2017 was a dumpster fire of a year and tbh, as we wrap up January, 2018 seems like it’s heading that way, too. But a brief reprieve has arrived: a brand new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and 10 tried and true all-star queens to spend an hour a week with. How blessed are we?
Speaking of blessed, I have a pal who likens Drag Race to church—a weekly communion held at gay bars around the world where queer people and their allies drink up a nourishing dose of community and lightness. It’s the closest thing on television to self-care; the reality TV version of a SAD lamp, if you will. RuPaul’s Drag Race is not simply a silly show with men in heels and dresses. It is that, but it’s so much more, too. It’s an uplifting farce about gender, sexuality and our collective shot at perseverance.
Even if you’re watching solo on your couch rather than at a raucous viewing party, Drag Race is a chance to gasp along with the imagined audience at every look, twist and reveal (and death drop, of course). And the premiere of All Stars 3, the second season to be broadcast on the show’s new mainstream home, VH1, south of the border, delivered in spades (P.S. you can also watch in on OUTtv in Canada). After a stellar All Stars 2, this new crop might feel a bit like the benchwarmers to Alaska, Alyssa and Katya’s A-squad, but don’t get it twisted—they’ll give you plenty to gag over.
Now, let’s get to it. Here are the premiere’s most gag-worthy moments.
Drag Race‘s red dress moment
The Handmaid’s Tale has been everywhere in pop culture since its debut last April and now the Margaret Atwood book turned Hulu sensation has received the drag treatment we never knew it needed. The opening bit, a sketch style snatched from Drag Race’s goth step sister, Dragula, started the premiere off on a high note.
While Atwood’s recent actions have led many to tap unfollow, every Canadian Drag Race fan who loved The Handmaid’s Tale back in middle school still surely let out a “YAAS!” when the first two All Stars winners, Chad Michaels and Alaska, appeared in red dresses and white bonnets.
Bebe Zahara’s reveal
Come through, Camerooooooooon! The first ever winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bebe Zahara Benet, is the mystery queen Ru and co. have been teasing for weeks.
A little herstory lesson for the uninitiated: Bebe’s slayed the competition when they shot this show with a lens covered in Vaseline. She brought grace to a campy little show made on a shoestring budget and the prize she won was a paltry $20,000. While recent winners have toured the world with $100,000 in their pockets, selling out theatres and topping the iTunes charts, Bebe has faded into obscurity. The show she was on simply didn’t offer much to capitalize on. But Bebe is a *goddess* and she deserves a shot to catapult her career on the show she jump started.
BenDeLaCreme’s bra-busting burlesque routine
Any fan who’s caught one of the live Drag Race tours is likely to have seen Ben’s Russian Doll lingerie act, in which she hilariously removes one bra after another to reveal set after set of tassels. Seeing it again under the bright lights of the main stage only added to the allure of the number. It’s a gimmick Ben’s long had in her back pocket—but that’s what All Stars is about. You polish up your very best bits and deliver them to the masses, and this is a bit deserving of the platform.
Death drops for days
Death drops are becoming more of a prerequisite than a showstopper, but girl, did this episode have some good ones.
Let’s start with Shangie. BAM!
Then there was Kennedy Davenport, who cartwheeled straight into crouching tiger on top of a riser. A death drop, but inverted.
Last—and best!—Aja, who did Kennedy one better and death dropped right off the riser she cartwheeled onto. It! Was! Major!
Even Ru was gagged.
Same, girl, same.
Vanessa Hudgens vs. “Porkchop”
Ru’s giggly non-deliberations on All Stars have evolved into full-on bits. This one was amusing, if only for what it highlighted.
Like, A) why was Vanessa Hudgens the first judge of the season? Marc Jacobs, Tituss Burgess and Baby Spice are all en route. Couldn’t one of them have handled the premiere honours? Sorry but Hudgens doesn’t even have a hit under her belt big enough for a “Lip Sync For Your Legacy.”
And 2) Bebe is surely a talent worthy of a second shot now that the audience has snowballed to millions. But what about the real Porkchop, the first ever queen to be sent packing? If any queen’s deserving of another spin around the Drag Race carousel, surely it’s Victoria “Porkchop” Parker.
At any rate, Ben won the lip sync and sent Morgan McMichaels home. Ru declared Vanessa the winner and “Porkchop” lunch. Ben made a wise decision, but as for Ru? Sorry, mama. You should have went with those fluffy potatoes and that juicy, juicy pork chop.
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 airs on OUTtv on Thursday nights at 8pm ET and is available to stream on OUTtvGo.com