why it didn't happen. TWO members of The Triad in the bottom? Can you imagine how much more juicy it would have been to force Rolaskatox to send home one of her best friends? It's called a Sophie's Choice and it is some of the BEST drama you can find. And yet they kept Detox safe. Am I happy Detox is still here? Absolutely. She's done great and has really grown on me. But even if she HAD ended up Bottom 2 there was NO WAY either Katya or Rolaskatox would have chosen her- it just would have been a rougher decision for Rolaskatox.

Katya: Katya ROCKED this episode. Rocked it HARD. So hard that it furthers my argument that this season isn't just "All Stars 2: Alaska's Inevitable Winner's Edit," it's also "All Stars 2: Doing Katya Dirty." All season Katya has been given the shaft about as often as Rolaskatox has been given every conceivable advantage. I mean look: her video was THE BEST. Hands down. It was the funniest, most well-written and acted essence of insanity. And her runway? Breathtaking. It was the only other one I thought held top marks with Tati's. It was odd, but beautifully tailored and she SOLD the FUCK out of it.

As for the lipsynch? Like I wrote in Rolaskatox's section: I honestly feel like Katya really won it. The dress/hair she changed into fit the song FAR better, and instead of relying on pulling a random American Flag out of her wig Katya went full-on rocker chick. She dropped into a split, crawled around like a sex panther, played air guitar on her vagina . . . . it was brilliant. And yet when the lights came back on and Ru made her choice? Katya: shafted yet again.

I will say this, however: Katya truly has grown so much since her first time on the show. Before, in Season 7, all this sabotage would have turned her into a nervous mess. When that little sad man ripped her idea to shreds in the work room Old Katya would have panicked and let her anxiety get the best of her, scrambling to create a new idea that ultimately ruined her. Instead we got New Katya: willing to trust in her own comedic sensibilities and intelligence and moving ahead with what turned out to be the funniest idea of the night. Thank GOD for New Katya. Along with Alyssa she is another of the True Winners of All Stars 2.

Roxxxy Andrews: Roxxxy gave the worst video of the night, and while her runway was polished/lovely it also wasn't all that interesting. In the end she should have gone home. No ifs, butts or glitter plugs. This was her FOURTH time (deservedly) in the bottom. That alone should have guaranteed her departure. The fact that she really WAS the worst? Doubly so. Don't get me wrong: Roxxxy herself has accomplished what she set out to do. I actually like her now. She's shown a far sweeter side this season and hasn't let the competition get to her in the same painful way she did in Season 5: in other words she's already redeemed herself. But it was her time to go. She even said as much during deliberation. There was a resigned sense of acceptance to her, with only the smallest hope glimmering in her eye as she talked to Rolaskatox. Compare that to the fire burning in Tati's eyes? Yeah. Ugh. Just ugh. Roxxxy is still there, Tati's gone and I'm mad a Rolaskatox. What a shitty way to end an otherwise great episode.

Tatianna: Tati did everything right in this episode and was the sad victim, yet again, of Rolaskatox's touch of death. Her video, while not the funniest, was still better (to me) than Roxxxy or Detox and her look blew theirs out of the water. And yet there she was, stuck in the Bottom 2 in the EXACT SAME SCENARIO from episode 2. However this time should have been different. This time she should have been saved. And yet? Nope. So now we once again bid adieu to Tatianna- one of the most beautiful queens to ever grace the stage of RPDR. Axed before her time because friendships outweigh talent and performance. I wish we could have seen more from this talented as fuck queen, but at least she gave us T-Boz Realness and one of the best LSFYL's ever in the herstory of RPDR.

Alrighty! See you all next week!

RPDR Rant: All Stars 2, Episode 5

Aedan Roberts

Okay my lovely readers! This episode is likely my favorite of all RPDR's (technically) 10 seasons- and that's with what could be best described as a "meh" maxi-challenge!

Ru was really on to something in season 7. Instead of bringing a previously eliminated queen back only to watch her flail horribly and get sent home the very next episode *cough - Carmen, Kenya- cough* Ru decided to flip the script a bit. Allowing the previously eliminated girls to team up with the remaining queens in order to give them the chance to EARN their returning spots was refreshing and made for phenomenal TV. It was honestly the best episode (IMO) of an otherwise messy, least-liked season. Taking that fantastic model and applying it to All Stars was a stroke of genius- especially when she added in the extra element of the returning girl sending home one of the bottom 2 queens. It was such a juicy idea and it came together FLAWLESSLY.

Anyways, lets get on to the least important part: The Maxi Challenge. This week the eliminated girls were asked to team up with a remaining queen to do a stand-up comedy show as pairs. It's an odd format that didn't really reap the BEST results (though I still enjoyed myself thoroughly and thought most of the girls did quite well). In the end, though, it was the exact level of serviceable challenge that gave the episode the ability to really explore the juicy twist of Ruvenge.

NOW! On to the breakdown. In no particular order:

Alaska: Alaska and Alyssa served up the second-best routine of the night, and they did it because Alaska knew EXACTLY how to use Alyssa's wonderful weirdness. The back-and-forth between the girls was effortless and their own personal brands of humor gelled wonderfully. On top of that I honestly don't think Alaska has ever looked lovelier. The red gown was typical Alaska, but it fit like a glove and her hair/makeup was glamorous and stunning. In the end I am happy she got a chance to make up for eliminating Alyssa the week before.

Alyssa: For all intents and purposes this was Alyssa's episode (again). The Drama centered around her and PhiPhi O'Hara (which ultimately made Alyssa look like an intelligent, sweet saint and Phi2 like a bitter monster), her performance once again showed how much she has come to understand her own brand of hilarity, and her lipsynch with Tati will go down in Herstory as one of the greatest the show has ever produced. I have already re-watched it about 30 times so far and I keep getting a rush of exhilaration every time I see those two girls go head to head.

I was distraught after last week's episode. Alyssa had quickly gone from a queen I loved but never really thought about outside her fantastic lipsynchs to one of my all-time favorite RPDR girls. So it was with a heavy heart that I had to say goodbye, annoyed that she was axed while Roxxxy once again escaped elimination due to her and Alaska's friendship. However- without that elimination we would never have been given the "Mirror Face Crack Heard Round The World", followed up with the "Confrontation Heard Round The World" (where Alyssa came out smelling like roses), and finally got "The Schadenfreude Elimination Heard Round The World" that was made even more delightful because it was a double-whammy elimination. Every note hit perfectly this episode and it had a lot to do with Miss Edwards. AND NOW SHE'S BACK! I said in last week's Rant that I initially hoped Tati would get a chance to return but Alyssa's elimination made me switch my allegiances. Even in my wildest dreams I couldn't have hoped for BOTH to come back- but Mama Ru has given us that amazing gift. Hopefully it won't be squandered.

Detox: Detox did really well. It's getting a bit frustrating to not have much to say about her beyond "girl done did good" each week, but Miss Icunt hasn't really been a big part of the Drama (tm) and her overall great performances haven't really left me with a lot to talk about. I can say this, though: she's been a fantastic partner to whoever she is coupled with. Detox works really well with others. She has that special something that allows her partner to shine without fading into the background- enhancing herself and her teammate in equal measure. The result this week was, to me, the best performance of the week. She and Tati really were hilarious (and I had absolutely no trouble understanding her, judges) their outfits were flawlessly matched (almost suspiciously so) and the basis of their skit was the most well thought-out. Another great week for Detox!

Tatianna: WELCOME BACK GIRL! I'm just so thrilled Tati is back. Out of all the queens I can easily give Tati the "Most Improved Award" (alongside, perhaps, Alyssa) and it is really exciting to be able to once again see that flawless, unclockable mug for at least a couple more episodes this season. Tati was a polarizing figure during her first run. She was lovely (and surprisingly funny at times) but definitely felt middle-of-the-road by the end of her time on the show. Now, however? Her makeup skills give Raven a run for her money, her confidence has exploded, and like Alyssa she's learned to harness the fun, marketable aspects of her personality and really take advantage of them. And her lipsynch skills? Well fuck. I NEVER would have guessed that she could hold her own against the Lipsynch Queen herself (Alyssa)- but that is EXACTLY what she did. She matched Miss Edwards move-for-move in almost synchronized beauty and elegance. It was, quite simply, a jaw-dropping performance and has me incredibly excited to have her back. CONGRATS TATI!

Katya: I honestly feel like Katya's performance was under-rated here. While I must begrudgingly admit that Alaska and Detox's teams fared slightly better Miss Minj and Miss UnpronouncableRussianLastName they both put out a charming, funny routine. And Katya's 80's Prom Meets 80's Power Executive Realness Look was everything. I would be more sad about her being only safe in this episode, but if she had done any better we wouldn't have been given the glorious gift of Alyssa and Tati both returning, so I must begrudgingly accept her middle-of-the-road status just this week.

Ginger Minj: Poor Ginger. Seriously, I'm not joking here. So far she has been eliminated during a week where she gave a PHENOMENAL performance (her Catherine The Great was HYSTERICAL) and she lost out on returning even though she put in a very good effort. The girl is a star and I really do feel for her being given the (relative) shaft in All Stars 2. HOWEVER: I really do think Katya deserved to stay over her in the Bad Bitches of Herstory challenge and Alaska and Detox's teams did ever-so-slightly better than Minj's. In a room full of rock-stars, with each contestant bursting with talent, you really need the personality to take you that eensie step further- and that is where Miss Minj seems to fall ever-so-slightly shorter than her fellow contestants. Regardless she has proven herself more than worthy of being part of this fantastic season and has done a damn good job of rudeeming herself from the Bitch she radiated in Season 7.

Coco Montrese: I would say that Coco was brought down the very second she was paired with the often painfully-unfunny PhiPhi O'Hara, but who are we kidding? Coco is talented- but she never (IMO) felt quite up to par with the rest of the cast. And her status in the bottom cannot be entirely pinned on poor Miss O'Hara's villainous shoulders. Overall I'll end with this: when you're best line of the night is yet another rehashing of the Dorito joke you've done to death (in the span of two episodes, no less) it is just as much your fault the routine fell flat.

PhiPhi O'Hara: Miss O'Hara came into this competition desperate for Rudemption and unfortunately came out re-affirming her position as one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) RPDR villains of all time. She was heinous these past couple episodes, and this is coming from someone who was really rooting for her to show us a softer side to PhiPhi. I'm not really going to go all that far into it (because the rest of the internet has done more than enough of that) but suffice it to say that Miss O'Hara is simply not cut out for Reality TV competitions . . . . or is she?

Allow me to explain: this season will go down in herstory as one of the best ever (even with Alaska's obvious Winner's Edit) and a LOT of that will be thanks to the drama and villainy Miss PhiPhi brought to the competition. Simply put: while she may not ever intend to be, PhiPhi makes for BRILLIANT television- just not in the way she desires or intends. I cannot stress enough how great a good villain can be- as long as it's natural and not OVERTLY fabricated by producers (I'm sure there was plenty of producer manipulation here, but it was all taken from stuff PhiPhi actually said). Does a season of RPDR need a villain to succeed? Not at all- Season 8 didn't really have an overt villain (Thorgy was too happy regardless of her somewhat bitter final moments and Derrick was too stupid to be a villain) and it is still one of my favorite seasons of all time. However when it's done right? It really spices shit up- something no one does better than Miss O'Hara. And I respect her for that. I kind of even love her for it. Am I glad she's off the show? Yes. She really did need to leave when she did- for her sanity and ours. But while she was on she really did a great job of creating the ingredients that make for some of the best moments RPDR can produce. I just hope she is able to move on from this and continue to be a fierce, talented queen. And if she doesn't want to embrace the Villain role she so perfectly and accidentally falls into then she should simply stick to Instagram and live performances where she thrives.

 

RPDR RANT: All Stars 2, Episode 4

Aedan Roberts

This week was another doozy. Honestly I think it's safe to say that this will likely apply to every goddamn episode. And while I don't necessarily agree with decisions made here and there, the overall quality of AS2 has been probably the best in the series so far. Some may not be thrilled with the LSFYLegacy format, but it really has done a good job of adding new dynamics to the formula and the challenges have all been a blast (even if the performance ones have suffered, as they always do, with lopsided roles.)

This week once again ditches the Mini-Challenge altogether due to the complicated nature of the Maxi-Challenge: each queen pairs off and co-stars in a mini version of Drag Shequels. PhiPhi and Roxxxy wind up with Showsquirrels (based on Showgirls), Detox and Katya band together for Velma & Weezy (based on Thelma and Louise), which leaves Alaska and Alyssa coupling for Wha' Ha' Happened to Baby JJ? (based on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane).

Now - ON TO THE BREAKDOWN! In no particular order:

Alaska: many people are getting the sense that All Stars 2 is to Alaska what All Stars 1 was to Chad Michaels: a relative farce of a "competition" created specifically with Alaska's win in mind. While I do share this theory in some sense I also believe that with or without producer manipulation Alaska was going to be a force to be reckoned with. She's insanely talented, charismatic, intelligent and quick on her feet. And now that she has embraced her status as one of RPDR most beloved queens (and doesn't have the shadow of Sharon Needles' win hanging over her head) she is tackling every challenge with a zeal that sets her apart from most of the other girls. Her performance tonight was simply hysterical- both on and off the runway. Her Baby JJ was one of the strongest of the night (though I do believe it was helped by being immediately compared to Alyssa's less . . . . meaty role) and her Lil' Poundcake runway reveal (which, lets face it, was not really a "2 looks in one" - which was the challenge - and more of a costume reveal) wasn't very good for the challenge but made up for that with being absolutely HYSTERICAL. The makeup made for some of the best reaction shots of the night and one of the more memorably silly lipsynchs yet this season. In the end I agreed with the judges: while Phi Phi's lipsynch was tighter and more true to the song it was Alaska's ever-grumpy Lil' Poundcake that stole the show- even in those ugly black flat platforms.

I wasn't, however, thrilled with her ultimate decision to send Alyssa home. Especially if you were to go by her (and Roxxxy/PhiPhi/Detox's) "pure" system of relying exclusively on the judges. By all accounts Alyssa's critiques were not any better or worse than Roxxxy's and Alyssa DID have a completely salient point that Roxxxy has been in the bottom twice to Alyssa's once. PhiPhi can complain all she wants about how the judges let Alyssa get away with murder because she is Alyssa- but those are the judges and by PhiPhi's own arguments their opinions should matter more than her (or Alaska's) own sense of justice. I just feel at this point that Rolaskatox has been one of the biggest reasons why Roxxxy has escaped elimination twice now (while sending home girls I'd much rather have stayed). It is likely just a coincidence but every time Roxxxy fails Alaska magically takes the win- and at this point the confidence Roxxxy shows in her little one-on-ones with Alaska during these deliberations is beginning to feel more and more telling.

Detox: Detox did well. I . . . I think that's all I can really say here. Her performance with Katya made for my favorite of the three clips and her runway - while not the most interesting or creative 2-in-1- was still a really lovely outfit that she rocked. So yay Detox! Keep going you wonderful Silicone Wonderland.

Katya: one of the reasons I do subscribe - at least in part - to the idea that this season is rigged for Alaska is how Katya has been treated so far. It is my massively biased opinion that, going into All Stars 2, Katya was going to be Alaska's biggest competition- which is why I feel like some of the decisions over the last couple weeks feel like an attempt to create an artificial gap in their chances. Last week she was given the most thankless role in the Maxi-Challenge (not her fault) - and while her look really was Bottom 2-worthy (which was her fault) - I found the judging to be ridiculous when it concentrated on her Princess Di. This week felt even more egregiously unfair, but this time when it came time to dole out results. Katya, in reality, did pretty marvelously this week. While she was given the "I struggled with the lines at first" generic edit that one queen each season is inevitably pegged with- once she got her bearings she proceeded to steal the scene out from under a delightful Detox. She was gross and hysterical. And her runway? It met the challenge criteria (a true 2-looks-in-1). And while it wasn't the most interesting or flashy dress on the runway she was one of the only ones who added a story to it. Sure the tear-away bangs revealing a pentagram and a black-goo smile were easy little garnishes, however they elevated the otherwise simple look into a hilarious demonic reveal that had the bar I was in cheering.

Which brings me to why I'm pissed off with the obvious manipulations in judging. WHY was Katya in the Bottom? More to the point: WHY WAS THERE A BOTTOM 3 THIS WEEK WHEN THERE WAS ONLY A BOTTOM 2 LAST WEEK? When Katya found herself in the bottom alongside Ginger and no one else everyone understood: the competition was running low on girls so the Bottom 3 went to 2. It does this every season at some point. But to then, the following week with even less girls, revert back to 3?! Especially when Katya did so much better than either of the other Bottom 2 that it was obvious she was safe? What was the point of that bullshit other than to give Katya another artificial mark against her to make her less of a threat to Alaska's inevitable crown? Blech. At any rate I'm just happy Katya got her groove back and I'm excited for her performance next week.

PhiPhi O'Hara: I'm extremely conflicted with PhiPhi. Let me just get this out of the way: she did wonderful this episode. Her Naomi was hysterical and her runway was one of the better true 2-in-1 looks. She deserved her win. But that attitude, girl. There is a lot to be said here- about her own actions and those of the fans. PhiPhi has been getting so much hate for how she is being portrayed on All Stars 2 that she is sobbing in the shower and apparently forgoing the Ru-union. She is vocally decrying editing for her woes- and while I do think editing can manipulate things, they can't really fabricate shit out of thin air. PhiPhi sadly said everything she is being shown saying- and it's what she's saying that is pissing people off. HOWEVER: PhiPhi is a talented-as-fuck queen who does NOT deserve fucking death threats. It makes me incredibly angry to think that people would do something so vile to any queen who has the courage to be on this show and PhiPhi- regardless of the crappy things she said or opinions she's given that people disagree with- does NOT deserve that kind of hate. So lets all PLEASE calm down and spread love, not hate. This show is simply too wonderful to be associated with the behavior of some of it's more immature fans. Regardless of whether I agree with PhiPhi's opinions concerning Alyssa or Alyssa's decision to keep Katya (which I vociferously don't) I still respect her and wish nothing but the best for her. Hopefully once we all get our collective shit together PhiPhi may decide to attend the Ru-Union after all. That is, however, if Ru and Co. even want her there. And judging by Ru's own social media this may spell the end of PhiPhi's relationship with WoW, regardless of how this season turns out for her.

Roxxxy Andrews: If it weren't for Roxxy's breathtakingly sexy runway look I would have called her performance this week a total bust. Miss Andrews, when PhiPhi tells you to switch roles with her? That isn't because she thinks YOU'LL get the better end of that deal. Either way, though: Roxxxy was probably going to fail that challenge regardless of her part. I try to picture her playing Naomi and I just can't. Not with the same spot-on delivery PhiPhi was shockingly (to me) able to whip out. Roxxxy has shown, through her time on this season and her original one, that she has two personas that she can apply to acting challenges: Tosha Salad and Tamar Braxton (which is a slightly sassier version of Tosha Salad). Anything else seems to be a bust for her.  To put it bluntly: I truly believe that Roxxxy's performance was the worst of the night. It was as poorly done as Alyssa's without any of Alyssa's inherent charm and accidental genius (which does count for something, PhiPhi, sorry 'bout it.). And while her look was KILLER- it still wasn't enough, in my eyes, to save her from being the person who SHOULD have gone home. She was DAMN lucky that the winners this week were Alaska (who, regardless of what she says, obviously has an inability to pull the trigger on her Rolaskatox Sister) and PhiPhi, whose hate-on for Alyssa was fifteen inches long and as thick as a beer can. Ah well. At least she was fun to look at on the main stage.

Alyssa Edwards: Alyssa was this season's Black Horse (registered trademark of Joslyn Foxx) and may have come out of this the true winner of All Stars 2- regardless of whether she gets to come back next episode. Alaska left her season with many grumbling she should have won (not me, but I get it). Katya had an even larger grumbling fan-base. But Alyssa? Unlike most of the girls she's one of the only ones whose elimination was not contested (though I do wish she had stayed longer than Coco). She was NEVER a front-runner in her season- if anything she was a pleasant oddity of brilliant memes and accidental hilarity who coasted on her amazing lip-syncs. Now, though? In four episodes she managed to convey that she not only has a profound understanding of what makes her so special- she also knows how to wield that power in sickening, riotous ways. She has been THE highlight of this season filled with highlights. Every week there was something new that she brought to the table- all the while managing to come out of each episode the only girl (other than Katya) who wasn't needlessly shady, bitchy or conniving. She was there to have FUN and she brought everyone else along for the ride. I even found myself agreeing with Alyssa in most instances. She took this competition by storm and I simply wasn't prepared.

When it comes to her elimination? I don't think it was the correct choice, but the argument certainly has credibility to it. Her performance was second-worst of the night (though that didn't stop me from loving the fuck out if it. It was an uneven role to begin with- that script was always going to be Baby JJ with stage-hand Blande- so at least her weirdness kept her from fading completely into the background.) As for her runway? I loved it. The entire bar loved it. There must have been something lost in translation, because all I saw was a dress made out of flashing cameras and I was LIVING FOR IT. This is Drag, people. Not High Fashion. And Alyssa's was the campiest, draggiest, most wonderful expression of that ideal on that stage. But apparently the other girls weren't feeling it. Sigh.

Anyways, I was originally hoping Tatianna would have another chance to come back, but at this point I've switched my vote to Alyssa so I get to see The Greatest Top 3 Ever: Alaska, Katya, and Alyssa. Give all three of these girls crowns. They ALL have won All Stars 2.

See you next week all!

 

 

RPDR RANT: ALL STARS 2, EPISODE 3

Aedan Roberts

This will be the last of the hyper-fast Catch Up Rants. But seeing how it IS a catch-up rant I will be very concise in my pre-breakdown synopsis:

SHOW GOOD. MUCH AWESOME. MANY SMILE.

NO MINI CHALLENGE. ONE HOUR, NO EXTRA 30 MINUTES- BOO. ANGRY. LOPSIDED MAXI-CHALLENGE ROLES- UNFAIR. DOES FRUSTRATE.

Now, with that out of the way, on to the breakdown! In no particular order:

Alaska: After two extremely solid, top-of-the-pack weeks it was bound to happen: Alaska kind of faded into the background here. This is not really a problem because it gave other queens more time to shine, but it also means there wasn't much to talk about in concern with Miss Thunderfuck. She did well as Eve in the Bad Bitches of Herstory Lipsynch Extravaganza. Her outfit was fun (though her padding was "suspicious") her dance moves were hysterical, and her runway was well executed if a bit simple. Loved her makeup, her umbrella hinge finger enhancers, and her new addition to the RPDR meme factory: the Alaska Scream (which also immediately gave us the far more jarring, kind of intense Ru Scream). Alaska was the correct choice to open the performance number and she didn't disappoint.

Alyssa Edwards: For all intents and purposes this was Alyssa's episode from start to finish. Shady editing aside (to make PhiPhi look exasperated with Miss Edward's work room antics) she was a delightful ball of intense, unstoppable Alyssa Brand goofy camp. It was wild, silly, and made for insanely good reality TV. Her work-room Annie Oakley No Makeup Realness complete with bedazzled gun immediately spawned an army of internet meme's that have been flooding my social media ever since- and needless to say I am thrilled. As for her performance tonight? It was smack-dab in the heart of Alyssa's wheelhouse, so it goes without saying that she rocked it the house down toots. She was an attention-pulling star the entire time and her win this week was well deserved. Even her Future of Drag runway outfit worked in spite of Alyssa's trademark habit of taking Coco Chanel's famous quote of "Before you go out remove one accessory" and doing the polar opposite. Each element of her ensemble was gorgeous, but all together it was a chaotic mess that on anyone less charismatic would be a disaster. On Alyssa, though? I loved it. Absolutely loved it. The biggest win I attribute to Alyssa this week, however, was making the exact right choice of who to send packing. Of the two choices provided she went with keeping the girl who has the potential to benefit the most from a continued stay in the competition and I'm totally on her side when it comes to her reasoning. I'm actually completely over Alaska, Roxxxy, and Phi Phi's strict adherence to a rule they made up at the beginning of the competition to absolve themselves of any responsibility in terms of choosing who leaves. It's an inherently impossible thing to go with in the first place (one Ru doesn't even adhere to during normal seasons) and it was NEVER something all the girls agreed to. I'm hoping the pissed off expressions given by the girls at the end of the episode were editing magic and not accurate portrayals of how they actually felt about Alyssa's ultimate decision. But who knows. We'll see next week!

Detox: Detox, sporting Robbie Turner's Neon Realness outfit from Season 8 (what is it with Detox this season accidentally finding herself repeating stuff from season 8?) put in the third-best performance of the night (her Acid Marie Antoinette interpretation was wonderful and benefitted from her unique lip-synching style), wore the second-best look of the night (her Silver-Surfer Meets Lilu From Fifth Element Realness was out of this world and polished in typical Detox fashion) which culminated in a combined score that rammed her to Top 2 this week. As for the LSFYL? My boyfriend and I honestly had a tough time deciding who did better- and for any girl going up against the lip-synch powerhouse that is Alyssa Edwards that is quite the compliment. Knowing that she was most likely going to follow Alaska and Roxxxy's misguided elimination criteria and send Katya home I am relieved that Alyssa managed to eek out a slightly better performance, but I'm also extremely happy Detox is finally starting to shine in this competition.

Katya: Katya's fate was infuriatingly sealed the very second Ru revealed that her "Bad Bitch" role would be Princess Diana. It has been said before in many reviews but I'll re-iterate the reasons why here: A. Diana was the only figure chosen that was alive in most of our lifetimes (Evita died in the 70's), so the ability to be truly critical of a queen's depiction of her is much higher than any of the other historical figures. It's not like Detox's Marie was particularly accurate or Alaska's EVE (A COMPLETELY FICTIONAL CHARACTER) could be given the kind of bullshit criticisms that Katya got from the judges. B: Diana really isn't a funny character- she's a tragic one. Trying to make Princess Diana funny is like trying to make Jon Lennon funny (only even harder, honestly). Could you do it? Maybe- but the tragic situation of their death, and the relative lack of anything lampoon-able they did in life makes it a challenge far exceeding those of the other figures chosen. And finally C: due to the reality of points A and B, the lyrics she was given to lipsynch to were by far the weakest and most boring of the set.

The entire deck was stacked against ANY girl who was stuck with that thankless role. NONE of the other girls would have faired any better and it ultimately felt like they reserved that part for someone they knew would likely never find their way to the bottom by legitimate means, but whose presence there would make for extremely dramatic television. I was on the edge of my couch holding my breath the entire lip-synch out of fear that we may lose the girl I want winning the competition- so it was a strategy that worked in that sense, but it was also a damn stupid thing to do. Hell, it was so blatantly manipulated that even Ru had to step in during the critiques and point out a couple of the issues I reiterated above. It also was a perfect example of why Alaksa/Roxxxy/PhiPhi's methods of determining who to eliminate simply cannot work all the time. Of COURSE Katya got the worst critiques of the entire bunch when it came to the performance- she had the worst role. That's not a mark against HER, that's a mark against the people who wrote the lyrics and chose Diana in the first place. What about Marie Curie? Joan of Arc? Nefertiti? CLEOPATRA?! There were so many other characters they could have chosen that would have placed all the girls on even footing- but instead they chose PRINCESS DIANA. Ugh.

In the end the only real way you could fairly determine who in the bottom 2 should go home would be their runway- it was the only aspect of the episode that wasn't heavily influenced by producer/writer manipulation. In that respect the correct girls were chosen for Bottom 2, and the right girl was eliminated. Katya's runway was just . . . not good. It wasn't horrendous, but it was frumpy, oddly shaped, and unflattering. I LOVED the hair and it's always exciting to see a girl use a color/style that she's not normally known for, but the outfit was a bit of an abomination. HOWEVER it wasn't NEARLY as much of a misfire as Ginger's hot mess from head to toe, and thank god for that and Alyssa's ability to see it.

Phi Phi O'Hara: I'm honestly starting to feel kind of bad for miss O'Hara. It really does look like the editors are trying their best to thwart her attempts at a proper Rudemption at every turn. It also isn't helped that PhiPhi herself is just naturally inclined to provide them with the necessary fodder to do so- but something tells me she's simply not being as vindictive and bitchy as we're being shown here. In the end, though, I'm just not that invested in her narrative either way. I've officially been a fan of Phi Phi for a little while now, knowing full well that she can sometimes come off as a naturally bitchy person, and so as long as she can give us more of what we saw in this episode I'm happy to overlook the combination of legit bitch and editor-manipulated bitch. 

Anyways, PhiPhi had her best week yet this episode. It wasn't enough to claim Top 2, but when you are up against Alyssa and Detox in a performance challenge that is an impossible mountain to climb. Her runway, though? Blew every other person on that stage out of the water. All the other girls were playing checkers while PhiPhi was playing Djarik with Han Solo while shooting down an armada of Protoss carriers. It was possibly the best outfit of the season, in the opinion of this lowly cosplay gay, and easily redeems her otherwise somewhat boring offerings in the last two episodes. I just hope she can keep it up for the rest of her tenure.

Roxxxy: even more than Alaska Roxxxy really faded into the wallpaper this episode. Her Evita was serviceable and well-performed and I honestly loved her runway a lot more than the judges seemed to. They called it simple, I would correct that by saying it was elegant, refined and polished to a chrome finish (hyuck hyuck). Regardless: ultimately she was safe. Nothing amazing but nothing terrible either. NEXT.

Ginger Minj: Ginger's performance was FANTASTIC. But Ginger's performances are always fantastic. I will make the note that Ginger really needs to drop the whole "I'm not a dancer" bullshit, however. It was bullshit and unconvincing in Season 7 and it is even more so now. She may not have the dancing chops of Miss Edwards or Chi Chi Devayne, but she's an experience theater/musical actor and moderately competent dance skills are required in that field. So stop with the obvious attempt to lower expectations. Ain't happening. Anyways: not only is she just a naturally strong performer Miss Minj also had the benefit of being given the role with the best lyrics and singer. Her outfit was on point for the challenge as well. Overall I'd rate her up there with Alyssa in terms of the Maxi-Challenge.

But then there was the runway. And HOO-BOY was that a train-wreck. The awful hair. The awful makeup. The awful costume with cheap light details that were lost in the brightness of the runway. The awful fit. It was Just. Awful. And, to me, that sealed her fate. It sucks because otherwise she really did rock the challenge, but decisions have to be made and the overall quality of everyone's efforts was so high that, in the end, I really do think it came down to the runway this week. So we bid adieu to Miss Minj! She never got a chance to shine in this sea of supernovas, but she also held her own for the most part while she was here. Keep up the good work Miss Minj and I'm sure I'll see you on the Socials Media.

 

YAY! ALL CAUGHT UP! TAKE THAT, CAUSALITY!