Friends, romans, and fifth place alternates, welcome to the first installment of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 Rucap where I discuss the return of our favorite queens, try to understand Raven Symone’s aesthetic, and ready the funeral pyre for Miss Chad Michaels.
Our premiere episode ushers in the ru-turn of some of the fiercest and most beloved queens ever to grace the main stage of Drag Race: Tatianna, Phi Phi O’Hara, Adore Delano, Ginger Minj, Katya, and the entire cast of season 5. For some queens, this season is just another opportunity to win big, have fun, and ogle the pit crew, but for others this competition is the ultimate chance for rudemption. And in Alyssa’s case, this season is just another opportunity for GIFs and memes.
With RuPaul’s Emmy nomination and Drag Race entering its tenth overall season, it makes sense that the show would take advantage of its unprecedented success and take some gag-worthy risks. But who knew Mama Ru would take the show to Big Brother level proportions? The first few minutes of the episode make it quite clear that All Stars 2 will be nothing like its hot mess of a predecessor, as Ru introduces twist and turns that completely reinvent the show’s format. This time around our queens won’t be competing in teams or lip syncing for their lives. Instead the top two queens will lip sync for their legacy and the winner will not only receive a cash prize of $10,000, but the opportunity to send one of the bottom three queens packing. That’s right, hennies, the queens hold all the power this season, which means when the real bloodbath commences Mama Ru can sit in the corner and clean shrimp out of her fingernails without upsetting the fanbase. It also means that our queens run the risk of ruining their reputation or setting the Internet aflame by potentially sending home fan favorites. We’ll just have to wait and see how the messy drama unfolds!
For the first main challenge of the season our queens are tasked to show off their special skills in a talent show, a much needed departure from the expected sewing challenge. As far as opening events go, this challenge is the perfect opportunity for our queens to showcase their strongest skills and set themselves apart from their competitors. Unfortunately for some queens, however, this golden opportunity proves to be disastrous. Phi Phi botches an attempt at a capella, Adore’s “lazy” performance invokes the wrath of Michelle, and Coco’s bizarre dance routine does her no favors. Tatianna and Roxxxy, on the other hand, slay the challenge. Tatianna’s genitalia-driven spoken word has the audience in stitches, and Roxxxy’s “thick and juicy” burlesque routine serves up Chicago-style sexiness.
Following the judges’ critiques, the queens are informed of the game-changing elimination switch. The queens leave the mainstage and as Ru and the judges get shit-faced the top two (Roxxxy and Tatianna) deliberate as to who they should nominate for elimination. Both queens struggle to determine how to use this power, torn between whether or not they should nominate their biggest threat or the weakest performer in the challenge. After some thoughtful consideration, they return to the main stage and lip sync for their legacy’s to “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift, which only goes to show how much the show’s budget has increased in the past few seasons. Roxxxy wins the challenge and her nomination, Coco, is sent packing. But don’t fret children, it appears that Coco’s elimination may not be all that permanent, as Ru reveals yet another game-changing twist: an opportunity to return to the competition.
Roxxxy’s villainous streak toward the end of season 5 overshadowed how well she did in the competition, but now she’s back and ready to win the crown without playing any mind games. From her incredible entrance look to her sultry performance, Roxxxy has reminded the judges and fans that she’s polished perfection. If she can keep her eyes on the prize and keep her bitchy side at bay she could win both the crown and the love of fans who have yet to forgiven her for season 5.
If you’re a true Drag Race
fan you’d know that Tatianna has grown immensely since season 2, which premiered nearly 7 years ago. New fans may not know her, and her competitors may underestimate her, but if her stand up performance proved anything it’s that she’s sexy, funny, and has quite a few tricks up her sleeve.
Alaska is arguably the most well-rounded and beloved returning queen this season. She can serve glamour, camp, comedy, and talent with ease. And while her performance in the premiere may not have been a true standout, she showed us just how far she’s come since season 5.
Katya’s self-doubt and anxiety cost her the crown in season 7, but now she’s back with the confidence needed to slay the competition. Katya has dominated the Drag Race scene since her season, becoming one of the most popular queens the series has ever seen. If she can remain confident and cool she can easily snag the crown so many fans want her to have.
From the moment Detox’s “Meet the Queens” look surfaced, it became obvious that she came to play this season. And while her performance in the main challenge may have been a bit underwhelming, she’s clearly ready to fight for the crown, and with her sharp wit and killer style, she may just be able to claw her way to the top.
Let’s be real, no one expects Alyssa to win this season, or even place in the top 3. We all just want her to stick around long enough to deliver some great new GIFs, memes, and catchphrases. With that being said, girl did the gig in this episode. Her variety routine was classic-Alyssa and her entrance look showed that her style (while still questionable) has come along way since season 5.
Ginger was a force to be reckoned with in season 7, and the same should prove to be true this time around. Her performance may have been a bit flat, but she’s clearly stepped up her fashion game, which was her biggest shortcoming the first time around. If she can serve up the glamour the judges want she can surely secure herself a spot in the top.
8.) Phi Phi
Phi Phi has come a long way since season 4. She’s dominated the Internet with her impressive “365 Days of Drag” and has worked tirelessly to distance herself from the bitchy persona she portrayed in her season. With that being said, her performance TANKED, and showed yet again that she isn’t always as self-aware as a competitor should be. And while her cosplay looks may be impressive, they aren’t enough to get her through a season full of performance challenges.
Poor Adore. Out of all the queens this season, Adore seems to be the one least suited to compete. Adore has experienced incredible success since Drag Race, but her grunge style isn’t something the judges seem to understand or appreciate. And given how sensitive she is, it’s only a matter of time before she cracks under the criticism.
No T No Shade, but Coco was brought back to be eliminated first. In season 5, Coco’s lip syncs saved her from elimination time and again, but given the new twist they were of no use to her this time around. What’s unfortunate is that this challenge could have been an easy one for her if she had stuck to her standard dancing. But you got to give a girl props for trying something out of the box, even if it did send her packing.