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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!