With Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race wrapping up (and only the virtual reunion and finale left), we’re of course ready to jump back in on June 5th with All Stars 5 right? RIGHT?
Last week, I wrote about the potential for All Stars to be the best season because of its apparent twist. In a promo, RuPaul dramatically proclaims that All Stars rules are suspended forever. Yesterday, we finally got a full trailer that dove into more detail and showed us clips from the show, including a few of the guest judges.
The new format is that instead of the top two queens Lip Synching for Their Legacy, Ru will only choose one winning queen. This queen will lip sync against a surprise lip sync assassin (from a previous Drag Race season that isn’t All Stars 5). If the assassin wins, then everyone else votes for which of the bottom queens is sent home. If the top queen wins the lip sync, then she chooses. As usual, the winner also receives a $10,000 tip. However, if the assassin wins, the tip is rolled over to the next lip sync. Next week, the top queen would be competing for $20,000, and so on.
Got that? This is almost as confusing as that stupid button from All Stars 1.
To be honest, I was hoping for more of a change. There are some clear benefits to this “new” format. First, the potential for the queens to vote off a contestant adds dramatic intrigue, although we saw how that turned out in AS3. It’s Drag Race meets Survivor. Second, the compounding tip idea could potentially play a big role in the level of the performances, especially if it gets to a high enough number. Lastly, bringing back queens from older seasons is bound to engage fans who want to watch their favourites. It also helps to build the careers of other drag queens as they start to establish their own brands and careers.
The problem with this change, aside from being unnecessarily convoluted, is that it keeps the All Stars format relatively intact. Queens still have the power to eliminate others, which means that a lot of the strategies still apply. One of the reasons some fans have been frustrated with the later All Stars seasons is that this ability led to some major upsets in the competition. You could argue that this makes the show more interesting, but I’m also not over Manila’s elimination so sue me.
I also think that it’s a hard decision for the queens to have to send their friends home. Is it possible that people might throw a lip sync if they don’t want to make that call? Does that make the show better or worse?
I stand by my claim that All Stars 5 has the potential to be the best season yet. Even if I don’t think the rule changes go far enough, it does still modify things a little which should make for good entertainment. We also know more about the guest judges and I’m really excited for Jane Krakowski, Tessa Thompson, Nicole Byer (I hope it’s a Nailed It related challenged), and Ricky f-cking Martin. Every little gay boy had a crush on Ricky, don’t even.
Watch the trailer and let me know what you think!