In the words of Jaida Essence Hall, “Everybody and they mama’s and they grandmama’s mama’s, they ancestors done came up from the ground and said, ‘We need an all-winners season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.’” Following years of rumours and anticipation as to which former champion would conquer over them all, Quarter Quell-style, the first ever winners’ season in RuPaul’s Emmy Award-winning empire premiered this week and reintroduced eight of the fiercest entertainers in the franchise’s herstory: Jaida (season 12), Jinkx Monsoon (season five), Monét X Change (season 10, All Stars 4), Raja (season three), Shea Couleé (season nine, All Stars 5), The Vivienne (UK season one), Trinity the Tuck (season nine, All Stars 4) and Yvie Oddly (season 11).
The first two episodes, which saw the queens record a verse for RuPaul’s new single Legendary and compete in two Snatch Games, were met with unanimous praise from viewers for, of course, the sheer amount of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent and – because this is Drag Race – the brand Ru twist. For the first time in herstory, no queen will have to hear the dreaded “sashay away” from the Blame It On The Edit star. To quote Jaida, again, “Gay gasp!” Instead, the top two All Stars of the week will be awarded a Legendary Legend Star and the winner of the lip-sync for your legacy will, as per, earn a $10,000 tip and the power to “block” one of the six safe queens with the Platinum Plunger; meaning she’ll be prevented from winning a star the following week – even if she wins the challenge. [Insert another “Gay gasp!” here.]
The season will culminate with the four queens who have collected the most Legendary Legend Stars lip-syncing for the crown, the title of “Queen of Queens” and the series’ highest cash prize ever at $200,000. Admittedly, there have been some twists and turns in Drag Race’s ever-expanding herstory that were… questionable (jury vote, ahem), but Ru’s decision to not send any of his champions home is undoubtedly the best, ever. Here’s why:
No one goes home!
We’ve already mentioned it, but it bears repeating: no one gets chopped! Imagine a cruel, cruel world in which Raja, one of the most beloved eye-icons of all time, sashays back into the werkroom after 11 goddamn years and is sent packin’ in the first episode? Pain. We would all feel pure pain. Each winner has garnered millions of supporters since their reign, meaning one fanbase in particular was always going to be shafted in the first episode under former All Star rules. This way, fans are able to root for their favourites without fear of them being unceremoniously sent home ala Shangela, Manila Luzon and Pangina Heals. For the next 10 weeks, we can breathe.
This is the first ever winners’ season of Drag Race. The first ever! All of these champs have, assumingly, spent thousands upon thousands on their ensembles and recruited some of the most talented designers in the industry. While we do enjoy seeing the eliminated contestants share their planned runways on social media, nothing beats the first time you witness a sickening ensemble shantay down the stage to a collective gasp from the panel. With no exits (until the finale, or semi-final?), there are more opportunities for the winners to impress the judges with their aesthetic and remind viewers as to why they snatched the crown in the first place.
As we wrote in our ‘It’s about time Drag Race All Star rules were suspended – indefinitely’ article – written in retaliation to Pangina’s exit – there are still some viewers who are unable to grasp Drag Race’s ethos, which is about spreading love, not hate. Under former All Star rules, various queens – primarily queens of colour – were inundated with condemnable comments from so-called ‘fans’ due to their decision to send one of their competitors home, such as Bebe Zahara Benet, Naomi Smalls and Pangina. Of course, the new format doesn’t solve this long-running issue because of the Platinum Plunger’s introduction, and there will always be trolls who feel the need to spew disgraceful bile. But, the lack of queen-on-queen eliminations could potentially reduce the amount of hate aimed at the cast and, as we’ve seen with the first two episodes, this season is all about joy and celebrating each other’s talents – not bringing each other down.
The Platinum Plunger of Doom…
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: season 14’s Willy Wonka-inspired, Roople-branded chocolate bar twist was camp! The Platinum Plunger? Also camp! Watching Shea and Jinkx determine which of their fellow winners to shaft was pure comedy, and – this is coming from a horror fan – suspenseful?! Admit it, you were sat there trembling that your number-one would be hoodwinked out of a Legendary Legendaric Legend Star of Legendary. Admit it! And although it didn’t cause as much conflama as we expected in the first two episodes – props to you Trinity! – there is definitely room for it to create mayhem in the future. We’re excited to see this unfold.
We finally get to see the entire cast’s full potential
There have been numerous queens throughout Drag Race’s herstory who claim they would have slayed a challenge that came after their elimination – India Ferrah in the season three reunion immediately springs to mind (a great India moment, we should add). Now, there will be no ‘what if?’ scenario or outcry on social media such as, ‘Can’t believe Jinkx left before the Snatch Game!’ or ‘Wish we could’ve seen Shea compete in the ball! [insert sad face emoji].’ For the first time, we will finally get to witness the untapped potential of the entire cast.
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 is now available to watch in the UK exclusively on the streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus. Subscribe now via https://uk.wowpresentsplus.com/