BWW Breakdown: 'SHEquels,' Y'all! RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE ALL STARS
Last week's dramatic elimination prompts real talk amongst the remaining queens about how the "rules" of the game. Alyssa Edwards explained that her decision to give Ginger Minj the heeled boot was because she felt other bottom-runner Katya had been better in the competition on a more consistent basis. Phi Phi and Roxxxy see Alyssa's decision to eliminate based on personal choice rather than the judges' critiques as a betrayal of the sisterhood, though Roxxxy has the good sense to only voice her opinion on the confessional camera. A note from Ginger asking the girls to "play a fair game" incites the ladies to squabble, but Katya (thank you, Katya!) shuts them down. It's a competition, after all, and Alyssa can choose whomever she wants to kick out of the game.
Emmy-winning (!!!) host RuPaul enters in a fabulous blue ranch-hat accent piece, and announces this week's challenge: the girls will be starring in "SHEquels"--parody sequels of some of RuPaul's favorite movies. Phi Phi and Roxxxy hit the jackpot with ShowSquirrels; Katya and Detox get Velma and Weezy; and Alyssa and Alaska will be playing twisted sisters in Wha' Ha' Happened to Baby JJ?
As the ladies get ready for their close-ups, Phi Phi does double duty by beating her face and the dead horse of Alyssa's decision. Worse, she continues to give confessionals about how she wants the world to fall in love with Phi Phi. It's tragic to see her so desperately confuse winning the competition with winning fan support. The likeable queens are those with whom the audience relates--not the ones they're terrified of.
Katya and Detox film Velma and Weezy in full trailer-park zombie makeup, and include a half-naked pit-crew member in a cowboy hat for eye candy. Alaska and Alyssa give geriatric realness in Wha Ha Happened to Baby JJ, though Alyssa inexplicably does not know the lyrics to Camptown Races. Roxxxy and Phi Phi are a hilarious mother/daughter pageant girl-pair in Show Squirrels, though Phi Phi, wanting to avoid being typecast, opts to play the stage mom instead of the bratty pageant queen.
The runway challenge is "Two Outfits in One": outfits that transform on the stage. Phi Phi's fairytale-inspired look folds into a beaded ball gown. Roxxxy's matador outfit transforms into glittery, Latina pop-star realness bellbottoms, and the judges are wowed. Katya brings humor to the runway with a 1960s go-go dress that folds into a red gown. Her hair pulls away to reveal a satanic star on her forehead and her well-timed smile exposes blackened occult sacrifice teeth. Detox's Harijuku girl cloak fantasy becomes a train, then a bodysuit. Alyssa takes selfie to a whole new level with a Texas bouffant gown that falls to reveal flashing cameras. Alaska, however, slays the entire world by coming out in black puppet drapery that unfolds to reveal ... Lil' Poundcake! Alaska rocks the runway with foul-mouthed pageant puppet throwback.
All three shequels hit the mark, and the win goes to Phi Phi and Alaska. Detox is safe, leaving Alyssa, Katya, and Roxxxy in the bottom three. Phi Phi opts not to do a one-on-one consultation with the bottoms, another misstep from a performer who simply does not know how to be congenial. Alaska, of course, graciously hears potential eliminatees' final thoughts. It may not help her make her decision, but it shows she values friendship beyond the competition.
Phi Phi and Lil Poundacake lip sync for the 10K prize (and the burden of eliminating a competitor) to Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real." Phi Phi's traditional performance lacks the snotty-brat star-power of Lil' Poundcake, who flounces and spits her way to victory. Alaska, however, now has to eliminate a friend, and in an emotional moment, decides to send Alyssa home. Alyssa's a kooky kid, but a smart contestant, and she maintains humor and composure on the way out the door. She says it well in her epilogue: winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is. Alyssa is earnest and hungry, but not beyond decency, and she understand the first rule of drag: keep it enter-tainting. Always and Forever, Alyssa Edwards.
... YET: in the "face crack of the century" according to Katya, the two-way mirror in the workroom lights up to show the eliminated queens watching the proceedings-which basically consist of Phi Phi pissing and moaning about how much she hates Alyssa's fashion aesthetic. The queens are back .... And they look pissed.
To Be Continued...
Eliminated Queen: Alyssa Edwards
Projected Winner: Alaska