A winner was finally crowned on Friday’s finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5, but before the queen in question could receive her one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, the Top 3 had to survive their most harrowing challenge yet: a surprise reunion.
While this season’s seven eliminated queens watched and giggled from behind an extremely obvious glory hole, Jujubee told Shea Coulee and Miz Cracker that they were the final three she always envisioned (me too!), which didn’t sit well with some of the Bitter Betties behind the scenes. “Do we all sound this fake?” Alexis Mateo asked.
The charade only carried on for a few more minutes before the girls Ru-vealed themselves, eliciting complicated squeals of fear and excitement from the queens who sent them home. In the interest of not leaving anything left unsaid, Ru arranged for a little sit-down so the All Stars could air what remained of their dirty laundry.
First order of business: Derrick Barry’s feud with India Ferrah. “I’m on a comfortable level with you,” India said, though Derrick said she needed an apology for what India said about her online. India obliged, admitting that her actions were “immature,” but the whole exchange felt weird. Rather than feeling like a genuine conversation, both Derrick and India came off like reality robots. (“Beep. Boop. Processing apology. Beep. Boop. Apology accepted.”)
Next, Ongina defended sending herself home, which many queens considered a slap in the face to anyone who could have taken her place in the competition. “Right after the reading challenge, I was destroyed,” she explained. “I sucked. I was not confident, and that’s what you all saw. The next week, there was no way I could live if [either of the other queens went home]. In my heart of hearts, I knew it was the right thing for me.”
Mariah Paris Balenciaga also came out swinging (lightly) at Mayhem Miller for choosing her own lipstick. “She gave herself up for India,” Mariah said. “I would have understood if it was for me. Girl, you just met this ho!” (As Mayhem accurately pointed out, however, Mariah was eliminated first, making her argument effectively moot.)
Now for the main event… of the reunion: On the topic of Alexis allegedly campaigning to oust Shea, Mayhem told the group, “I voted for Shea, but [Alexis] didn’t ask me to do that. There was no campaigning.” When pressed for an explanation, India said, “It’s what I heard on the side of the stage in the seats,” which was after the lipsticks were already chosen. And to make matters even shadier, we learned that India and Mayhem had forged a secret alliance of their own! (They insist on calling it a “deal,” but I think we know what to call it. And them.)
Now for the main main event: The season’s final maxi challenge required the three remaining All Stars to write and perform solo verses to RuPaul’s new single “Clap Back.” With Todrick Hall stepping in as choreographer, Ru said she looked forward to “what better be the best damn production number in Drag Race herstory.” (No pressure!)
Where “Clap Back” ranks in the pantheon of Drag Race finale performances remains up for debate, but no one can say that the final three didn’t give it their damn all. Jujubee kept things sexy and glittery (both of which are always welcome on this show), Cracker’s routine was cute and memorable, and Shea brought some serious ferocity to the stage.
Runway time! Before the Top 3 hit the stage, the eliminees were given one more chance to shine. And shine they did, though I couldn’t help but notice that Derrick, Mariah and India all had extremely similar ice queen-style gowns. (And just like that, I’m having extremely unwanted flashbacks to Aiden Zhane and Brita’s “Let it Go” lip sync.)
Juju was the first of the final three to walk the runway, looking she had the sun draped around her body. She described the goddess-inspired ensemble as the most “driven, enlightened” form of herself. Cracker followed in a fancy pink number, complete with a pearled headdress. And then came Shea, serving “1960s Balenciaga realness” in a giant pink gown.’
In lieu of a guest assassin, the queens battled in a three-way lip sync for the crown to tune of Janelle Monae’s “Make Me Feel.” Shea kept the judges’ attention with a robot routine, while Juju wasted no time writhing around on the floor. And then there was Cracker, who made great use of those cone boobs-turned-glitter cannons.
At the end of the day, the decision was Ru’s to make, and she chose… Shea Coulee as the winner of All Stars 5.
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