It’s getting down to the wire on All Stars; with only three teams left and some of the strongest competitors kicked to the curb, the tension is definitely mounting. This week, the girls get a little bipolar, engaging in challenges that are all about camaraderie while throwing enough shade to cause an eclipse. I’m sure it’s all in good fun. Anyway, let’s talk about what went down.
The ladies return to the workroom to find nothing left of Latrila but a single black high heel. Alexis immediately jumps in with a lame quip about how it wouldn’t have fit Manila’s foot, but she should watch her back: that pump is probably cursed or covered in poison oak or something. People start getting a little prickly at this point, with Yara overtly telling Shannel that she’s being carried. Chad posits for the second time this season that she is, in fact, an assassin, forcing us to wonder if the next lip sync will literally hold a contestant’s life in the balance. Don’t do it on camera, girl: blood doesn’t go with that outfit.
Just as people are running out of ways to casually assert their superiority, Ru enters to announce this week’s mini-challenge. As the Pit Crew boys jostle their pom poms (stop it: actual pom poms), we learn that each team has to put together a cheer (because that went so well last season) that mocks the other queens. They have 20 minutes to create a look, write their text, and rehearse. Given the time constraints, everyone makes a valiant effort: only Shannel, who is used to a more painstaking approach, seems to flounder. That’s what you call it when someone looks like a flounder, right? Not surprisingly, the perpetually shit-talking Team Yarlexis carries the day. Ten bucks says they’ve already been doing a cheer like this before bed every night just because. You know Yara has a Burn Book.
With that out of the way, the main challenge is revealed: the teams will form girl groups, joining forces with the child of a celebrity to lip sync a RuPaul song as a trio. Yarlexis are joined by former judge and unabashed drag fangirl Kelly Osbourne; Shad picks up Jillian Hervey, the statuesque daughter of Vanessa Williams; and Rujubee work with Kady Z., who inherited her mother Pia Zadora’s complete obscurity. I’m sure everyone’s going to work together seamlessly.
As the groups start to choreograph their numbers, Shannel immediately takes the lead. Sensing discord, Ru comes over to nurture the seed of tension in the hopes that it will blossom into a big, bitchy flower later in the episode. That’s just good TV, people. Over in Yarlexis’ corner, Kelly is throwing down some serious fashion, and her guiding queens are lapping it up. Their conversation with Ru is so affectionate, I’m surprised no one started making out. Rujubee’s meeting highlights the fact that Kady Z. doesn’t know the choreography, but to be fair, they probably worked it out like ten minutes ago. Still, this is the first indicator that this chick might not be a dream come true as a guest performer.
At rehearsal, Yara peeves her costars by liberally reworking the routine. Her assessment that “this is the time to change everything” suggests that she and Alexis have not agreed on a translation of the word “rehearsal.” During Rujubee’s time on the stage, they mostly talk about how much they love Kady Z. as a collaborator. It’s good that they took the time to stress that fact, because their assessment of her becomes decidedly more complex later on. Shad goes last and seems entirely comfortable with what appears to be the most complicated routine of the bunch. Don’t step to the elder stateswomen of drag.
Everyone reconvenes in the workroom. Since the process of sewing outfits isn’t fun to watch, we’ve fast-forwarded to a reality in which everything has already been made and all that’s left to do is make-up. Kady Z. gets squeamish and begs for some blending, even as the other two guest stars squeal with glee at the pounds of foundation and powder being plastered onto their faces. We proceed toward the runway fraught with worry that the audience might not be able to see Baby Pia’s nose all the way.
And now, the judges arrive! Ru has decided to pair her fabulous dress with a “wig” that I suspect is from the Dida Ritz collection. Michelle Visage gets her first introduction as a former girl-group member, reminding us that she’s more than just the Gail to Ms. Charles’ Oprah. Santino is still a catty goblin, though everyone is nice enough not to say it outright. (Except me.) We’ve also got two fabulous guests! Make special note of Mary Wilson, because I swear to you she utters three syllables this entire episode; blink and you’ll miss her. Rosie Perez, on the other hand, can talk all day, and if she does, I’m going to be right there listening. They all do their little banter thing, and then the battle commences.
Instead of a runway walk, we get performances this week. Shad is up first, delivering “Glamazon” as Savage Sisters. Their perfectionism and Jillian’s dance prowess unite to create a commanding spectacle. They almost make you forget that the hastily recorded vocals have been autotuned into oblivion. Yarlexis comes next, serving up “Cover Girl” under the baffling title Fanny Shosha. I’m sure it means something to them. In contrast to the previous group, they’re much more about fun than precision, but that crowd eats it up. Who doesn’t love a good time, a good fanny, and some shosha? (No really, someone tell me what the hell a shosha is. I need to know.) Last and potentially least is Rujubee, doing underwhelming choreography in underwhelming outfits with the underwhelming pseudonym of V3. Juju scores points because she can “give good mouth,” but overall no one is jealous of their boogie.
The critique session comes with a few choice barbs. Santino compares Shannel to Elvis and tells Raven she has terra cotta legs. Chad gets asked if she relied too much on Jillian (whose ass Rosie Perez would like to smack for days). Yarlexis gets called sloppy. All of this, we’re reminded, is said because we must find the tiniest flaws in order to differentiate the good from the great. Thus, when Mary Wilson speaks, questioning the need to nitpick, she is summarily silenced. Don’t worry, she’s used to it.
In the end, Ru gives Shad the win and makes the other two teams duke it out. Raven volunteers to lip sync, and Alexis steps up to meet her. Look at Yara’s eyes at that moment, though: even through those contact lenses, you can tell that she’s already thinking about hitting that buzzer. And she sure enough does! After about a minute of the closest fight I’ve ever seen (I really didn’t know who to root for!), Lady Yarn Hair slaps the button and seals Puerto Rico’s fate. Her garbled, erratic behavior on stage gives Raven an easy win while Alexis watches in angst from the sidelines, still feebly mouthing the lyrics that her counterpart didn’t completely learn. Ru eschews the usual dramatic pause and immediately tells them to sashay away because honestly, who didn’t see that coming?
And that’s the story! With two episodes left, we’re down to Chad, Jujubee, Raven, and Shannel. Check back next week when I read ‘em all for filth again. Toodle-Ru!
It was maybe misguided for Shad to do a routine in which two white men lead a woman of color around the stage in chains.
“Buff It Out” is the hit single Kady Z. would release in an alternate universe where circumstances would allow her to have a hit single.
Alexis Mateo’s claim that people want her team gone because of the language barrier overlooks a couple key details. It’s also worth noting that she has made weird racial jokes about Manila and Jujubee, so she should probably check herself.
This might be the first episode of the season in which the Pit Crew’s undergarments did not plainly reveal definition between head and shaft. I’m not sure whether to categorize that as a loss or a win.