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THE POP BIN

A place for me to post things that aren't related to my art or shameless self-promotion.

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.