Sun. Aug 9th, 2020

TV Rucap: Drag Race All Stars 5 – Episode 6 “A Ho Down at the BBQ”

In the aftermath of last week’s explosive India/Alexis fight to remain in the competition, doubt, confusion and unease loom over the Werk Room as the girls still are trying to process exactly what just happened. Shea admits to the group that she came really close to picking Alexis’s lipstick, because India really painted a vivid picture of Alexis campaigning to the other girls for Shea to go home in her brush with the Bottom Three, three weeks earlier in the competition. The whole situation seems to have permanently altered the energy of the group, and as Jujubee points out, “Smart girl, India: we still talking about you, bitch!”

Well, at least the girls have a new challenge to take their minds of the drama (at least until they discover the goodbye notes that India has left for the girls, inexplicably snubbing Juju just to keep them on edge): this week, they’ll be taking part in a Charles family backyard barbeque ball, where they’ll come as a country cousin with a comedic backstory, and then creating couture looks using backyard items.

Ranking the Country Cousin Realness Looks

1.       Jujubee

This is brilliant! Jujubee perfectly embodies a hick dressed like a hick, but thinking that she’s high brow and expensive because she’s wearing an exaggerated Sophia Loren/Audrey Hepburn wide brimmed hat, when really, it’s wearing her. Also, “Amb-burrrr.” This is the kind of comedy that Jujubee can kill every time, while when other girls try this, it feels like dress-up. 

2.       Miz Cracker

Normally, you don’t want to see a flat-footed Drag Queen, but this is the time to do something like that. And what she nails about this is that it’s so nearly a really great fashion look, but is just kind of off and raggedy, which is what you’d expect of a country cousin thinking they are serving a fashion fantasy.

3.       Shea Couleé

The look she went for, with an over-sized t-shirt, is perhaps a bit too easy, but it’s accurate, and the fan service of the Grandrea allusion is kind of fun.

4.       Blair Saint Clair

Individual elements of this are right (LOL, that mullet wig), but overall, it still feels too clean, and like she’s punching up above her abilities and trying a bit too hard to be funny.

5.       Alexis Mateo

There’s nothing about this that says country: it’s just a basic hip-hugging dress.

Ranking the Backyard Ball Eleganza Designs

1.       Alexis Mateo

Oh, yeah: this is AMAZING. The detail work of the cut up Solo cups at her shoulders looks cheap and couture at the same time, which is exactly how you want it to read in a challenge like this, and it’s so effective because of how perfectly it’s all placed. The overall silhouette is DRAMA, Mama, and even if the flaring of the skirt is ultimately a bit wide (and kind of looks like a lamp shade), once Alexis holds up the front of the skirt, the fabric slopes into a gorgeous angle, and flows with elegance. It’s such a well-conceived and executed look. Alexis killed it. 

2.       Shea Couleé

Like Alexis, Shea is one of the girls who really went for it, and served the most interesting, visionary ensembles, even if some of the little details are a bit off. The crotch cutout of her chaps is a bit loose and floppy as she walks, and it would have been cleaner if they were tighter at the thighs, and gradually started to flare out, if she still wanted to go for that wide leg. Ooh, but that long, dramatic veil hits the floor, the hip accents are it, and the accessorizing is right. Overall, it’s so, so good. 

3.       Miz Cracker

It’s an effective, well put together silhouette, and the tablecloth print of the skirt reads as such while also flowing from the look naturally and looking good, but this look isn’t very original or ambitious. Also, is Miz Cracker always going to work a fascinator into any of her design challenges? It’s a bit “been there, done that.”

4.       Jujubee

Oh, this is so cute, and great for a Jujubee look, but the colour scheme, the construction, and the overall shape of the look feels a little cheap compared to the other girls’ looks. This is a really great look, but it also feels like it’s competing in a class or category just a little bit beneath what the other girls are bringing.

5.       Blair Saint Clair

It’s a good look, and you can appreciate the concept and vision, but the construction of the look isn’t as impressive as anyone else’s on the runway: it’s just colour blocked fabric stitched together and strategically wrapped and draped around her body. 

The judges love Miz Cracker’s two looks the best, and she’s the winner of this challenge. It’s not exactly a scandalous choice: after all, both of Cracker’s looks were very good and true to the essence of the challenge. But, when you consider that Shea and Alexis brought so much more to the design component of the challenge, it feels ridiculous that they’re automatically up for elimination because they didn’t outright win the challenge, and you wish that the second phase of the challenge carried more weight. But the writing should have been on the wall the moment the edit started to focus on the narrative of Cracker’s herstory of creating looks from trash since she was a child.

When it’s up to Miz Cracker to consider who she’s going to send home if she wins the lip sync, she’s very direct with the girls that Shea and Jujubee are off the table because they have actually won challenges, which means that her choice is going to come down to either Alexis or Blair. Alexis, while frustrated by this, can at least accept that, since she knew that she’d really have to win this challenge (and she probably should have) in order to stay in the competition. Meanwhile, Blair complains to the camera that this is unfair, and that she’s questioning her friendship with Cracker. Gurl! By what metric is this unfair? Should one of the girls who have actually won challenges be the girl to go home? Awww, and the delusion of thinking that if Cracker were to send her home, it’s because she thinks she’s a threat to her? Please. If anything, it would work in Cracker’s favour to keep her around, while chopping one of the actual frontrunners, so that theory isn’t grounded in anything that resembles reality. Alexis is the one who has more license to be worried and chagrined, because after the India Ferrah drama of last week, she’s still a question mark in the other girls’ minds, and is more likely to be the casualty of this week’s elimination.

The Lip Sync: Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time”

Though she is a Goddess of Drag, when you hear the name “Roxxxy Andrews,” your mind doesn’t automatically think of “Lip Sync Assassin,” even though she’s two for two in her lip sync track record on RuPaul’s Drag Race: sure, her lip sync of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” with Alyssa Edwards is a performance that RuPaul once cited as her favourite in the show’s herstory; and Roxxxy also won the $10,000 tip for her performance of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” in the first episode of All Stars 2. 

It’s interesting to note how each girl appears: the look is nothing to write home about, but Cracker is dressed for success in spandex, and Roxxxy is clad in a dramatic, red ostrich plumed look from head to toe. Once they start to perform, and with this song not being super high energy, per se, Cracker is trying to show off foot work, but there’s not really the appropriate opportunities for splits or death drops to justify such a blah outfit. Meanwhile, Roxxy’s approach is sexy and minimal, geared towards sensual movement and ownership of the stage, slowly shedding layers of her look with a shimmy of her shoulders, to finally end up with “Thick & Juicy” splayed across her ass. 

It’s no surprise that Roxxy is the winner of this lip sync, but it’s kind of sad that Miz Cracker’s heart was more in this, and that she still definitively lost to Roxxxy Andrews, whose most phoned in performance is better than Cracker’s, even when she seemed to be more amused by the gags she had prepared than to really feel like she needed to do the most in order to win. But, it’s so deserving, and Roxxxy’s confident, cool, unbothered approach to the lip sync was exactly what the song needed.

Roxxxy pulls Alexis’s lipstick: perhaps it’s a matter of the drama catching up with her, since it’s hard to imagine thinking that Blair did better either this week or throughout the competition. But, Alexis sees the bright side: not many girls have had three chances to be here, and she’s happy with what she had to show.

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