It’s well understood at this point that just getting onto RuPaul’s Drag Race is enough to change the direction of a drag queen’s life forever. Booking fees, Instagram followers and new career opportunities all increase significantly the moment the cast is announced. Winning the crown (and that $100,000) is important, but it’s not that important — just ask BenDeLaCreme, who infamously sent herself home this week on All Stars 3 after winning five out of the last six challenges (including this week’s Kitty Girl group challenge).
Where Have We Ben?
This season was Ben’s to lose in a way we’ve never seen from a past contestant. Not even Alaska’s laser-focused gameplay on All Stars 2 compares. Ben wasn’t just the frontrunner; she was lapping the other queens. (And considering that next week is an acting challenge, she probably would have won that one too.) Ben now has the best track record in Drag Race herstory, with five wins this season and two wins on Season 6 under her belt (to say nothing of that Overstock.com gift card she nabbed as her season’s Miss Congeniality.) She could have extended that lead and become the third inductee into the Drag Race Hall of Fame, but that would have meant playing a game she had no interest in playing even before this season started.
During All Stars 2, Ben was asked in an interview if he would ever do an All Stars season, and he unequivocally said no. He objected to the way the show pitted the contestants against one another, breaking up friendships and breaking down queens for the sake of good TV. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense why Ben would eliminate Morgan McMichaels in the first episode. Morgan made it very clear that she would send home the strongest competitor if ever given the chance, so Ben eliminated that liability for drama and tension among the queens.
Thus, the irony of was almost Shakespearean when Ben was asked this week to eliminate a queen she didn’t feel deserved to go home. Shangela, Trixie Mattel and Kennedy Davenport all gave strong performances in the challenge. Kennedy did have the lowest track record of the remaining queens at that point, and Ben has admitted that if he had to send someone home it would be her. But Kennedy wanted the crown more than Ben did. Almost every queen on that stage (except for Chi Chi DeVayne, who had no interest in being “the Roxxxy Andrews of All Stars 3”) wanted the crown more than Ben.
What This Means for the Rest of the Queens
Ben’s decision to both eliminate herself and bring Morgan back into the competition says as much about Ben as it does about the show itself. Drag Race is a platform, a weekly talent show with a cast of household name hopefuls using every moment on stage, in the workroom and in the talking heads to brand themselves, establish a fan base (and maybe even a couple of catchphrases), show the world what they can do as artists and who they are as people, and hopefully build a career off of all of that. Ben has nothing more to prove.
Morgan, meanwhile, is a Season 2 queen who has had very little opportunity this season to get the renewed popularity her season sister Tatianna did in All Stars 2. Morgan is never going to win (you do not miss Snatch Game and win Drag Race, alright Mary?) but she will get another week on people’s televisions. And after the heartfelt resolution to her feud with Ben this week, fans will hopefully be open to seeing more of Morgan.
This unfortunately means we will not be getting more of Aja, the true Comeback Queen of the season. She was probably the strongest of all ten Kitty Girls as the rapping, death-dropping Banjee Kitty, but much like Ben, she also doesn’t have much left to prove. Milk and Thorgy Thor were great lightning rods for drama during this episode’s August: Osage County style showdown around the workroom table, but I think we’ve all had our fill of Milk’s lack of self-awareness and Thorgy’s neuroses this season.
All Stars 3: Predictions, Predictions, Predictions
With Ben out of the race, Shangela, Trixie and Bebe are officially our predicted frontrunners. Next week’s acting challenge is a perfect opportunity for Trixie to balance out her mediocre start this season with another win. Shangela can do acting challenges in her sleep; she’s a shoe-in for Top 2. It seems the Mole Theory about Bebe is officially dead in the water, but that was also a convenient explanation for why she was just safe for so many challenges. Her biggest concern at this point should be outshining Kennedy and Morgan and keeping her lipstick out of anyone’s bra for one more week.
All that being said, the winner of All Stars 3 has already been crowned. BenDeLaCreme not only excelled at every challenge thrown her way, she did it without compromising her values or contributing to the producer drama that kept her out of All Stars 2. At a time when Drag Race is feeling more produced than ever, Ben proved that at its heart, drag is still about breaking all the rules.
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!
Last modified: August 8, 2018