Come on, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season six! Let’s get traumatized!
When you’re spilling this much tea while unpacking emotional baggage, things are bound to get messy. (I hope someone brought a Tide pen.) This week’s challenge tasked the queens with revealing intimate details of their lives and most devastating memories all for our viewing pleasure.
But the real juicy stuff happened off the main stage, where it appeared once and for all Jan was about to snap. In fact, it feels like this whole season could end with Jan waking up from a coma, the whole season having only taken place in her mind.
Truly, if you love to watch Jan squirm, this week’s episode basically feels like a supercut.
It all starts with the ceremonial certification of the lipsticks. If you recall, Jan was a bit preoccupied with prognosticating how all the gals would vote last week when she made her vote. She lost the lip sync, so it seems a bit of a nonissue, but when the queens realize the vote is unanimous (or, as Kylie says, “anonymous”), you can see Jan begin to panic.
While all the other queens chose to send home Yara, Jan picked A’Keria, based on wins. It’s a much bigger deal to Jan than it is to the other queens. She goes into a bit of a tailspin needing to know if they all agree to make these decisions mathematically going forward or not.
(It should be noted that every season this sort of “objective” rule is attempted, it never works. There are too many intangibles, and how do you qualify wins vs. lip syncs vs. mini challenges? It starts to feel like an acting challenge inspired by Hidden Figures.)
Again, these queens are unbothered. They tell Jan they’re assessing things a bit more holistically, but the ambiguity is too much for Jan to Jandle.
And herein lies Jan’s central struggle. She is so fixated with giving people — the fandom, Mama Ru, the other queens — what she thinks they want. It gives everything she does that thirsty energy. That’s why she’s struggling with these votes. She’s spending too much time thinking about the “right” answer than doing the sort of soul-searching to make a personal decision.
If ever there was a week to drop the act and be real, it’s this one. Continuing a hot streak of well-crafted challenges, our maxi challenge this week is dedicated to Jada Pinkett Smith’s web show, Red Table Talk. The beloved chat show is famed for its no-holds-barred, vulnerable conversations. Ru barely puts a twist on the format for Pink Table Talk, but it’s a much more compelling way to get to the heart of these queens than Ru’s podcast or Tic-Tac chat.
It might have to do with the queens talking to each other, versus talking to Michelle and Ru. There’s an ease of candor throughout all of these conversations that leads to some really deep revelations.
Well, maybe not an ease in every conversation …
Ru lets everyone get into groups of three and choose a topic: Sex, Body or Motherhood. After the chats, this week’s runway is Clash of the Patterns.
How’d everyone do?
Team Sex: Eureka, A’Keria and Trinity
What a misstep for the other queens to let these three come together. First off, Eureka is already an established television talent, thanks to the wonderful We’re Here, so this is already up her alley. A’Keria is looking to bounce back after barely escaping elimination for two weeks. To cap it all off, we’ve got Trinity, who is having a stellar redemption season and is enjoying frontrunner status.
Once they take it to the table, they’re great. A’keria shares that she used to live as a trans woman, but transitioned again to live as a man when out of drag. I hope we hear more about this later this season, because where else on television are these conversations happening?
Trinity discusses what it’s like to have sex as an openly HIV-positive individual. It leans a little too much on educating, rather than her story, but she has other moments throughout the conversation that are light or more off-the-cuff.
Eureka doesn’t disappoint in her role as moderator. She keeps the conversation moving briskly, opens up about her sex life and has just the right jokes to punctuate her story without distracting.
These three are also far and away the best dressed on the runway. A’Keria in particular once again walked a gorgeous lewk inspired by a mannequin, sewing patterns and soft measuring tape wig. Not the first time we’ve seen this kind of thing, but it’s my favorite take so far.
Eureka is head-to-toe flawless in an absolutely exquisite, expertly designed gown that fits her perfectly and mixes wildly different patterns flawlessly. Just stunning.
Trinity brings it, too! Her patterned eleganza has definite Black Panther vibes, and she looks note perfect.
The judges have no choice but to award them top team of the week. I mean, put these three on Wow Presents+. (Or Logo. Or Paramount+. Or VH1. Or Gas Station TV. Whatever, we’ll buy it, you know we will.)
However, all three queens are merely SAFE.
Team Motherhood: Ra’Jah, Kylie and Scarlet
Scarlet really digs her heels in to nab this topic, because she’s got two moms. It’s a cute story. Her mom met her partner later in life at a yoga class. They’re both named Sherry. It’s adorable.
The problem is all in Scarlet’s delivery. This is not a character challenge, and Scarlet keeps dipping into character. It’s like a nervous tic. It’s not exactly like a TikTok influencer trying to show their “goofy” side, but it’s got the same energy, if that makes sense?
On the runway, Scarlet wears a beautiful idea, which is a dress printed with her grandparents love letters, but it’s one of my least favorite things she’s worn this season. You can tell she was sort of enchanted by the concept, which is great, but the presentation lacks that chic edge she’s been bringing.
Ru rips into her performance, giving it one of the most savage reads in the show’s herstory. She says Scarlet made her “uncomfortable.” Could there be a worse critique to get during such an authentic, personal challenge?
Ra’Jah goes into the topic a little concerned, since she’s got a complicated relationship with her conservative mother. It’s clearly difficult for her, but ultimately seems cathartic.
It provides a good opportunity for Kylie, playing moderator, to connect and share her own advice. It’s a powerful exchange, but when the focus turns to Kylie, she offers a pretty underwhelming story about her dog. The judges don’t buy it, and she’s up for elimination.
Team Body: Ginger, Pandora and Jan
Although not her first choice of topic, Ginger throws herself into the body issues theme. Of course, she can talk about what it’s like as a bigger gal in the queer community, but she also opens up about her medical issues and is a sparkling hostess the entire chat. It’s a strong enough performance to snag her the week’s win.
Pandora is fine. She discusses getting older, losing her abs. She makes just the right amount of jokes to keep it light, but without being overly hammy. She gives great runway, in maybe my favorite look she’s ever worn, inspired by Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
And then there’s Jan. Oh, boy. As you can imag-Jan, Jan really Jans this one. She’s so eager, it’s almost like an SNL sketch about a morning show, with none of the gravitas of Red Table Talk. At one point she does (a very rehearsed) joke about “the vulnerability the judges are looking for.” It just comes off as less of a joke, and more of the all-consuming thought Jan can’t move past long enough to talk about anything else. Just because it’s true, you still shouldn’t say it.
The judges rightfully read Jan for her runway, which looks like something Charli XCX would wear if she played the Misfits in another reboot of Jem and the Holograms.
So, already, Jan is on edge. Then, they go backstage to untuck and Scarlet makes her move. Instantly, before anyone else could seize the narrative, Scarlet establishes that she got glowing critiques, completely omitting Ru calling her uncomfortable.
Talk about alternative facts! You can see Jan recoil. She’s twitching like it’s an encore of “Womanizer.” How NO ONE says anything is both shocking and so, so fun to watch.
Because Jan has the most to lose here. It feels like it’s between Scarlet and Jan, so if the three safe queens who missed hearing the judges buy into Scarlet’s story, it’s Jan who will likely go home. Jan is very direct with Ginger, but there’s no big blowup with Scarlet in front of everyone.
There’s a quick fake out with this week’s lip sync assassin. At first, Bianca “Never Lip Synced” del Rio is revealed. It’s just a gag to get a few Bianca barbs in before we get the real lip sync assassin of the week, Mayhem Miller. Eh.
Luckily, Ginger absolutely murders a performance of Lizzo’s “Phone.” Not a moment is wasted. Mayhem is fine, and, more importantly, plays along with Ginger for some really great exchanges. Ru loves it, and Ginger grabs the cumulative $30k pot that’s been building. She pulls out the lipstick and sends Scarlet home.
So where does that leave us now? Let’s run down our rankings.
- I’m sticking with my girl Trinity at number one. She executed her vision perfectly this week during Pink Table Talk and on the runway. She gets more likable every episode, and I’m obsessed with everything she’s wearing.
- Eureka is not to be underestimated. Last week’s high placement felt a little flukey to me, but she’s yet to stumble so far. There’s a great maturity in Eureka, and she’s really learned how to leverage that big personality as to not always suck up all the air in the room. I love this iteration of Eureka.
- Ra’Jah may have lost a little steam, but this was an important week for her to show a more vulnerable side. She may not have slayed any individual part of the week, but the willingness to let those walls down goes far with Ru.
- Started from the bottom, now Ginger is here. She caught a few bad weeks, but this week’s edit was determined to sell the story of Ginger’s comeback. And it did! How could you not love that lip sync? It was so, so good, and she looked amazing.
- Pandora is holding strong, but slipping to the middle of the pack. She delivered on the assignment this week, just barely sharing enough for credit. Her runway was really strong, but she needs a breakout performance, and soon.
- I do so hope this is the start of an A’Keria bounceback. These runways have not been given the love they deserve. I can certainly envision a future in which A’Keria’s revelation empowers her to be more authentically herself overall in this competition and leads to a resurgence. Well, a blogger can dream, at least.
- Believe it or not, I don’t intend to be cruel to Jan. But the only way through this obsession with achievement and perfection and people-pleasing is only shattered by accepting the absurdity and futility of guessing what anyone wants. Wouldn’t you love to see what Jan could do if Jan truly didn’t give a f***? If she can’t break this pattern soon, it will be her downfall this season.
- I’m not sure why Kylie isn’t vibing with the judges just yet. I thought her moment with Ra’Jah was really powerful, even if her own story was sort of meh. Her Steven Tyler was overlooked, and her runways have all been killer. It does feel like she may be on borrowed time unless she can really start to stand out.
- It was a tough week to pick someone to go home, but Scarlet was probably the right pick. I also found her Pink Table Top tone to be unnerving, and the gown was a snooze. (A lovely, touching snooze, but a snooze all the same.) I know (and she clearly knows) she has a lot more to show, and I would be interested to see her fight her way back to the competition through whatever game-within-a-game is yet to unfold.
How would you rank the queens?