For this season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” RuPaul Charles brought back eight crowned queens to compete again for the chance to be named “Queen of All Queens,” earn a second crown, and take home a cash prize of $200,000. Over the last ten weeks we’ve reacclimatized ourselves to the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talents of Shea Couleé, Jaida Essence Hall, Yvie Oddly, Trinity the Tuck, Monét X Change, Jinkx Monsoon, Raja, and The Vivienne and were introduced to new twists: the Platinum Plunger and Legendary Legend Stars.
The plunger served as a “block” to one of the queens in the next week’s challenge, handed down from the winner of that week’s lip sync winner. The winner is determined by a Lip Sync for the Win between the top two performers in the maxi challenge, each of whom receive a Legendary Legend Star needed to advance to the finale’s Lip Sync Lalaparuza Smackdown.
As of episode 10, Jinkx was in the lead with four stars while both Trinity and Jaida had three each. Raja, Yvie, Monét and Viv all had two stars each while Shea only had one. Episode 11 was the final opportunity to earn a Legendary Legend Star with the promise that only four queens would garner a spot spot in the Lalaparuza. Check out our recap of the episode below to find out which queens earned the last stars and who became the four finalists:
While everyone was thrilled that the Platinum Plunger had been retired for the final challenge, Shea was concerned that as the only queen with only one star she was automatically out of contention to advance to the finale. Jaida reminded her that “this is Drag Race” and they never know what twists are around the corner. All the girls rallied around Shea to tell her how amazing she’s been all season and she shouldn’t feel bad even if she doesn’t make the finale.
Ru came to save Shea’s day the next morning with information about the finale challenge. For the final maxi challenge the queens would put their most talented foot forward in a “Drag Race Gives Back Variety Extravaganza.” As part of the giving back, the winner of the lip sync would receive a $30,000 donation to the charity of her choice in addition to the customary $10,000 cash tip to their own pocket. If that wasn’t a big enough prize, Ru also declared that the top two performers this week would earn three Legendary Legend Stars.
Those three stars meant that anyone, including Shea, actually had a chance at amassing enough stars to get into the finale. As explained by Shea, the prize for the final two also meant that who makes the finale all hinged on the talent show and that they were all only one challenge away from determining their fate.
Having planned their talents ahead of coming to the show, the queens were already mostly prepared for their performances. In the time that they prepared in the Werk Room, one by one they went to the main stage to meet with Ru and Michelle Visage for a “Tic Tac Chit Chat.” In those conversations, many of the queens touched on the growth they’ve experienced this season just by being up against such high caliber competition as well as this new challenges. For Viv the challenge was overcoming the nerves of working with U.S. queens she had idolized for so long and the growth for Monét was what Ru pointed out as a new comfort she exhibits on stage. Yvie went into detail about the struggle she continues to have with her medical condition that makes performing difficult on her body and Raja touched on how religion and faith impacted her growth as a child and relationship to her family.
On the main stage for the variety show, Ru and Michelle were joined by Carson Kressley and this week’s special guest judge Hannah Einbinder. As has become custom for most of the All Stars variety shows, a majority of the queens presented their own original tracks: Trinity danced to her country pop camp song “Southern Comfort,” Yvie to one of her hip hop tracks, Jaida went with her new song “Look Over There,” Jinkx sang her own cabaret song live, Shea delivered a pop performance of a song from her upcoming album, and Viv performed her Diane Warren-penned track “Bitch On Heels.” Only Raja and Monét differed slightly — Raja gave us a traditional Indonesian dance in full costume and Monét presented the first ever live opera vocal on the main stage.
This week there was no runway presentation and so the judges delivered critiques based on the talent performances only. With Trinity they appreciated her willingness to be fun and silly with both the song and her Americana wardrobe. Carson liked that Jinkx kept her brand within the 40s aesthetic and matching the element of her song. Michelle complimented Yvie’s creativity and Carson added that she’s always unique. The judges found Viv’s song catchy and Hannah called her an “elite performer.” Ru wasn’t shy about comparing Shea to the Jacksons in term of her performance quality and Hannah said she was stunned watching her. Hannah was inspired by Raja and commented on the aura she senses around her watching her perform, to which Raja offered that it might be her father watching her. Monét’s live vocal threw the judges for a loop, impressing them with pure talent and for looking gorgeous doing it. Michelle loved that Jaida gave a 90s rap video vibe and Hannah called her energy cute.
After further deliberation, Ru and the other judges decided that this week’s top performers were Monét and Shea. That immediately vaulted both of them into the top four position that they needed to qualify for the Lip Sync Lalaparuza Smackdown. For the fourth position, however, there remained a tie between Trinity and Jaida with their three stars. Because Monét led the pack with five stars, Ru gave her the “great responsibility” of breaking the tie by personally inviting one of the two tied queens to join them in the top four. Here is where the season-long alliance between Monét and Trinity finally paid off because despite respecting Jaida’s work and performance, Monét said she had to offer the spot to Trinity because of the herstory they made together. Ru then offered a hint to the bottom four (Raja, Yvie, Jaida and Viv) that she’d have more details for them later on.
First, the top two had to battle in a winner’s lip sync to determine which one’s charity would earn the week’s $30,000 donation. Shea and Monét went head to head in a performance of Kylie Minogue’s “Supernova” on behalf of their charities. On this track, both queens gave us their choreo-solid performances we’re used to, but with a little more sexual energy from Monét and harder hitting moves from Shea. The highlight was a moment when both queens softly laid down on the stage in a synchronous moment. Despite the similarly strong takes on the song, Ru declared Shea the winner.
As promised, Shea’s chosen charity Period Poverty Project earned $30,000 because of her lip sync win. But the other charities also earned a boost of $10,000 each–those were chosen by the other queens: Trinity – Planned Parenthood, Viv – Trans Lifeline, Monét – Color of Change, Yvie – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Raja – National Center for Trans Equality, Jinkx – Black Visions Collective, and Jaida – Free Black Therapy.
Ru asked all eight queens to return to the stage for more information on how next week’s Lip Sync Lalaparuza Smackdown would go down. She announced that though Raja, Viv, Yvie and Jaida didn’t qualify for the $200,000 Smackdown, they’d instead compete in their own second Smackdown for a cash prize of $50,000 and the She Done Already Done Had Hers crown. That meant that all eight queens would perform in the finale in two separate tournaments for two different cash prizes totaling $250,000!
Do you think Shea deserved to win in episode 11, and was Monét the right queen to also be in the top? Sound off on that and other topics of the season in the comments below and with other fans in our reality TV forum. Also be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds.