Recap: Comeback Queens Steal the Show in “Drag Race All Stars 3” Premiere

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It feels like just yesterday we watched Alaska gain her rightful place in the Drag Race Hall of Fame on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2.

It was really her crown to lose from the get-go. (Ditto Chad Michaels in All Stars 1.) While it was fun to root for Katya the whole time, Alaska’s win seemed inevitable the moment she walked in that workroom.

However with no Top 3 queens from any season (well, aside from our “mystery queen,” revealed to be Season 1 winner Bebe Zahara Benet—but that was, like, pre-internet), All Stars 3 could really be anyone’s comeback.

Well, okay, maybe not anyone’s. There are plenty of rumors floating around about who makes it all the way — and some alleged dramarama about midway through the season! — but based on this first episode, it is gonna be a fierce fight for the crown.

Following the same format of the All Stars 2 premiere, the library is swiftly opened for this season’s perennial reading mini-challenge. Bendelacreme’s pitch perfect reads are the only reason Trixie Mattel’s Dad jokes didn’t get her the win. (However, let us also take a moment to appreciate when Bebe regarded Thorgy Thor like some jester in the town square before turning to RuPaul and purring, “Mother, she looks homeless.”)

The mainstage challenge, another all-star variety show, is the perfect way for the queens to really reintroduce themselves to both the judges and the audience. Much like the show itself, RuPaul is merely providing a platform this episode for these performers to show the world who they are and what they can do.

Shangela is definitely TV-ready this season — but almost a little too TV-ready. Her routine felt like (and likely is) something she’s performed many times before. That being said, the shablam at the end was nothing short of tip-worthy.

Bebe wastes no time proving why she won her season. Her performance (“The Lion King, off Broadway,” according to Trixie, already the season’s narrator) was classic Bebe — much like Season 9 “fan favorite” Valentina, her drag is a vivid celebration of her culture.

Few queens needed a comeback moment like Aja. Her performance was, as Carson Kressley said, “just really good drag.” Deathdropping off a four foot box do take nerve. (So does cartwheeling onto the box, Kennedy Davenport! The dancing diva from Texas doesn’t disappoint either with a high energy number.)

Trixie and Thorgy Thor were both a welcomed break from dance routines in bodysuits. Trixie is one of the few Drag Race girls who can really sing — her song “Moving Parts” is both clever and, well, moving. As Michelle Visage pointed out, Thorgy is blending classical music with drag in a really exciting way, and that alone was worth a top spot this week. (But the gorgeous Halston-inspired pantsuit didn’t hurt!)

Bendelacreme’s slapstick burlesque act was the clear winner of the night. It’s the kind of old-fashioned bawdy humor that Ru loves. And while, like Shangela, this is certainly not the first time Dela’s done this, it still felt fresh and surprising.

The weakest showings of the night were Milk, Morgan McMichaels and Chi Chi DeVayne. Milk mostly walked around and stuck cardboard dresses to her body—it felt like the kind of performance you might not like because you didn’t get it, but it also may have been just not that good.

However, Morgan’s deflated lipsync and Chi Chi’s sloppy baton routine rightfully put them in the bottom 2. The T on the street is that Chi Chi had severely injured her hand during rehearsals (you can even see the bandages on her fingers), but that doesn’t explain those shoes.

Dela and Aja, the rightful top two queens of the week, brought all of the fire of their variety show performances to their legacy lipsync of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.” Based on song choice alone, it seemed like Aja had this one in the bag, but there is no denying that Dela’s nuanced mania stole the show.

In fact, Dela kind of stole this entire episode. This includes the wildly ironic decision to eliminate Morgan — the queen who bragged that she herself would send home the stronger queen if given the chance.

While this is an unlikely case of a queen winning a mini-challenge, mainstage challenge and a lipsync all in one episode, that doesn’t necessarily mean Dela’s now this season’s Alaska. Trixie’s just getting warmed up, Bebe’s got a lot to prove, and we all know the tenacity of Shangela.

To quote RuPaul, I can’t wait to see how this turns out…

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Last modified: February 14, 2019