Wigs! Were! Snatched! And no, we don’t mean when Bebe Zahara Benet ripped off her wig during the lip sync to reveal … nothing? On Thursday’s very dramatic episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, front-runner BenDeLaCreme won yet another lip sync, granting her the power to bring back an eliminated contestant and send one of the remaining queens home. But instead of going with the natural, right, and just decision — a.k.a. bringing back Aja and eliminating Kennedy — she brought back Morgan McMichaels (!) and eliminated herself (!!), revealing a lipstick with her name painted on in Wite-Out. “This is the easiest choice that I have had to make this entire season,” Ben said, pointedly. “I’m going home.”
It was the face crack of the century, y’all.
Let’s go through some of the reactions.
Shangela: “What would Daenerys do? What would Daenerys do? What would Daenerys do?”
Kennedy: “Thank you so much for recognizing that I am a Glamazon bitch ready to rule the runway.”
Chi Chi: “Bye.”
RuPaul: “I would react more, but my doctor advises against it.”
Milk: [White tears.]
Morgan: “Is she gonna jump from there??”
Ben’s self-elimination will go down as the most shocking elimination in Drag Race herstory. It was certainly more shocking than when RuPaul decided to eliminate Eureka O’Hara last season on account of her knee injury, or when Willam went home for breaking “the rules,” or the double-elimination of Vivienne Pinay and Honey Mahogany for their lifeless lip-sync battle to canonical homosexual song “Oops!…I Did It Again.” Those moments felt justified, as the mother supreme was making a judgment only she had the power to make.
Instead, with All Stars rules in effect, Ben decided to go out on top, after an unprecedented run when she won five out of six challenges. It’s a track record better than Alaska’s run during All Stars 2 or Bob the Drag Queen’s during Drag Race season eight. This is closer to giantess Ann’s domination of the high-fashion season of America’s Next Top Model, or Paul Qui during the Texas season of Top Chef. Which is to say, this season will forever have an asterisk hanging over it. Yes, Bebe, Shangela, Trixie, Kennedy, or Morgan (lol) will win, but Ben left.
If she planned to go out on her own terms, Ben executed flawlessly. She will be remembered, and her decision will be referenced in future Drag Race jokes as That Bitch Who Did That. But was Ben planning something like this all along? In an interview with The Stranger last year, when asked why she wasn’t on All Stars 2, she replied tellingly:
Those TV producers are willing to ruin friendships, professional relationships, feelings of self-worth — all for some cheap entertainment. You won’t remember the details of that episode in a week. Those queens may have to work through that experience for years. I’m grateful for the experience I had [on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race], but I’ve already been through hell in my new show — I don’t need to go through it on theirs.
Her last words, too, might be the shadiest thing ever uttered on television: “I think the actual title is more important to them than it is to me.” It was a Ben-flavored mic drop.