Revenge is in the air as the list of eliminated queens grows longer. RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 2 featured an acting challenge that showed some queens' true colors (*cough* Phi Phi) and left our staff's superfans wondering: Where the hell is this season going?
Travel editor Brandon Presser and associate editors Michael Lambert and Les Fabian Brathwaite sat down to talk about the latest episode.
What did you think of the queens' reaction to Ginger Minj going home?
Brandon Presser: Phi Phi said that Ru would have sent Katya home, but I disagree--Ru would have sent Ginger home. Phi Phi had never been in the top, and she was scheming to put the spotlight on Alyssa and make her a target for elimination.
Michael Lambert: Well--I mean, it worked, didn't it? I respect the fact Phi Phi is playing the game and delivering some good television. This whole season is turning into a sappy love fest, and she's the only one willing to turn this into a competition among tried-and-tested queens. I wish she would just slip out of this "redemption" delusion and just accept that she's the queen we like to hate, and live for that.
Les Fabian Brathwaite: I love how Phi Phi's true colors have been slowly coming to light this season. She is being pulled back like some gorgeous cosplaying onion. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a super nice and sweet portrait of her in an attic somewhere that's just in complete decay. She wanted us to believe she's turned over a new leaf, and while it's a newer leaf, it's from the same shady tree. Competition just brings out the monster in her and she was gunning for Alyssa from the moment they got back into the workroom.
Which "shequel" performance was the best?
BP: Katya asking "what the hell would Amy Sedaris do" is basically what I ask myself every morning.
ML: That. Was. Everything. Clearly, some of the queens were much more polished--I'm looking at you, Detox and Alaska--but Katya stumbled and then picked herself back up again and finished strong. That's the mark of an authentic queen right there.
LFB: Detox and Katya had the strongest skit since they both brought equal parts of "it." Alaska, who I'm convinced is a genius had me on the floor laughing when she rolled in on that scooter as Bette Davis. Too bad Alyssa's part was so "Bland"; I would have loved to see them both just chewing the hell out of the scenery. At least she had a chance to break out her Joan Crawford eyebrows from Snatch Game.
BP: Roxxxy--the zaftig pageant queen--not knowing the word "sash" is just plain embarrassing.
LFB: Roxxxy's acting chops leave everything to be desired, and that's made more apparent when she gets acted under the table by everyone else in the shequels.
ML: Ms. Andrews should already be gone. She is just not keeping up. Though her little nod to her past "sequenced" snafu is charming, she doesn't keep pace with the other queens. Plus it is too easy for Phi Phi to get her claws into Roxxxy, who wonderfully made that role her own.
Did the runway reveal leave you gagging?
LFB: Violet Chachki's jumpsuit-on-jumpsuit reveal from season 7 was one of my favorite moments in history. Of the world. So I was front row and center for this runway, which turned out to be a little disappointing. Some of the transitions were lazy or uninspired. Even Detox, who has been slaying me week after week on the runway, fell short, making Roxxxy's look my favorite of the night.
BP: Roxxxy's reveal was amazing. I'm glad she didn't do a double wig again. On the other hand, her acting partner, Phi Phi, just seemed like she wore one costume on top of another. There was no cohesiveness between the two.
ML: What's sad is I can't even remember Phi Phi's runway after watching the episode last night. That says a lot--either it really was that forgettable or I need more gingko. Alaska unveiling her Lil Pound Cake saved the entire night. The real disgrace was having a bottom three instead of bottom two. Manufacturing tension like that is not cute.
BP: I was really annoyed that three people were in the bottom again. I could not disagree more with how the judging panned out. Katya should not have been in the bottom--that just made no sense. Even though Phi Phi's acting was strong, her runway look was the weakest of the bunch. I think a case could be made for Detox and Katya being in the top two because their mini-movie was the strongest and both of their looks were fun.
How about the elimination?
LFB: Rig-amorris, gurl! Rig-amorris! Until that bit of two-way mirror bitchcraft at the end, I was ready to quit All-Stars. How is Alaska gonna send Alyssa packing? Yes, Alaska's lip sync was amazing and "Got to Be Real" is my favorite song of all time, but Roxxxy was standing right there. Ready to be sent home. Alyssa has been so strong throughout that it feels like Alaska sent her home because she was the biggest threat. And Phi Phi not doing the one-on-ones was so classic Phi Phi. The portrait of Phi Phi O'Hara fell right off the wall with that shade.
ML: Surprise, surprise--Phi Phi loses the lip sync to a song telling her to be "real." There was nothing "real" about that performance, even when your competition is a demon drag puppet come to life. Alaska may have slayed, but picking Alyssa to go home? That just felt like revenge for breaking the so-called "rules" during last week's elimination.
BP: Alyssa--gone way too soon, like in her original season. I can't believe she came in sixth place again! Sorry, fifth alternate. I'm glad Alyssa got to hear Phi Phi rant about Alyssa not knowing she was there. And Alyssa's look from the other side of the mirror was like "Phuck you Phi Phi"!