“For the first time in Drag Race Herstory, All Star rules are suspended.” RuPaul dropped that bomb on us last week when he previewed clips of tonight’s episode. I can’t wait, especially because the drag roast is one of my favourite challenges. But what do we think the twist is going to be? 

Ru has a bag of common tricks that he likes to pull for every season. First, there’s the return of an eliminated queen. Second, there’s the elimination of both queens in the bottom two (though that would make this season waaaaay too short). Third, at least once per season, Ru saves both queens from elimination (which for the record was wasted on Eureka and Kameron in season 10. You know I’m right). In All Stars, however, Ru doesn’t decide who goes home, so those don’t really apply. 

In the clip right before the bomb drop, the teaser shows Manila, Trinity, and Monique discussing elimination strategies. I think this was purposeful foreshadowing. The elimination process is going to change, but I’m not quite sure how. The boring decision would be if Ru just decides who goes home. A more interesting one would be survivor style, where each queen gets a vote. Or maybe he just brings Latrice back and restores the balance of the universe. 

The elimination process made me think about elimination strategies, assuming they’re still relevant this episode. On one hand, we have Trinity’s ethical stance that follows the unspoken code of All Stars: you send home the queen who did the worst. On the other side, you have Manila’s strategy which is to get rid of the biggest competition. Manila has her eyes on the prize and is willing to turn the competition upside down in order to win. Of course, this apparently flies out the window when one of the queens in the bottom is one of your friends (cue waterworks). 

Side note: I know on The Pit Stop, Trixie and Kim Chi brought up the idea of Manila throwing that lip sync so that she could eliminate Latrice while saving face. Do we really think she’s that cunning? If so, I love her even more. #TeamLuzon 

Finally, nowhere close to this spectrum is Valentina, who basically does whatever she wants. Like most of the things about Valentina, her strategy is all about her. Valentina’s goal in this competition is to look out for number one, which means strategically challenging Manila to beat her fair and square, while also completely blindsiding Trinity, who vowed to save her, by saying that she would hypothetically save Latrice. She is a snake, she is Villaintina, and I haven’t decided whether I love it or hate it yet. Currently it’s both. 

Side note 2: I died when Valentina interrupted the emotional moment by complaining that one judge didn’t like her outfit and that “her blood was simmering.” Valentina is us. We are all Valentina. 

What do you think is the best strategy is? And what do you think this says about you? I think Lainey would agree with Manila. For me, a strategic play is the way to go. As we saw with Trinity, relying on an unspoken code makes the competition fair, until someone like Valentina throws a wrench in the gears. If your goal is to win the competition, then take out anything (or anyone) standing in your way of that. Winning fair and square is only satisfying if you actually win, and to win, sometimes you have to play dirty henny.