While every season of Drag Race sticks the contestants behind a sewing machine — or a hot glue gun — at some point, it’s the acting challenges that really put their star power to work. (BenDeLaCreme’s run on All Stars 3 is a perfect example of this.) It’s not just about displaying their talents as America’s next potential drag superstar; it’s a prime opportunity for fans to fall in love with a queen. Amazing looks can earn fans’ respect and admiration, but amazing performances win their hearts.
The inherent problem with this week’s My Best Squirrelfriends’ Dragsmaids Wedding Trip is — well, let’s be fair: there were a few problems. But even if the script had made a lick of sense or the characters were all equally well-written or had any potential chemistry whatsoever, the final product was just a trailer.
Who Wore it Best?
Other than Trixie Mattel’s Sharon Frockovich, none of the characters had more than a couple of disjointed seconds of screen time to shine. And the roles themselves felt like choices plucked from a hat during a party game.
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Shangela was an amalgam of Octavia Spencer in The Help and Hidden Figures and, well, Shangela. Bebe Zahara Benet was giving us Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth as Bebe Zahara Benet with a cold. Morgan McMichaels looked like she stumbled out of the Season 5 “Black Swan” challenge and wasn’t quite sure what she was doing. And clearly Kennedy Davenport was supposed to go home last week, so she got the role Ben would have likely had as the terminally delightful La La. Not only do none of these characters exist in the same world, they’re thrown into a schizophrenic narrative involving a dead stripper and the worst rendition of “Here Comes the Bride” you’ve ever heard (or smelled). While no one expects drag to always keep it highbrow, an extended fart joke just feels lazy at this stage of the game.
The highlight of this week’s episode was easily the “Red for Filth” runway, so it’s unfortunate that we only got a rushed montage of looks. Shangela’s inflating cone dress, Bebe’s masked eleganza and Morgan’s sassy salute to Scotland simply needed longer on the runway, while the nuance of Kennedy’s beaded gown and Trixie’s latex librarian fantasy were totally lost until we got a closer look during workroom deliberations.
Where Do We Go from Queer?
Trixie and Shangela were the Top 2 of the week, leaving the remaining three queens vying for the last two spots in the finale. If Morgan had done well in the challenge, perhaps there might have been some dramatic tension around who was going home this week. But after missing most of the challenges this season and giving us a pretty beige Beige Swan, there was little question as to whether her return to the competition would be cut short. Shangela made it clear she was not going to send Kennedy home, but would she cut Bebe for being too “bougie”? And did it even matter who Trixie was going to pick when her track record for losing lipsyncs was equal to Shangela’s track record for winning them?
To be fair, Trixie more than held her own during RuPaul’s “Freaky Money” but she didn’t stand a chance against Shangela twerking, deathdropping and rapping in a fat suit. Some fans of the show have rolled their eyes at the sight gag and called it insensitive, while others have laughed it off as a celebration of plus-sized sexiness. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no denying that Shangela left it all on that stage and more than earned the $10,000 tip and spot in the Final 4. Her decision to send Morgan home just seemed like good common sense at this point.
Who Will Win the All Stars 3 Finale?
Shangela and Trixie have both felt like frontrunners from the start, while Bebe’s run as the Teflon Queen made it quite clear early on that RuPaul’s first crowned winner would not be sashaying away anytime soon. Kennedy, who described her struggles with being a “second thought queen” this episode, is a welcomed surprise in the Final 4, and she will no doubt shine in next week’s music video challenge. That being said, our money is on Shangela to take the crown. Not only is the final challenge just one more thing Shangela can do with her eyes closed, her narrative from first out on Season 2 to Drag Race Hall of Fame would be an epic comeback story.
And really, every season of All Stars has had an obvious winner. All Stars 1 felt like a reparation to Chad Michaels for losing the crown in Season 4 and All Stars 2 was Alaska’s to lose from the moment the cast was announced. Both queens also already had All Stars careers before coming back to compete. While Trixie’s star is certainly on the rise (and will only continue after this), Shangela is already a drag professional. She may never be able to master a sewing machine, but at this stage in her career — and after winning that $100,000 — she may never have to.
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: February 15, 2019