Canada, I am GOOPED! The latest episode of All Stars 4 was INTENSE, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. If Manila had not been immune this episode, I might have had a heart attack.
I liked the episode for three reasons.
1. Gagworthy lip syncs
2. RuPaul’s reactions. I’m not sure what Ru was on that night, but I’ll have what he’s having.
3. The four, shiny, muscular men of the Pit Crew. People are upset that Wilson, the only Asian Pit Crew, was picked last, but I’m just happy that we got a chance to see him four times. While we’re here, what order would you choose? It’s definitely 4, 2, 3, & 1 right? I meant what is up with his hair?
Let’s just get this out of the way. The Lip Sync LaLaPaRUza was clearly just a way to bring Latrice back – I’m completely fine with that. However, if I’m being honest, Latrice vs. Monique was good, but it was a bit messy, and Monique was clearly winning. Not to stir the pot, but the double save should have gone to Gia and Naomi. They had the best lip syncs and the tightest performances (more on Naomi’s later).
At the end of this episode, we’ve just reverted to the status quo before Episode 4. If the entire challenge was just a circuitous way of bringing back a beloved queen, why didn’t Ru just bring back Latrice in a surprise box à la Shangela? Still, This episode was one of the best in a longtime, even Ongina agrees. The reason it was so captivating was because the lip sync challenge put everyone’s fate into question. Although the chance was small, nearly all the queens could have been replaced in one fell swoop. Call this episode Outback because there were a whole lotta stakes on the table! (I’ll let myself out.)
On Saturday, RuPaul’s Drag Race won the award for Outstanding Producer of Game and Competition Television at the Producers Guild Awards. In the past, it has also snagged several Emmys. These accolades are a result of the show’s careful decisions to manufacture the drama that keeps people returning every week. By engineering this shocking lip sync challenge, RuPaul knew exactly what was behind that door: Lip syncs are in everyone’s wheelhouse -- it’s a pre-requisite for Drag Race. This means that the playing field is levelled. High pressure lip syncs also encourage grand gestures, acrobatics, and reveals. Just look at the finales for Seasons 9 and 10.
A note on reveals: the best reveals are either ones that maintain the element of surprise, or ones that build suspense. When Trinity she showed up looking like a spray-painted traffic cone, I was excited for her reveal. For me, anticipation is just as enjoyable as surprise. But, when she ripped off the tarp and showed us that outfit? Underwhelming. Maybe my expectations were too high, but that’s the downside to a suspenseful strategy. Clearly Trinity is a threat, because she was picked last. Her lip sync was great, and I was happy that the Trinity Ass Shake™ showed up to the party. Unfortunately, the lackluster reveal killed the mood.
This challenge also dug up some old fights as returning queens usually do. The beginning of the episode was intense and really focused in on Monique’s and Latrice’s beef. Maybe this hints at the next dramatic storyline. Another fight was between Valentina and Farrah. While she might be delusional, Valentina’s sheer confidence carried her to a win. She basically railroaded Farrah in that battle, much like she did during their conversation where Valentina said Farrah was the worst. I don’t disagree with Valentina, but her flair for the dramatic prevents her from having tact, a potential stumbling block down the road.
The truly fascinating part of this episode is that you are forced to examine each contestant’s talent. Pitting eliminated queens against the others makes you wonder whether those remaining on the show truly deserve to be there. Even though she was safe, Manila took the opportunity to show us that she is a winner no matter what in that amazingly creative spaghetti dress. Met Gala attendees should take notes (on camp). From her once infamous lip sync fail, Valentina now slays the stage. From being passed over, Naomi has now become a lip sync star. And even though I didn’t really have strong feelings for her, I was heartbroken when Monique was about to be eliminated. I actually screamed at Ru’s twist, and again when I saw this meme:
This episode changed nothing and everything at the same time. Everyone is a threat, and I have no idea who’s going to win. My predictions are Manila, Naomi, and Monique, but really, can there just be a Top 7?