“RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars 3” recap: Know thyself, henny

Last week, I wrote about the possibility of ultra fan-favorite Trixie getting the bitch edit. It’s tough to say if that possibility is still there–she was quite on point this episode, and there was, thankfully, a lack of forced quips. Maybe the forced quips are no more, and if that’s the case, that’s awesome. Regardless, one thing’s for sure; there are two queens definitely gunning for that Queen of Snakes crown–Milk and Thorgy.

One thing RuPaul says is “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” but one add-on she needs to add to that true statement is “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” That phrase, which is sometimes said more for its cool factor than for the actual wisdom, is basically a cool, hip way of saying, “Know thyself.” To be on a show like RuPaul’s Drag Race, where you’re gonna be judged and scrutinized from head to foot, you have got to go into it knowing exactly who you are. Part of loving yourself is knowing yourself inside and out, and loving yourself whether you do good or bad. That’s something Thorgy definitely doesn’t have down. If she knew herself well enough to know she’s not emotionally ready to be Ru’s microscope, she wouldn’t have signed up.

Thorgy is definitely a case of perfectionism gone awry. Speaking from experience, it’s all too easy to get in your head and start psyching yourself out by comparing yourself to other people. But Thorgy’s outbursts, bitterness and visible insecurities should be a lesson to everyone watching who has a problem with perfectionism. It’s all too easy to focus your energies on other people instead of focusing on just doing you. The challenge this week was to channel a famous diva and bring that character to the stage. Instead of seeing her diva, Stevie Nicks, as a hindrance or part of a huge conspiracy to take her down, she should have seen the character as a chance to truly infuse her own flavor. This was a character who could have been a slam dunk for someone up to the challenge of transforming Stevie Nicks from the hippie-esque lead singer of Fleetwood Mac and into a fun, exaggerated drag version, one that other drag queens might try to emulate in their own home clubs.

Instead, Thorgy chose to see what wasn’t there. She let herself believe the show was out to get her. I’d love to know why she would think RuPaul of all people is out to get her when RuPaul is the one who invited her on the show. Also, is Thorgy really going to stay mad at Shangela forever just because she didn’t save her? Thorgy should have known the chance for survival was 50/50, regardless of what she promised Shangela. Besides, how is Shangela going to ruin her friendship with Kennedy? As Kennedy said herself, cash money isn’t enough to break friendships over. Ironically, friendship is why a lot of people hated the Rolaskatox bond during All-Stars 2, because if the friendship wasn’t there, Roxxxy was ripe for getting sent home. But friendship is something that’s hard to shake, even in a competition setting. No one wants to break a bond over something as replaceable as money. And besides, Shangela knows Kennedy is someone who will step it up. To paraphrase Kennedy herself in her season, Kennedy is “a consistent competitor.” Long story short, Thorgy’s really childish if she’s going to let this color her opinion of Shangela forever. It’s called “playing the game.”

Another person with their childish britches on was Milk. I feel like I’m the only one who read her as tongue-in-cheek in the first episode; I thought she was in on the joke in her confessionals; I didn’t think she actually thought she was better than everyone else. But alas, I was wrong. Apparently, Milk does think she’s better than everyone, and because of that big head, she’s putting in, as Trixie said in last week’s reading challenge, “2 percent” of the effort she should be putting in. Hopefully she’s watching these episodes back so she can see how off-the-mark she was with her Celine Dion. Yes, Celine Dion did, in fact, wear that tacky getup to the Met Gala. But, that’s not the most iconic Celine look. If Milk wanted to do an iconic look from that same year, she could have chosen the white gown Dion wore to the Billboard Awards. Instead, Milk thought her s*** didn’t stink when she whined about being safe. She should be glad she wasn’t in the bottom two.

To be honest, I thought Milk was going to be in the bottom two. Yes, Thorgy had a piss-poor attitude during the entire challenge. But I still think she brought some level of Stevie to the performance. Was it great? No–refer back to what I wrote earlier. But I did think it was inoffensive enough to be safe. Milk’s on the other hand, was an offense to the Diva of the Great White North. Doing a bad Celine is like doing a bad Whitney or Patti; you just don’t. Milk should have been thanking her lucky stars and every deity she was declared safe and not up for elimination.

The top two were Ben De La Creme and Shangela, and rightly so, although I thought Aja was a good contender for the top two spot. Her Amy Winehouse was amazing, and for me, it was such a strong performance that I kinda hope Aja takes her Amy Winehouse imitation on the road. But Shangela and De La’s interpretations of Mariah Carey and Julie Andrews were masterful. They deserved the win. I also wish Trixie had gotten a special commendation for her makeup, because somehow she managed to make it both absolutely Trixie and absolutely Dolly Parton, which equals a truly scary look that you can’t turn away from. Like, my brain couldn’t process what my eyes were seeing–it’s like I was watching a real version of an anime Dolly Parton. But I loved it.

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Trixie Mattel as Dolly Parton
Trixie Mattel as Dolly Parton

Bebe was in the top three, and I’ll be honest and say I can see a bit of Thorgy’s agitation at Bebe being highly rated for her Diana Ross performance. Don’t get me wrong–Bebe’s performance was great. She gave everything that Diana Ross is, down to barely singing. Granted, the track they were singing to didn’t have much in the way of Diana vocalizations, and when Diana Ross sings, she sings well. I’m not going to act like I wasn’t impressed when she sang at the American Music Awards during her Lifetime Achievement performance. But nowadays, we know Diana Ross more for her ticks and performance habits. It’s that element that Bebe got down pat and, frankly, with the lack of singing for her part, that’s all that was required for Bebe to nail it. Does that mean that there’s a conspiracy against Thorgy? No. It’s simply how the cookie crumbles.

I can’t tell if RuPaul or the producers were being extra careful in how they assigned roles to the queens, or if the queens themselves came in prepared to do a certain diva, but it’s clear the divas were carefully chosen for each queen. If the queens already knew who they were going to be going in, then is it a conspiracy? Absolutely not. To go further, if the queens already knew who they were going to be, why would Thorgy assign herself Stevie? Let’s say that before coming to the show, they were just told to do an impression of a diva, but the producers didn’t tell them what challenge it was going to be for–it could be for Snatch Game, it could be for something else. So with this thought in place, and if it’s true that the queens did choose their divas beforehand, would it make sense for Thorgy to choose Stevie at all? She’s tough enough to lip synch to if you’re not willing to think outside of the box; just imagine how tough she’d be to imitate during the Snatch Game. Either way, you lose. Anyways, I’m just throwing out conjecture. The point still stands; Thorgy acted a fool on this episode. And so did Milk.

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Now, for the Lip Sync For Your Legacy. I was rooting for Shangela to win, since I felt like she would choose Kennedy. If there’s one thing about Shangela, it’s that she’s loyal. Also, I think she just has enough common decency to know how rude it would be to send a good friend home, especially when you’ll have to work with them after the show’s over. As much as Shangela loves alliances and stirring the pot, she wouldn’t put a friend out like that. Besides, I don’t think she trusted Thorgy with an alliance because of Thorgy’s mental state; Thorgy gets too riled up too easily and she’s always missing the forest for the trees. She’s never focused enough to keep her eye on the end goal. Shangela doesn’t like working with people who can’t stay focused. It’s that pageant training both she and Kennedy have that’s allowed them to build up their outer shell and weather the storm of competition. Thorgy, a true temperamental artist, doesn’t have that.

Even though I was rooting for Shangela, it was quite…disturbing to see Ben just give up after a certain point in the lip sync. It’s a good thing this wasn’t a regular season lip sync, because giving up would get you sent home. You could tell when Ben realized Shangela had won the lip sync–it was somewhere between Shangela pulling out the jump rope, jumping along to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump” and one of the many dancery “grab the audience in” moves that kept the judges enthralled. Seeing Ben start copying Shangela was off-putting. When Ben gets out of her depth, she gets out of her depth. After her spectacular showmanship with a song like Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” which is so not Ben, it was such a let down seeing her flail like this.

So, to round this recap off, Thorgy went home, Kennedy was saved, and Thorgy acted like a bratty baby afterwards. But this is All-Stars, which means those who leave don’t stay gone; we’ll see Thorgy again. But while Thorgy is probably a great person outside of a competition setting, I think I’m going to be rooting for Morgan to win whatever challenge lies ahead for the ousted.

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