Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race Recap: This Isn’t RuPaul’s Best Friend Race Anymore

Guys, I need to confess something: I seriously can't stand Shannel. She's like that annoying, bitchy popular girl's best friend that hangs off her every word and gets to sit at the cool kid table just because she happens to have one friend in the popular clique. You’re not cool! In this case, the popular girl happens to be Chad Michaels — probably the best queen still in the competition — and so I'm excited to (hopefully) see her dreams annihilated now that the cunt-testants are all on their little lonesomes and competing as individuals. Praise Drag Jesus (whom I believe likely resembles Patti Labelle).

As we head into the final round, the four discuss what it’s like being drag friends but also drag enemies as they prepare for the challenge. It’s all teeth (and faux tits) out. Ru delivers the deets of the final challenge, addressing the queens in a Ketchup-toned ensemble (set off by a jewel-toned salesman yellow tie and purple shirt). Ru explains that the four are taking their acts on the road at the World Famous Comedy Store and must prepare short little stand-up routines. And they should fight to the death, because “This is not RuPaul’s Best Friend Race anymore.” To help the ladies, Saturday Night Live alum Cheri Oteri will provide special one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Jujubee goes first with Cheri: Jujubee makes a few jokes about her family’s history as Laotian immigrants. Chad Michaels sticks to age jokes — and they are shockingly unfunny (though he manages to still pull of his Pashmina scarf). Shannel is (typically) defensive and ass-kissy, which is admittedly a hard line to toe. And Raven wants to play up her slut angle, but it’s kind of falling flat. Nobody knows better than me that talking about what a whore you are doesn’t a joke make. WHORE!

The next day, the contestants are presented with their dragmobiles. Shannel and Jujubee are given Delta Work as a driver, while Chad and Raven get Ongina, and finally the double entendre of “drag race” can be realized. The girls’ first challenge is to be interviewed by E! online senior editor Marc Malkin, who appears to be (no doubt) both frightened and aroused. He’s wearing a great bow tie. Per the usual, Shannel is just talking, talking, talking away. As Marc Malkin and the viewers at home fall asleep, she and Chad dominate the conversation, which means that Jujubee and Raven have some catching up to do.

Then the girls have to go to a press conference because Hamburger Mary’s is naming a burger after them. The girls do a really wonderful job at selling their meat, as you might expect. The Mayor of West Hollywood, John Duran, presents them with the key to the city. There’s crying. There’s always crying when hamburgers are involved.

And then it’s time for the girls to head to the Comedy Store to do their comedy routines. There’s more changing in the car, and the requisite “Lost in L.A.” montage. Jujubee is up first, dressed like a Silver Lake hipster, and does a kick ass impression of her Asian grandmamma. Chad goes next, winning the crowd over with a San Diego meth joke, but goes over her time limit. Raven makes a bunch of pretty funny jokes about having sex in jail but then kind of loses the plot. Shannel is, typically, kind of annoying, but cracks a funny joke about pantyhose not having room enough for a penis. So true.

Another Ashton Kutcher Nikon commercial, and we’re back for the final runway show. To really push it out, Ru brings in the inimitable Beth Ditto. I deserve to be in the hall of fame because “I don’t let wardrobe wear me, I wear it … I can ride a unicycle … ” What?

Ru is serving dressed-to-kill realness. Chad Michaels does drag warrior in a formfitting black catsuit. Jujubee goes pageant queen, “serving you up some fierce sexy, fierce realness.” Shannel struts the runway in what looks like a plush lobster costume, but calls it “Cirque du Soleil realness." And Raven gives “quintessential Raven realness,” which apparently involves dressing like an In Living Color fly girl.

Cheri Oteri loves Chad, as does Beth Ditto, who coos to Chad “you’re so sophisticated.” The judges have nothing bad to say about Chad. Jujubee gets high marks for her comedy routine, but Michelle Visage reads her for her shoes. Everybody reads Shannel for her comedy performance, but Santino loves her costume. Raven gets read for having shiny makeup. Cheri tells Raven that she could be a profesh comedian, which is pretty high praise. There is all too little Beth Ditto in this segment.

The judges deliberate. Michelle loves Chad Michaels but worries that she’s too predictable. Santino and Beth love how “practiced” she is. Jujubee gets high marks for personality, but the judges think that her reserved nature holds her back from going all the way. Beth Ditto hates Shannel’s comedy routine, though Michelle backs her up. And Raven? Santino thinks she’s gotten “cooler, sexier, and funnier” as the challenges have gone along.

“I feel like my four favorite actress are up for an award,” says Ru. “I’d rather pull out my two front teeth,” says Beth. Please don’t do that. But alas, a decision must be made, and a queen must ascend to the All Stars throne. It all feels strangely anticlimactic, doesn’t it? Especially since we know they’re all actually friends in real life. Just please don’t let it be Shannel.

“You are all my legendary children, but there’s room for just one inductee to the Drag Race Hall of Fame,” says Ru. Shannel and Jujubee are both told they’re not winners (Yay! But also, sad!).  It’s down to Raven and Chad Michaels — two fierce queens lip-synching for their lives to RuPaul’s new track, “Responsitranity.”

And the winner is … Chad Michaels. Could it really be anyone else?

And that’s it for this RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. It’s been real. Can I get an amen?