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!