So many consecutive group challenges are a big part of this problem. Although there can sometimes be a clear winner (like Shea Coulée in “I’m in Love”) or an obvious losing team (like India Ferrah and Mayhem Miller this week), often the performances seem so linked to each other in each group that it is difficult to analyze exactly who should win and who should be below. Miz Cracker wins this week, for example, and she is doing well! Is she better than Jujubee, her teammate and teammate, or Alexis Mateo, who is a little surprised at the decision not to score? I am not sure! I don’t think Cracker’s win was a mistake in every respect – in fact, I think it’s the most that I’ve enjoyed Cracker in his two seasons Drag race– but that doesn’t seem to me to be final.
Another problem is that of a winner per episode, which makes this season a little less competitive than the previous one. All the stars seasons. Let’s do a little reflection experiment on the appearance of this season with two winners per episode:
“India and Alexis or Cracker would have won the first. I will give the advantage to Alexis, because personally I liked his performance more, and it is a flight of fantasy.
?Shea and Juju would win episode 2 – Blair was also a better scorer, but I think Michelle’s negative reviews on her track would have put her out of the fight for the win.
“With Juju’s very first victory aside, I think Ru would have stayed with his preference for the 24 carat experience in the hotel challenge, and handed the win over to Blair and Mayhem.
Which brings us to this week, when Cracker would have won alongside fellow countryman, top scorer Jujubee. That would give us a total of seven winners against four so far, and Jujubee would have two wins (maybe three, if Ru still wanted to win him for the hotel challenge against Blair or Mayhem). It sounds more competitive, doesn’t it? Instead, we only have four winners so far, and the queens are going home without having much impact on the competition in terms of results.
I love the Lip Sync Assassin twist this season and I think it has given us enough good to justify changing the number of challenge winners. But with every change, there is a cost, and that cost is an area where it feels like anyone could win.
Too bad the competition is a little lukewarm, because what works All Stars 5 really works! Take the open cold this week as an example. Juju reads the votes and Shea learns that two of her friends have voted for her to go home: Alexis and Mayhem. Mayhem cites its proximity to Mariah Paris Balenciaga (and in particular does not cite his alliance with India), while Alexis says she thinks that Mariah worked too hard to eliminate him and that India’s performance was too good to eliminate him. Shea is amused by these excuses and promises to play her own games in the future.
Shea’s emergence as a player immediately pays off, as she’s put in a group (at least RuPaul doesn’t call her a “random” selection this time) with Alexis for the improvisation task. Both are constantly coloring while preparing for the challenge, keeping a smile all the time. Shea points out that someone from his team has gone home in the last two challenges, Alexis replies: “If someone goes home, it would be better for you, bitch!” Without missing a beat, Shea said, “Well, I already know I have your vote! It’s a hilarious frenzy dynamic, and the show is better for that. Likewise, when the time comes to vote and she has the chance to vote for Mayhem, Shea is happy to return the favor by rejecting Mayhem.
These are things we probably wouldn’t see in a return to the old format. Yes, Mayhem cites Shea as a “power” as a reason to vote for her, but also assumed that the other queens would join her in the said vote. I somewhat doubt that Mayhem made such a move on her own. And even if it fact, Blair would still have voted to eliminate Mariah, and as keeping Shea in the interest of the season, Blair would likely have gained lip sync. (If that sounds too strange to you, remember there were a lot of reports around All Stars 2 that Katya was changed unfavorably during her second lip sync against Alaska when she would have sent Roxxxy Andrews home instead of Tatianna.) So we traded victories for the drama, and your mileage may vary depending on your preferences.
Compare this season to Season 12, which was relatively conflict-free, but had close competition, with the last three that really seemed like everyone could win. Is it possible that Drag race Will there still be a season where competition and conflict are 10 for the whole season? The last time we saw such a thing was season 10, but even this season has run out, leaving us with an unsatisfactory back half after such a good start. All Stars 2 even a little sizzling after “Revenge of the Queens”, although a solid final helped the end of the season.
I know we’re talking a lot about the show in a meta sense this week rather than focusing on the challenge, but that’s because I don’t have much to say on “She-MZ”. His very fun! Alexis and Shea kill him as cast members dismissed from Tuckahoe’s fake housewives, each revealing the other simulates pregnancy during lunch. The enemies had fun filming it, and it shows in the performance. Blair, Cracker and Juju are just as ravishing in a sketch about a college admission scandal. Cracker plays the admissions officer in a difficult relationship with the domineering character of Juju’s drag mother, while Blair plays a daughter of influencer-style Olivia Jade.
Honestly, any of the five could have won. They were all solid, and apart from the tracks and criticism from the judges, there is no clear way to pinpoint the best players of the five. In terms of critics, however, it’s hard to put too much stock in it, as judgment has been so haphazard this season so far. (At least no one calls a killer track a “tricky” one this week – it really was one of the worst reviews I’ve ever heard on Drag race.)
Among the camouflage tracks, Blair and Shea are my favorites. I love Blair’s pants and Shea’s garden pot is a brilliant touch. But nonetheless, they’re both sent to safety, while Cracker and Juju – who both have big wigs this week, it should be noted – get the highest marks. Again, this is hair splitting (get it? Hair splitting? Great wigs?) In terms of who deserves to win, but Cracker’s performance in the end rules Juju out.
Meanwhile, the clearest funds of the week are India and Mayhem, and they take radically different approaches to deliberations. Mayhem gives up, but says she’ll be fine anyway. She seems furious to be at the bottom of the standings this week and seems ready to leave the competition. Meanwhile, India must fight for survival for the third consecutive week and throw Mayhem under the bus to do so. He’s a vicious, Survivor-an Indian coin, but it works.
he really works, in fact, given the group and Cracker’s vote to eliminate Mayhem. We don’t know because of the Untucked reveal, but because Cracker and the Lip Sync Assassin gain their lip sync with Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been”. It’s a dubious choice on Ru’s part – I think the assassin clearly wins, but it’s rough lip synchronization all around. What is disappointing is that the Lip Sync Assassin is the legendary Queen Morgan McMichaels, who (as she notes in Untucked) is capable of really sharp and tight performance. She and Cracker are all over the place in this issue.
I bet the production didn’t want the assassin to win a single third time in just four episodes, as it would make the queens of the competition fall short. This plus the relative lack of wins compared to others All the stars seasons, would have really made this group dull – and they are not! It’s a talented group! But perception matters, and therefore Cracker gains a lip sync that it doesn’t entirely deserve. Mayhem is sent home by everyone, the same way Phi Phi O’Hara and Chi Chi DeVayne were both eliminated twice in their All the stars seasons. (Valentina would also have been eliminated this way, but was spared a non-elimination All Stars 4.)
Again, I think much of this season really works. The storytelling is among the best we’ve seen Drag raceThe VH1 era without ever feeling too heavy or toxic. It’s a fun group, and their drama is just juicy enough to keep us entertained. And despite this week’s lip sync, the Assassin twist still really works for me. It’s so much fun to see queens come back, and we’ve seen some great performances so far. The lip sync “Livin’ La Vida Loca “by Yvie Oddly alone justifies this format change! But it’s not yet a season that draws on all cylinders – and I hope it can find a way to increase competitive heat in the future.
“Although I appreciate Sarah Hyland’s notes on improvisation as a guest judge, I am a little surprised that she receives solo guest treatment. I would have appreciated another voice in this panel (or even Ross Mathews, since he participated in the challenge!) To strengthen the critics this week.
? “It’s like a juju sandwich with two pieces of white bread!” I’m excited! Big credit to Jujubee, she does a great job of breaking the tension of Blair and Cracker without being a pleasure sucker. She puts them back to work while savoring the drama.
?The two false Alexis and Shea Real housewives slogans are fun. “I may be pretty outside of Shea, but inside I am pure junk!” Is more faithful to the formula, while Alexis obtains points for having referenced one of his slogans with “I am not only disgusting, I am contagious! ”
Atch Catch me screaming that the Cracker, Blair and Juju college admissions scandal was to get Blair into Slide U.
“I love Mayhem addressing Michelle Visage’s charge that she had” an attitude “on the track for Untucked: “Michelle thinks I had an attitude … and she was really right! Yeah, I had an attitude! I was downstairs! Wouldn’t you have an attitude? ”
? “Two Shea… touched! ”
?Program note: weekly Kiki with Kevin livestream on Facebook will be deactivated next week. We will be back on July 10. But, we will also start Canadian drag race cover next Thursday! Summaries will be published on Thursday evening directly after the episodes, and the power rankings will be published on Friday morning. I’m very excited to start this season, it looks great.