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 four 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 serves 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. In the first week, Shea won and gave Trinity the block, but then Jinkx won next and blocked Shea. In episode 3, Jaida earned this power and blocked Jinkx and in episode 4, Viv earned the right to bestow the block on Monét. So far, Shea, Jinkx, Monét, Jaida, Viv and Trinity hold one star each, while Trinity and Jinkx have both been successfully blocked.
In this week’s episode 5, titled “Draguation Speeches,” the eight queens get C.U.N.T.I. by adding “inspirational” to their list of qualifications via commencement speeches targeted at queer youth. Which queens earned the week’s Legendary Legend Stars and which of the top two got to block another queen for next week? Check out our recap of the episode below:
Grateful and proud to finally earn her own Legendary Legend Star, Viv returned to the Werk Room prepared to hear from Monét about the block, but perhaps to deflect she decided to open up to everyone that had Jinkx not also been in the top two she would have used her block there instead. Viv’s reasoning is that Jinkx shares the most talents in common with her and it would make most sense for her personally to stall Jinkx’s advancement in the competition. Jinkx takes the admission in stride, but is clearly bothered that Viv would have considered being that strategic with her power.
The next morning Ru arrived to present this week’s maxi challenge: an opportunity to “inspire the children” by writing and delivering a commencement speech live on the main stage. To prepare for the challenge, Ru offered them the chance to workshop their ideas in front of Carson Kressley and the special guest judge Nikki Glaser. Further to that, Ru gave Monét the power to determine the order of presentation and delivered the twist that the two recipients of the Legendary Legend Stars would each earn an extra one to give to any other queen of their choice.
The prospect of having an extra star on the table put some pep in the step of all the girls, but none more than Monét. Because of her power to determine the order, Monét attempted to make deals with the other queens where she’d give them the spot in the order they prefer if they consider giving her their extra star if they win. Based on their previous alliance, Trinity and Monét each agree to give each other their extra star if they win. After Monét made her rounds, she decided on the following order: herself, Shea, Trinity, Raja, Jaida, Yvie, Jinkx, and Viv. Viv saw the move to put her last “awfully petty,” but was not scared because she believed her idea would fit perfectly in that spot.
During the workshop session with Carson and Nikki, they stressed to the queens that the opening line has to be great because it sets the stage and reels the audience in. Overall the girls included a lot of self-deprecating humor in their speech ideas, but Carson wanted them to add insincerity in order to remain inspirational along with the sass. Shea’s angle was to inspire through self confidence, Viv wanted to do a drunk character, Jinkx hoped to address trauma responses, Yvie alluded to failure as success, and Raja created a spiritual-adjacent character to perform as.
While getting read for the main stage, Jinkx admitted to Monét that she was a little perturbed by Viv’s wish to block her last week. Jinkx acknowledged the truth that they have similar talents, but it was clear that if Jinkx won that Viv would be on the table to receive a block from her. The other piece of the puzzle was the consideration everyone would take about giving away a star and the obvious target for those could be the queens who haven’t received one yet (Raja and Yvie).
On the main stage, Ru was joined by Carson and Nikki as well as series judge Michelle Visage. Monét opened up the commencement speeches with a couple hiccups — not only did her hair pick fall out of her wig, but she also seemed to stumble upon her script and miss the right pacing of her jokes. Following her, Shea got through her self-empowering speech with smooth delivery, Trinity landed a touching moment about her real struggle with learning as a kid, and Raja’s character as a slightly ditzy soothsayer sorceress was a hit with the judges. Jaida’s best joke referenced Trump University, Yvie hit close to home with Ru on the topic of failing your way to success, Jinkx was hilarious with a witch gag and story about being hit by a car, and Viv brought it all home while staying in character as a drunk sister on a sobriety journey.
For the “Veiled It!” runway category, Monét presented a baby blue bird in a cage mask, Shea felt inspired by her grandmother’s gardening hobby in accordion pleats, Trinity wore another exaggerated train, Raja played on the French word “voile” in a Vogue magazine cover, Jaida wore a huge black veil, Yvie went with beaded veils upon veils, Jinkx created a Spring look with an illusion of butterflies carrying her veil, and Viv put in a ball gag for a bright blue bondage look.
During critiques, the judges called Monét’s runway look “iconic” for its balance of glamour and humor, gave Shea props for how comfortable and relaxed she was in the challenge, and weren’t mad at Trinity for wearing another train because it works so well for her. Between Raja’s performance and her runway, the judges respected her creativity. They also liked Jaida’s ideas in both instances and told Yvie that she pushed herself outside of her box and Ru thought the points she made in her speech were important. They thought that Jinkx yet again found a way to put her own spin on challenges through the creation of her character and appreciated that Viv was able to remain in character throughout the entire challenge even while other queens were presenting.
Following the critiques, Ru welcomed special guest Nancy Pelosi as a surprise for the queens and to remind everyone of the importance of having their voice heard through their vote. And after further deliberation, Ru delivered the decision that the top two performers of this week were Jinkx and Raja! That gave Jinkx her second Legendary Legend Star and Raja her first, as well as putting a second in their hands to give away at the beginning of next week’s episode.
To determine whether Raja or Jinkx would earn the power to block another queen, they lip synced to Lizzo’s “Better in Color.” For her third lip sync, Jinkx yet again found a way to incorporate humor into the lyrics of a song that isn’t necessarily funny like in the lines “big dick energy” while swinging her arm in full circle. While Jinkx moved around the entire stage, Raja remained planted in one spot on her side and gave a more relaxed, bounce from side to side rendition. In the head to head, Ru preferred Jinkx and declared her the winner of the week, giving her a $10,000 cash tip and the Platinum Plunger to hand to another queen. By no surprise, Jinkx used the opportunity to immediately nullify the threat that Viv could pose to her by giving her the block.
Do you think Jinkx deserved to win in episode 5, and was Viv the right queen to block? 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.