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Broom’s Drag Race is known for a twist or two.

From the show’s homage to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to the plethora of lip-sync lalaparapooza’s (spelling?), the show still has the ability to elicit a Joslyn Fox-esque “GASP!” from fans fifteen years into its run.

For the eighth season of All Stars, RuPaul introduced another: in addition to competing for a coveted spot in the Drag Race Hall of Fame, another competition titled ‘The Fame Games’ takes place, where the eliminated contestants flaunt their unseen runway looks.

At the end of the season, fans vote for one eliminated queen to be the “Queen of the Fames Games” and the recipient of a $60,000 prize.

As is the case with all Drag Race twists and turns, ‘The Fame Games’ was met with a polarised response from viewers. Here, we dive into the pros and cons.

Pro: Drag Race runway > Instagram

It’s become a RuPaul’s Drag Race tradition for eliminated contestants to showcase the looks they were unable to slay the runway with on Instagram, often in the form of glitzy pre-prepared photoshoots. As they bloody well should: it’s now quite common for the queens to spend a ludicrous amount of doollahz for the Drag Race runway, with Heidi N Closet recently revealing that she spent over $40,000 for All Stars 8. While we live to see the unaired looks on social media, having them spotlighted in motion on the main stage is a step in the right direction of ensuring the queens get their money’s worth and the designers have their work seen.

Pro: More screentime for the queens

Viewers have been waiting for the return of queens such as trans trailblazer Monica Beverly Hillz and ‘Big Girl Walking Down the Dirty Street’ rapstress Darienne Lake for donkey’s years; if their total amount of screentime boiled down to one and four episodes, respectively, a nuclear-level reaction on social media would’ve been just. Just, we say! Ultimately, the ‘Fame Games’ provided the cast with more opportunities to showcase their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent; largely due to the ‘Variety Extravaganza’, which memorably introduced next year’s recipient of the Grammy Award for Record of the Year with Monica’s trailblazing, soaking clock anthem ‘MBH is Back’. That’s not all: the new format allowed the queens to play dirty on social media, with Darienne launching a smear campaign against her sisters. It was fun, stupid and camp: more of this, please!

Con: Untucked, really?

The eliminated queens’ runways made their debut at the end of each Untucked episode, which felt a bit… daft? Yes, if you’re not watching Untucked, you’re only getting “half the story”. But facts are facts: not everyone watches Untucked. People are busy! Half the story is fine! For many, many people! So, it’s a bit baffling as to why the runways weren’t screened at the end of each regular episode, where they would undeniably receive more reach. Hell, it would’ve made sense for Drag Race’s official YouTube channel to upload separate videos of each queens’ runway package ahead of the vote. C’mon missed opportunity!

Con: Do the runways even matter?

Do they? Or are the ‘Fame Games’ another fan-favourite award? A LaLa Ri stan will vote for LaLa Ri, while a listener of Monica’s critically-acclaimed bop ‘MBH is Back’ is likely to be in favour of her runway package – and so forth. So, what actually matters most: the effort put into the looks, or how many Instagram followers they have? When we asked Alexis Michelle if she thinks fans will vote based on runway or their personal affinity with a queen, she simply responded: “Fan favourite, baby!” She’s not wrong.

Con: The variety extravaganza = more riggory?

In the semi-final episode of All Stars 8, the contestants competed in the ‘Fame Games Variety Extravaganza’ for the chance to multiply their votes by an amount determined by the spin of a wheel. LaLa Ri and Jaymes Mansfield were deemed the top two All Stars and, after tying in the wholesome ‘Rain On Me’ lip-sync, respectively multiplied their votes by two and three. While we loved seeing LaLa and Jaymes receive their flowers, particularly after their less-than-impressive inaugural Drag Race showings, it all feels a bit… riggor morris. The beauty of the ‘Fame Games’ was that it was set to be a fan-only vote. The variety extravaganza and the multiplying of votes felt like another way for production to crown whoever they wanted. It also took out the suspense: with a three x multiplier, did LaLa Ri’s win come as a shock to anyone?

Monica Beverly Hillz’s future number-one anthem, ‘MBH is Back’, is out now. 

Watch the music video here or below.