July 8, 2020

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ throws shade at all

By Julia Dzurillay

Designing, acting and, above all, throwing shade — mix them all together and you’ve successfully created “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 2.” Logo TV’s reality competition series shows audiences just what it takes to be the queen of drag.

The latest season was different from past ones because instead of a new set of queens, past contestants competed to be the best of the best with the hopes of being crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. RuPaul added a twist to this season of “All Stars,” where instead of choosing a queen to eliminate at the end of each episode, the winner of that week’s challenge and lip sync chose a queen to eliminate from the bottom two.

RuPaul accepts his Emmy at this year’s ceremony. (AP Photo)
RuPaul accepts his Emmy at this year’s ceremony. (AP Photo)

The challenges featured some old favorites, such as Snatch Game, a parody of the game show “Match Game” where the queens show off their celebrity impersonation skills, as well as the Reading is Fundamental mini-challenge, where the queens take turns putting on glasses and throwing shade at one another.

Some of the queens paid tribute to their past seasons, like Alaska, who brought to life a puppet named Lil’ Poundcake during season five, and Roxxxy Andrews, who MCed a challenge as one of her previous characters, “Tasha Salad.” Other queens were not as thrilled at the mention of their previous season, like Phi Phi O’Hara, who said she “regrets doing this bogus show.”

In season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race, O’Hara was depicted as a bully and credited her cruel antics to bad editing. Since then, she has been attacked both verbally and physically by fans of the show, and she has even been scared to travel to certain cities because of the hate she has received there. Upon returning to “All Stars 2,” O’Hara vowed to change her image and prove to RuPaul that she deserved to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. Unfortunately, it did not go as she planned.

“A lot of the queens wanted to rewrite their names, like Tatianna, who was unknown to the modern Drag Race fan,” said Emily Laskey, a sophomore English and secondary education dual major who has been watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race” since her freshman year of high school. “But Phi Phi did not redeem herself, which showed especially when she was eliminated.”

Once RuPaul decided O’Hara would be in the bottom two, she decided to tell the top two queens — Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards — that she was not going to beg to be saved. Rather, O’Hara decided to “play games” with the remaining contestants.

“After the comedy challenge, he told me, ‘You were really funny, but Detox wasn’t.’ And then he told Detox, ‘You were really funny, but Tatianna wasn’t so funny,’” Tatianna said in an interview with Vulture from Friday, Sept. 30. “Within an hour of that, me and Detox traded notes… That played into (her elimination), too.”

Once Tatianna and Edwards both won the lip sync battle, the unanimous decision was to send O’Hara home. When each of the queens attempted to hug O’Hara, she completely ignored Edwards and sashayed away, angry and bitter. She will not be attending the upcoming reunion.

“To deny Alyssa a hug goodbye just shows how manipulative and genuinely despicable Phi Phi is,” Laskey said. “And it will most likely reflect on her career from now on.”

After O’Hara’s elimination, girls were sent home one by one until there were only five left: Katya Zamolodchikova, Edwards and the three girls collectively known as “Rolaskatox” — Roxxxy Andrews, Detox and Alaska. After a family makeover challenge, Detox chose Edwards to be sent home instead of Roxxxy, who had already been up for elimination four times.

Outraged fans raced to Twitter to choose a side and persuade RuPaul to pick their favorite queen. While fans loved many of the contestants, an overwhelming majority wanted Zamolodchikova to win and put an end to Rolaskatox once and for all.

“Katya is me as a drag queen in real life and deserved (to win),” said Phaedra Miranda, a sophomore at Hunter College and avid fan of the show. “She really grew as a performer and as a person (throughout this season).”

Although RuPaul confers with the other judges, the decision was RuPaul’s alone to make. And the winner of a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, a spot in the drag race hall of fame and a cash prize of $100,000 was… You’ll have to see for yourself.

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