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.