All Stars 3 Episode 5 Recap: Warhol-Inspired Design Challenge Fails to Pop

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

The panel from Drag Race

With the usual Drag Race rules of elimination out the window, All Stars feels a lot more unpredictable. We’ve heard this refrain from the queens a few times this season: “It’s All Stars – you just never know what’s going to happen!” A queen could be sent home for how she performed that week, but also for who she is or something she said. In the case of Aja, it was essentially for something she mispronounced.

Last week, Aja not only delivered a spot on Crystal Labeija in the Snatch Game, but she educated many fans of the show about a drag legend before both their time and her own. Aja proved that she was a queen who did her homework and knew her references. But in this week’s Pop Art Ball, subjects Aja knew less about turned her into the poster child for “ignorant Millenials” (about whom Ru has expressed a regularly dismissive attitude towards on his podcast “What’s the Tee?” with Michelle Visage). It felt less like RuPaul was critiquing Aja’s mispronunciation of France Jolie, and more like yelling, “Get off my lawn!”

Fans of Unreal (starring recent guest judges Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman and Constance Zimmer) know that reality television is produced within an inch of its life, and All Stars 3 is certainly no exception. Aja’s elimination this week felt like the end of the story this season has been telling of Aja’s redemption and reinvention. Meanwhile, Trixie Mattel was praised for knowing how to dress herself in a fairly straightforward pink bodysuit and Bebe Zahara Benet continued her streak as the Teflon Queen with almost no critiques, earning them each Top 2 spots. The reality is, if fan favorite Trixie is going to feel like a justified frontrunner this season, this was her last chance to shine. And Bebe had been pulling something of a Peppermint-during-Season-9, hovering just around the middle week after week, so this week was also her last chance to pull ahead in the race.

BenDeLaCreme and Kennedy Davenport were both safe this week (in similar bathing suit silhouettes). Ben was critiqued for not bringing 120%, but protested backstage that if she’s going to keep delivering at the level that she has, she needs a week off from lip syncing and deciding which of her friends won’t continue in the competition. Kennedy, meanwhile, seems more than up to the challenge, but as the race gets tighter, she could easily be edged out in the next couple episodes purely because she hasn’t been cast as a frontrunner.

Who’s the Boss?

Trixie, Bebe and Shangela (despite her visit to the bottom two this week) all feel pegged to go to the finale. Trixie is beloved by fans, Bebe is treated like royalty on the show, and Shangela increasingly feels like the obvious heir apparent to RuPaul. Her Warhol runway was a self-admitted disaster in tinsel, but failing at sewing is also part of her brand. In an episode partially about branding themselves, Shangela managed to turn her failure into an endearing quality about herself as a queen.

The winner of this week’s Lipsync for Your Legacy was possibly one of the most obvious in the history of the show. Bebe lipsyncing to “The Boss” by Diana Ross is like Chad Michaels lipsyncing to Cher. That being said, this was one of the best performances of the season. Bebe picked up right where she left off in the Diva’s Lip Sync Live challenge a few weeks ago and channeled a spot-on, fully realized Diana Ross. Her win and subsequent elimination of Aja pretty much debunked the theory going around that Bebe is just a mole in the competition helping Ru decide who should win but never winning or eliminating anyone on her own.

However, this likely isn’t the last we’ll see of Aja. A brief epilogue showed three of the five eliminated queens (our best guesses are Aja, Morgan McMichaels and Chi Chi DeVayne) disguised in Handmaid’s  Tale-style cloaks and hoods returning for their revenge. In All Stars 2, the returning queens took their revenge on Phi Phi O’Hara when both Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards earned back their spots in the race and sent Phi Phi packing. Who’s got the target on their back next week? Will Morgan finally get a chance to send home the strongest queen (her stated strategy) and get back at Ben? Would Aja come back to boot Bebe? And – if our guesses are correct – where are the ultra-competitive Thorgy Thor and Milk?

If the refrain is true, there’s no telling what will happen next, but it does feel like we’re in for a gag. After a fairly predictable episode this week, that’s exactly what this season needs.

Want to queen out each week on All Stars 3 with us? Alright Mary is a weekly recap podcast and deep dive into all things RuPaul’s Drag Race. We go in on the queens, behind the scenes, the larger social themes explored on the show and as much reddit T as we can get our mitts on. Subscribe on iTunes!

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Last modified: August 8, 2018