RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars : Cast Evaluation

PHOENIX DELITE WUZZ ROBBED!

So the cast for RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars has finally been revealed. Or at least for the first iteration. Once it’s succesful I’m sure they’ll re-run it every year. Or even if it isn’t succesful : Project Runway is getting a second All-Stars series despite being the first run being amongst the worst ever committed to reality tv history. But I digress. 12 queens have been revealed, with a more or less even spread amongst the series, and no real surprises or odd decisions. That weren’t prefaced by a lengthy facebook vote trolling campaign anyway. Of course this won’t stop me going through the cast and expressing my informed opinions on all concerned. The following is an overview of participant by series, with each cast-member assessed based on my own personal enthusiasm for their return, as well as whether their impact on Drag Race History warrants their return.

Series 1

NINA FLOWERS!

Drag Race All Star Score : ****

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : ****

Nina was of course the break-out star of Series 1 and, Ongina apparently being on drag-hiatus, by far the most obvious pick of the 8 queens who competed in it to return. Over the years “Nina and Bebe were both talented queens who deserved to win and it was a shame that only one of them could” has slowly but surely morphed into “OMG NINA WAS ROBBED!” and it would be a harsh viewer indeed who denied Nina the opportunity to come back and once again dress like a haute-couture Mother Brain. My only reservation is that since Nina competed, Drag Race has taken a turn for the campy, and I don’t know if she has the versatility to compete. Can you imagine Nina shilling Disco Greasy Shortenings? Doing the stand-up challenge? Dressing up like a furry’s wet dream, peeing on a fire hydrant and singing about the Bitch Ball? I hope she finds it within herself to sing to that level, because I’d hate for her to be the erstwhile favourite who comes back and blots her copybook, like when Nadia went mental on Ultimate Big Brother. And let’s face it, somebody IS going to trash their reputation here.

SHANNEL

Drag Race All Star Score : **

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : ****

I feel like Shannel’s legacy has devolved down to “that really bitter one from Series 1”, which is a bit sad, because she had so many memorable moments, and was really the first contestant to bring the art of naked desperation (recently practiced by such drag race luminaries as Jiggly Caliente and The Milan Invasion) to the show. Feuding with Santino, trying to seriously rep for the Gay Community so hard with her AIDS message you could practically see her arms fly out of their sockets, yelling at everyone for not paying her enough compliments, claiming that she should have won Literally.Every.Challenge, and of course those runway outfits. You know, the ones where she juggled naked or contrived a wardrobe malfunction or shot squirty cream out of her tits at Snoop Dogg and some Gummi Bears. Anyway, if there’s anything you can say about Shannel, it’s that she really wants it and I anticipate the fury and ambition she will bring to All-Stars. I mean look at her outfit there. She’s already started over-doing it. I cannot WAIT. Especially if she makes Snatch Game.

TAMMIE BROWN!

Drag Race All Star Score : *

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : **

Tammie Brown is the first of two left-field choices in the show’s All-Star casting, given that she was eliminated in the second episode in favour of AKASHIA of all people. On the one hand, her determinedly retro drag has its admirers, and there’s every chance that she can do something impressive if she doesn’t bolt at the first sign of trouble. At the other hand, she’s a quitter and her drag was pretty sloppy first go around. I mean, we’ve ALL been made nervous by Michelle Williams’ attempted solo career at one point in our lives, but it’s no reason to throw in the towel and just do the hula hula dance instead. I’m not actively dreading Tammie’s presence but she needs to pull out something special to stop me wishing she hadn’t been rejected in favour of Akashia again.

Series 2

RAVEN!

Drag Race All Star Score : *****

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : *****

Raven’s post-series rise has truly been a lesson to every budding reality show contestant. Never have I seen a contestant so successfully rehabilitate their on-show reputation. Raven’s revisioning has now reached the point where online commentary is openly committing fictions like calling Tatianna the villain of Series 2, with all the insouciance of people who didn’t spend 9 episodes calling Raven a twisted hateful jealous old slag-pit trash-bag bitch. Regardless, I will always love Raven for being the true villain (and most talented queen) of Series 2. Her combination of being fair, accurate, humble and insightful as to her own failings, whilst being rampantly inaccurate and spiteful about others, is a rare combination. Both in a reality show contestant and in human beings in general. I have faith that Raven will represent herself more than adequately in All-Stars, performing impeccably whilst spewing venom at whichever child pisses her off most. Probably Manila, let’s face it.

JUJUBEE

Drag Race All Star Score : *****

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : ***

The level of love that Jujubee inspires online never fails to surprise me. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an engaging personality who could read for filth and whose lip-sync to Black Velvet will forever remain in my Top 10 Drag Race lip-syncs, but she had a habit of utterly falling apart in challenges and I think a lot of the residual affection comes from her being the least disliked member of the show’s most hated Final Three EVAH. I hope when she comes back she justifies the Internet’s faith in her to deliver at the highest level.  Seriously, I’ve seen more people rooting for Jujubee to win than all of the other queens combined, and I hope she’s ready to carry the hopes and dreams of the People on her shoulders. Or at least does what she’s been cast to do, which is to spew out quotes from Paris Is Burning with a sneer on her face. After all, reading is fundamental.

PANDORA BOXX!

Drag Race All Star Score : *****

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : *

I think my use for Pandora Boxx ran out exactly at the point where all her fans started calling her “Pandy Bear” and I threw up all over myself. My Pandora Boxx hopes for All-Stars run to the whole thing not just being an excuse to grant her the win and that’s more or less it.

Series 3

MANILA LUZON!

Drag Race All Star Score : ****

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : *****

Yeah, so Manila is my favourite Drag Race contestant of ALL TIME (or at least that’s been cast, bloody Willam denying BASTARDS) and as such I’m beyond glad that she’s been cast. Seriously, I’d got myself into such a fug over her not being identified during that blacklight preview clip that I read the cast list fully three times to make sure that she was on. And I read at least a secondary school level, most of the time, so it’s not as though that level of overkill was even necessary. Manila’s not necessarily the easiest person to root for, being an obnoxious rich kid whose entire schtick was borderline racist jokes, and I don’t imagine she’ll ever win, but I swear, the moment of the preview trailer where she went wonky-eyed (for the 152nd time) made me laugh harder than anything Pandora Boxx did, and I am already cracking my knuckles preparing my defences of her tired old act for however long she lasts. MORE DONNA SUMMER LIP-SYNCS PLEASE.

ALEXIS MATTEO!

Drag Race All Star Score : ***

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : *

Obviously if you’re going to cast from Series 3 at all, your All-Stars series is going to a certain extent be a re-run of the never-boring “Heathers” vs “Boogers” debate. Unless you cast Mariah, which they really should have done, but I digress. The larger problem though, is that the casting has left All-Stars feelings a battle of the second-string Heathers and Boogers. Obviously Raja’s absence as Highest Heather of Heathers is unavoidable, because she’s barred as a winner, and also nobody likes her ass any more anyway. But the selection of Alexis Mateo over Shangela is a transparent mistake. Appearing on three series, Shangela defines Drag Race, and it doesn’t even matter that she finished two spots below Alexis. She was the Queen Booger and didn’t just go “BAM!” and wear comedy outsized boobs. Every time I see Alexis on All-Stars I’m going to be wishing it was Shangela instead. Or, to be honest, SLAM.

YARA SOFIA!

Drag Race All Star Score : **

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : ****

On the other hand, I’m super-excited about the return of Yara Sofia. That might make me a giant hypocrite, but I don’t care. Did Alexis spend an entire shuffling around on her knees pretending to be a hyper-sexual constantly shitting dwarf dressed up as the enfanta? No, no she did not. Yara Sofia took a while to get into gear during Series 3, but when she did, divine madness occurred. The Puerto Rican Crazy ESL Queens have always been one of my favourite variety of Drag Race contestant, and Yara was by some large margin the craziest. If she managed to hit the ground running this time I think we could be in for something truly special – even more so than her Series 3 elimination. Never before have such raw emotions been displayed on reality tv, not even to Patti LaBelle.

MIMI IMFURST!

Drag Race All Star Score : *

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : ***

I guess when evaluating Mimi’s casting you have to bear in mind that it is in fact a joke. She is the Magikarp of the competition, mostly here because she successfully ran a Facebook campaign to get herself cast again, on the grounds that it’d be really funny to have someone as unpopular and hated as she was be in an All-Stars edition. To be honest, as in the case of Tammie, I think Mimi is someone who could have been a much stronger contestant than she turned out to be. And as with Tammie, whether she comes back and redeems herself is probably a case of attitude/not pissing off the rest of the cast with your incessant whining and crying to the degree that they all either actively avoid you or spontaneously (/”spontaneously”, after all it WAS Shangela) throw drinks in your face. I can’t see it happening, but on the other hand I CAN see her physically assaulting someone again, so I’m all for her presence for the one episode she’ll last.

Series 4

CHAD MICHAELS!

Drag Race All Star Score : ***

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : **

Is there anyone out there truly excited by the return of Chad Michaels? I mean, it’s always dicey for contestants from the immediately preceding series who return for an All-Stars, because we only just got done watching them and haven’t had time to really miss them yet. But the thought of the vanilla-beige-butterscotch fog of Chad Michaels seeping into my house again so soon isn’t really doing it for me on any level. On the plus side, I’m sure I’ll find everything she does pleasant enough to watch and moderately interesting, but I can’t summon up the energy to really care about any of it. Especially as Season 4 lasted for approximately 27 episodes, 3 clip shows and 2 reunions as it was.

LATRICE ROYALE!

Drag Race All Star Score : ****

Monkseal Enthusiasm Star Rating : *****

Latrice on the other hand? Never gets old. (Sidebar : Latrice being the only black queen of the season means I now feel sufficiently far away from everyone being all “RU IS JUST LOOKING FOR CLONES OF HIMSELF AND WILL NEVER LET ANY WHITE PERSON WIN!” after a whole TWO African-Americans won that I can forget that icky mess ever happened. Thank GOD.)

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12 thoughts on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars : Cast Evaluation

  1. Joel

    I hope Pandora crashes and burns horribly so the whole ‘She was so good and deserved to go much further’ thing can die. She wasn’t funny (Carol Channing aside), and when funny is your whole thing, well …

    I’m already mentally casting Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2. Willam, Tatiana and Mariah (SO should have been cast this year) feature strongly. Morgan. SLAM.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      My All-Stars 2

      Ongina
      AKASHIA
      Morgan
      Tatianna
      Messica Wild
      SLAM
      Shangela
      Mariah
      Willam
      Milan Invasion
      + 2 from Season 5

      Such a mess (<3) If it needs "strengthening" (*roll eyes*) just throw in a couple of winners or people who are still bitter from whatever happens on this All-Stars or All-Purpose Transgender Superstar Carmen Carrera. (No Pandora though kthxbi)

      Reply
  2. nottherealjoe

    Mimi Imfurst has to be out first surely?

    Pandora, I’m afraid, probably has a ticket to the final. For some reason, (I mean, I liked her, she got unfairly booted but whatever) she has a ton of fans despite her only being talented at Carol Channing impressions.

    Am rooting for Manila, Raven and Latrice for final three.

    I couldn’t persuade you to recap it, can I?

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Mimi Imfurst Out is too great a pun for them to resist, probably.

      I also sort of enjoyed Pandora’s Country Mother, but everyone was funny in that challenge, even TYRA, so whatever.

      It’s airing slap-bang in the middle of Strictly/X Factor/Young Apprentice season, so I couldn’t recap it even if I wanted to. I might do brief updates though. Or at the very least a Cast Re-Evaluation at the end.

      Reply
    2. stevenperkins

      I liked Pandora first time around and thought the reason they gave for eliminating her at the time was utter horseshit, but I’m not looking forward to her returning, largely because her fans are ceaselessly obnoxious and when they invited her back for the recap show in season four all her material bombed. If this turns out to be the sort of All-Stars season where it’s basically an excuse to appease the fans by righting a previous wrong (cf Mondo in Project Runway) and just chuck Pandora the win, I will not be impressed. LATRICE/MANILA/A.N. OTHER FINAL PLZ.

      Reply

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