‘Drag Race All Stars’ 2×08 Recap: That’s a Rap

 Left to right: Alaska, Detox, Katya, Roxxxy Andrews.

Left to right: Alaska, Detox, Katya, Roxxxy Andrews. Logo

RuPaul likes to proclaim Drag Race is “the Olympics of drag.” That is certainly true, and that has meaning for All Stars. The Olympics is a competition between amateurs, and this season has seen pros being pros. The net effect is not the same. As a result, this final episode has little to recap: the queens are challenged to put together a rap performance and then come out in an elegant look. The song and dance is completely polished, as if they’d have weeks to rehearse instead of a day or so. The last runway is also consistent and well done.

Since Drag Race is a marathon and not a sprint, the last challenge rarely matters as a challenge. Even if it’s not clear who the winner is before the final episode, that episode won’t be what moves the needle (unlike in some other shows). There was no possibility Roxxxy would win regardless of what happened this week, for example, and that’s openly discussed in the episode itself.

This season was touted as having the queens fighting for rudemption. So in that vein, it’s worth a look as to who the big winners this season were in terms of securing their legacies. Many of the queens increased their stature as a result of the show, and some dropped down a bit. Here, in order, was how they stacked from worst to best in terms of changing their reputation.

  1. Phi Phi O’Hara—This season has been devastating for Phi Phi. She had spent years working the scene to turn around the negative impression many people had from season four, and it seemed to have worked. Fans repeatedly discussed how sweet and talented she is IRL. She openly acknowledged that this was one of her reasons to come back this year. But whether due to shady editing and production tricks, or whether due to her attitude and self-destructive ways, Phi Phi’s rep certainly took a hit this year. The fact that her Twitter bio has her under her boy name, and the fact that she feels the need to respond to every single troll there, speaks volumes.
  1. Coco Montrese—Coco was queen of the lip syncs her season. Though consistently in the bottom two, she as consistently turned it out and sent someone else home. Being first one out this year sure stung, and the performance that put her in the bottom was more odd than anything else. After having won the comedy challenge in season five, this year she did the worst.
  1. Ginger Minj—Ginger is one of the most well-rounded queens the series has ever seen. Everything that Jinkx does, Ginger does as well or better. She’s hilarious, a great actress, and a wonderful singer. This year, however, she completely flew under the radar and left fairly early.
  1. Katya—When you’re at the top, in a sense there’s nowhere to go but down. Katya basically comes out of this season exactly as she came in: a hilarious, neurotic queen that the fans can’t get enough of. Everyone loved Katya before, and everyone loves her still.
  1. Adore Delano—Adore did what she came to do: she defined her new style of drag, articulated and defended it, and refused to be criticized for it. She’s already a drag superstar, and reminded the audience of how far she’s come without being obnoxious about it. Not bad for someone who quit so early.
  1. Alyssa Edwards—In one sense, Alyssa was the big winner of season five. She’s the one who got her own web series, courtesy of World of Wonder. Although she came to All Stars to win, she shrewdly saw that “winning” this season could just as easily mean putting on a good show and having great lines. Boy oh boy did the Gila monster deliver. Beast!
  1. Detox—Detox was a pre-show favorite to take home the crown in season five, but came up short. Her Whitney Houston and Mannequin club lip syncs are two of the greatest drag performances ever, and her black-and-white look from the season five finale might be the best look any queen has ever put forward. (Mirrorball Bianca might be a close second.) Her runways this season were jawdropping, and she very much improved on her underwhelming season five turn.
  1. Tatianna—The season two queen went from being a bit of a question mark to being a solid star. There was no one this year who had their profile raised as much as Tatianna did, and her first episode win showed exactly why she’s an All Star.
  1. Roxxxy Andrews—Roxxxy and Phi Phi came to the show with the same agenda: to redeem themselves as being the villains of their respective seasons. Roxxxy did just that. She spent all eight episodes with a smile on her face and didn’t throw much shade even in jest. Rather than letting her nerves get the best of her, she laughed off her flubs in the most endearing way. It’s hard to believe this is the same person so reviled several years prior.
  1. Alaska—Most people are fans of Alaska, and with good reason. It’s easy to forget that, despite never being in the bottom, she wasn’t OMG impressive during her year. She’s grown enormously as a performer since then, and her album Anus is quite catchy. She was expected to win this year, and win she did. That win was completely earned, as she dominated the season like no one else.