Following a ratings-shattering season 2, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars returned Thursday (Jan. 25) night for a third go-round. [Warning: Spoilers Ahead.] Joining previously announced queens Aja, BenDeLaCreme, Chi Chi Devayne, Kennedy Davenport, Milk, Morgan McMichaels, Shangela, Thorgy Thor and Trixie Mattel was the surprise tenth queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, the very first RuPaul’s Drag Race winner (which is strange, yes, but she is an unfamiliar face to many fans given the unavailability of the show’s first season and the fact that the show’s popularity skyrocketed after the first few seasons). After watching the season 3 premiere and catching our breath, Billboard Pride Editor Patrick Crowley and Deputy Editor, Digital Joe Lynch locked the doors and had a quick kiki about our feelings.
Patrick: Well we’re back for another round of All-Stars. What did you think of the entrances? Any favorites?
Joe: Trixie’s roller skate thing was a gimmick but I love gimmicks, and I also love that it’s SO Wisconsin. Also legit LOL when she looked at the empty room and said “What is this, a Morgan McMichaels meet and greet?”
Patrick: Speaking of Morgan, her entrance line was *everything* — there were rumors she had died last year, so good on her for playing into that. Who did you find the most underwhelming re: entrances?
Joe: BenDeLaCreme, who I think will go far, didn’t have a great entrance for me and I didn’t love the repurposing of a dress we’ve seen.
Patrick: Aw, I actually thought it was a cute moment for her. I think I was most disappointed with Milk. She’s known for these outside-the-box looks and I wish she had done something even more weird. But I live for a fart joke! Should we talk about the mysterious tenth queen reveal?
Joe: Yes! So weird. “Grandma sit down, let those other bitches have the crown!” Also like, if she loses, is she still a winner? Or does that kind of taint her season 1 win? Also, sorry for saying ‘taint.’
Patrick: Never apologize for saying ‘taint’ — what show do you think we’re recapping here? I was shocked that the Kelly Clarkson of Drag Race showed up in a flat, pedestrian wig! That was not the grand entrance I’d expect from Miss Zahara Benet; but maybe it’s a strategy? The reading challenge was a lot of fun. Milk’s read on Shhhhhh!-Angela was hysterical. Which read did you love?
Joe: Shangela was incredible, Trixie too. And yeah, BeBe’s outfit made me wonder if her style is too old school? It’s crazy how far drag has come in the last 10 years, in no small part because of this show.
Patrick: Absolutely! But then BeBe’s look during the main challenge was stunning!
Joe: Who was your talent show fave? I appreciated that Ben brought the comedy (too much dancing from the others!) but Aja was astonishing for me. When she jumped off that block I was so worried about her smashing her head on it.
Patrick: The crowd I was watching with was blown away by Aja and Kennedy, but I was a little bummed? Lip syncing is a requirement for drag queens, so using that as a “talent” seemed like a cop-out. Trixie and Thorgy were the most exciting for me.
Joe: I hear you on that — it was definitely like, “Oh, you can do your main job requirement?” But Aja was so good I didn’t care. Trixie sounded incredible, I thought Thorgy was a little sleepy at first but then it got wonderful. I adore Chi Chi but when she came out in flats waving a baton like a cheerleader I crawled into a hole and cried.
Patrick: OH MY GOD! Chi Chi is one of my favorite contestants this season, but the way she marched out reminded me of that viral meme last year, where the father was giving an interview on some news program and his daughter marched in.
Joe: HAHAHHAHA. Yes. I didn’t think Morgan was THAT bad, although the song was stupid. But Milk’s song was stupid too!
Patrick: We certainly didn’t have a Tatianna moment in this variety show, that’s for sure. But I’m satisfied with the choices for top and bottom. I was ready for Ben to send Chi Chi packing — they even foreshadowed it when Morgan made her entrance and Cheech called her major competition! And the way that Morgan was stirring the pot… I thought for sure they’d keep her on for some enter-taint-ment.
Joe: That was a genuinely shocking elimination, I really thought Ben would send Chi Chi home. Speaking of Ben and shocks, when “Anaconda” kicked in 1) the bar I was at erupted into screams of glee 2) I figured for sure Aja would win, but Ben doing Nicki’s manic laugh was honestly one of the greatest moments in the show’s lip sync herstory. A well deserved win. It reminded me of Ben in Snatch Game — like before then, who expected her to be so fucking good as Maggie Smith? But she has a lot of tricks up those sleeves.
Patrick: Ben’s got bars! Remember when we made a playlist of songs we wanted Ru to consider for lipsyncs? We predicted a Nicki track, but we chose “Super Bass.” Clearly “Anaconda” was the right choice though. Who are your early predictions for top three?
Joe: I don’t even want to say because I know I’ll be wrong and then it will live on the Internet forever, but idk, probably Ben, Trixie and Shangela i.e. the Hallelunatic.
Patrick: With Trixie’s success outside the show, it would be incredibly shocking if she didn’t make the top three. I think Ben and Shangela are tough competitors but I’m going to go with BeBe and Thorgy to round out my top three. I’ve loved Thorgy since watching her pre-Drag Race at Industry in Hell’s Kitchen and I think she brings a lot to the table. As for BeBe, she has to do well. Right? Right?
Joe: Sure? Yes? I think this season is anyone’s game in a way that All Stars 2 wasn’t, which is v. exciting. My wish for next week: The main challenge is for everyone to recreate Kennedy’s post-apocalyptic Tina Turner chicken outfit.