'RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race' episode 5 recap
Well, wasn’t that just about the craziest hour of RuPaul’s Drag Race ever? And, no, despite the photograph of Elvira here, it wasn’t her contribution as a guest judge (alongside Bridesmaids star Wendi McLendon-Covey) that sent the second-to-last hour of All Stars over the edge. No, that could be, first and mostly, attributed to the crazy main challenge of the penultimate hour, which found the four remaining queens — Chad Michaels and Shannel, or “Shad”; and Raven and Jujubee, or “Rujubee” — creating their own brand of superheros.
Actually, taking into account the fact that the Entertainment Weekly brand tries to be family friendly (well, we try to be sometimes), I can’t even really type out the superhero storyline that Chad and Shannel put together. Maybe I’m getting cranky in my old age, but it had to do with vaginal rejuvenation and lactation. Actually, Elvira did have a good quip that summed up the whole presentation that “Shad” put on with their superheroes: “It was like a trip to the gyno’s office for me.” Well put!
The real crazy of the evening, though, came during the lip-sync-for-your-life portion of the evening. Ru had announced early in the episode that one of the teams was going to be on the bottom and would have to lip-sync against one another. But who knew that the pending situation would create one of the most dramatic moments of Drag Race history. The two queens that had to lip-sync against each other were…
…Raven and Jujubee. Nope, the two didn’t break their streak of being in the bottom. (Chad tried to soften that blow early in the episode by saying: “No one’s on the top anymore. We’re all on the bottom.” But, not really.) Somehow, even with their vaginal rejuvenation- and lactation-themed heroes, Chad and Shannel won the challenge and, thus, were safe. Michelle Visage summed it up best at the judges’ table, when she said of the dead lock (Ru called it “Sophie’s choice”) between the two teams: “I think it’s old-school superhero versus new-school superhero. That’s what it comes down to.” Old school — that’d be Chad and Shannel’s more traditional superheroes, instead of Raven and Jujubee’s more Marvel-style heroes — won.
But back to that dramatic lip-sync. It started on a melodramatic note, with Raven announcing in an interview: “I did not want to have to lip-sync again Juju, but I am going to fight for my spot to stay in this competition.” As Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” came on, and both Raven and Jujubee just really took it slow — and eventually just ended up embracing and, at moments, dancing together. It was sweet. I’ve never seen such a thing before. Post-lip-sync was even more dramatic, as Jujubee had a breakdown — “I can’t breathe!” she said. “I didn’t wanna do that!” Raven helped her, while Ru looked visibly pained that she’d had to pit these two queens and friends against each other. The whole judges panel, in fact, looked distraught: I might have even spied a tear falling from Michelle Visage’s eye.
Then came the moment that you always want to have happen in this situation but never does: Ru was so moved by the whole situation that she let them both stay. “Ladies, I’ve made my decision,” Ru said. “You leave me no choice. Raven, Jujubee — shante, you both stay.” One of the best parts wasn’t Raven and Jujubee’s over-joyed reactions, but Chad’s, from the back of the stage: “Yes! Yes!” he yelled. And then Ru added: “I f— it! We have a top four!” There was something right — and something totally jubilant — about it. The once-devastated Jujubee added: “I want fried chicken.”
The whole episode, however, begs the question: How’s any of this going to get any easier next week? We know that Ru won’t be inducting four queens into her hallowed Drag Hall of Fame. So how’s she gonna choose when everything has been so “Sophie’s choice”? We shall see, but Ru assured us one thing: “For next week’s final challenge, no more teams. It’s every queen for herself.” And, truly, that’s how it should be. The teams seemed like a great decision at first — but they quickly proved to be somewhat of a hindrance. I want to see how these four queens work on their won, claws out, next week.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky