RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Premiere

RuPaul is back, and we couldn’t be happier here at BTYM. Her eponymous Drag Race is by no stretch of hyperbole the most consistently engaging source of camp goodness in reality television history. What better type of person to star/compete in the reality format than the ever self-aware drag queen? The confluence of identity formation, fakeness, and attitude is a swirling tropical storm of faggotry that we will never tire of.

So it is with great earnestness that we bring back the patented Drag-o-Meter for this, the first “All Stars” spin-off season, which by the way we are in full support of. It’s not like they won’t be making another normal season, and these aren’t humdrum normal random people trying to be famous. They are PERFORMERS trying to entertain. This week there was surprising contrast in the good, the bad, and the what the fuckery. To the results!

Drag-o-Meter Rating 1/5: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Nothing, Julie Newmar!

  • There’s no Fantasy Drag Race online game this season?
  • I actually liked Mimi Imfurst for much of her season, but how do I put this? Now she looka lika mess.
  • Santino Rice also looks terrible.
  • The judges really hated on Shannel and Chad…excuse me, Shad, though obviously they were in no danger of being cut this early. They’re the most seasoned and classically professional drag performers of any season. Worse, I don’t even think their performances and outfits merited the typical reality TV “you’re clearly good, but we’re placing you in the bottom to give you a good scolding.” Their photos weren’t amazing, though most weren’t, and their runway looks were fun and very clearly took a ton of work. They were not the worst. Shame on you, judges.
  • Speaking of, is this season always going to be team challenges only? If so, yikes! Let’s hope not. That would be an extremely short season.

Drag-o-Meter Rating 2/5: You bettah work!

  • Raven first walks in with what’s actually a sort of simple and mildly frumpy cocktail dress. My husband at this point says, “she has among the least consistent styles.” Harsh but true.
  • Nina Flowers does not need to remind us what she looks like without drag makeup. I’m sorry, but no.
  • Tammie Brown’s runway look made me say out loud, “she looks like she’s getting on the bus at the end of the night.” Which, you know? Could be something. Unresolved!
  • During the judging we learn there was apparently a whole OTHER photo shoot themed in the “half baked” style. Maybe they weren’t fun to watch in video form? Yet the finished photos are all obviously superior to the “opposites attract” counterparts, which we did see in film. Oh well. Maybe they’re in Untucked.

Drag-o-Meter Rating 3/5: [snaps!]

  • Tammie Brown has such an odd, more than not quite right style of drag. I’m very on the fence about it. I think she’s brilliant at times, at others looking lost.
  • This had to have been one of the most random of all the runway challenges. The combo names are absurd and amazing, however, starting and ending with the fantastic “Yarlexis” (pronounced jar-lex-is).
  • Latrice and Manila bring Teletubby realness, but I think they didn’t go far enough.
  • Instead of writing a farewell message in lipstick on the mirror (a trope I hope is merely in mothballs until the “real” season starts again next year), apparently the departing contestants will be taking down their own portraits (complete with gaudy silver frames) from a velvety curtain wall. I really, really wanted Pandora to smash her canvas over her knee, although that’s probably more attributable to my years in the business (I’m fired?). I was expecting at least for her to say something memorably complainy, but perhaps she doesn’t want to burn that RuBridge.

Drag-o-Meter Rating 4/5: Heyyyyyyyy Girl!

  • The very first contestant this season, Pandora Boxx, enters the empty studio saying, “did somebody order a hooker?” No one replies. She sighs.
  • Shannel then walks in sporting what I can only describe as Castlevania candelabra regency realness.
  • Chad Michaels definitely wins the canned intros, where the girls walk the streets of LA confidently in drag, when she gives a little look at a lady who happens to be walking by.
  • It may just be careful editing on the show’s part, but at times when something dramatic happens, Latrice Royale expertly whips out her fan to cool herself down.
  • Shannel and Chad’s “Opposites Attract” photo shoot looks are sparkling and flawless. That’s classy.
  • Girl, Manila looks super cute in her runway burlesque look. The contrasting bust is fab.

Drag-o-Meter Rating 5/5: Sickening!

  • Manila Luzon’s INCREDIBLE Cruela Da Vill (which is indeed sometimes her go-to) headpiece with sculptured hair in the shape of a hand holding a long cigarette. Is. To. Die. For. I died.
  • In this season’s first “She Male” segment, wherein Ru introduces both the concept of the episode as well as in this case the stars of the season, is a masterwork. In full drag she oscillates between resplendent joy and idiotic crazy laughter. It’s scar-ry.
  • The “lip sync for your life” song is none other than Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract.” BECAUSE OF COURSE. Does this mean she’ll appear as a guest judge? Good lord would that be amazing. Two steps forward, MC Scat Kat.

Quotey Quote Quotes!

Per usual, the premiere of a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race did not disappoint in the pun, jab, snark, and otherwise campy quote department. Here are my favorites:

  • “Oh, I’m so glad you covered up your face.” -Manila
  • “I like long walks on the beach, big dicks, and fried chicken. I’m Jujubee.” -Jujubee
  • “Alright ladies. Ready…set…whip it out!” -Ru
  • “Our style is housewife hookerish.” “Housewife hookerish…high fashion?” “Yah, not daytime, nighttime hookerish.” “They’re so different.” -Pandora and Ru
  • “Black rain! Why it gotta be black?” -Ru (and me)
  • “I’ve got rain in my eyes. I’ve got rain in my shoes. I’m getting black rain in my brown flower.” -Raven
  • “You look gorgeous hunty.” -Ru to Rachel Hunter (supermodel)
  • “How many Muppets had to die?” -Santino
  • “Me gusto mucho. That means I like it a lot, in Spanish.” “Ohhhh” -Tammie and Ru
  • “Well you know they say you should never work with children, animals, or crazy people.” -Ru
  • “They both have…speculative taste levels.” -Santino
  • “If during the first minute of the lip-sync, your fellow contestant is having a…shemergency…you may press the button and tap her out.” -Ru (in yet another unnecessarily complicated Ru-ddition to the competition.
  • “Oh, Mimi’s doing the costume change. The big reveal. THE BIG REVEAL! Oh…that’s it?” -Manilla
  • “With great power comes great responsatranity.” -Ru (pushing the limits of pun)


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