Everyone Wuzz Robbed!
10. Morgan McMichaels – 10th place
Obviously I don’t want this to turn into a giant post listing all of the flaws of All Stars 3, because you’ve all got…well the rest of the Internet for the next four days until Series 10 starts for that, but Morgan really is emblematic of the fact that for its third “Best Of The Best” run, the show assembled a mediocre cast, and then seemed really really reluctant to ever properly get rid of any of them. Morgan, the first boot of the series, who nobody was really that keen to see return in the first place, was somehow in fully HALF of the episodes of the run, between her initial episode, her incident-free two episode return, and then her participation in the jury. When it’s a legendary alum like Alyssa or Tatianna I can see why you’d want to wring as much as you could out of them, but Morgan McMichaels? Needless to say in her four episodes she brought duck noises, terrible kamikaze strategy, and a cringe spoken word performance piece that wasn’t even the most cringe spoken word performance piece of the episode it appeared in.
9. Chi Chi DeVayne – 7th place
I wrestled with this decision, because lord knows I still love Chi Chi, but she hit the cold water of All Stars hard and never really recovered. Between her slicing her hand open on the set and barely being able to perform in Episode 1, and then being undeservingly dumped in the Bottom 3 in Episode 2, I can see why Chi Chi gave up, but those next two episodes in a row of her constantly riding the edge of quitting outright were rough. Of all the queens I was most excited to see what Chi Chi could bring this season, and all I really got was her repeating her Snatch Game performance, without the jokes, and misspelled.
8. Trixie Mattel – Winner
This ranking isn’t really a commentary on Trixie’s win (I wouldn’t have picked her, but I think people are really overstating how well Shangela did in the challenges when she was the clear deserving eliminee two episodes in a row mid-series) so much as it’s a commentary on what she brings to Drag Race as a whole which is…not a lot. It’s odd, because I hear a lot that Trixie deserves a crown and recognition for her branding, when what she brings to the show is so confused. She’s a country queen Barbie doll nerd who does random stoner humour and has overdone facial make-up who is occasionally a bit cocky? Maybe that works on Vice TV but in a cutthroat reality tv competition where she’s fighting for attention with queens whose appeal is a lot more straightforward, she got lost. I mean…did she even have any memes this series? Even Morgan got a meme. You know, the one about is she going to jump off a thing? Comedy gold. Anyway, Trixie now has $100,000 dollars to her name for winning(/surviving) and just as many (awful) fans as she always did, so well done her. I’m sure my bafflement at her popularity is as nothing compared to the warmth you can only get from 13 year old girls on tumblr working out their adolescent issues with gender and sexuality by screaming “FUCK ME WITH A RAKE MOM OH HONNNNEY!” at you on all forms of social media and at all your gigs and through your cat flap at night.
7. Milk – 8th place
Let’s be clear, Milk probably had the best story arc on this season of Drag Race.
Episode 1 – ok…Milk wasn’t in the bottom 3 despite her “talent” being just walking around going “TOUCH THE FASHION CHANGE YOUR LIFE, TOUCH THE FASHION CHANGE YOUR LIFE, SEND MARC JACOBS YOUR DICKPIC…I MEAN TOUCH THE FASHION CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”. OK. There have been random results before I guess…
Episode 2 – OK why the fuck wasn’t Milk in the Bottom 3 despite that Celine Dion being terrible? She was clearly worse than both Chi Chi AND Thorgy and…oh no wait she thinks she should have been in THE TOP? Oh ok, she’s delusional now. More so.
Episode 3 – LOL well done in getting in the way of the pencilled-in champion bitch, now your ineptitude has consequences, bye.
Episode 4 – The sight of Marc Jacobs wandering forlornly through the workroom, wondering how and why his muse has been eliminated sustains a nation. He cancelled a lunch meeting with Emanuele Farneti for this?!
Episode 6 – Milk comes back, gets merc’d by Kennedy. Cries a solitary tear. Leaves again.
As someone who never liked Milk, every second of that was satisfying, and the fact that of all the queens her popularity took the hardest hit this series definitely appeals to me (Bebe had like 3 fans left to begin with, come on). On the other hand…she was still Milk. Still stomping around saying that she invented beards. This is as high as I can really put her.
6. Bebe Zahara Benet – 3rd place
Previous winners competing on All Stars editions of reality shows are a bit of a rum do. Usually they either obliterate the competition, or seriously tarnish their legacy. And whilst you can argue that Bebe did the latter, for me, her All Stars 3 appearance only solidified her role as a crowned queen. Because boy did she act like one. Barely talking to the other contestants? Being super condescending when you did? Getting them to sew your outfits for you without giving them any credit? Telling them all when they reconvened for the jury that their questions were dumb and you aren’t going to waste your breath answering them? Coasting through all the challenges with a bare minimum of effort? All hallmarks of true royalty. Carry yourself like its your birthright hun. Also, let’s not deny her the sheer lyricism of “rakk takka titi taa, yeah I’m pussy bitch, ooh la la la la la la, c’est bon, c’est bon, undogo chokko latta, you can take my snatch”. People made fun but…it was a Spice Girls challenge! The true heir to “zig-a-zig-a”? I think so.
5. Aja – 6th place
Of all the queens who were questionable castings this season, Aja’s probably the one who proved her doubters wrong in the most conventional way. She brought it to the challenges, she kept a good attitude, she was eliminated in a questionable manner, and she made sure she was the one most prominently running around after the Internet trying to speak on behalf of the jury by saying “…we fucked it up, sorry”. There were some bumps in the road (most chiefly the ignominy of being the only queen ever to lose a lipsync to Ben De La Creme) but Aja went from “Didn’t seem ready for even a regular season” to “competitive on All Stars” in the space of a few months and that’s not nothing.
4. Thorgy Thor – 9th place
So let’s be clear, Thorgy’s only this high for a one episode performance. But WHAT a one episode performance! All the years of rigor morris on this show righteously distilled into one contestant, barging around the set saying that she’s been given a duff role, and it’s all rigged for Shangela to win this week (kudos to the show for actually airing her saying that by the way, there are several franchises I can think of that would have entirely excised that exchange without a second thought) (because, y’know, it was), and snapping at the guest choreographer for not giving her enough to do, and finally calling her own elimination gross. And all with all that Thorgy energy that everyone loved/found infuriating in Season 8. A bonus bump of one place was given here also for being the only jury member to endorse Shangela, despite everyone having Thorgy pegged specifically as the one who was going to rob her blind out of bitterness.
3. Kennedy Davenport – Runner-Up
There was a lot of talk all this season as to who was going to be the “Roxxxy Andrews”. The queen pulled to the end via her friends and her connections rather than her challenge performances. And…turns out it was Kennedy Davenport apparently. I think my favourite moment of Kennedy’s rando journey to the Final 2 was when, after two whole seasons of grumpiness, surliness, entire episodes of Untucked where she threw her dress over her own head to avoid talking to anyone, flat out workroom brawls, and “FUCK MY DRAG RIGHT?!”, Kennedy instantly turned her job interview pageant face on for the jury, and charmed them all into tears of love and admiration as their cheered her on to the final two. That’s some magic, and deserves respect. In between that and the fact she destroyed Trixie in the final lip-sync, if I were Ru I would have crowned her the champion and said “sod it” to ever being able to leave the house again without being deluged with hate from the show’s cinnamon bun centric fanbase. If Sasha Velour can win an entire season on the strength of the last episode, why not Kennedy, am I right? And besides, sod her “track record”, she brought you comedy in the Bitchelor, she served you lewks with her entrance outfit, she showed you talent (those routines for Drag Up Your Life AND Kitty Girl), she had her Rudemption (her redone burnt chicken hooker Glamazon look), she won two lip-syncs, she gave you raw emotion (the show’s racist fanbase ignores her at meet-and-greets!), she played the game, she turnt the ball, she called out BOTH Ben and Milk on their bullshit…sod who was the Roxxxy Andrews, really we should all be asking one another who was really the one who was robbed of the crown? I put it to you that it was in fact Kennedy Davenport.
(NB : please ignore everything Kennedy did in Episodes 2 and 4 and 7 when considering this thesis)
2. Shangela – 4th place
This ranking isn’t so much a commentary on Shangela’s not winning (I think she clearly deserved it on overall starpower and charisma out of the Final 4 but her challenge performances weren’t a particularly memorable set in general and were very much “just Shangela being Shangela”, is that’s a thing that bothers you) so much as it’s a commentary on what she brings to Drag Race as a whole. Which is a lot. ESPECIALLY in an All Stars format, with its emphasis on drama and backstabbing and intrigue. Need a talking head bitching someone out? Shangela will provide. Need 10 minutes of episode padding out every week with begging and pleading and alliance forming and favour promising? Shangela will turn that knob up to 11. Need a catchphrase? HALLELU! Need someone to start a big fight in the middle of the workroom over pretty much nothing? Shangela’s got it, and she’ll even bring it to the door of the Fan Favourite, she doesn’t care. Want 500 Game Of Thrones references? No? Well there’s always a downside to any Faustian pact. Want all this done without the contestant ever actually doing anything that really impacts on the game in any serious way that the producers wouldn’t envisage? That’s cool, Shangela’s always been all talk. As a reward, she gets to be the one true Robbed Queen, possibly of the franchise as a whole. Oh and also $25,000, which isn’t too shabby.
1. Ben De La Creme – 5th place
At the end of the day, Series 3 of Drag Race All Stars was all about Ben De La Creme, and the fact that the show completely fell to bits when she left (honestly, Episode 7 has to be up there amongst the worst they’ve ever put out), and that she won almost every challenge she took part in, make it impossible to put her anywhere other than top in any ranking of the series. It’s also unfortunately a large part of what marred the series, as not only did she dominate almost every episode competitively, Ben’s whole ethos permeated every corner of the show, and decision after decision after decision was made on the basis of what was “nice” and “congenial”, rather than what was fair or made for satisfying tv. Morgan returns because she had the least opportunity to shine, not Aja, who had the best practical case to come back and had the most left to show. Ben quits and ascends to heaven because she just wants the other queens to have a fair shot to win, leaving the lingering impression that she thinks she’s just too talented for any of them to beat her fairly, and an even more lingering impression that the crown this series carries an * after it for whoever seizes upon that “fair shot”. Kennedy gets put through to Final 2 partially on a pity vote and Trixie gets put through because she has the most fans who might hate you if you don’t advance her, both over Shangela, who of everyone most deserves a place in the Hall Of Drag Race fame. Ben brought it to every challenge and had a lot of entertainment value but the end result of her casting was that a large amount of decisions made on the show were made by someone who, by her own admission, hates it, and thinks it’s manipulative and cruel. It is in this way really that Ben won Drag Race All Stars 3 most of all. Not in getting $15,000. Not in boosting her reputation and booking fees immeasurably. Not in carrying a “The Real Winner” rosette for a large amount of the fanbase. But in having, in a small way, brought down the show she thinks is nasty from the inside.