There is a lot to get through this week, so let’s jump right in to seeing how the girls stack up in the roast challenge.
Last week during Untucked, Raja expressed the fact that she didn’t much care if she wasn’t getting stars. She’s here, in her words, for “a ton of new fans.” Well, safe to say she’s right on both counts. Raja’s roast was masterful, but who’s surprised? Not only has she been consistently hilarious throughout this season, but Raja also nailed the stand-up challenge back in season three. Of all the queens onstage, Raja probably cuts the deepest with her jokes: going after Viv’s past drug abuse, A risky move to be sure, but by delving into subject matter the other queens don’t dare explore, it allows her jokes to feel the most original. Raja was my pick to win this week, but unfortunately, she doesn’t quite make the cut. She remains steady at two stars, keeping her tied for fourth with about half the cast. She’s got one last shot at a star, though — here’s hoping she can cross the finish line next week.
Ru’s favorite joke: “Monét just moved to Los Angeles, but her hairline moved to Recedia.”
My favorite joke: “The Vivienne has done so much ketamine; people are betting on her at the Kentucky Derby.”
“Your set was more low-key,” Michelle says pointedly to Yvie during critiques. This is code for “a slow start,” but Yvie was far from bad this week. And as the queen with the least experience roasting, this is a pretty impressive feat. Yvie doesn’t have nearly the number of laughs per minute of some of the top competitors, but she shines in her delivery and commitment to her jokes. Looking back on it, I don’t think “… I’ll give you time to look for it!” is a good punchline, but with Yvie’s pregnant pause and pitch-perfect delivery, I couldn’t help but laugh. On the runway, she’s one of the only queens to use the glow-in-the-dark theme to enhance her storytelling, making her solidly middle of the pack. Will this mildly upward trajectory be enough to make the top four? Almost certainly not, but I’m along for the ride!
Ru’s favorite joke: “Even Jinkx has had some plastic surgery done … I’ll give you time to look for it.”
My favorite joke: “She got her hairline done, which means she thought to herself: That’s the problem.’”
As a fanatic Shea Coulee stan for going on five years, on some level, this season of All Stars is bumming me out. Shea has long been considered one of the best competitors Drag Race has to offer, winning four challenges on her original season and receiving high praise for many more. She hasn’t been struggling this season — far from it. The judges have sung her praises more times than I can count, but when it comes down to it, another winner always edges her out. To borrow a phrase from Poet Laureate Valentina, this simply does not make sense with my fantasy, nor that of many other Shea fans. So understandably, many, including myself, have been manifesting a comeback for Shea in the final weeks of the competition. A sudden sweep that would make her a lock for the top four. But, unfortunately, it seems that’s just not going to happen. Because this week, Shea’s performance is, well, rather dull. The bulk of her set were compliments about how skinny Jaida is, which seems to be a generous edit. Luckily, I’m delusional enough to never give up hope. There’s a rumor (that I just made up) that next week is a choreography/rap/runway walk competition and it’s worth seven stars!! You got this, girl!!
Ru’s favorite joke: “When [Jaida] stands in front of a funhouse mirror, she looks like Monét X Change.”
My favorite joke: N/A
Jinkx all but tells us she’s winning the roast challenge at the top of this episode. Not only did she win almost every comedy challenge on season five, she’s essentially kept that streak up this season, too. So why would a roast be any different? It turns out it’s not. With the supreme confidence of a practiced stand-up and frequent performer, Jinkx takes the podium. She expertly repurposes her greatest hits (like her “snorting coke off a dick” bit that won her Snatch Game) while also writing new material that, if I didn’t know better, I’d guess was a part of a set she’s been delivering for years. “The roast is … in my wheelhouse,” Jinkx says with a sly smile in act one. It sure is. But then again, what isn’t? In a season of all winners, Jinkx has won five out of ten challenges, and the season isn’t even over. No matter how the final lip sync showdown turns out, it’s hard to see Jinkx as anything other than the undisputed queen of all queens. She’s earned it.
Mine and Ru’s favorite joke: “Yvie’s dick is so big, as I was snorting a line of coke of it, I had time to stop and reflect and realize: I’ve become my mother.’”
In one of the biggest upsets in Drag Race herstory, Trinity has come out on top in a roast challenge. I don’t know if it’s her newfound ease in the competition this time, or perhaps she took Jinkx up on her offer to teach a roast masterclass off-screen, but Trinity nails it this week. I’m immediately grateful to see her drop her character shtick: a comedic crutch that’s left her 0 for 2 in stand-up challenges throughout her Drag Race tenure. Instead, Trinity was her delightfully abrasive, country-ass self this week, a persona that’s far more natural to her and a lot funnier, too. It’s also heart-warming to me that Trinity’s best material comes from roasting her Twinner, Monét. The fandom has long imagined some years-long beef between Monét and Trinity, but at this point, it should be clear to even the most casual viewers that nothing could be further from the truth. Trinity and Monét are thick as thieves, and their ability to lovingly roast the hell out of one another proves that more than any produced confessional ever could.
Ru’s favorite joke: “Raja’s a tall drink of water. If that water came from Flint, Michigan.”
My favorite joke: “Monét’s a classically trained musician. In fact, she plays a great second fiddle to Bob the Drag Queen.”
Going into the challenge Trinity predicts Jinkx and Monét will be the top two for this challenge, which was my guess as well. Both are talented stand-ups, with roast wins already under their belt. So while Trinity may not have been exactly right, her instincts were right on the money. What I like most about Monét’s set is her adeptness at mixing up the formats of her jokes and punchlines. “I had the pleasure of seeing Jinkx at her one-person show … oh, sorry, there was one person at her show.” It’s a refreshing shake-up of the roast’s rhythm in a sea of “[blank] is so [blank]” set-ups. Monét is edged out of the top this week, but not for the lack of Ronan Farrow’s advocating. Monét remains at a bleak two stars, but if she wins my made-up challenge with Shea next week, all my dreams will come true!!
Ru’s favorite joke: “It gets butter.”
My favorite joke: “[On attending Jinkx’s show] That’s where I discovered I was narcoleptic.”
Unfortunately, our lovable frontrunner has the one true bomb roast this week. There’s an obvious attempt to edit around it, and the sound editing is heavy-handed with the laugh tracks, but there’s only so much fudging that we, as an audience, can buy. Jaida’s jokes are often gibberish, and when we can parse them, they don’t land. At three stars, though, Jaida is sitting pretty (both literally during the lip sync and figuratively in the competition). A mild roast mishap does nothing to dampen her spirits this week and even less to dampen her sterling track record.
Ru’s favorite joke: “The joke was that she’s a hot mess, but, baby … that won’t land right now in this moment.”
My favorite joke: Michelle’s incredulous squint.
In the parallel universe where Ru sold his fracking ranch and moved into a lovely seaside manor in Hampshire, England, The Vivienne might very well be the frontrunner of this competition. While her track record might not show it, Viv has been neck and neck with Jinkx almost every episode of this season with this week being no exception. Her punchlines are surprising in the best way, she leaves ample space to roast herself, and she eloquently articulates wordy set-ups like it’s nothing. A masterclass! It’s hard to pick a favorite joke or section due to how consistently funny Viv stays throughout. Another excellent showing from All Stars 7’s diversity hire.
Ru’s favorite joke: “Trinity, your catchphrase this season has been ‘I live!’ Sure, until that backstreet B-grade silicone migrates to a vital artery then, girl, ‘You die!’”
My favorite joke: “[The X Change Rate] was meant to be an exploration and reflection of Monét’s talent and personality, and, sadly, it was.”
This week’s top two are Jinkx Monsoon (again!) and Trinity the Tuck, who lip sync to Ava Max’s “Kings & Queens.” It’s a performance that, no matter which way you look, fails to get off the ground. On one side of the stage, Trinity appears to be simply out of ideas. Two weeks ago, she was miming anilingus; this week, she’s miming cunnilingus. It’s even staler now than it was then, and more importantly, it’s completely divorced from the song or its lyrics. Jinkx, on the other hand, seems to have decided to throw out the lip syncs as a concept altogether. She put her best foot forward during the Designing Women monologue, but other than that, what’s really the point? The chance at a small payday? Sure! But Jinkx’s eye is on the final prize. So no one is more surprised than Jinkx when Ru announces that she wins the showdown this week. A disappointing lip sync isn’t the end of the world, but it does point to a concerning possibility for the season finale. In all likelihood, Trinity and Jinkx will both be in the top four, and the episode will be prefaced around their respective abilities to perform an entertaining number. I certainly hope they’re saving their best material; otherwise, the season very well may end on a dud. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Until next week!