On episode 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 3 (Thursday, March 2 air date), we encountered perhaps the mother of all surprises in the show’s shocker-laden herstory.
Warning: Spoilers, you know the drill.
No, it wasn’t that the five eliminated queens returned, with one of them having a shot at re-entering the competition by bumping out one of the top five. It was one of the queens literally rewriting the rules of the show.
Faced with the option of eliminating Trixie, Shangela or Kennedy, relentless winner BenDeLaCreme chose to eliminate herself, a choice that had even RuPaul speechless. DeLa took a lipstick and wrote her name on it in whiteout, calling the decision to peace out the “easiest” one she’s made in her time on the show and explaining that she was leaving because the crown clearly meant so much more to her competitors and she already felt like she’d proven herself a winner via her insane track record on All Stars 3. It was very much, “Can she do that!?” “Well, she just did.”
Here’s what Billboard Pride Editor Patrick Crowley and Deputy Editor, Digital, Joe Lynch thought about the shocker twist, the Kitty Girl girl group challenge, and guest hosts Adam Lambert and Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls.
Patrick: OH. MY. GOD! I’m still in shock. What a twist! We made it through an entire episode without Shangela making a Game of Thrones reference.
Joe: Ha! That truly was the biggest surprise. I would like to go on record saying this is the greatest reality show OF ALL TIME. And was that the biggest shocker the show has ever seen?
Patrick: Oh, honey! To quote Chad Michaels: “Happy Hunger Games, bitches.” Wow. DeLa pulled a Katniss and I am so here for it. And props to her: she didn’t want to compromise her morals for a crown that she knew her friends coveted more than her. I think that takes a lot of maturity. What did you think?
Joe: I totally agree. She opted out of the game both literally and figuratively, choosing to walk away from a rat race after realizing being ‘the best’ didn’t matter to her as much as staying true to herself. I wouldn’t call it selfless because she clearly made the decision for herself – not to save the other queens, but to maintain her peace of mind and stick to her set of morals. Honestly there’s something so refreshing and unexpected about that. Like, I get the angry people who are like “play the game bitch, stop the drama!” but there’s such value in reminding people that it (and success in a larger sense) is just a game, and that’s not what defines your worth as a person. Anyway, I’ll stop preaching, but I was both inspired and shook. What do you think RuPaul thought of it?
Patrick: I mean, RuPaul is a producer, no? She had to have known this was happening? But her reaction seemed so genuine. She looked pissed! And rightfully so: DeLa was the undisputed frontrunner. Anyway — let’s talk about those girl groups for a second.
Diva Kitty? SPARKLE KITTY? More like Reductive Kitty. Drag is divas. Drag is sparkles! I thought part of this challenge was to create a character, not temporarily change your stage name. Trixie, Ben, Thorgy really pushed themselves to create new characters. Milk, Aja and BeBe were all fine but they just sort of branded their go-to shticks. And I honestly couldn’t even tell you Chi Chi or Morgan’s girl group monikers.
Joe: Yes, Trixie and Ben were standouts on this one, which was especially surprising after they struggled during the rehearsal. Speaking of which, and continuing our praise of DeLa, but Adam Lambert was giving her some harsh-ish feedback and she was happily rolling with it. I know Trixie didn’t mean to be rude, but the way she interacted with Lambert did come across as dismissive. I think it was more Trixie shutting down than trying to be cooler-than-thou, but I can see why Lambert felt weird.
Patrick: Oh, I didn’t read into it that way at all! I felt like it was Trixie’s sense of humor and her jokes weren’t landing with Lambert? I was shocked that Adam was so into BeBe’s scatting. Part of this challenge was to write lyrics and she just sort of channeled MC Quakez’s viral “The Ting Goes” video. It was so bizarre?
Joe: I mean, it was entertaining, I wouldn’t say it was good per se. I’m still mystified by BeBe’s success (if you can call it that) this season. Did you think any of the eliminated queens stood out? I feel like if anything, I would have brought back Aja based on track record and ability to give perfect to-camera commentary.
Patrick: Aja was fun, but her makeup wasn’t nearly as cool as it’s been the rest of this season I’m predictable, but I would have brought back Thorgy. I knew it wasn’t happening given her lack of screen time in the studio, but she had the most exciting persona in the girl group challenge. If you were in Ben’s heels, who would have you sent packing?
Joe: There’s no way you could send Shangela packing with good conscience. I’d say Kennedy because her and Trixie have been similarly matched, but I do think Trixie’s star could shine brighter than Kennedy’s moving forward. But if we end up with a top 3 of Shangie, Trixie and Kennedy, I’m not mad! I’m curious to see how Morgan handles the return. Like DeLa tipped to, we really have no idea what she can do on this competition. But the think is, even if she brings it and impresses, she’s up against the best of the best. At this point you can’t just be great, you have to do things no one expects while maintaining a base level of excellence. And that’s a tall order for someone who’s returning to this season after one episode (and returning to the show after nearly 10 years). Who would you have sent home?
Patrick: I absolutely agree. I’d be shocked if the top three wasn’t Shangela, BeBe and Trixie. This season has been a ride!
Joe: I’m so happy this show exists; it genuinely makes my life so much better. Is that a sad thing to admit? Regardless, it’s true.