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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Does Burlesque hold the key to RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3 twist?

STEPHEN VAUGHAN/Screen Gems (2); VH1

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Warning! The following article contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. Read at your own risk!

If you thought RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 couldn’t get any gayer, think again, as the shocking conclusion to the most recent episode seemingly indicated that key clues to solving the show’s impending twist are hiding in the plot of the 2010 movie musical Burlesque, starring drag icons Cher and Christina Aguilera.

As Morgan McMichaels and Thorgy Thor did before her, All Stars‘ latest casualty, Milk, sashayed into the Werk Room Thursday evening to leave her mark on the show’s storied elimination mirror, only to be interrupted by a pre-recorded video from RuPaul herself. “You haven’t seen the last of me,” Ru told the departing queen, later closing out the message by shouting, “Wagon Wheel Watusi!”

“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” is of course the title of the Diane Warren-penned solo number that Cher’s character, Tess, the owner of Burlesque’s titular establishment, sings toward the middle of the film as the threat of the club’s closure looms. On the surface, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that, given Ru’s reference, Milk — and the ladies eliminated before her —will return to the show to in some capacity, as Tess bounces back by the end of the film. But it’s Ru’s “Wagon Wheel Watusi” bit that perhaps offers the clearest insight into the dynamics of the All Stars twist ahead.

Burlesque also follows an aspiring singer, Ali (Aguilera), who rises from lowly waitress to marquee performer at Tess’ venue. She gets there after Tess, reluctant to give a server the shot at dancing on her esteemed stage next to cutthroat showgirls like boozy bombshell Nikki (Kristen Bell), cautiously lets Ali strut her stuff in the hopes of joining the squad. The song she chooses for Ali to lip-sync to? Yep, “Wagon Wheel Watusi,” the song that allows Ali to swoop in and steal the gig away from another woman.

“What are you so excited for?” Nikki, watching from the back of the theater, says to a pregnant colleague who’s applauding Ali’s ace rendition. “She’s your replacement.”

And that’s probably how Drag Race‘s “RuVenge” plot will play out this year. Instead of randomly inserting one dearly departed queen back into the competition, it’s looking like Ru could be herding her All Stars eliminees and saving them for an epic lip-sync battle against the remaining contestants. With 10 contestants overall, at the season’s midway point, we’ll probably see the five ousted queens (Morgan, Thorgy, Milk, and whatever duo joins them in later episodes) paired with five ladies who are still in the running for the crown in two weeks’ time. Each pair might be tasked with lip-syncing for their lives — one eliminated queen vs. one active contestant — to continue on in the competition.

“There have already been clues and there will be more clues!” Thorgy recently told EW after her elimination. “You’ve never seen [the All Stars 3] twist from any other season. I don’t know if the fans are going to love it or hate it, but it’s really dramatic.” A lip-sync extravaganza that could strip steadfast competitors like BenDeLaCreme, Trixie Mattel, and Shangela of their hard-earned spots on the All Stars stage sounds dramatic enough for us.

So, in the tradition of Aguilera’s standout number from the film’s soundtrack, will RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 show us how it “burlesques” in the weeks ahead? Tune in Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on VH1 to find out.

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